are famous for their excellent collection of “Photobooks” dedicated to different subjects from the Second World War. Their new publication seems to be a start of new series dedicated to Hungarian WW2 armoured vehicles. Although the Royal Hungarian Army was one of the most important Axis members during the WW2 the information about units and equipment are not widely available to non-Hungarian speaking modellers and history enthusiasts. Moreover, there were no specialized books dedicated to selected tanks and vehicles. Hopefully PeKo
will continue on this path. So let us have a look on the current offering.
The book has a hard cover and is in landscape A4 format, typical to previous PeKo
releases. Cover design looks very stylish and the glossy surface makes holding the book in hands a pleasant experience.
Inside the covers there are one hundred and twenty pages divided into two sections – background information about Zrinyi II assault howitzer and large full size photographs of the vehicle. Unlike shorter introductions in the “Photobook series” here the information provided is very comprehensive.
First of all, Attila Bonhardt introduces readers to consequences of First World War for Hungary and Hungarian military development prior to Second World War. Before the WW2 Hungary obtained rights for reproduction of light tanks from Sweden (this lead to the development of the Toldi tank) and of medium tanks from Czechoslovakia (which led to the development of the Turan tank). Having seen the performance of German mobile artillery units equipped with StuGs the Royal Hungarian Army raised the idea of mobile self-propelled artillery.
The process of development of Zrinyi II is covered in detail by the author including full description of mechanisms, equipment arrangement and layout. Many of the aspects were not known to me even though I spent quite a lot of time researching the information about Zrinyi II when I was building my Bronco kit.
The introduction also describes unit training and the formation of assault artillery battalions during 1943-44. The Zrinyi II after some adjustments went into mass production, however Allied bombings of factories and a general change of the situation at the Eastern Front halted the development of 75mm equipped Zrinyi I as well as production of further Zrinyi II (around 70 were built altogether). The battlefield performance is also described here, including description of particular battles, famous Hungarian officers and places where the fighting occurred.
In total there are 9 pages of A4 text and this is more than enough to provide a good overview about both vehicle and the historical events related to it. The only thing that is missing here is information about field trials of Zrinyi I prototype with triple rocket launchers, however, as I understood from conversations with my Hungarian friends there is no true information about that experiment besides one low quality image that can be found on the Internet.
The photography part of the book has a similar layout to other PeKo
publications and it features full page A4 photographs with detailed captions that help to identify individual features of the particular vehicle. Most of them are from the author's private collection and some of these I have never seen in other books or online.
Starting with field trial photographs we follow the development of Zrinyi II. Different prototypes are shown and one can easily see the differences that would be useful for building a model. Factory markings as well as army tactical signs, variety of camouflages and crew uniform caught my attention. These photographs might also give the modeller ideas for a vignette or specific setting that a modeller would like to depict. Many of the images are a great reference for modelling when it comes to vehicle maintenance tools, smaller details and equipment. Moreover, details of the hatches are depicted as well as one interior photograph shows the drivers compartment.
Battlefield photographs (around 30 of them) show variety of tactical markings from different assault battalions, battle damage and unique stowage. A number of photographs depict wrecks and scavenged vehicles. All these are a great source of inspiration for modelling for sure!
I think this is an excellent book and as it is to my personal taste I find it a most exciting title from PeKo
. As Hungarian subjects are very attractive and not as widespread as German or Soviet equipment making them a challenge to research and build a good model. I do wish I had this book on my bench when I was making my model 2 years ago.
The text is written in English and the amount of information provided is just right to get into the world of Royal Hungarian Army vehicles. Let us hope there will be further books about the Toldi and the Nimrod in the future!
My photo feature of my Bronco
Zrinyi II can be found HERE