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Steel Fortress T28 & Land Battleship T35 books

John Prigent

Steel Fortress, The Russian T-28 Medium Tank, by Mikhail Baryatinsky and Jim Kinnear, 128 pages, price 14.00, ISBN 0-9538777-0-1, and Land Battleship, The Russian T-35 Heavy Tank, by Maxim Kolomiets and Jim Kinnear, 96 pages, price 12.00,   ISBN 0-9538777-0-1.  Both published by Barbarossa Books, Zhukov House, 1b Maldon Road, Tiptree, Essex CO5 0LL, telephone (UK) 01621 810810, email barbbook@dircon.co.uk.  p&p is 10% for UK addresses, 15% overseas, minimum 2.00.

Russell Hadler of Barbarossa Books told me some time ago that these two books were in preparation, and they're here at last and well worth getting for Soviet armour fans.   Both are expanded, English-language versions of Russian books with translations by Cookie Sewell.  They're printed on art paper with excellent reproduction of the photographs, which are printed to large sizes so you can actually use them instead of wondering how much detail is obscured by the printing process.

Steel Fortress is derived from the 1993 Arsenal book with much new material and extra photographs.  It covers the entire T-28 story from the first ideas to the last production model, and includes cutaways showing the internals down to ammo stowage locations.  Not a totally complete internal coverage, and no interior photographs, but those looking to add to the ICM kit's interior will find some useful stuff here.   1/35 plans of the four main production versions are included together with 1/35 side views of the prototype, and as well as the pre-war and wartime photos there are 40 pages of shots of preserved T-28s plus colour plates of six colour schemes.

And that's not all.  The book also covers the IT-28 bridging tank (three quite decent photos here) and deep-wading and mine-clearing versions of the tank too, as well as several projects, experimental versions and self-propelled guns on the same chassis.   Then there's good coverage of the T-29 wheel-and-track tank, with photos and a 1/35 plan.  No, it's not just a question of replacing the suspension and wheels, the hull is a different size too so it's out with the plastic card if you want to build one - there's enough here to make agood job of it if you do.  Finally, there's a section on the use to T-28 turrets on armour trains and railcars with more photographs and a 1/85 plan of the MBV-2 railcar in three versions.  Yes, 1/85 not 1/35 - enlarge by 242% to get 1/35 and you can build a 2 foot long railcar model to impress the judges.  You'll need three T-28 kits for the turrets, though!

Land Battleship is a similarly-expanded version of the 1995 Bronekollektsia book and covers the T-35 in just as much detail, includingrather more on its interior for detail fans with cutaways and photographs as well.  It begins with the notorious TG tank and the two prototype T-35s which were rather different to the production version, before going on to cover the T-39 which was intended as the T-35's eventual replacement but was never built.  A general arrangement plan of the 8th type T-39, and photo of the original wooden model, give enough for scratch-builders to have fun with.

Then it deals in depth with the main T-35 production types, with many photographs of them on prewar parades, service use (with lists of crew responsibilities and of unit losses for both the regiments operating them in 1941).  Colour plates show the TG, four T-35s, and the SU-14 Br-2 self-propelled gun derived from the T-35 which then gets full coverage as well.  Modern photos of the surviving SU-14 and T-35 at Kubinka complete the book, with a final fold-out page with 1/35 plans of T-35 and SU-14 versions, the main types in four-view and the others side view only.

Both these books are very well done and well worth getting, even those who have the original Russian versions (I have) and can actually read them (I can't) will find extra information and more very useful photogaphs than were in them.  Highly recommended, especially to anyone who like me has been hanging on to the ICM models in the hope of finding good references for detailing them

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