Steven Zaloga has written a number of articles and reference works about US Tank Destroyers. For his latest modelling guide, he has compiled a number of detailed builds to give readers a sound basis on improving and converting kits of these vehicles.
It's no surprise that most of the subjects are modelled in 1/35 scale, but fans of smaller scales aren't ignored, because one chapter is devoted to a super-detailed 1/72 scale project.
No 13 in the Osprey Modelling Series, softcover 248 x 184mm , with 80 pages. The book starts with a concise history of the US Tank Destroyers - both as a concept and in service. The description of inter-Corps rivalry makes surprising and entertaining reading, while the idea of M18s and M36s serving in Yugoslavia right up to the '1990s opens up masses of diorama potential.
Next, there's a look of the various kits available, from Tamiya's models dating back to the early '1970s, through to the latest Academy and AFV Club releases, along with a summary of after-market sets.
There are four builds featured in the book, as outlined below, aimed at modellers from intermediate to master skill-levels.
Finally, there's a list of recommended reading and a roundup of museums worth visiting, along with a series of colour references.
1. Modelling a Winter Tank Destroyer - 1/35 scale - this is an intermediate-level build using the Academy M36 as a basis and adding a number of after market sets. The build is covered in considerable detail, and Steven gives many useful tips on improving kit tools, before explaining how he painted a weathered Winter scheme using the sea-salt technique.
2. Modelling a Small-scale Tank Destroyer - 1/72 scale - this is an advanced-level project, using the Extratech M10. This chapter shows just how much detail can be piled into a small model with some superb scratch-made stowage and tiny crew figures.
3. Modelling the AFV Club M18 76mm GMC - 1/35 scale - another advanced-level build. Steven adds a lot of scratch-built detail to the basic kit and shows in detail how to use epoxy putty for the mantlet cover and bed-rolls etc. This chapter also illustrates some radical surgery on crew figures to change their poses.
4. Converting the AFV Club M18 into the M39 AUV - 1/35 scale - the last of the builds is a master-level conversion. this involves a scratch-built superstructure and interior. The chapter includes scale drawings and a mass of reference photos.
The photography throughout the book is superb, with detailed pictures of each stage of the builds. Importantly, all the project-chapters also include reference photos of full-size vehicles, either reproduced from wartime manuals or taken of preserved vehicles. Their importance in a work of this nature can't be overstated.
This is an excellent book. Including a series of projects for modellers of varying abilities is a great decision and the techniques illustrated will serve as a good grounding for all AFV modelling, ensuring the book will remain of value beyond the immediate builds covered.
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Thank you to Osprey Publishing for kindly supplying the review sample.