There’s an apocryphal conversation that supposedly took place in World War 2 between a German captive and his guard:
German Prisoner: “Not meaning to insult, but in battle, any German tank is the equal to any ten of your Shermans.”
German Prisoner: “Yes, but you always have eleven.”
It’s no joke that American tankers fighting in Europe had to contend with a host of powerful German tanks, using a tank design that although noted for its maneuverability, ease of maintenance and automotive reliability, suffered from inadequate armor and even less adequate firepower. Enter the M10, America’s first serious attempt to level the playing field a bit.
Designed as a tank hunter, mounting a 3-inch gun in an open-topped turret, the M10 had enough kick to penetrate most German side armor at reasonable ranges. Further refinements eventually involved the replacement of the 3-inch gun with more potent weapons, including the British 17 lb. gun. Further development led to the M36 Jackson, still seen on some battlefields around the world to this day.
Academy has done a fine job of recreating the entire family of M10-related vehicles, the M10 GMC being just one in their stable. The kit includes a host of alternative and extra parts, including two complete sets of road wheels and return supports as well as machine guns and other extras, all of which should be useful for future scratchbuilding projects. The kit comes with a complete interior as well as photoetch parts to reproduce some of the finer details. It also contains a sprue from Academy’s excellent machine gun set, with superdetailed .50 and .30 caliber guns and mounts. The parts included in this kit make it clear that they are intended to be used for the whole range of M10s offered by this company, as well as standard Shermans, so there will be quite a few extras left over.
I began with the extensive interior, which seems complete in every detail, including the ammo racks. This area clearly looks the part and it’s a shame that so much of it becomes invisible once the model is completely assembled. The rear of the hull features some details within the otherwise empty engine compartment that are clearly designed for the aftermarket set (although having gone that far, why they don’t simply include the engine is beyond me). I was surprised to find that the engine bulkheads were not a good fit, but that might have been me rather than the kit itself. In any case, use caution here.
I next tackled the running gear, which offers both early and late wheels, sprockets and even return bumpers. Whichever you choose, you will be left with a complete set of alternatives, which are a real boon for the parts box. All of the solid-spoked wheels I used came with backside inserts to eliminate that hollow look, and the detailing on the running gear is really first rate, including all of the numbering on the bogeys themselves. This was followed up by some rubber-band style treads, which are normally not my first choice. However, these were extremely well done in a relatively soft vinyl material with the appropriate spacing of the teeth. My only complaint is that it didn’t take paint quite as well as I would have liked, but they certainly look fine on the model.
Assembly of the hull was pretty straightforward. Two different transmission covers are offered, although only one appears to really fit on this version. There are photoetch light guards supplied as well as the plastic variant, but I found the plastic to be more than adequate for my purposes. About the only difficulty I encountered here was with the front hatch hinges, which are multipart and a bit confusing to assemble. I THINK I got them right, but I could be mistaken. There are also a host of tiny bolts to add to the bolt mounts along the sides and front of the hull, but my Internet search on these showed that they were rarely if ever utilized, so I left them off.
The only filling I found necessary was in the assembly of the turret. The cap for the barrel was a modestly poor fit, and there was some filling necessary around the weights at the rear of the turret. The interior of the turret is also nicely detailed out, with ready rounds and seats for the gunners, among other details. There are a couple of options for the secondary armament, but I chose the conservative approach and just mounted a .50 cal. at the rear, as seen in most photos.
The kit offers quite a nice selection of add-on packs and such, but I elected not to include any for this photo build in order to show off the nice structure of the vehicle itself. The kit offers a large range of decals for a number of really colorful builds, and I opted for one of the brilliantly decorated Free French designs just for a change of pace. The decals themselves are full gloss and went down over my paint job extremely well, with no silvering to speak of.
As to the ultimate quality of the kit, I think the pictures speak for themselves. As said before, Academy has come out with a whole range of M10s in various configurations and if all of them are as nice as this one, they should be a pleasure to build.
My thanks to Academy for allowing me to enjoy this wonderful kit, and to IPMS for both their patience and their generosity in letting me get my hands on this beauty.