This is one of Tankograd Publishing's latest in the 'Technical Manual' series. This series takes elements of the Official U.S. Army publications of the vehicle and edits them into a reference source which is far more 'compact' than the original documents. I have quite a number of the originals and since most run into several hundred pages, although containing an extraordinary amount of data, they are, it has to be said, also full of material which the average modeler is unlikely to require. Therefore, a degree of editing is required to make them more practical references. However, that isn't the end of the story. The books in this series also include a useful number of contemporary images of the vehicles 'in-theater'.
The book - in brief
6013 - U.S. WWII M5 & M5A1 Stuart Light Tanks is a 48 page, softcover book containing around 200 illustrations (photos, repoductions of the original manuals, diagrams and several color photos of preserved examples). The book is edited by Michael Franz.
The book - in detail
The book begins with a brief, technical introduction (coveing history, description, Differences and Production statistics) of two pages with the third page covering the technical data of the vehicle - weight, dimensions etc.
The second section, again serving as a type of introduction to the vehicle, illustrates the prototype vehicles along with some (early) contemporary photos of the vehicle 'in-the-field' during training and evaluation. This section finishes with a page of line-drawings showing the placement of unit markings and national insignia on both the M5 & the M5a1.
Eleven pages comprise the next section, which looks at the 'general' view of the M5a1. The majority of these photos are 'in-theater' and there are several useful images of French M5a1s - including a French Marine vehicle. Excellent although the quality of these images undoubtedly are, many modelers will particularly welcome the two highly-detailed images of the Culin hedgerow cutters (along with added sandbags) which are very well-detailed.
The remainder of the book (24 pages) covers the 'relevant' sections from the original technical manuals. As I said in the introduction, these are chosen according to relevance for the modeler or vehicle enthusiast. The areas covered in this section are: Driver's Controls & instruments
Engine and Engine Compartment
Power Train & Suspension
Turret & Armament
Deep Water Fording Equipment
All of these are undoubtedly useful in their own areas, however , for those super-detailing (and in particular doing a full interior) they'll be pretty much invaluable. Saying that, the last section, on deep-fording equipment, is of particular interest. with the photos and diagrams particularly well-chosen to aviod any possible doubts over fittings or placement.
The last page of the book presents an invaluable listing of publications related to the M5/M5a1 covering all the relevant U.S. Army manuals along with the more 'enthusiast-targeted publications from authors such as Zaloga.
An extraordinarily well-edited book which will provide a lot of inspiration and answers for the modeler. As books on the M5 do NOT seem to be high on many publisher's 'priority-lists' and while not ignored, it hasn't, IMO, been given as much coverage as the vehicle's large production numbers would justify.
It isn't a criticism of this book, but i'd like to see Tankograd going further with the M5 by publishing a similar-sized book only consisting of contemporary images of the vehicle in the various theaters it served in. It'd also be nice to see French, Polish and Commonwealth vehicles getting their own collection of images as well!
Combining this wth Kurt Laughlin's recent book on the M5/M8 and you really will have virtually all you'll need for going as far as one could wish with the M5a1...
VERY Highly Recommended
Now we've finally got a good, modern model of the M5 Light Tank in 1/35th scale, some modern reference for those who wish to super-detail is always welcome. This book is, in this respect, particularly well-timed.
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About Jim Rae (jimbrae) FROM: PROVINCIA DE LUGO, SPAIN / ESPAñA
Self-employed English teacher living in NW Spain. Been modelling off and on since the sixties. Came back into the hobby around ten years ago. First love is Soviet Armor with German subjects running a close second. Currently exploring ways of getting cloned to allow time for modelling, working and wr...