Book Review
M48 Patton
M48 Patton American Cold War Battle Tank
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by: Darren Baker [ CMOT ]


This offering from Pen and Sword as part of their Tank Craft series and is on this occasion looks at the M48 Patton American Cold War Battle Tank. This book as with all of the titles in this series are I feel an attempt to offer the modeller a combination package covering both reference on the vehicles and a look at the models available to replicate the M48 Patton as a scale model.

The following portion of the introduction is from the Pen and Sword website:
The M48 Patton main battle tank was one of the most successful and longest-serving designs produced in the United States, and it is a popular subject with tank modellers and enthusiasts. When it came into service in 1949 it represented a significant advance on the Sherman and M47 which it replaced, and it formed the backbone of American armoured forces during the early years of the Cold War. It also saw combat in Vietnam, during the Indo-Pakistan wars and in the Middle East, in particular during the Iran-Iraq War. So it is an fascinating subject for this volume in the TankCraft series.

Archive photos of the M48 in service and extensively researched colour profile illustrations depict the tank throughout its operational life. A large part of the book showcases available model kits and aftermarket products, complemented by a gallery of beautifully constructed and painted models in various scales. Technical details as well as modifications introduced during production and in the field are also examined and provide everything the modeller needs to recreate an accurate representation of the M48.


This offering from Pen and Sword is authored by Rob Griffin; Rob Griffin has authored a couple of titles in this series previously plus a few other books, but this is the first that I know of that is not covering modern British armour. This is a soft backed book with a good card cover protecting 64 pages of semi gloss paper. The contents of this title are laid out as follows:

M48 Patton in detail
M48 main battle tank variants
Camouflage and markings
Model showcase
Modelling products
M48 Patton specialist variants
M48 Patton in action

This offering from Pen and Sword starts with a brief introduction on the M46 and M47, this also looks at their service during the Korean War and the lessons learnt that led to the M48 Patton MBT. This is not a huge section of the book, but it does provide a tidy and logical starting point. This is followed by an ‘in detail’ section that provides some excellent close in photographs looking at what I would refer to as ‘areas of interest’ covering details of the M48 that are not always seen clearly and so difficult to get right on a model. A nice touch here is that a number of trainer tanks have been photographed in the section and so being cutaway vehicles it has allowed very clear photographs that provide a lot of visual information. Unusually for a chapter covering a vehicle in detail the author has provided a good amount of text that I found interesting.

The next two chapters of this offering look at the M48 main battle tank variants and M48 Patton specialist variants. I rather liked these sections as it provided clear guidance on the tank and the changes that occurred over its life along with the bits added to utilise the vehicle for specific purposes. One aspect of the first chapter covered here that I do wish would stop is the habit of splitting the chapter up and inserting the modelling aspect of the title, for me it adds a stutter in the title that throws off your attention. The last written chapter of the book looks at the M48 Patton in action and is the one chapter I would have liked to see being far longer as it contains some great information and appealing photographs. Two photographs that really caught my eye covers an M48 being used as a battlefield taxi in Vietnam and a Pakistani M48 that has been hit just right that has blown the turret off of the tank.

What I think of as the modelling sections of the title starts with the camouflage and markings and this shows a number of M48 tanks from four aspects covering the left side, top, front and rear. Tackling the vehicles in this way provides the modeller with great visual guides from angles often ignored especially from above. Another aspect I liked is that the M48 is in my head as a ‘Paint it Green’ vehicle and it was good to see camouflage used in different styles covered here. The models covered here are as follows:

M48A3 - 2nd Battalion, 34th Armoured Regiment, Vietnam 1969-1970 – 1/35th scale – built by Anthony Leone
Details on the model used and the modeller’s thoughts on the kit are covered in brief. It was also good to see some images of the model during the build and after market items used, the result is that I was left with the opinion that the M48A3 from Dragon has its good points but also some big weaknesses.

Patton M48A2C – Tet Offensive, Vietnam 1968 – 1/35th scale – built by David Nickles
The model used here is from the dark ages as modellers would usually think of it being the 1958 release offering from Monogram. What I like about this is how the modeller shows what can be done with an old model without having to spend 20 times the cost of the model to get a reasonable finish.

Patton M48A3 – C Company, 69th Armoured Regiment USMC, Vietnam 1968 – 1/35th scale – Built by Ben Skipper
This offering is the Tamiya kit that has quite a few bells and whistles thrown at it in order to produce a stunning model.

Patton M48A3 – 3rd Tank Battalion, USMC, Vietnam 1968 – 1/35th scale – Built by Bill Stewart
This modeller again opted for the Tamiya offering with the addition of tracks and correct the way the model sits high at the rear, also refinement of the model was undertaken and I really appreciate that some of the work undertaken is shown in the provided images.

The models and aftermarket offerings are reasonable well covered and I like that the author even gave consideration to models not available to him at the time of writing.


This offering from Pen and Sword as part of their Tank Craft book series has a lot going for it in my opinion. I appreciate that the author has opted to cover fewer models in the built section and provided more information and detail on each of the models than many of the other offerings provided. The quality overall is good in my opinion with the only negative being the splitting of a chapter and the modelling sections dropped in.
Darren Baker takes a look at one of the Tank Craft series of books covering the M48 Patton American Cold War Battle Tank from Pen and Sword.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 9781526757739
  Suggested Retail: £16.99
  PUBLISHED: Feb 22, 2020
  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.


Hi Darren. Looks a cool book think I need to buy it. Thank you for the review mate.
FEB 23, 2020 - 10:03 AM
Hi Darren. I think the fault for the format probably lies with the publishers. All the books in this series are the same regardless of Author, and their Shipcraft series are the same
FEB 29, 2020 - 10:25 AM

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