I have decided I’m wanting to concentrate on one subject at a time for my scale modeling. To make my time and effort researching before I’m going to build a scale model wort the effort. However, I’m having no idea how to do this. I know the German Marder series tankdestroyers caught my interest. But I might also want to study/research and build other German TDs of World War II like the Jagdtiger or something else. It also depends on how much information and material is availlable on a subject. I guess more information and material availlable on the subject the better. Since I’m also wanting to learn about the subject or subjects I’m building. And I want to be able to tell about it and share the knowledge I gathered from my studies and research. Also, it depends on how hard it is to find the materials to do so. I don’t want to search hours and hours in front of my computer for just one small article or picture. I’m not considering it worth the time and effort. But I’am willing to purchase books etc.
Might be interesting to go down the anti-tank artillery guns and progress to Marder and then the Stug and Hetzer offerings.
Nice idea! I love themes.
I have some suggestions, but one question, are you more interested in the vehicles themselves or the history of the units they fought in?
StuGs are a great theme - there are lots of kits and a single book will tell you lots about the vehicles along the timeline of construction (Muller and Zimmerman Sturmgeschutz III) and geek out about details of which factory a particular vehicle was produced in and on what date.
You mentioned Marders and I have pondered doing a series of Marders myself. There are some kits in 1/35. I bought one book towards this goal (well more of a magazine): Nuts and Bolts vol 13 on the SdKfz 139. It’s a great little volume but there are multiple varieties of Marders so more reference material may be needed.
I have a book about World War II German artillery. And I could do some searching on the internet about artillery. But artillery seems very difficult to me to assemble for someone like me who has little to no experience with these topics. Also, I’m still having to master the airbrush. And find definitive solutions on the problems I have with airbrushing. Lot of things to fix for airbrushing and imrpoving things. But, it still could be a great path to follow. Giving me tons of experience and learning opportunities to improve my future projects.
I have looked for the book you are mentioning about the Sturmgeschütz III. But I can’t buy it on Amazon or bol.com. I can’t find it to download it on PDF Drive. And searching with startpage.com doesn’t return the results I want either. To be clear, I don’t want to order anything in the United Kingdom. Because I have terrible experiencies with that. So I want to order in Germany or some other country on the European main continent which is part of the EU. Or if that isn’t possible, at least a country where I’m able to pay in euro’s with bank transfer or IDeal. And which is on the European main continent. So shipping can be done over land.
Well, decide on how complex you want the build to be. Takom makes the Jagdpanther GS with a full interior.
If you want something simpler, starting with a Hetzer is a good choice.
Understood about wanting to purchase from a source on the continent. Here is the reference on the publisher’s site just so you’ll know what to look for:
Berliner Zinnfiguren seems to have vol 2 but the cover they show is different than this one. Mine has this cover, but says vol 2 on it…
Do you want to start with Jagdpanzers or Panzerjäger!?
Sturmgeschütz are “assault gun” providing close fire-support to infantry by destroying bunkers, pillboxes and other entrenched positions.
The StuG vehicles operated primarily within the Sturmartillerie (“self-propelled artillery”), a branch of the artillery arm of the German armed forces.
I have the second volume. I think that one is better from a modeling viewpoint while the first is more about the vehicle statistics and history.
I was going to say they were worth 6 points just like they are now, then I realized you meant tank destroyers.
If you want to specialise on panzerjager, try to avoid going down the rabbit hole of Stugs too early! They ended up being issued to virtually all kinds of armoured units, having started as Sturmartillerie as Jose says. With the fitting of the high velocity L48 gun, they became an ersatz panzerjager, but were still issued to the Sturmartillerie, in mixed units with the 105mm L42 Sturmhaubitze. They were also seen in Panzer regiments as substitutes for tanks, as they could be turned out by the factory a lot quicker than turreted tanks and fitted in with the defensive posture forced on the Wehrmacht by then. True Panzerjager began with the Jagdpanzer IV, with the L48 then L70 (Panther) gun.
Previous to this Panzerjager units were issued with a motley collection of hybrid vehicles, basically using obsolete chassis. The first iteration was a Pz 1 with a Czech 4.7cm anti-tank gun. Later various French chassis with Pak 40 mounted, especially the Lorraine, became the Marder 1. Marder II was the same gun on a PanzerII chassis. Marder III was the Pak40 on the Czech 38T chassis, firstly mounted forwards over the drivers compartment, then later at the rear as the chassis became a specialised gun carrier.
Vehicles such as the “Nashorn” (“Rhinoceros”), 88mm on Pz IV chassis were classed as Heavy Panzerjager and went to Army and Corps units, as did Jagdtiger. Jagdpanthers were sometimes issued to tank regiments as well as Panzerjager battalions.
One cannot do research without doing research and the rabbit hole runs deep.
I would start with some sort of encyclopedia of military fighting vehicles. If you are primarily interested in German military vehicles of World War II, such books exist but no one book will cover everything. World War II involved millions of different vehicles in tends of thousands of configurations based on thousands of different models. An encyclopedia will give you a general idea of what vehicles exist and some basic statistics. If you do not want to spend the money on this sort of book, online tank encyclopedias exist.
Once you have some knowledge of what vehicles exist, pick a class of vehicle and focus. General primers on a class of vehicles (i.e., German Tank Destroyers) or vehicle (i.e., Panzer IV) usually exist in print form, from companies like Osprey and Schiffer, costing $10 to $30 US. Online sources plunder such books for their information. Websites offering original research are extremely rare.
After learning something about a class of vehicles or vehicle model, find a period photograph and focus on building the subject. Determine the exact version of the vehicle. If a book focusing on that particular vehicle or vehicle version exists, get it. Consult museum vehicle walk arounds in both book and online form. If another modeler tackled the subject and provided background information in an online post somewhere, ruthlessly plunder that information. This final stage of research will produce the information necessary to produce a very accurate model but always take care. Historians and other modelers make mistakes so, where possible, rely on original, period documents and photographs.
In summary, research will generally take the following form: Military Vehicle Encyclopedia > Vehicle Class (i.e., German Tanks) > Vehicle (i.e., Panzer IV)> Vehicle Model (i.e., Panzer IV Ausf. H> Specific Vehicle.(i.e., the Panzer IV Ausf. H belonging to X Panzer Division on Y Date in a specific photograph).
The process above often takes a great deal of effort, money, and time, far more than that invested in purchasing and building a model kit. Also, the moment a model gets finished, some new piece of information will come to light, revealing something on the model is inaccurate. Steel yourself for that moment because it sucks. Historical research is an iterative process and historical modeling is a form of experimental archaeology. No matter what you do, you will get something wrong every single time.
Building really accurate historic military models is something of a ‘to the pain’ endeavor. Only you will know how much pain you can endure. However, when you do all that research and produce a really accurate model, even with a few failings, it can feel really good.
Anyway, once you have a better idea of what you want to model, the people here can point you at more specific books and online resources on the subject. You can then decide for yourself what pain level you can endure.
As you can see, you can quickly get in way over your head when it comes to researching such a vast topic as tank destroyers.
To go back to your original idea, I would pick a vehicle in the “Marder” series, personally I like the Marder III, do some research on it, and build it. I mean, your goal is to build some models of tank destroyers, not build a library. Pick a vehicle you like, learn as much about it as you want to, build it, then move on to the next one. This is, after all, a hobby.
May I introduce you to a friend of mine:
David has written around 200 books on military subjects and like the Encyclopedia of German Tanks of WWII published many years ago, this book does cover just about every armor vehicle fielded by the Germans and has every TD listed other than some rare one-off that was destroyed and never documented.
Now, it won’t give a comprehensive history of each vehicle but it is a great starting place to understand what vehicles and variants were out there and great for if you want to go on a binge and do a single tech tree in one sitting as I recently did with all of my Pzkpfw III kits (13 at one time).
So, if you are indeed wanting to do a span of similar vehicles, such as in this case Marders, this gives you that checklist of what is generally considered a ‘Marder’ and then you know what subjects to drill down further on with more specific books.
Now, when you get to building a specific vehicle and need inspiration, I recommend the ‘On the Battlefield’ series by Peko Books Hungarian-English language books | PeKo Publishing
These are pictorials of specific vehicle classes and are great for detailing/diorama work by showing you vehicles in use as Nature intended and not the wrecks you see in other books–not that Panzerwrecks aren’t great books because they are–but the Peko books are also relatively cheap compared to others. They have several volumes on the Stug and one on Panzerjägers at the moment. You should be able to buy these on Amazon still and often they can be had below retail. The Doyle book above can be bought on Amazon but he has to give them a piece of the action. If you are able to use any of the payment types on his own site it would be preferable but I understand if you are tied to a system that limits what type of financial transactions are accessible. My wife uses Amazon all the time even though I have had an ebay account for well over a decade.
About a week ago, someone recommended that book in another thread. Although I have never met the man, I own at least two dozen books by Mr. Doyle and respect his work. If I was just starting out and did not already own a half dozen armored vehicle encyclopedias, I would very probably purchase that one.
During World War Two, at some point or another, the Germans stuck an anti-tank gun on just about every chassis they captured and called it a tank destroyer. Since they captured over a dozen countries, they gained control of numerous indigenous vehicle manufacturing plants. They captured thousands of artillery and anti-tank guns. German mechanics also had a wonderful habit of sticking this gun on that chassis because it seemed like a good idea at the time. Modelers enjoy the Africa campaign and Heavy Armored Battalion 653 for that reason.
If money is an issue, start with one of the online Tank Encyclopedias. If you find a vehicle that looks interesting, perform a new search for that vehicle and read whatever you find. Use the ‘Images’ function associated with your favorite search engine. It is definitely possible to learn a lot of history and make accurate models on the cheap but it still requires research and reading.
I spoke face to face with Mr. Doyle just last Saturday at the AMPS show in Atlanta. And that was probably me in the other thread. He just released a book on the German 8.8cm gun, covering the Flak 18, 36, 37, 41, and their sighting equipment that he was selling that has some lovely large images of the guns with their crews in various settings and a lot of nice close-ups from different angles. Since I have the HKM B-17G and the Hobby Boss B-24J I also picked up his books on those two aircraft plus a Pz IV and Tiger I/II book. Five books for about $90 is a bargain in my opinion and I was a Borders Books manager so I’ve seen a few pixels in my day.*
Having not attended a model show in about 12 years, I am rather envious, especially of the opportunity to meet Mr. Doyle and purchase all those lovely books.
Tanks Encyclopedia seems like a decent place to start learning about German vehicles used in World War Two. The page I linked includes a section with articles covering the better known German tank destroyers.
Edit: The site above includes a reference list at the bottom of each article, including books and websites, making it easy to pursue additional information on each vehicle.
I can’t thank you all enough for providing me with so much help.
I’m going to need a lot of time to go through all of this and I have a lot of thinking to do.
But luckily, I may have some other less important things that I can stop for a while to make time to do this.
After all, now is the time here to prepare for the model making season.
Because the weather allows for it as well.
Thank you so much for the information and I will be scrolling through all this a lot of times probably.
I think I’m more interested in the history, rather then the vehicles themselves. But, as I’m building them. I learn about them. Thus some interest in the vehicles are present as well.
The AT gun kits Modelbouw Krikke Groningen has are mostly from AFV Club. They have my interest. But are there any points or things I need to pay special attention to as a beginner?