Back in 2008, Nuts & Bolts
published Volume 22 focusing on the 15cm sIG33/2 ‘Grille’ Ausf.M, (reviewed here
) which was part 1 of a 2 part series. Late in 2010, Volume 26 was released covering the Ausf.H version of the 'Grille' which we'll have a look at here.
This soft cover volume spans 146 pages printed on high quality glossy paper. Text is written in both English and German, and we see the return of Martin Block and Jari Lievonen teaming up with Detlev Terlisten as the authors.
Main Text Section:
In typical Nuts & Bolts fashion, this volume opens with the main text section covering 33 pages and is sprinkled with B&W photos and tables. Following a short Introduction, the book continues with a Development and Technical Description outlining the need for self propelled artillery to keep pace with the blitzkrieg tactics and the design of the Grille Ausf.H on the ubiquitous 38(t) chassis. A technical data chart is provided a few pages further into the book covering a range of information such as dimensions, performance and even grenade/charge weights. A quick text section on Production is accompanied by an in-depth chart of the differences between the prototype and production vehicles.
An extensive section on Delivery to Units and Service History provides details of specific units with text and charts outlining dates and pieces delivered, based on available documents to date. Sections on Camouflage/Markings, Monthly Production and Organization are also included. Due to new information found since publication of Volume 22 in 2008, annotations and corrections are included, along with the corrected charts.
Modeling the Geschützwagen 38 H für s.I.G. 33/1 Sd.Kfz. 138/1 is written by Tony Greenland and goes into detail on constructing the DML/Cyber-Hobby kits. 16 pages are devoted to full color captioned photos of models built by Jari Lievonen, Carlos de Diego Vaquerizo and Tony Greenland, with Tony showing both DML offerings of the 'Initial' and Production kits. A chart of the available kits and aftermarket items is also present.
Wrapping up this section, the publisher acknowledges the people that helped make this book possible, and includes a bibliography. All in all, the main text section provides a more than adequate reference for the modeler and historian, and makes for an excellent read.
Photo, Drawing and Color Plate Section:
The eye candy section begins with 36 pages of period photos, reproduced very clearly considering the time frame that they were taken. Quite a few of these photos were new to me, and many of the ones I've seen previously were more sharp and clear. Both the prototype and production vehicles are shown factory fresh, assembly line photos and detail shots are included. In the field images show a good variety of various Grilles, for a relatively low production count the Ausf.H was fairly well photographed.
John L. Rue once again provides the technical drawings in 1/35 scale of both the prototype and production gun carriers covering front, rear, top, side and cut-away views. These are very well done and will be a great asset to the modeler. John also includes not-to-scale isometric drawings to further aid the modeler in the overall layout of both versions. Coupled with the previously mentioned chart on the differences between the two should be a great asset in building either of the DML offerings.
Making his second appearance for N&B, Carlos de Diego does a stunning job on the color plates of the camouflage and markings. All but one of these are supported by small B&W photos showing the actual vehicles these schemes are based on. Laurent Lecocq provides a color drawing of the ammunition.
The sole survivor, so far, of the Grille Ausf.H was recovered from the Enns River in Austria by Josef Loidl, founder and owner of the Fahrzeug-Technik-Luftfahrt museum. This vehicle is in remarkable condition considering it spent over 50 years at the bottom of a river. A good portion of the paint (and original color) still remains, and even the Balkenkreuz is still highly visible. Nuts & Bolts did an excellent job covering this mostly un-restored survivor with a 44 page photo spread. At first I was a bit disappointed that the vehicle wasn't in a more restored condition, but that quickly passed as seeing it in its 'raw' form I found to be more useful, especially with the paint colors for the various areas. Hopefully in the future we'll see the restored version, though the un-restored is truly a piece of history.
I've been anticipating this volume since 2008 and it was worth the wait. For the modeler this is an excellent resource on the Grille Ausf H and, I dare say, the only one needed. Now, I can finally blow the dust off that DML kit and get building!
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