Modelling the Paper Panzers

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 6/1/2016
  • Publisher: Osprey Pub Co

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The allure of the 'Paper Panzer' has long fascinated fans of World War II German armor modeling. The thought that there were literally hundreds of designs that never went beyond the drawing board, let alone the prototype stage, piques the curiosity of modelers and opens up a whole realm of 'what-if' possibilities, filling the void between historical fact and science fiction - and area that is becoming increasingly popular in kit form. The efforts of the German military to create an endless stream of armour concepts dates back to well before the war, before the Nazi party even. In 1933 there existed a very formalized process for the development and adoption of armored vehicles that followed a very rigid set of processes. However, by 1939, as the war began to increase in intensity, the relevant parties within the German armor community veered from both reason and sound tactical doctrines in an effort to incorporate numerous aspects of mechanical and armament technology in a near-obsessive drive to produce ever-superior tank designs. As armour plates grew thicker and thicker, and guns became larger and larger, the powers that be in the myriad of engineering studios, military hierarchy and the technical bureaucrats of the German war machine poured more and more energy into developments that ultimately wasted enormous resources and diverted both men and material away from more realistic endeavours. The aftermath of this internal arms race is what modellers term the "Paper Panzers". These designs, (many only ever being seen in the drawing stage - hence the name), illustrated every class of tank design imaginable - from super lightweight 5-ton recon tanks all the way up to a massive 1,000-ton super-heavy tank designs that utilized the turret of an un-built battleship, with everything in between. Some of these concepts were turned into reality in the form of full working prototype form, and it is this group that is of particular fascination to the modeling community. In recent years, this interest has seen a steady stream of mainstream kit manufacturers providing the market with styrene injected kits (in addition to the ever present resin kit makers releases) of many of the more popular designs, including the infamous E-series of armoured vehicles that was designed to replace the whole range of German armour.

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