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British and Commonwealth Mk.II steel helmet reference book
Photo: Daniele Piselli
In terms of collector‘s reference books British steel helmets have been rather unfairly neglected, that is until now however. In the space of just two years, just as many have been published. I am speaking about the recent and hotly anticipated title, “MKII helmets of the Second World War and their use in the Italian Campaign” by Daniele Piselli and published mid 2020.
The other book is the Blake’s volume on Civil Front helmets, entitled, “Helmets of the Home Front: An Introduction to Markings of Non-Military Helmets Used on the British Home Front in WW2”. Both complimentary books which no doubt will prove valuable assets for the helmet collector and a timely welcomed addition to the bookshelf.
This may be the age of the internet but good collector’s reference books go further than any blog or forum, can inform and education, and quite frankly are worth their weight in gold!
Piselli’s publication focuses on the combat variety of Mk.II helmet and is written both in English and Italian. At 130 pages it is crammed full of photograpghs and essentiel accompanying text, that is printed in softback with an attractive and no nonsense cover.
This is the first of its kind but even so the author doesn’t profess it to be the definitive last word on Mk.IIs, instead a valuable and practical resource that can guide a collector through the minefield of helmet collecting. As even humble Mk.II collecting has been tainted by fakes in recent years as the interest in the genre has notably risen.
The book should address many of the nagging questions and will certainly make identification and cataloging more accurate. It contents have been broken down systematically, examining the key features of the Mk.II helmet, from shells, colours, chinstraps and liners, to helmet nets, camouflage and unit flashes, culminating in a look at the Battle of Montegabbione.
Compared to the huge libraries available on the US M1 and German helmets, it is indeed a breath of fresh air to see the British, Canadian, South African, and New Zealand Mk.IIs finally addressed.
The M1 Helmet of World War Two - A Basic Overview.
Euroclones - An essentiel collector's guide
M1 v. M75 An essential comparison: US M1 and Austrian M75 steel helmets.
Understanding Austrian Army caps
An introduction to British and Commonwealth WWII Officer's peak caps.
HOT OF THE PRESS - LATEST REVIEW:
The Jeep - Second World War - Land Craft Lance Cole
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military. 2019.
Price: £14.99 / $26.95
The Second World War Jeep is an iconic vehicle, seeing extensive use on all fronts, with the US and as lend lease with the other Allied forces, especially Great Britain. Its contribution to helping secure victory cannot be underestimated. As such it has developed an immortal reputation and a loyal and most dedicated following. Its versatile design sparked the 4x4 evolution and movement, capturing the hearts of off-roaders, military enthusiasts and modellers alike.
Lance Cole presents an enthusiastic look into the jeep from its surprising origins, through to its details, variants, and service use, with the scale modeller firmly in mind.
This Land Croft series get straight down to business, without getting bogged down with too much technical or contractual data. It is a practical visual reference for enthusiasts and scale modellers, giving tips on building and adding details. The addition of the “Key modellers essential checklist” is a valuable asset to the book, together with the jeep variants elevation illustrations.
Presented in a glossy paperback cover the book is magazine size, making it a handy reference next to the modeller’s table. It is 64 pages long, scattered generously with imagery that helps keep keeping the contents engaging and visual. Whilst its chapters have been carefully thought out and broken down into the jeep’s development, details, markings, modelling, service use, and variations.
If you are a modeller looking for guidance and inspiration then this book is a must have. Its pages are packed full of jeep goodness, giving tips and ideas for your build. It is also a great read, or coffee-time browser, if you are a vehicle enthusiast or simply love Willys / Ford jeeps and merely want to stimulate your brain and satisfy your eyes.
Self-confessed wartime jeep experts may find the book only scratches the surface, but what does that matter when you love jeeps? ... and anyway the book’s main focus is towards the scale modelling community. That said I am not a modeller but love the World War II jeep and thoroughly enjoyed this book.