by: Gary Kato [ ]
introductionWWP's In Detail Special #4: Strv 103B/C by Frantisek Koran, Jan Martinec, and Jan Willem de Boer, recently published in 2007, contains color photographs of the Strv 103C currently housed in the the Belgian Royal Army Museum. The only part specific to the B version is the build description of a Strv 103B kit. There are 72 pages and all photos are in color with all text in English, though there are a few minor translation glitches.
The BookThe "History" chapter has English text which covers a short history of the Strv 103. There are 7 photos of the tank. From here on out until the "Scale Models" chapter, the only text are photo captions accompanying the various photos.
The "Walk Around" chapter is the largest with 36 photos around the hull, 6 on the tracks and wheels, and 99 on hull top (which makes up most of the tank). There are many detail photos of the commander's cupola, drivers' hatch, and various hatches and grilles. One interesting comment deals with the fact that the commander's cupola cannot rotate and I would think that it would make the machine gun fixed to the cupola much less useful, but I learned something in the process about this area.
The "Interior Details" chapter features 57 photos of the interior, covering all crew positions as well as the rear wall. The "Engine Details" chapter contains 13 photos on the engines and engine hatches, 5 drawings of the engines with 3 drawings devoted to the general arrangement.
The "Scale Models" chapter has short descriptions of builds of the Trumpeter 1/35 Strv 103B, Strv 103C, and Trumpeter 1/72 Strv 103C kits. I liked the build of the 1/35 103B as he tells of his recovery after his silver base paint turned orange on him (or maybe he meant an orange peel texture) as well as an interesting way to do headlights. The 1/35 103C build has some translation problems. The builder did use more of Eduard's photo-etch pieces than the previous builder and I thought it odd that he chose to have the sights in the closed position and that, while there are mortar bombs loaded on the drivers' hatch, the tubes for the mortars themselves are missing. Also the cupola is facing to the left, does this mean the cupola can turn or is it a mistake on the builder's part? The builder does mention about how tight the tracks are and covers painting and weathering nicely. The 1/72 build is interesting in that he built it in the fully depressed attitude and thereby had to have new tracks cast. It would have been nice to have details of that.
ConclusionThe color photos cover virtually all aspects of the vehicle and, as a result, the book is relatively expensive. No scale drawings are provided but, despite this, the book is an excellent resource reference on the Strv 103 B/C. Highly recommended.