book The Serious Modeller's Guide to:
Canadian M109 Series S.P.G.s

Canadian Armour Series - Volume 2
by Barry Beldam.

Distributed by Quartermasters Depot
1111-1071 Ambleside Drive
Ottawa, ON K2B 6V4

Review by Peter Brown

Artillery subjects tend to be not as well covered as other AFVs in model form, although the widely-used M109 series 155mm guns is one which has been produced in 1/35 scale in various guises from Italeri. It has been used and still is being used by many armies, around 25 at my last check and that does not include nations like the United Kingdom who have phased them out. Since its introduction in the early 1960s it has been continually modified and improved, with longer barrelled guns as well as mechanical and other changes. Many countries have made their own improvements including replacing the guns with ones of their own design, and there have been supporting ammunition carrying and command/control versions using the basic hull and chassis of older M109 or the similar M108 105mm SP.

As with any subject, getting good references to make more detailed models can be hard work which makes this book very welcome for anyone wanting to built a scale M109. Barry Beldam has taken several original manuals and extracted those parts which he as a modeller finds most useful, added photos and colour scheme details and compiled them into a book for other modellers. The result is over 220 pages packed with information. The spiral-bound format as used in the earlier Centurion book allows it to be laid flat on the modelling table, and the content is as comprehensive as even the most ardent detail fanatic could want, wish or even dream for.

Extracts from manuals are mostly in the form of line drawings, these include perspective views showing the various types mark by mark, then details of the vehicle outside and in. Engines, transmissions, controls, access and crew hatches, guns of various patterns, crew seats, stowage, tracks, wheels, suspension, ammunition and more, it is all here. One neglected but necessary subject is stencils and data plates, these vehicles have both in abundance and they are described here.

Adding to the original material are several black and white photos showing specific details included where relevant, and the is a section of around 70 photos showing the guns in service or in close-up which gives good coverage of markings. A final double-page foldout shows colour schemes for four generations of guns with specific markings for individual guns. So even if you have some or all of the source manuals there is still more to be found in the book

With so much, it seems wrong to remind readers that this book covers those versions in Canadian service. So, while much of the content is also relevant to other countries, you will have to watch out if you want to do one of the "national" rebuilds or the latest M109A6 Paladin which are not included.

Whether your interest is in the Canadian vehicles or other countries, there is a lot of material here and the book is strongly recommended.

Page created 24 February 2005

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