book Char B1 bis
AFV Super Detail Photo Book Vol.2
Published by Model Art Co.Ltd.
3-11,3Chome, Iidabashi Chiyoda-ku,
Tokyo, 102-0072, Japan

64 pages colour, black & white soft cover

Review by Terry Ashley

This is the second book in the AFV Super Detail Photo book series from Model Art and deals with the history and details of the French Char B1 bis, the subject of the recent kit from Tamiya (kit #35282).

The soft cover book has 64 pages with 50/50 Japanese and English text covering the history, development, and operational life along with extreme close-up walkarounds of preserved B1 bis and is produced with cooperation from Trackstory who have their own Char B1 book.

The first 19 pages is almost entirely text with just a few photos and covers the development and production with sections listing the differences between the B1 and B1 bis plus the service history with some B&W wartime photos to illustrate the text.
This is followed by a rundown of the B1 bis in German service with descriptions of the various modifications but no photos of German vehicles along with a set of 5 view 1:35 plans and 8 colour profiles showing examples of the cam schemes carried.

The remainder of the book is devoted entirely to the close-up colour walkarounds of the B1 bis with each sub-section having a small text description plus the photo captions again in both Japanese and English.

Pages 22 to 28 deals with the hull front with each part having more than one photo taken from different angles for good perspective and while the photos are not big with up to 15 per page, each shows just a small detail part to good effect to give more than enough detail.

The fenders are shown on pages 29-30 with again photos taken from various angles for a good coverage.

The turret is next on pages 31 to 39 and again the small size of the photos doesn’t effect the extreme details shown with nine shots of the gun mantlet from above, below and both sides for excellent coverage and no less the 26 shots of the Commander’s cupola.

There are also 3 pages of turret interior shots showing the 47mm gun breech, vision ports and other details to good effect.

Pages 40 to 45 covers the upper hull and engine deck again with many shots from different angles of the same part for clear coverage such as the engine grills and exhaust pipes.

The hull interior is covered on pages 46 to 56 with a mind boggling amount of detail including shots of the 75mm main gun both mounted outside and on board the vehicle with all the associated fittings. Some of the small photos make it difficult to visualise it all together but the photos sort of flow in sequence around the hull and along with small diagrams from the service manual and text you should be able to piece all the detail together for anyone wanting to fill the innards of the Tamiya kit.

Pages 57 to 60 cover the left and right hull sides showing the many small features as well as the large radiator intakes on the left side and page 61 has photos of the rear hull and fittings.

Finally pages 62 to 64 deals with the running gear with shots taken all around including some from an insect’s viewpoint under the hull that show the small road wheels and track in excellent detail.

This is superb reference on the Char B1 bis aimed directly at the modeller with the many excellent close-up detail shots with just enough text to give important and useful information. The small size of the photos doesn’t seem to matter as each has a shot of an individual detail part allowing many more photos to be included than if they were larger yet still showing all the details you would ever want.

The inclusion of equal Japanese/English text adds greatly to the appeal and usefulness of the book which should be essential for anyone yet to build the Tamiya kit or if you want to build another with the full detail treatment.

Highly recommended.

Sample pages

See the Model Art Website for additional details
Thanks to Model Art for the review book.

Page created August 30, 2006

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