Kagero Publishing- Armoured Personnel Carrier
Author: Sławomir Zajączkowski
Softcover in A4 format, 20 pages full of scale drawings and 6 color profiles
Anyone who has encountered a Kagero Top Drawings book knows what to expect inside-- scale drawings in the major three model scales- 1/72, 1/48, and 1/35 and some beautiful color profiles to inspire you as you decide on an out of box scheme atypical from the norm. This volume, #120 in the series, is no different as it focuses on the M3, M5, and M9 variants of the Half-track. The text, what little there is, is present in both English and Polish. This isn't an in-depth tome. and it isn't meant to be. It is packed with drawings, thus the name of the series. After a very brief paragraph on a basic history of these half-tracks, we get right to the drawings. The brunt of the drawings are in the usual 1/35 scale- and each of the seven or so five-view profiles give brief information of what is featured. We get drawings of two M3A1s (one canvas covered), a M3A2, a M5 and two M5A1 sets- one with a ditch-crossing roller, and another with a winch. The book concludes with an M5A2 and a British M9A1 (0nly the top and left side view is present in the book- the right side, front and rear views are attached to the insert sheet).
With some expert help from my fellow AMPS member Roy Chow, there are some definite issues with the details in the drawings. The side drawings below have the spring for the towing pintle in view, but this would be masked by the side spars which should extend right through the rear end but don't. The differential in the front view is the wrong type for the variant, and there are missing braces from the lower nose to the bumper. Also, the exhaust should be present in the side view.
In the following scans of the M5 and the two of the smaller scales, more errors are present. In most of the errors seen, the drawings indicate details that would be present on the M3, but not these later variants. Things like jerry can holder positions, bolt patterns, head lights, fender views, and shapes of the driver and passenger doors, windshield frames, bullet splash cover, and other details stand out as incorrect.
Profiles in the smaller scales (1/48 and 1/72) are included as an insert to the book. Two pages are dedicated to 1/48 drawings of the M3A1, M5, M5A2, and M9 variants. Another page represents these variants in 1/72 scale and the last pages concludes the 1/35 scale drawings for the aforementioned M9A1.
The six color profiles in the book and on the rear cover feature a Tunisian M5, a Free French M5, a Polish M9A1 based in Normandy, a French 5th Armored M9, a Polish M5 based in northern Italy, and a British two-tone M9.
The book is to be taken with a bit of caution- other available references prove to be much more accurate and useful to the modeler. The 2001 Hunnicutt book on half-tracks has much more accurate 1/48 scale drawings, and David Doyle's 2014 "The Military Machine, Vol. 1 on US Half-tracks" is more accurate as well-- and both of these provide the five-views present here. If you don't have access to these however, this book does at least provide a source of inspiration to grab that half-track kit off of your shelf- just do so with a word of warning about the accuracy of the drawings. I have a Dragon kit as a shelf queen and this has at least motivated me to grab it up and give it another go. I love the color profiles as a spark for creativity for those looking to do something a bit different. You can't beat the price of these volumes and they'll barely take up any space on the bookshelf.
My sincere thanks again to Roy Chow for his expertise on the subject without whose help I would not have caught the errors present- thanks Roy!
Recommended with caution for builders or historians interested in this half-track series.
Thanks goes out to Casemate Publishing for this review sample.
Reviewed by Michael Reeves
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