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Trackpad In Depth


Vlieland Leopards – End of the Line

The next book from Trackpad Publishing is something very special. It is also something a little different because this has never been done before.

This is a photographic document of the end of the line for Dutch Army Leopards. Granted the subject is a little sad, but the author and photographer, Dirk Bruin, has captured the essence and beauty of these hard targets with some wonderful photography.

Sixty photographs each have a page to themselves. Printed on 170 gsm silk paper, the quality of the photographs comes through. This is not just another tank book, it is a study of the end of days for these machines. A lot of atmosphere – and a lot of detail – is captured in these photographs.

Dirk Bruin was born and raised on the island of Vlieland, lying off the north coast of the Netherlands. He has a life-long fascination with the island’s history, past and present. He has dived on many North Sea wrecks. Over the years, as a professional photographer, he has gathered together an impressive portfolio of range targets – and many other subjects – on his native island.

When the news came that the tank gunnery range would be closed in 2004, Dirk decided to photograph the target area in detail. This book therefore marks the tenth anniversary of the withdrawal of the Dutch Army from it’s only live firing range on home territory. This has now become an interesting historical document of what has been – and will never return.


What do you say?
When a cat’s nine lives end where does it go? In the Netherlands many of the Dutch Army’s Leopard 1 tanks ended up on Vlieland Island. Over the years the tanks have been beaten and weathered by the winds and salt water during low and high tides. Taking on the appearance of horrific man-made twisted metal exposed reefs that have succumbed to coats of algae and curtains of sea weed, the old Leopards provide an amazing artistic component that may remind one of a post-Apocalyptic barren battlefield. The images are of an excellent quality and the colours pop on the pages. It feels as if you were handed a small personal photo album. The images speak for themselves.
Trackpad Publishing newest venture, Vlieland Leopards – End of the Line, takes the reader down a completely different path as it pertains to armour - wrecks. Being an avid modeler, especially one who loves rust, wrecks and weathering of all kinds, I know all too well the value of close up, highly detailed photographs as one of the most useful tools in creating new pieces for my collection. Vlieland Leopards – End of the Line has all that! The extremely vibrant colours and the highly detailed show of decay evoke the emotion that these wrecks give rise to, opening the mind to what happens to these beasts when left to nature’s elements.
The subject of this  review is not your usual modelling book. It is a small picture book dealing with a pretty eerie subject: Leopard 1s used as hard targets. And it is all very interesting. The pictures are of excellent quality. They're obviously of a more artistic composition than simple walkarounds. The book is also a great source of inspiration for ambitious and creative modelling projects.
This book
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