Military Vehicle Workshop Series by Allied Command Publications
Volume 18: M25 Tank transporter part 1 (30 pp.)
Volume 19: M25 Tank Transporter part 2 (26 pp.)
Advantages: Answers 90% of the questions modelers have on the new
Tamiya Dragon Wagon kit; provides a basis for creating a superbly detailed model
Disadvantages: Copied from the manual (see text)
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: A MUST for anyone buying, building, or possessing the Tamiya kit
Good references on common subjects in the world of armor modeling are now becoming fairly common, but the references for relatively unknown or exotic subjects are nearly impossible to find. Most military modelers were stunned and delighted late last year to find out that Tamiya, the world's largest plastic model producer, was creating a special kit of the M25 40 Ton Tank Transporter, affectionately known as the "Dragon Wagon", to commemorate its 30th Anniversary of the introduction of its new line of military miniature kits in 1969. The kit, consisting of over 700 parts in a variety of media and offering five different marking options, is probably the finest plastic kit ever produced, and with a retail price of $115 in the US the most expensive 1/35 scale plastic kit provided to wide distribution. But there are essentially no references for this vehicle, and other than a few odd photos in WWII photo albums and books, no evidence of its use. The instructions with the kit provide answers on how the vehicle was used to recover tanks, but only with the trailer. No mention is made of how the rest of the fascinating collection of tools and systems worked, nor what the "bits" on the kit were for.
Allied Command Publications has now remedied the situation with this two-part extract from the manuals on the original vehicle, which provide a wealth of information about how the parts are used, and what the vehicle was capable of performing in action. Part 1 covers the M26 Tractor Truck, its stowage, functioning, and operations; Part 2 covers chassis details and the M15 Semitrailer. The information contained here is completely from the operating and maintenance manuals provided with the original vehicle. When ACP first began this series a while back, there were some complaints that all the publications did was provide xerox copies from the manuals, which in the US are essentially "public domain" publications without copyright.
There is a bit more to it than that, as ACP has cleaned up the items, extracted them from the text, and placed them in context, something most of the US TM-9 series manuals never thought of doing. Likewise, what the nay-sayers tend to ignore is that many of the manuals are extremely rare items, and if found at all, command three and four figure sums through specialist publications houses such as Portrayal Press. Here, for less than $15 for the pair, the average modeler can have most of his questions answered, and the advanced modeler receive more than enough information to make the model into a truly stunning replica. ACP also provide manual excerpts from Canadian and British manuals, which are quite different from their US counterparts on things like the Sherman III (M4A2) and other vehicles. This series is totally geared for the modeler, and provides a great resource for a reasonable amount of money.
For those of you who cannot find these publications or a source, Allied Command Publications can be reached at P.O. Box 35163, Westgate P.O., Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1Z 1A2.
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