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M10 U.S. Tank Destroyer

Academy

 

S u m m a r y

Stock No. & Description: Kit No. 1393; U.S. Tank Destroyer M-10 Gun Motor Carriage
Contents and Media: 575 parts (572 in olive green styrene, 2 in steel colored vinyl, 1 nylon string)
Price: RRP USD$36 (USD$29.96 online from Squadron.com)
Scale: 1/35
Review Type: First Look
Advantages: Amazing kit with tremendous level of detail; "prepared" for after market detail additions; "D" and "H" sprues nearly worth the price of admission on their own
Disadvantages: Late to market behind AFV Club entry may hurt sales
Recommendation: Highly Recommended for all US and French armored fans, as well as all "Shermaholics"

 


Academy's 1/35 scale  M10 Tank Destroyer is available online at Squadron.com

Reviewed by Cookie Sewell

 

F i r s t L o o k


After picking up the earlier Achilles version of this kit, I was dying to see what "the Real McCoy" would look like in Academy's current series of outstanding US M3 and M4 medium based vehicles. Needless to say, this one lives up to expectations and more.

What comes out of the box is the "standard" or mid-production version of the M10 3" Gun Motor Carriage with the "wedge" shaped counterweights and T49 three-bar steel tracks (taken from the M12 kit, as is most of the suspension. However, unlike the special sprues for the Achilles, this one includes "F" and "G" sprues for the new turret parts and a totally new hull top missing its engine deck. The deck is part of the "C" sprue and in the case of this vehicle, if you have a Tank Workshop M4A2 engine kit with the twin GMC diesels you now have a near drop-in location for it to go, as the hatches are optional and separate.

Academy cut a special hull top and "E" sprue for this kit, and the rest of the layout bodes very well for Sherman or just US M4 series tank fans. Some are plainly marked "Sherman series" so they would appear to have more kits planned beyond the current Achilles, M10 and M36 vehicles.

As noted previously, parts layout in the kit suggests that the M10 and M36 will share some sprues, with the M4A3 bits included for the M36. A reasonably complete front-end interior, including the SCR-508/608 style radio set, is included with the kit. There are two different transmission covers ("Rounded" and "Sharp-nose"). They also provide the optional bogie component set which came with the M12 155mm GMC kit, which provides for either cast or welded ("spoked") wheels and early or late track skids on the top of the bogies. Note that most M10s have the "lace" or "cast" type drive wheels and spoked idlers with the "solid" or welded six-stiffener road wheels; as noted with the M12, Academy includes the backs for these parts.

As with the Achilles, the rest of the model is very nice with the glaring exception of the upper rear hull panel, which has "outlines" cast on it for mounting the tool sets. This is pretty lame considering the rest of the kit, as the concept went out of style in the early 1960s, and someone at Academy needs to get their wrist slapped for letting it go out the door on a kit of this quality. There are a few large knock-out pin marks inside the turret which will have to go, but overall they are at a minimum and kept out of sight. Unlike the Achilles, the cardboard tube ammo stowage is correct for the M10.

I still love Sprue "H". This is a really useful set of bits, and includes the following items: a pair of five link "extenders", similar to those found on the old MP Models M4A4 hull, so the vinyl tracks can fit on an A4 chassis; six spare T51 smooth non-reversible shoes, with a choice of either US or UK style stowage racks; three whip antenna mounts, including one which is angled at 45 degrees; three jerry cans (one German and two US style), all with separate carrier bases provided and needing only straps to complete; two late production "dish" type M4 VVSS series wheels; and the neatest bits of all, add-ons in styrene. These amount to 21 bolt heads, 7 rivet heads, 7 studs, 15 buckles in three different styles, 10 tie-down brackets, five wing nuts, and a complete alphabet plus two number sets of 0-9 and casting marks for two foundries. (One unfortunate thing is after all this Academy doesn't tell you what sort of numbers should go on the vehicle, or where they only indicate the mantelet should have a number attached to it.)

The kit also includes Academy's Sprue "D", a generic Sherman sprue, which provides nice little bits, a good .50 caliber and .30 caliber machine gun, and decent pioneer tools. (Hey Academy, offer two of these in a box for $6 and watch them sell like hotcakes!!!)

Decals are better than the Achilles, but still seem to be missing some bits. Decals are provided for what the instructions state are a French vehicle in September 1944, another in January 1945, one US one in August 1944, and one at Anzio in May 1944. The August 1944 US one is provided without bumper codes, but would appear to be 702nd or 703rd TD BN based on the codes. No serials are provided either. The Anzio vehicle only features stars, but there were a number of units in Italy at that time such as the 894th TD BN. Overall, I wish Academy would ask someone before they cut the decals and schemes for the models.

I have heard complaints from some modelers that Academy did not "get it right" with the Achilles and that the turret was too flat and the hatches and other bits were off. All of the plans I have show the hatches on this hull as a shape match (I have a set on M10A1 from the Ordnance Museum sets, a sadly missing resource from a few years back.) The turret also matched with the plans.

What I think the problem may be is that we have all grown up with anemic suspensions and tracks on Sherman based models, and as a result when the correct scale items are included we get a wrong sense of proportion. For example, brand new T48 rubber chevron tracks are quite thick nearly 6" and much different from scrawny attempts at T51 and T54E1 tracks from our old friends the Italeri and Tamiya kits. Try this: put a ruler over the tracks on a picture of one of these vehicles and cover the tracks from the top of the teeth on down; the familiar sleek shape of the M10 now emerges.

Overall, the quality of this kit is even better than the Achilles, and it should be a lot more popular. (I am going to use the turret from the latter with this kit to do a two-tone late model from the 894th, which is why I mentioned them earlier.) Again, this kit is a standard setter, and for a dollar less than the "new" Tamiya Sherman kits, a much better bargain.

Cookie Sewell
AMPS


Review Copyright 2001 by Cookie Sewell
Images Copyright 2001 by Academy Website
Page Created 09 October, 2001
Last updated 22 July, 2003

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