This is the latest in Tankograd’s series of “enhanced” technical studies for important military hardware, and should be seen as an appendix to the earlier TM on the CCKW cargo truck (no. 6015). In fact, the text refers the reader to this earlier book for basic details of the standard truck! That frees up the pages for a close look at the parts specific to the dump truck, and leaves room to look at other interesting variants. Michael Franz is the Editor and author.
A total of 48 glossy A4 (297x210mm, or 8.5x11.5 inch) pages hold 61 in-service photos (3 in colour) and dozens of photos and drawings from tech manuals scattered across four chapters covering the dump truck, bomb service truck, gun truck, and M45 quad-.50cal antiaircraft towed mount. In each case the combination of illustrations provides a wealth of information to detail or even scratch-build the various modifications to the standard truck.
Text is in English and German, but unlike most of the Tankograd books I have seen the English text is first, with the German text after in italics. (This took some getting used to…) Where a full page of text is presented, it is set up in two columns with English on the left and German on the right. Photos are generally arranged two or three to a page, with excellent reproduction that makes details very clear. Tech manual illustrations are at least as clear as the originals would have been!
Dump trucks lead off, with the first two pages outlining the history and specifications of this model. The photo captions carry a lot of very useful information too, so read them carefully! Every inch of the mechanism is illustrated in the TM pages including exploded diagrams of the moving parts. It should be easy enough to convert one of the available CCKW kits to a dump truck with a little scratch building, and since many of them survived the war to be released into “the wild” there should be scope for interesting paint schemes and other modifications to meet local highway regulations! There is even info on the air-transportable version that could be taken to pieces for shipping – now that would make an interesting model…
The next chapter covers the M27/M27B1 Bomb Service Truck, which was essentially a cargo truck fitted with a travelling-beam crane specifically to handle the large 4000lb bombs that were too heavy for standard equipment. These were supplied to Air Force units from 1944, and were still in service in the 1950s. Naturally they were also used for smaller loads as necessary. As with the dumper, the tech manual illustrations cover everything a scratch builder would need in order to convert a standard kit into this eye-catching variant.
Next up is the gun truck, a true field-born hybrid that predates the more famous Vietnam versions by two whole wars! The basic components were the truck and a towed trailer-mounted quad .50cal gun M45. Because these trailers had poor off-road capability some crews took the pragmatic approach of removing the wheels and dragging the mount up onto the truck bed. More enterprising units took the gun mount off the trailer and bolted it firmly to the truck bed so it could be ready to fire at a moment’s notice. And a further development included a trailer mount that had skids instead of wheels so it could be dragged on or off the truck easily. All of these versions are illustrated here in enough detail to inspire some interesting kitbashes since both the truck and the gun mount are available in plastic.
And in case the gun-truck section wasn’t detailed enough the final chapter is a detailed look at the M45 trailer-mounted quad gun itself! This will be of benefit not only to kitbashers but also anyone who has either the Tamiya or Dragon M16 GMC halftracks in their stash.
If there is any real drawback to this book (other than a desire for more of everything, from every conceivable angle!) it is the lack of any scale plans from which measurements can be made. Instead, I will need to resort to the Mk I Eyeball when cutting plastic to make these conversions, or find plans elsewhere. However, this does not detract in any way from the usefulness of this book.
I thought this might be a dry study of a single type as seen from the pages of a verbose manual, but to my surprise it turns out to be a very well-balanced photo study of important truck variations with enough detail to make it possible to either scratch-build them or super-detail any of the resin conversion sets out there. And it has added several new projects to my already long list of CCKW modelling projects! If you like modelling interesting US trucks this book is definitely for you.
Highs: Lots of photos and Tech Manual illustrations, covers three different truck variantsLows: No scale plansVerdict: Well worth the cost for three interesting new conversion projects!
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