The M10 tank destroyer was the end result of the initial US Army doctrine that determined that thank destroyers would combat massed enemy armor, freeing up tanks to provide direct support to infantry. The tank destroyer would be fast, lightly armored, and armed with a powerful gun.
The M10 itself was an extended development of the initial 3 inch gun motor carriage T-35, which sported the open topped 3 inch turret developed from the M6 heavy tank prototype, mounted on an early M4A1 hull. Further modifications included sloped armor plate to improve the performance of the thin armor and a revised, angular turret with a lower profile. The diesel powered M4A2 was selected as the base hull for construction and production started in September of 1942.
Typical combat use of the M10 was not as intended. Ideally, when combined with armor in an attack, they would follow some 400 yards behind, safe enough to protect the lightly armored, open topped vehicles to avoid artillery, but close enough to provide protection against tanks and anti-tank guns. Generally they were used in place of tanks to support infantry, again employing their long range guns to sniff out enemy gun emplacement, bunkers, and provide both direct and indirect artillery support. The ratio of anti-tank rounds fired to high explosive rounds was between 1:10 and 1:13.
The M10 was used successfully to stop German tanks, particularly at Anzio, and remained in action up to the very end of the war in Europe. They were also employed in the Pacific theatre, primarily to engage Japanese fortifications at Kwajalien, the Palaus and extensively in the Philippenes. A total of 4,993 M10 tank destroyers, and an additional 1403 of the M10A1 (based on the M4A3 hull and gas powered V8 engine) were built between Sept 1942 and Dec. 1943.
Models has reworked their previous release of the M10, correcting some errors present i the previous kit.
M10 comes in a large, top opening box with artwork based on a photo of tank destroyers landing on a beach (some photos say it is Normandy, others a practice run at Slapton Sands in the UK). The original photo shows them with wading trunks, the box art without.
Inside the box the sprues are carefully packaged in cellophane pouches to protect the parts. Smaller sprues are bagged separately inside the larger pouches. The decals are also in a cellophane sleeve. At the bottom of the box are the kit instructions, in two fold out sections, and some separate instructions in Korean. A small information pamphlet is included describing the Normandy invasion, with text in English and Korean.
An inspection of the kit sprues showed many of the same parts present from the original release. Some older parts, particularly the pioneer tools, showed minor sink marks that will need some correction or replacement. In spite of this, I did not see any other real flaws in the plastic. There was not any flash readily visible and no molding deformities.
Those parts of most interest to modelers will be the new tooled turret and upper hull. Starting with the turret, it has been reshaped from the previous release. I held it up against an aerial photo of an M10 and the angles from above looked to be spot on. The turret is molded in upper and lower halves, with the lower piece being detailed with the traversing teeth molded on. The counter weights are newly molded as well and seem to match the shape of those employed on the actual vehicle. In comparing the kit with the previous release of the M10 that I have (the Duckbill variant) the gun breech, boxes and spare ammunition all appear to be the same. The mantlet is also unchanged from the prior release. It has some shape and size issues and for those who wish for greater accuracy, a replacement will be needed. Also, the main gun comes in two halves with a separate muzzle piece. There are some turned metal barrels available from various aftermarket sources.
The upper hull is also different. In comparison with the upper hull from the previous release, the angle of the upper and lower sections appears to be different; overall height is reduced by about 1mm with both the upper and lower sections being reduced. Length of the upper hull is also reduced by just over 1mm, this estimate taken by eyeball. The lower hull has also been redone to fit the new upper hull. Both the turret and hull sections have a slight texture to them in an attempt to replicate the rolled, face hardened armor plate. The bow and rear hull armor plates have also been redesigned to match the new contours and feature the texturing as well.
The cast transmission covers are also new. Two options are provided though only one is shown used in the instructions. Both feature a heavy texture to replicate the appearance of the cast steel, but this may be overdone for some. Foundry marks are present on both covers but the drain plugs are missing. Two different bolt strips are provided.
The VVSS suspension is the same from the previous release, featuring the flat return roller arm. From comments online these are reported to be slightly too tall. Academy
offered a corrected set with the recent M36B1 kit but they are not present here. Somewhere in my collection I have several sets of Dragon VVSS suspension sets. When I find them I will do a comparison. The road wheels and idlers are offered as both the open and closed spoke types, the latter having rear inserts, and two types of drive sprocket are also offered. A spare road wheel of the dished type is included on the accessories sprue. Tracks are the T-54 block type with the end connectors correctly located. They are vinyl and on the stiff side, and are joined by melting down the connector tabs with a heated screwdriver or nail head. There are many afterarket solutions to replace the tracks if they are unacceptable to you.
A very complete and detailed interior is provided, including the transmission and levers for the detailed driver's compartment. Spare ammunition tubes are also included. With proper references and some scratch detailing the interior can really come alive. There are several aftermarket options that will fit this kit. Unfortunately, stencils are not provided on the decal sheet. For exterior detail there are jerry cans, some crates and ammunition boxes and track grousers and mounting racks. The racks are vertical.
One accessory provided for the kit that is new is a vastly improved .50 cal M2 and mount. The molding approach for this item is similar to that taken by Dragon and Tasca-the receiver and cooling jacket are slide molded, but with this kit the barrel is two part, and opened at the muzzle. An ammunition belt is also carefully molded on this sprue. Still in the kit is the accessory sprue which includes bolt heads, buckles, letters and numbers, rivets and all sorts of other surface details. This is an all-around bonus as it can be extended beyond this kit. A piece of string is provided for the tow cable. A small etch fret is also included to replace the kit parts for the brush guards around the lights and the small step on the transmission cover-a very nice touch.
The kit instructions come in two separate fold out sections, the first with a paint guide by brand, with number call out for Humbrol enamel and Mr. Color (perhaps a typo), GSI Creos Aqueous hobby color and Mr. color, Lifecolor, Testors/Modelmaster enamel and acrylic, Revell enamel and acrylic and Vallejo Model color and Model air. Assembly instructions are line drawings with small drop boxes showing sub assemblies. Some painting callouts are provided during assembly. This first section covers assembly up to near completion of the lower hull, and also includes the paint guide and marking instructions for the 8 vehicles depicted. The second half of the instructions completes assembly of the kit. In my sample the first half of the instructions is very dark, and the paint and decal instructions have no painting instructions. Overall color would be olive drab, but two of the vehicles are in a two tone scheme. Nothing is indicated for their color. The decals themselves are provided by Cartograff and are crisp and clear. The color appears in register and the carrier film looks to be very thin (as normal with Cartograff). This is another improvement over the old kit.
US 702nd TD, Normandy, France, July 1944 (the vehicle depicted on the box top). A21, named acorn. Overall OD green. There is a nice profile of this vehicle in the link below
US 702nd TD
Note the stowage and spare rubber chevron tracks, open spoke road wheels and "fancy" idler that will need to be sourced as it doesn't seem to be the scalloped type in the kit.
US 601st TD, Anzio, Italy, May 1944, no hull number but unique two tone camo pattern, identified most likely as sand over OD green. There is a stripe on the turret rear, possibly white. There is a photo of the vehicle in the link below.
US 601st TD
Note the horizontal grouser stowage. Road wheels and tracks are not visible.
US 703rd TD, outside Paris, France, August 1944, C32. Overall OD green.
US 703rd TD, Germany Oct 1944. C33. OD green overall. There is a photo of this vehicle along with the later M36 in the link below;
US 703rd TD
http://www.tankdestroyer.net/units/unitphotogalleries/703rd-td-battalion Note the drive sprocket, open spoke idler and closed spoke road wheels. It also appears there is a name painted towards the front of the hull. I could not find a better, readily available photo.
British 72nd Anti-tank regiment, Royal Artillery, Italy August 1944. Vehicle D1 in two tone color scheme that appears to be sand over green. There is a photo of the vehicle in the link below;
British 72nd Anti-tank regiment
Note the closed spoke road wheels and idler and position of the aerial. The modeler will need to supply the suitable radio for this vehicle.
French 5th AD 11th regiment, Bas-Rhin France, Jan 1945. "Demon" and artwork on hull side and glacis. OD overall.
French 2nd AD, Paris, France, July 1944. "Epervier". Overall OD green. A second decal option for this vehicle, "Siroco", is provided, photo here: http://www.rbfm-leclerc.com/photos/siroco2.jpg Note the smashed fenders, closed spoke road wheels and idler, plain drive sprocket and kill rings on the barrel.
French 5th AD, Aachen Germany, April 1945. "Strasbourg" on mantlet. Overall OD green.
I was unable to find images of the other three listed French vehicles, most likely due to my limited French. For reference, in the link below is the photo the box art is based on:
The wading trunk would have been a nice inclusion in the kit. Note the improvised jerry can stowage. There are many photos online showing similar set ups. The idler is the open spoke type, road wheels are closed spoke and the kit fancy idler can be used here. I can't quite make out the name of this vehicle, but the photo is very common and can be found all over the internet.
Overall, I am very satisfied with the effort to improve this kit that Academy
has taken. The new hull and turret shape look much better and the texturing is a good effect, and I like the new M2 .50 cal and the small etch bits will help. I can't comment on the accuracy of the interior but it does build up well. On the down side, the mantlet is still incorrect and the two piece plastic barrel is not the best way to go. The stiff vinyl tracks are likewise workable but not ideal, and may not match the version you are building. Lack of specific painting instructions also hamper the build. Having built the previous release, I expect this build will be similar, with generally good fit of parts. It is hoped that Academy
will continue to improve their old releases and manufacturing techniques.
Military Factory and wikipedia were used as reference sources for historical information. Photo references for the selected vehicles are provided as a link.
I purchased this kit online from Hobbyeasy, who had the best price I could find at the time. It is currently widely available online and may be found at your local hobby store. Shop carefully and enjoy the build.