Book Review
M65 Atomic Cannon
M65 Atomic Cannon
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by: Darren Baker [ CMOT ]


This book covering the M65 Atomic Cannon is part of a series of titles from Pen and Sword as part of their ‘Images at War’ series. These books cover the subject matter mostly in photographs and so offer a great visual reference for anyone interested in the subject matter regardless of the reason for that interest. For the modeller these books represent a horn of plenty when it comes to visual information.


This offering from Pen and Sword is part of the ‘Images at War’ series. This series of books are soft backed offerings having a good card cover with a very good spine to the book that keeps the contents in good order. This book covering the M65 Atomic Cannon has been authored by David Doyle. The contents of this title are provided over 232 pages of good quality semi gloss paper.

The contents are presented in the following sections:
Chapter 1 – T1 in Detail
Chapter 2 – T10 Development
Chapter 3 – M65 Development and Testing
Chapter 4 – Atomic Cannon in Service
Chapter 5 – Atomic Cannon in Detail

The dedicated text in this offering is minimal as that is not the purpose of these books as they are not designed to be read in the truest sense of the word. With that said the introduction in this title written by David Doyle is very good despite its short length and provides an adequate guide to the M65 Atomic Cannon.

Once you move on from the introduction you reach the section of this title I enjoyed the most, the black and white period photographs which I find the most visually appealing. These images fill the book up to page 138 and cover a very good range as regards what you see, This gun has to be the biggest possible when it comes to transporting and it would appear that due to the amount of damage they caused, Too Big. Not only did the small number of guns produced cause damage to property they also damaged the roads they were on at the sides. The vehicles were not beyond destroying themselves with a great series covering a vehicle that is on its back at the side of the road and covering its recovery.

Some of the images at the end of the segment are in colour and I have to say they serve a purpose, but do not even come close to being of the clarity the black and white images offer. It needs to be said that they do show some great aspects of this huge gun such as a series showing one of the atomic rounds going after being fired down range and makes for an impressive sequence. One image at the very start of the book is possibly the most stunning as it shows an atomic cannon in firing position with a 75mm pack howitzer beneath it; it looks like a toy by comparison.

The M65 Atomic Cannon is available in 1/72nd scale form Dragon Models under their Black Label brand and so this book does have an appeal to modellers. I am sure given time other companies will jump on this very large vehicle and release it, most likely Trumpeter or Hobby Boss. So if one or more release this in time how will this title help you with your task? Well after the period photographs the in detail section provides what the modeller needs. This gun is so large that David Doyle has done an impressive job of providing what looks to me a comprehensive walk around with a combination of black & white and colour photographs. A very well done section of the title that I am sure will have a lot of appeal.

The captions that accompany each and every photograph provide a very good level of information. I feel David Doyle deserves high praise in this regards as I found them very informative and provided everything I wanted from them as a reader. I should also point out that I did not find any errors in the text, not even a piece I had to read twice to get my head around.


With the M65 Atomic Cannon having limited coverage by the model manufacturers I am really pleased to have a copy of this book from Pen and Sword as part of their ‘Images of War’ book series. The period photographs are a great visual reference on the M65 Atomic Cannon and with the very good captions provided with the photographs increasing their value even further.

This weapon was never used in anger or as far as I am aware anything more than a deterrent to the Eastern BLOC countries and so I found the period pictures a really nice inclusion. It is also for this reason and the fact that it is just such a huge piece of equipment that the in detail section with the walk around and close ups is so valuable. The captions that accompany these images are really helpful as I feel it would prove next to impossible for the average person to know exactly what aspect of the vehicle they are looking at. In finishing this book and for that matter the series, offer fantastic value for money regardless of where your interests lay or the reason you have an interest.
Darren Baker takes a look at a visual delight covering the M65 Atomic Cannon from Pen and Sword.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: ISBN: 9781526743602
  Suggested Retail: £12.79
  PUBLISHED: May 14, 2019
  NATIONALITY: United States

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About Darren Baker (CMOT)

I have been building model kits since the early 70’s starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70’s, I have had lots of opportunitie...

Copyright ©2021 text by Darren Baker [ CMOT ]. All rights reserved.


You know what's odd, when the Dragon 1/72 came out, on a goof I priced the old Adams/Life-like 1/40 scale kit and found one for around the same price as the Dragon atomic cannon. The same way you can find a 1/40 Honest John for around the price of the Afv-club M54 truck. So we've gotten to the point where new releases are the same price as a "collector's " kit of the similar item. Afv-club has a Nike Hercules displayed at their stand in the on-going hobby show. Hopefully they will tackle some more American missiles, but the M65? One can only hope. We'll probably see it after Takom decides to do an M55. It's only logical after M47, M46 and that super heavy-- why not the next thing based on that chassis?
MAY 17, 2019 - 08:00 AM
The limit between 'plausible' and 'no fricking way will never happen' has moved quite a lot the last few years so an Atomic Annie might turn up. There is a lot of kits now that were only dreams 10 years ago. As long as it isn't Black Label .... / Robin
MAY 17, 2019 - 08:59 AM
The Dragon 1/72 M65 Atomic Annie was a Black Label kit.
MAY 18, 2019 - 04:02 AM
The Dragon 1/72 M65 Atomic Annie was a Black Label kit. [/quote] LINK
MAY 18, 2019 - 04:27 AM
The Dragon 1/72 M65 Atomic Annie was a Black Label kit. [/quote] LINK [/quote] Pretty funny! Yes, the 1/72 scale M65 was a "dreaded" Black Label kit. But to be fair, It isn't an unequivocal monstrosity like many other Dragon Black Labels are. It just couldn't be built in the firing mode (well, it can with extensive modification tho the side frames to lower the crew platforms) Other than that, I can't see a lot of other "negative waves man..." except for the really negative pricing. But comparing it to newer 1/72 Takom releases (M1070) I guess it's on par. I haven't seen a lot of them built yet though, and I thinks it's largely because of the pricing. You can buy a couple of good 1/35 kits for the price of the Dragon M65 ($70). But I bet a 1/35 M65 would be closer to $130. Again-- those negative waves....😆 VR, Russ
MAY 18, 2019 - 05:14 AM
My wife's paternal grandfather was an engineer on that project.
MAY 18, 2019 - 05:58 AM
Another interesting weapon that lay within its own CEP (not exactly, but it's fun to think that). In reality, at the time these small yield weapons were developed, they were designed to break up enemy formations. Their mere existence was the deterrence. On another note, I dug out my Jan/Feb 2011 issue of AFV modeler, with an article on Paul Gaertner's amazing scratchbuilt M65 M250/M249 combination. What a great model that is. But the bonus was David Doyle's excellent 8 page article on the M65-- if this book is as good as that article, we're in for a real treat! VR, Russ
MAY 18, 2019 - 07:04 AM
The Dragon 1/72 M65 Atomic Annie was a Black Label kit. [/quote] LINK [/quote] Moriarty is my idol. Spent a whole gunnery cycle down on my hole thinking "crap".
MAY 18, 2019 - 10:25 PM
For those interested, here's another excellent modeling site for the Atomic Cannon --Paul Gaertners excellent research site and scratchbuilding of a 1/72 scale M65. He sells plans for the M65 in various scales too. Paul also links his site to Wim Vink' superb site (which Frenchy linked above)--Wim has re-built several old Renwal kits into masterpiece models, including the M65. Here's Gaertners site: LINK VR, Russ
MAY 19, 2019 - 08:09 AM

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