Home > Reviews > Modern > Blue Steel 2 – M3 Halftracks in South Lebanon by Moustafa El-Assad

Blue Steel 2 – M3 Halftracks in South Lebanon



Reviewed by Adam O'Brien


Title and Publisher: Blue Steel – T-55 tanks in South Lebanon by Moustafa El-Assad
ISBN: Not quoted
Media and Contents: Soft cover, A4 format, 74 pages all colour, 138 photos
Price: USD$25.00 plus $8.00 shipping available online from http://www.blue-steel.info
Review Type: FirstRead
Advantages: All colour, superb detail and weathering reference.
Disadvantages: Most vehicles depicted are abandoned or not operational
Recommendation: Recommended


The first thing that struck me while flicking through Moustafa El-Assad’s second Blue Steel book was the vast improvement in the quality and size of the photos contained within. Most pages are simply 1 or 2 large pictures that allow a detailed look at the SLA’s M3.

The book’s setout is fairly simple. This time starting with an author & contributor page. We then have a 2 page introduction that details quite well the history of the ex-IDF M3 halftracks used by the SLA up to its collapse in May 2000. The main body of the book then is a varied mix of modified M3’s, all showcased with good quality photography. Over the last few pages there is a section titled “Inside an SLA barracks” that has a few rather good photos of concrete fortifications, ammo boxes etc., all brilliant reference for diorama ideas and detailing.

The mix of destroyed / operational vehicles here is similar to the first book of the series on the T-55. A majority of the photos are of abandoned or destroyed M3’s. The operational machines depicted show a wealth of detail and weathering possibilities. The photos are all large enough to allow close examination, and highlight the different colour schemes used. The book has a multitude of close-up shots of interiors, cabins and various details that will be invaluable to the modeller.

There are no true walkarounds to be found in the book, however there is a good collection of photos of the Fitter variant, an ex-IDF recovery vehicle that utilized a HIAB crane in a movable jib. One of these vehicles is in good condition and was even rescued from a fire by the author! I would like to have seen a full walkaround of this vehicle as there are only 3 photos.

Without doubt, the most interesting modification highlighted is the M3 ACAV variant. This is a fully enclosed, armoured APC with an M113 ACAV turret on the roof. The vehicle pictured had been abandoned, and in a state of disrepair, but we do have a good series of photos of it, both internal and external, spread over 12 pages, all invaluable reference if you intend to model this machine

Spread throughout the book is a series photos of M3 models produced by the author. They are nicely finished and compliment the book.


Blue Steel 2 is a definite improvement over the first book in this series in terms of qaulity and size of photos.

Modellers of SLA M3’s will find this book useful in converting, detailing and weathering their kits.

Noted on the back cover are the next two titles in the series, M113 APC’s and the M50 Sherman.

Blue Steel is shaping up as an impressive series of books for the modeller interested in South Lebanese subjects.

Thanks to Moustafa El-Assad for the review copy.

Text and Images by Adam O'Brien
Page Created 29 January, 2007
Page Last Updated 29 January, 2007