by: Darren Baker [ ]
I took a look at Scalemates and was surprised how few gun truck models are available from the Vietnam War Period and for that matter how few covering gun trucks at all. I suspect most modellers are aware of the AFV Club U.S. Army M35A1 Gun Truck; I will say it is the only one I have any physical knowledge of; it has some issues but is a pleasing model for the most part. There are a few conversions sets out there, but not every modeller likes using resin. So we have this offering from Ampersand to encourage you down the conversion route or just enabling you to get the most from your model.
The following is the introduction as provided on the Casemate website:
A Visual History of the U.S. Army's Vietnam-Era Wheeled Escort Platforms Born out of the need for convoy protection during the escalation of combat in 1967, the Vietnam-era gun trucks are some of the most interesting military vehicles fielded during the 20th century. Noted military truck historian David Doyle has created an extensive and vivid portrait of these unique trucks. He begins with a detailed description of the truck platforms and designs, giving the reader a basic primer of the trucks prior to modification. This is followed by a lengthy illustrated description of the many weapons systems used, from small arms to the .50-caliber quad. Coverage of the trucks in action follows and is composed of many never before seen photos, many of which are full page in size and in colour. From the lightly armored jeeps to the 5-ton behemoths mounting an entire APC in their beds, all the types are showcased. Gun trucks fielded by transportation, engineer and air defence artillery units are detailed. The book completes its narrative with a comprehensive photo essay of the world’s only surviving gun truck now on display at the U.S. Army Transportation Museum.
This offering covering ‘Gun Trucks a Visual History of the U.S. Army's Vietnam-Era Wheeled Escort Platforms’ is an Ampersand offering. The book is authored by David Doyle and supplied as a paper backed offering. The book is presented in a landscape style and has 120 pages of a glossy finished paper. The paper is light, but presents the information well. The card glossy cover will I feel do a reasonable job of protecting the contents if handled reasonably. The text in the biik is presented entirely in English.
This offering is provided with 14 areas as listed below:
The 2.5 ton 6x6
The 5 ton 6x6
The M55 Quad
The Birth of the Gun Truck
The 2.5 ton Gun Truck
The 5 ton Gun Truck
APC bodied Gun trucks
Engineer Gun Trucks
The Last Survivor
This book can be considered as a photographic reference of vehicles used in The Vietnam War in the gun truck role. The text is minimal but is provided at the start of each section as listed above, plus the photographs are accompanied by text to explain what you are looking at. I was particularly drawn too two sections covering the M35A1 due to the availability of the AFV Club offering and I was quickly drawn to the M54 trucks with an ACAV M113 body mounted on the deck. The M54 in 1/35th scale is only available from Real Model I believe, but the ACAV M113’s can be found cheaply and these open up a lot of display options due to how common this type of gun truck was. Other options are also opened up by the resin weapon offerings from companies such as Live Resin, these combined with this book for reference provides a host of possibilities.
The photographs in this offering are what the modeller will buy the book for, and the photographs do not disappoint. Most of the photographs are colour offerings, despite the age of these photographs and the circumstances in which they were taken I was very impressed. I was expecting a fuzzy look to them due to having seen photographs of European armour covered from this period which often has a fuzzy look, the photographs provided here offer excellent reference with some being exceptionally clear.
A few other areas I liked finding included are two walk arounds covering the M55 50 cal quad and the last remaining gun truck from the period, the M54A2C named ‘Eve of Destruction’. This vehicle is on display at US Army Transportation Museum at Fort Eustis, Virginia. The other detail section I liked seeing included looks at the firearms of the day, and that offers a quick visual reference.
This book is a very impressive offering in all respects. The Vietnam War is starting to garner a higher level of interest with modellers and titles such as this can only increase that level of interest. I can only hope that model producers pay a greater level of attention to this conflict in terms of vehicles and troops on the ground as they have to the aircraft that flew overhead. With books such as this I am sure the clamour will increase for such models. The amount of content in this book for the very low cost of £17.95 marks this offering as a must have for anyone with an inkling for The Vietnam War gun trucks.