Blue Steel – T-55 Tanks in South Lebanon
Reviewed by Adam O'Brien
If you are looking for
inspirational photos that detail burnt-out or decrepit T-55s, this
is the book for you. As the title suggests, this book showcases an
eclectic mix of photographs of T-55’s used in Southern Lebanon over
the last decade.
The collection of photos contained in the book are a goldmine of detail and colour for the modeller of Lebanese and (to a lesser extent) Israeli Tirans. The majority of the machines are either abandoned or destroyed, but that does not detract from the wealth of information that can be gained by careful examination. There is no real structure to the photographic content of the book, and there are no true walkarounds. Each photo has an informative caption, that highlights certain features that are of interest to the modeller. The quality of the pictures range from quite blurred and grainy to crystal clear.
Of particular interest, most of the photos contained in the book are original and have not been previously published. A myriad of different markings, colour schemes and field modifications are on show throughout. There are good shots of T-55 engine bays, turrent interiors and external stowage.
A surprising series of photos deal
with the APC variants produced by the SLA. From a turretless T-55
APC with a small welded armour shield to a tank with its main barrel
removed, and converted into an unarmed APC, we see the amount of
experimentation and modification undertaken by the SLA throughout
the book. I would have liked to have seen a few shots of Syrian or
PLO machines, but none were in the book.
Although the photography ranges in quality, and most of the vehicles shown are in a state of disrepair after the colapse of the SLA, the book gives great insight into the tensions and AFV-littered landscape of Southern Lebanon. T-55 modellers will find it useful for detailing and weathering SLA Tirans.
Moustafa El-Assad for the review copy.
Text and Images by Adam O'Brien