I've been spending a lot of time reading through my modest collection of Osprey books this week. Two in particular have been very useful and informative, given my interest in the German Panzer's of WWII. However I have also discovered/rediscovered some additional source material that has illuminated the subject and I felt was particularly useful for the model painter.
The two osprey books are excellent reference works for the model painter. The Panzer Divisions by Martin Windrow (Osprey Men-at-Arms Series No 24) has a useful section describing the original cap issued to tank crews, the Schutzmutze plus subsequent changes which saw the introduction of black Feldmutze (side cap) and the non regulation Officers field cap. There is also a good selection of photographs of an officers Feldjacke and the correct positioning of insignia and decorations.
There is also a slightly more wider ranging look at panzer uniforms in Panzer Crewman 1939-45 by Gordon Williamson (Osprey Warrior Series No 46). Both books include a wide selection of black and white period photo’s and colour illustrations showing the variations of Uniform worn by crew, especially in the latter years of the war.
Both books retail about the £10-12 mark although I bought mine from a reputable bookseller at Salute for £5 each. Its always worth shopping around with Ospreys as the older issues can nearly always be found cheaper online or from independent sellers.
For a much more detailed look at uniforms I would recommend getting your hands on a back copy of Military Illustrated Past and Present (Issues 36/37, Jun 1991). The two part article Some Examples of the Black Panzer Uniform 1939-45 by Andrew Steven and Peter Amodio is about as detailed as anyone could need and, like the Osprey books, is accompanied by some useful and very interesting photographs. Not all the content is relevant to the model painter (differences in button material or the type of internal belt hook for instance) but most is interesting and informative. Particularly useful are the dates for when certain items (such as the Schutzmutze) were issued and withdrawn from service.
This is a very scholarly article in a well respected magazine and well worth getting a copy of if at all possible. I've seem some issues being sold by magazine collectors, and even on eBay, at prices far in excess of the original cover price. I was lucky with my copies as I picked them up in a bundle of similar magazines outside a bookshop in Hythe (in Kent) while on Holiday last year.
Another, sometime overlooked, source of information are Military fairs. Often associated with Living History events like War & Peace traders sell pretty much everything from original items to replicas and from Buttons to Panzerfausts (I was tempted...). I often take photo's of rare items of uniform or equipment that I come across and, on the whole I haven't had any adverse reaction from retailers who think they may have a potential sale.