The first of the publisher’s Middle East @ War Specials tells the complete story of the eight-year conflict between Iran and Iraq… and offers heaps of modelling reference.
If you’ve seen any of Helion & Co’s @WAR series of softback books, you’ll know they are fastidiously researched. So, it must have taken quite the effort to pen this exhaustive 415-page tome, on what was the longest conventional war of the 20th century – even if authoring duties were shared. If you are in any way interested in modelling Middle Eastern subjects active on land or in the air, this new study is invaluable (even waterborne assets are explored though). The Iran-Iraq War is a vast theme, for which many different aircraft, vehicles and vessels can be constructed. There’s an enormous amount of reference material in this study, which offers a wealth of full-colour imagery throughout.
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The conflict began in 1980 when, on seeing neighbouring Iran weakened by civil war and continual unrest, Iraq invaded the country… but the background to this move is long and complex. Despite this, the authors offer a narrative that’s easy to understand, yet highly detailed in its telling throughout the 24 chapters – clearly defined as Parts I and II. Best of all, modellers have a plethora of visual reference with which to ensure accuracy and interest on their models. Due to the Iran-Iraq War’s longevity, and sources of military materiel for both sides, the choice of subjects is huge. It includes many types of tank, both western and those from the Eastern Bloc, and the same can be said for the aircraft. Military enthusiasts have vehicles such as the Soviet BTR family, T-55/Type 69, T-72, US M60, British Chieftain and many more to portray. If aircraft are more up your, er, runway, then you can tackle the likes of the Mirage F1, MiG-21 and -27, F-4, F-14, Tu-22 and Su-20/22… and that’s before you even get into helicopters (Hind, Gazelle, Cobra, Bell 214, Bo 105 and more).
A wealth of detail lies in the photos, from aircraft weapons loads and camouflage, to colours and stowage seen on ground vehicles; diorama modellers have bucket-loads of inspiration here too, due to the expansive nature of many images. Certain parts of the content will surprise, in that they describe the employment of less-well-known weaponry. Did you know the Iraqis used a locally built copy of the enormous Soviet FAB-9000 (19,841lb) bomb?
While the photographs offer plenty of reference, there are also many colour profile artworks of vehicles and aircraft, the latter with stores, as well as illustrations of different soldiers - handy for finishing/converting 1/35 crew figures with accuracy, or even you wish to try sculpting larger examples in, say, 120mm. A wide selection of maps and tables (the latter mainly charting military purchases on both sides) help to convey geographical context – and the extent of the equipment employed. A pleasing aspect is that most of the machinery shown in the book can be bought in scale form.
The book costs £49.95… perhaps a little spendy if simply dipping your toe into the subject modelling-wise. However, if you want to explore this conflict in detail via the many possible builds, and understand its entire history, this mammoth study (it weighs just over 1.5kg) is worth every penny. Available direct from Helion & Co
MIDDLE EAST @WAR SERIES SPECIAL #1
THE IRAN-IRAQ WAR
THE GREATEST LAND WAR OF THE LATE TWENTIETH CENTURY
By: E R Hooton, Tom Cooper and Farzin Nadimi, with Bob Mackenzie
Format: 299 x 211mm