The Schwerer Wehrmachtschlepper (sWS) was the second vehicle of the third generation of German Halftracks.
The 850 vehicles built were with either armoured and unarmoured cabin, and apart as tractors they mounted weapons like Flak guns or rocket launchers.
As far as I know, this book is the first completely devoted to the sWS.
The book follows the path of previous Nuts&Bolts volumes, in structure, design and, of course, deepness of research.
It is a soft cover of 189 pages, portrait, printed in color in a good quality, gloss, paper.
If you know this series, you will find the usual main sections in the same order:
- Contemporary Photos
- Colour Profiles
- Preserved vehicles photos
The author is Dr. Nicolaus Hettler and text is bilingual, in English and German.
The first large section of the book spreads for 40 pages and covers the history of the vehicle. Includes the development, the variants, production data, service history and camouflage and markings.
The technical description is extensive and detailed, with photos of the prototypes, engine, transmission and other parts.
There are also several tables with data like production (planned and real), performance and others. The Tatra post-war production is briefly covered as well.
The different variants have their own subsection, with technical description of the weapons mounted (or carried).
There is also space for the UHU, with infrared equipment, although there is no proof of it other than it was considered.
The combat service starts with the types of units that received this vehicle and which use they gave it. There are K.st.N with icons of the vehicles allocated to each Batterie -not only the sWS but any other vehicle used, which is useful to know what vehicles you can put together in a scene.
The historic part finishes with the camouflage and markings, although quite briefly and generic. The profiles will provide later on more useful information.
The next large section comprises 30 pages of good-sized, contemporary photos. Some are very clear while others not that much. Considering that it was a late war vehicle, the relatively small quantity produced and that it had not the appeal of a Tiger or a Panther, it is not strange that photos of the sWS are scarce.
There are photos of the different variants, towing guns or mounting both the Flak37 and the Panzerwerfer 42 rocket launcher.
Last five pages are photos from the Tatra post-war vehicles.
The next 35 pages are occupied by drawings. There are five views of each variant (top, front, rear, left and right sides) at 1/35 scale. For several vehicles they have included also four perspective views.
The ammunition carrier and the IR searchlight versions are included as well, despite there are no known photos of the first nor any evidence of the latter.
Color profiles are mostly taken from the photos included in the book, in fact there is a thumbnail on the corner with reference to the page where it can be found full size.
Here we can find again all the variants represented, and all of them from the left side.
These profiles are very realistic, with shadows and some weathering on the vehicles.
Again, the last three profiles are marked as "hypothetical", as they are an ammunition carrier and two UHU Infra-Red searchlight carriers.
Personally, I would have preferred to see the author's view of a le.FH 18/6 auf sWS als Selbstfahrlafette or a 7.5cm Pak L/70 auf sWS, which were projects considered as well.
Another classical section of Nuts & Bolts series are the preserved vehicles photos and this volume is no exception for that. 47 pages with photos of two cargo vehicles (one of them with a special running gear) and one with armoured cabin.
There are general views and close up details, all of them captioned to point relevant details, explain features or warn about inaccuracies during the restoration.
Finally, there are 21 pages of photos of models, three ones from Tony Greenland and one from Vinnie Branigan. There are kits from Great Wall, Bronco and one almost completely scratchbuilt (the Nebelwerfer by Tony Greenland). All of them are nicely done, often with added details and good photos.
This book is a must for anyone interested in any aspect of the sWS. Its history, development and technical features are well detailed, you can find also a good number of wartime photos that provide guidance or inspiration for scenes and weathering. The photos of preserved vehicles are an excellent resource for detailing a kit, even more as the author points missing or wrong details. For easier full views, the drawings provide all the information as well. And the colour profiles offer a good help choosing a painting scheme. Finally, several nice models round the book.