|KIT:||Tamiya 1/48 M-10 Tank Destroyer (mid production)|
|PRICE:||$26.00 ($20.00 at WingsnTreads)|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
America's first tank destroyer, the M10 was mounted on a Sherman hull and had an open-topped turret carrying a 3-inch (76.2mm) cannon capable of penetrating 8.8cm of armor at 1000m distance. Due to the need for high mobility, the M10 wore relatively thin armor plating. However, auxiliary armor could be added easily using the bolts located on the turret and hull. Facing its baptism of fire against the Germans in Tunisia in 1943, the M10 Tank Destroyer went on to serve in Italy, Western Europe and the Pacific.
It is probably no mystery to you that a goodly portion of this kit is the same as their two Sherman releases. It should be as it is based on the Sherman chassis. But aside from the lower hull and suspension, the rest of this tank is unique to the type. Since it has an open turret, this means that Tamiya has had to incorporate quite a considerable amount of interior. Not an easy task as there are two very large cast mounting towers on the inside of the lower hull to try to disguise. The rear one is taken care of by putting in a bulkhead, but the front one is still quite prominent though there are two seats astride it.
Moast of the remaining sprues (actually at least half the kit) is dedicated to the M10. In addition to the aforementioned interior parts, there needs to be detail inside the turret itself. This is somewhat made easier by splitting the turret vertically and having you build up each of the interior sections before joining them. Though this could have been molded in one piece, it was probably easier this way. When the turret halves are joined, it traps a much more detailed gun in between them. The gun has to have a breech and recoil mechanism added since it will all be seen. Frankly, this would have been a perfect kit to include a crew, but apparently figures are not in the cards for these smaller Tamiya offerings. I'm sure they will be 'available separately'. I know that there are already German figure sets and accessory offerings.
Speaking of accessories, this kit comes with a sprue of fuel drums, jerry cans and some wrapped tarps to plaster over the outside of the vehicle. Since the M-10s were basically the same aside from their engines, there are no optional pieces in with this one.
Instructions are typical Tamiya and superbly done. One thing I did notice on these kits is that there is no parts tree diagram. Perhaps they feel that one isn't needed and frankly, until going over the instructions for this kit, I hadn't realized that one wasn't included. There are markings for three vehicles, all in lovely US Army Olive Drab. One is from the 1st Infantry Division in Aachen during Oct 1944; next is from the 3rd Armored Division in Normandy during July 1944, and the last from the 3rd Infantry Division in southern France during 1944. Not much in the way of fancy markings aside from the usual stars and serials, though two of them do have individual vehicle numbers on the side or rear of the turret. The decal sheet is small but well done and should work well.
I can easily see these being huge sellers. They are reasonably priced (well, as reasonable as any Tamiya kit, but you are paying for quality), and are rather rapid builds to boot. The subjects are interesting and if Tamiya continues to release two kits every month or so, we'll soon be awash with them! Highly Recommended.
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