The M2A1 Half-Track was meant to be used as a prime mover for artillery. The body was shorter than the M3 Half-Track (the armored personnel carrier version) and had stowage bins built into the sides for ammunition storage. This CD of photographs was produced by Chris Hughes in 2006. The pictures are of the M2A1 at the Military Vehicle Technology Foundation in Portola Valley, California. The vehicle is a nicely restored early M2 (fixed headlights, roller in front, single coil idler spring) which was remanufactured into an M2A1. As an M2A1, it has the external mine racks as well as the folding stowage racks on the rear.
The CD is easily navigated and consists of 5 pages: a start page, an introduction, and 3 pages of photos. One problem I have with this CD is that the Introduction and the various Tables of Content are presented as text over a grayscale background picture of the M2A1 which makes the text difficult to read. Autostart is supported for Windows only. Macintosh and Linux users must navigate the CD manually and start up the title.htm file. The user can also manually navigate the CD and copy files to hard disk for quick reference without having to have the CD in the drive all the time. All photos are JPEG files. Wide photos are 1504 pixels wide by 1000 pixels tall while tall photos are 1000 pixels wide by 1504 pixels tall. The resolution for all photos is 300 dpi (dots per inch). Most photos have a simple caption but several contain helpful additional information about the image.
Introduction This page is a short introduction to the M2/M2A1. There is a nice caution about the accurate reproduction of color.
Exterior This page has 112 photos. It starts with some photos of the whole vehicle before going into an in-depth walk around of the exterior. There are nice detail shots of door hinges, the inside of the driver's door, the radiator louvers, tail lights, mine racks, towing pintle, front roller, windscreen, windscreen armor, and the outside of the M49 gun mount. Although the M2A1 photographed has the fixed headlights and front roller of the earlier M2, there are photos of the detachable headlights and winch from M16. There are even under fender shots of the wiring for the headlights. Although the photos here are of the exterior, the page also includes pictures of the inside of the engine compartment.
Suspension This page has 42 photos. There are photos showing both the early single coil idler spring on the M2A1 as well as the later production double coil idler spring (mounted on an M16). There is very nice detail coverage of both front and rear suspension including underneath.
Interior This page has 74 photos of the driver's compartment and the crew compartment. There are explanations of the dials and levers in the driver's compartment and photos showing the front seats folded forward as well as the rear bench seats opened to show the storage compartment underneath. There is coverage of the SCR508 radio and the antenna mount. There are even photos of the fuel tank opening and the inside of the fuel tank cap. There is very nice coverage of the inside of the M49 ring mount as well as the pintle mounts. Although the M2A1 no longer had the skate rail around the inside for machine guns, the CD provides photos of the skate mounts from an M3 Scout Car. Also included are photos of the .50cal M2, .30cal M1919A4, .30cal M1917A1 machine guns, as well as the M1A1 anti-tank mine. One thing missing is coverage of the under floor stowage compartment in the rear.
This is an impressive collection of nice clear detail photos that will help the super detailer out. It's nice that the photos are so large compared to those found in books. I thought it was very nice of the author to include photos of alternate equipment that was not on the photographed M2A1. I highly recommend this CD for the modeler who wants to get all the details right on their kit.
Highs: Very nice close-up detail pictures of a nicely restored vehicle and includes photos of alternative parts from an M16 GMC.Lows: Introduction and Table of Contents are hard to read because of the background picture.Verdict: If you are going to super detail an M2A1 kit (or even M2), get this!
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