book FAMO Sd.Kfz.9 in detail
Special No.5
František Kořán, Martin Velek, Miloslav Hrabaň, Václav Krčál & Ladislav Lacina
Wings & Wheels Publications.
Published by RAK, Czech Republic.
ISBN 978-80-86416-71-7

72 pages all in colour.

Review by Terry Ashley

This title from Wings & Wheels Publications is in their Special Series which features the Sd.Kfz.9 FAMO and as well as the many detailed walk around photos also includes a small section on modelling the FAMO in both 1:35 and 1:72 scales.

The book has 72 pages entirely in colour with the all English text having a brief introduction and history of the Sd.Kfz.9 before the remainder of the book devoted to close-up detailed views of two preserved later model F3 FAMOs with the squared front fenders and other details indicative of the 1943 production models from the collections of Vladimír Léhar and WTS Koblenz.

The first 9 pages have general overall views of the running vehicles at various Military shows that give good overall views of the vehicle with the canvas covers fully extended, these also give a good perspective of the size of the FAMO compared to the crews manning the vehicle during these displays. It also shows the FAMO towing post war Czech versions of the German sFH18 howitzer and Soviet 85mm anti-aircraft cannon to give some diorama ideas.

Following this is a 20 page section with extreme close-up walk around shots of the fully restored FAMO showing virtually every external detail such as the front bonnet and fenders including shots of the underside fender supports and the open heat exchanger mounted on the right fender as well as the head lights and Notek light mounted at the front. The cab exterior has close-ups of the wipers, screen mounted searchlight as well the fire extinguisher and turn indicator both extended and retracted.

Moving to the interior there are numerous shots of the inner canvas roof and side panels showing the attachments and retractable folding frame system for the roof followed by 10 pages showing every detail of the front driver's compartment with multiple shots of the dashboard from different directions as well as the steering wheel driver's foot pedals and gear levers. The starter fuel tank and other details under the dashboard are also detailed included a few shots with the dashboard removed giving excellent views of the dashboard mounting brackets.

The detail then moves backward showing areas between each row of crew seats such as the tool brackets and clips as well as the Kar98 rifle mountings and clips with a couple of pages with shots of the compartments during restoration to give a different perspective to the final images.

The lower chassis mounting brackets are also shown along with details of the rear cargo compartments taken with the doors open and closed detailing the door detail both inside and out as well as the latch detail and attachments inside the compartments.

The lower chassis is detailed next with shots showing the rough chassis before restoration as well as shots taken during and after the restoration to give some excellent detail not usually seen on the fully assembled vehicle for those wanting that extra level of detail. There are also detailed shots of the large winch drum and rear articulated towing hook.

We then move the engine with the next 10 pages having superb close-up detailed shots of the fully restored engine inside the engine bay with all accessories such as radiator piping and wiring in place, the only thing to watch here is some items are not fully genuine and modern replacements had to be used for some of the smaller piping and fittings but the level of detail shown is exceptional. The rear firewall/bulkhead is also shown in detail from various angles to give a good overall view of the wiring and other details with this followed by a couple of pages with views of the engine taken from below to show additional details including the chassis mountings and exhaust pipes.

The gearbox is covered in the next 5 pages with again superb detail shots of the gearbox and linkages before the upper decking is fitted to show some excellent detail not usually seen in this detail as well as other shots with the gearbox in situ to give good orientation to the surrounding detail.

Finally there is another 10 pages detailing the front suspension and the rear running gear and suspension with excellent shots of the front springs, wheels hub detail as well as the large drive sprockets shown separate from the vehicle as well as in place with the track attached, it should be noted that the sprocket and running gear are the later type with slightly different detail than the corresponding Tamiya kit parts.

There are numerous shots of the suspension during restoration with shots of the axles without the wheels showing the mountings and the different style wheels again both on and off the axles to give excellent detail shots from all angles as well as of the fully assembled suspension showing the intermeshed wheels to good effect. The tracks are also shown in excellent detail with close-ups of the guide teeth and bolts holding the rubber pads in place.

The final section of the book has 11 pages with photos on FAMO models notablly the Tamiya 1:35 FAMO and Revell 1:72 kit with CMK Bilstein 6-ton crane as well as in standard finish.

This is a superb photo reference of the big Sd.Kfz.9 FAMO with the excellent close up shots covering just about every detail inside and out and will be an indispensable reference for anyone building the Tamiya kit or those in other scales.

The thing to keep in mind is the two vehicles featured are the later model FAMO with available kits mentioned being of the earlier model FAMO and there are quite a few detail differences such as the front fender/bonnet details, the driver's dashboard and running gear detail, notably the drive sprockets as well as other details.

To build the later model FAMO detailed in the book will require some work or the use of after market late model update sets if still available but not withstanding this the book is packed with superb detailed shots of the FAMO that will keep most detail aficionados quite happy.

Highly recommended.

Sample Pages
Thanks to František of Wings & Wheels Publications for the review book.

Page created August 18, 2008