This review was originally published on Track-Link in 2015
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Trackpad publishing has recently release a new reference book on the Leopard 2A6M by authors Anthony Sewards and Rick Saucier in a new series of book called Model Foto Focus. The book exact title is “Canadian Leopard 2A6M CAN in Afghanistan”.
Both Sewards and Saucier are Canadian military who served on Leo 2A6Ms or right alongside them. They are well-known in the Canadian modern AFV modeling community with recognized technical and operational knowledge of the Canadian military, and this is certainly an asset that makes them particularly well-qualified for authoring this kind of book.
The book format is A4 (landscape), 80 pages, with over 200 color pictures. It is divided into 8 chapters, as follow:
- Leopard 2A6M with Slat Armour
- Training and Combat
- Leopard 2A6M with ‘Barracuda’
- Forward Operating Base
- Engine Pull
- Final Slat Armour Version
- Mine Roller
- The Last Year
As the name of the series implies (“Foto Focus”), this book deals solely with photographs. It is partly a thorough walkaround of in-theater machines, partly a general visual study of the tank in its context of use. On the one hand, every conceivable details of the 2A6M CAN’s quite intricate layout are covered and presented from various angles. On the other hand, you get a good amount of broader pictures that present the machines in their environment. This double approach is ideal to properly cover the tank as used in Afghanistan.
The authors took a good deal of photographs when the tank underwent maintenance, or right after it did. For example, you have a picture of a tank that had most of its road wheels replaced, resulting in a very peculiar weathering pattern that anyone interested in pushing the finishing of their project further will be interested in. Other pics shows how bungees where used to hold every conceivable items on top of the turret (note to the AM crowd: we need workable 1/35 bungees). And there are literally hundreds of little gems like this all over the book. In addition, you get a pretty decent amount of pictures taken from the TOP of the vehicle, something we don’t always get in walkaround pics. Again, very useful from a modeling perspective.
For all its qualities, the book is a little pricey though. This is obviously a subjective appreciation, but currently listed at £18.50 on Trackpad’s website, this converts into about 37 CAD, and that doesn’t include shipping. I haven’t seen if the book is locally distributed in Canada or in the US (feel free to enlighten me in the discussion thread), that would be a really good thing for North American customers.
With this book, Trackpad Publishing and the Leopard Club gang expand the range of their offering into the realm of extensive photo references. This is good news as I’m convinced there is a need for this. The Leopard range of combat vehicles offers a staggering array of type, variants and sub-variants, and modelers just need this kind of reference to get going, especially in the case of non-Bundeswehr vehicles that are somewhat less well covered by the technical press. If their first offering is any indication of future books, I eagerly await the next one.
If you are into the Canadian Leopard 2A6M CAN vehicle (and to an extend into the Leo 2 series as a whole), and most certainly if you plan on modeling this vehicle, this book is a must-get. It covers the entire range of variations present on the Afghanistan theater, it looks closely all around the vehicles in great details, and the photographed tanks are in-theater, in-action machines, with all that this entails in terms of proper color, weathering and damage references, a priceless resource for modelers. Obviously this is a niche offering, but in that context, it gets the high marks. Highly recommended.
Trackpad Publishing provided a PDF format file for review purposes and my good friend and AFV documentation specialist Karl Ratté, going above and beyond the call of duty, kindly lent me his copy of the book BEFORE he could read it himself so that I could assess the quality of the pictures. Many thanks Karl!
This book is available from the Trackpad Website.
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