Times have changed from when modelers would pore over books, looking for the perfect references for our latest projects. Now, you can get just about all you need thanks to the computer age on CDs. Chris Hughes, ‘Toadman’ being his professional moniker, offers first-rate photo CDs for armor enthusiasts as well as a website full of excellent imagery for the modeler, historian or armor fan.
The subject CD for this review is the M24 Chaffee light tank, CD #19 in Toadman’s series of ”expose’s” of armor subjects. Packaged in a slim jewel case, the inside cover contains a table of contents. The table’s listing includes ‘Profiles’, Turret Exterior’, ‘Hull Exterior’, ‘Engine Compartment’, ‘Suspension’, ‘Turret Interior’ and finishes with ‘Hull Interior’. There is also a small snippet of paper for Macintosh computer users; the CD will not Auto Run on Macs and users will need to access the “Title.htm” file and follow the links provided there. There is also a small text section on the history of the M24 and where and by whom it was employed.
On my Dell, the CD opened Internet Explorer to its ‘start’ page after I inserted it. From there, you can navigate the table of contents list above. The images vary in size from just about filling my screen to needing the scroll bars to view others. All the images are around 900x600 pixels, sufficient to make all the details pop. Each image is clear, well-composed and well-lit, providing great detail for the detail monger. Weld beads show up well, shapes of various parts of the vehicle are well-represented and details, largely glossed-over in usual paper references, are brought to light. This is a CD geared directly at the modeler, whichChris even unabashedly states in his acknowledgements and credits. This pays big dividends when viewing these clear reference pictures.
The photos on the CD are eerily akin to photos I would take. If you’ve ever wished you could see this tank from just “that” angle, you’ll find it on this release. Chris spares no photons to capture the Chaffee from all available angles and gets into areas seldom seen thereby allowing you to know what a given assembly, feature or item looks like. It’s like having your twin on the West Coast (me being from the east), knowing where to go, armed with a digital camera and knowing how to use it.
The M24 entered service in NWE late in WWII, seeing more action in Korea and in Vietnam. It was exported to many countries all over the world, allowing it to be seen in many liveries. This CD supplies details of US-based Chaffee’s, largely unchanged from their WWII fit. An easy way to spot a WWII-era M24 is to look for the T72 steel tracks. These were replaced postwar with rubber-chevron T85E1 tracks. Both types are contained within the CD. Other details changed over the life of the tank (as they always do) but what we have here is solid visual reference on the M24. It will go a long way in helping me with my Formations upgrade to the Italeri Chaffee, when I can find the time to undertake that project.
These are inexpensive, easily obtained references of timely subjects and well worth the small cost of ownership. Highly Recommended.
Many thanks to Chris Hughes of Toadman's Tank Pictures for the review sample. Visit his site at http://www.toadmanstankpictures.com/ for ordering information and much more.
In addition, as an AMPS member that cost of ownership gets smaller; Chris offers a 20%
discount on his photo CDs to AMPS members in good standing.
This is something that we should cheer about and thanks to Chris for offering this – it really makes these products affordable.