by: Cpt. C. Sosebee, USA (Ret [ ]
For military vehicle enthusiasts and armour modellers, Tankograd Publishing is one of the premier publishers of military vehicle references. I’m not a modern vehicle modeller myself (I model only WWII subjects), and I’m not aware of any model kits of this vehicle (Google turned up only a 1:87 “toy”), but sometimes Tankograd has a knack for releasing reference material for upcoming kit releases.
The Tankograd special issue No. 5040, the subject of this review, covers the ‘EMMA,’ The MAN 630 L2A & L2AE 5-ton truck produced for the modern German Army (Bundeswehr) between 1958 and the early 1970’s. The book measures 11-3/4” x 8-1/2”, stapled binding with 72 glossy pages between the thin glossy cardboard-like covers. Text and captions are in both German and English. There are 175 photographs in both black & white and colour showing many of the variants. Detail and interior photos are provided as well. Also included are several technical drawings, probably from the truck’s technical manual.
A short history of the MAN 630 is provided with a few photos of the truck’s direct predecessors from World War II, the MAN 500 A/S and L4500 A/S, both very familiar to me as a modeller of WWII subjects. Designed with the experiences of WWII, the MAN 630, nicknamed ‘EMMA,’ was a favourite among the Bundeswehr troops, often described as indestructible. Although the cargo version was the most numerous variant, a great deal of coverage is provided for variants of the truck, such as communications vans, radar service vehicles and even a fire truck, among others. The captions for the photos are more than adequate, relating to the reader the type and variant of the subject photo as well as any minor features/details that might otherwise go unnoticed. Multiple views of the same truck are provided, very helpful when modelling a particular type.
The final 15 pages are dedicated to the details and technical aspects of the MAN 630. There are three or more pages of text describing the technical aspects of the EMMA. There are several technical drawings and detail photographs showing off the cab interior, engine bay and details of variants, such as a tilt-bed version. These photos and descriptions are very helpful for a would-be modeller.
Even though I’m not a modern vehicle modeller, I can spot a decent reference when I see it, and this fits the bill. I really appreciate the single vehicle volumes Tankograd produces. Instead of a multi-vehicle reference such as a book on Modern German trucks that might provide just a short description and a few photos, Tankograd has produced many single vehicle volumes. These allow for more detailed descriptions with many more reference photos, allowing the consumer to purchase only the references they need. Tankograd also doesn’t delve too deep into the subject, providing a well balanced and not too technical overview of the MAN 630 5-ton truck.