TOADMAN’S TANK PICTURES
Toadman's M18 GMC and M39 AUV Photo Detail CD. Compact Disk containing 401 color photographs, introduction and bibliography. Price: $7.99 USD, plus $2.15 USD each shipping (First Class in USA, Air Mail to all other points). Three or more CDs per order are shipped free.
For years, the M18 76mm GMC had been a “most wanted” kit. Now we have two (from Academy and AFV Club) each with strengths and shortcomings. Since they depict typically “open-topped” US tank destroyers, the kits cry out for extra detailing or “accurization”, especially inside the hull and turrets. These are also very “busy” internally and therefore references are very desirable.
Modeler Chris Hughes has visited two different collections in California (Military Vehicle Technology Foundation, AKA the “Littlefield Collection” and the WW2 US Military Vehicle Museum), to get a variety of photos of not only the M18, but the derivative M39 Armored Utility Vehicle. The results of his several visits to these locations are shown with just over 400 very good quality photographs of not only both vehicle types, but variations within them. As an added bonus, he was also able to include some “before and after” photos of a vehicle undergoing restoration; this enabled him to photograph several components outside the vehicle. These will allow for a better detail understanding of these items, prior to them being fitted inside a model.
The CD is set up as follows:
Main Table of Contents.
Introduction and Acknowledgements (with Source list)
M18 Gun Motor carriage main table of contents
• Turret exterior TOC, 63 photos.
• Hull exterior TOC, 106 photos.
• Suspension TOC, 30 photos.
• Turret interior TOC, 37 photos
• Hull interior TOC, 36 photos.
M39 Armored Utility Vehicle main table of contents
• Hull exterior TOC, 75 photos.
• Suspension TOC, 12 photos
• Interior TOC, 42 photos.
The navigation of the disk is very simply done. Simply click “start”, then either go to the Introduction and click on it, or go to the various Tables of Contents. Click on them for entry and either start from the beginning of each section, or go directly to the area of interest by clicking on an individual photo’s title. It is very easy to jump back and forth, and some images even have a link to a similar image, which may show a variation; click the link and compare images to learn the differences.
The photo quality is very good and in some cases excellent. Remember, Chris is a modeler, so he is looking at things through “our” eyes. There are a couple of images that suffer from over-exposure due to the relative positions of the camera flash and the subject. But this is no real detraction to the overall image quality.
Packaging is in a typical slim jewel case and each CD comes professionally labeled on the case, as well as on the surface of the disk itself. My samples came securely packed in a “bubble-wrap” envelope and arrived un-damaged from California to NYC in a few days. My suggestion to the manufacturer that product codes be added to the packaging has been accepted and will be acted upon on future releases.
So, if you have either of these kits, this CD will be an extremely economical source of detailed information. If you are contemplating a conversion to an M39, all you really need (besides some skill and initiative) are scale templates for the main components (see Zaloga’s Osprey Modelling #13, “Modelling US Army Tank Destroyers of WW II”) and this CD.
Frank V. De Sisto
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