bookModelling US Army Tank
Destroyers of WWII

Osprey Modelling 13
By Steven J Zaloga
Published by Osprey Publishing.

Soft cover, 80 pages
ISBN 1-84176-799-9

Review by Terry Ashley

Number 13 in the modelling series is slightly different than previous titles in that it deals with a series of vehicles rather than particular vehicle type.

The book covers the construction of four models again divided into categories of 'Intermediate', 'Advanced' and 'Master' each with different degrees of complexity in the construction and detailing stages.

Pages 4 to 7 is an introduction to US Tank Destroyers and their use during WWII and has the usual thorough historical evaluation with some photos of Steve’s TD models to illustrate the text.

Next on pages 8 to 13 are listed many of the TD kits available with brief descriptions and includes the early Tamiya kits through to the current crop of TDs from AFV Club and Academy as well as the 1/72nd kits from Extratech and a few of the aftermarket sets available.

The first of the models is on pages 14 to 32 and covers the building of the recent Academy M36 at the 'Intermediate' skill level.
The section was a bit perplexing at first glance as the initial five pages have photos of construction sequences for the older Italeri M36B1 on the M4A3 chassis and a couple of shots of finished M10s while the text deals only with the M36.

But the M36B1 photos are only to illustrate work needed on the turret prior to the release of the Academy kit and do provide some excellent guides to detailing the M36 turret on the older Italeri kit as well as the newer Academy turret.

The remainder of the article has many progress shots of the Academy kit during construction showing the added details as well as a couple of turret interior shots from the field manual for good reference.

The painting sequence is also covered in many step by step photos showing how the weathered whitewash finished was achieved and the whole article has detailed text describing the building and painting as well as numerous photos of the finished kit posed on a small scenic base.

The next section on pages 33 to 44 is at the ‘Advanced’ skill level and shows the building and detailing of the Extratech 1/72nd M10 3-in GMC with the model based on the M10 Achilles IIC from the same company.

There are many detailed photos of the model during construction showing the added details made from thin brass, plastic card and epoxy putty for the sandbags and stowage as well as the inclusion of the Milicast Bofors crew modified to fit the M10 turret and all is accompanied by detailed text describing the construction.

As well as the many construction photos there are also four turret interior shots from the field manual for reference plus shots of the finished model incorporated into a small diorama with an abandoned Sd.Kfz.251/22 from Hasegawa and ruined house to show what can be achieved in this smaller scale.

The third section on pages 45 to 62 also at the ‘Advanced’ skill level shows the extensive detailed on the AFV Club M18 76mm GMC kit with the inclusion of ModelKasten tracks and etched metal parts plus considerable scratchbuilding.

There are many progress shots showing the kit modifications for the new rear hull intakes and engine exhausts assemblies as well as the additional details added to the turret interior and hull exterior. All the external bedrolls and gear plus the canvas mantlet cover were made from ‘Apoxie’ epoxy resin and there are numerous photos showing the creation of these parts.

The three turret crew members were built based on the Dragon US Tank Crew set #6054 with the Dragon torsos getting new arms and legs from the epoxy resin to fit the M18 turret, there are also photos of the figures used to populate the AFV Club M10 as a small bonus feature.

The painting and weathering is covered in the text detailing the building of the kit and in the descriptive captions to the construction photos as well as numerous photos of the finished model posed on a small scenic base for a very attractively finished model.

The final model on pages 63 to 77 is in the ‘Master’ skill class and covers the major conversion of the AFV Club M18 to the M39 AUV (Armored Utility Vehicle) with the inclusion of Modelkasten tracks, Trimaster and On-the-Mark etched parts and Warriors US Officer figure plus considerable scratchbuilding from plastic card and rod.

It is a little strange to see this vehicle in a book on Tank Destroyers as the M39 was used as a prime mover for anti-tank guns and as a reconnaissance vehicle but were included in Tank Destroyed battalions so the connection is there and it does result in a vehicle that looks very different from the M18 it is based on.

The article has detailed text and many construction sequence photos showing the considerable modifications done to the AFV club kit and the scratchbuilding of the new interior and superstructure as well as the additional hull detailing.

Included with the model photos are photos of the actual vehicle from Aberdeen with numerous shots of the interior to provide plenty of reference for those wanting to tackle this conversion as well as 1/35th scale plan view drawings of the new crew compartment to help further?

The photos of the finished model show off well the new looks of the M39 as well as the amount of construction work and extra details added to the model and to finish off the section are a few photos of the old KMC 3-in anti-tank gun conversion on the 105mm howitzer base for something for the M39 to tow around.

The final pages list a number of reference books available on Tank Destroyers such as those from Squadron Signal, Osprey Publishing and Concord Publications and while most of these are also authored by Steve it does show his detailed knowledge of the subject which also comes through in this book.

There is also a brief rundown on TDs currently preserved in museums around the world and it’s good to see that there are quite a few still surviving.

At the back of the book is a page showing paint ‘chips’ of the typical US olive drab as well as the 1/35th scale appearance of the paint which would be useful when choosing the right colour for your models.

Another excellent book in the Modelling series with projects that offers something for most modellers and the inclusion of real photo reference a nice bonus as well as the very attractive models we have become used to seeing from Steven Zaloga.

Highly recommended.

Page created 18 September 2004

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