For the modeller of U.S. AFVs and other vehicles, access to the technical manuals is, for many, an incredibly rich source of reference material. These manuals were produced for every piece of equipment in the U.S. inventory as a source for maintenance and repair of the vehicles and equipment. Logically, these manuals had to be published with every component listed and illustrated. With this quantity of detail, the value for the modeller becomes quickly apparent. This is the third review I have posted on the products of Easy 1 Productions
- a company which is gaining an excellent reputation for reproducing many of the technical manuals on CD Rom format along with additional material aimed very clearly at the modeller - and in particular, the 'super-detailer'.
The CD Rom T042: TM 9-738, Tank Recovery Vehicles M32, M32Ba, M32B2, M32B3, and M32B4
, consists of a single CD-Rom. Breaking it down into its content, The first section consists of TM 9-738 which is a reproduction of the 154 page workshop manual. The second, reproduced, section, is ORD 9, SNL G-185/187 which contains 19 scans. the third reproduced manual is a 121 page (post-war) manual from the 'Armoured School on Vehicle Recovery and Field Expedients'. The final section contains a 20-photo 'Walkround' of a preserved example at Fort Knox.
I want to do this review a little differently, by emphasizing the 'utility' of this product for the modeller. Once again, i'll be looking at the four parts of the CD Rom with a fifth section dealing with the all-important subject of image quality.
First published in 1943, this War Department manual consists of four seperate sections: Operating the Vehicle, Maintenance, Armament and a final chapter on Shipment and Storage. Dealing with the operating instructions first, this has some very applicable material for the modeller particularly the photos and, in particular areas such as the attachment of towing chains, tool storage and important details such as the lifting cable in both deployed and stowed positions.The maintenenance section is perhaps of less use although it is a useful source for detail photos of areas such as the vehicle interior. Section four, armament, looks in great detail at the mounting of the 81mm mortar, M1, which is incredibly detailed along with the .50 cal MG and the M39 mount. The final section is of little interest although it does contain a schematic as to how M32s were mounted on rail-cars....
ORD 9, SNL G-185/187
This 19-page section covers components of the vehicle and is particularly valuable related to such items as the boom assembly along with three superbly useful photos of the complete vehicle. Perhaps this is of less 'direct' value to the modeller, but there ARE useful details present.
: This, the penultimate section, will be of particular value to those who wish to portray the vehicle 'in action' although, by the nature and date of the publication (1953), it isn't 'M32 Specific' it does contain some useful illustrations on the arrangement of pulleys and towing cables.
: The last of the CD Rom's 'chapters', contains 20 photos of a well-preserved example at Ft.Knox the photos are very well done and concentrate on the areas that the modeller will be interested in - turret, boom arrangement, rear views etc.
Quality of Reproduction
: My comments on the 'Dragon Wagon' disc are equally applicable here. Some of the images could do with a bit of 'cleaning'. They are clear enough, in most cases, but a few do need to be re-scanned or run through a photo-editing program to get the maximum definition and detail. Looking at the quantity of pages in the reproduced manuals, it would be a full-time job doing all of them and something that the average purchaser could easily do themselves. Easy1 Productions
is a very small company and it would be unreasonable to expect them to spend so much time on such a repetitive task.
It's an excellent 'package' and in view of the subject, a very attractive one indeed. The fundamental problem will be the source for a model of this vehicle. There is one plastic kit (of doubtful accuracy) available and it is NOT a subject that the 'majors' will be rushing to kit anytime soon.. There are several conversion/update sets available and these will be the only practical option. As this is a project which will require major work, this CD Rom will be a vital starting-point. The problems with packages like these, is that, inevitably, some of the detail will be of little practical use to the modeller. However, the areas which WILL be of value are there and, once again, what better source than the 'official'? Back this up with material showing the vehicle during its service and the utility multiplies considerably. An excellent addition to the reference material of the serious super-detailer and scratch-builder, not for the occasional one.
My thanks to Mike Powell of Easy One Productions
for this and the other review samples. To purchase this or any of the other Cd's from the company, their website can be seen: HERE