ARM: Review - "Son of Sherman Volume 1" Sherman Design and Development

Book Review: Son of Sherman Volume 1: The Sherman - Design and Development
by Pat Stansell and Kurt Laughlin; 386 pp. with photos, drawings, and table
s; Ampersand Publishing 2013; retail price $55 softcover, $67 hardcover (no
t yet available); ISBN 978-0-9773781-1-1
Advantages: closest to a single volume covering all aspects of the famous W
WII US medium tank; accurate information on nearly all of the production mo
difications and numbers of tanks built and used, and by who; concise handbo
ok
Disadvantages: few noted (but it is heavy!)
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all US WWII Medium tank and Sherman fans in particular
Back in 1999 a modeler named Pete Harlem tried to do something that many p
eople wanted: to capture all of the basic models of the famous US M4 Sherma
n tank in one book along with models of each variant and the items availabl
e to make them. But he only had 118 pages to work with and also made a coup
le of decisions that came back to haunt all concerned.
Pete knew there were differences and could highlight them, but at the time
he was not aware that the US Army had ensured they were sorted out by usin
g their blueprint or casting diagram numbers to identify each of the parts,
as well as some other internal designations. While he correctly identified
the differences, he simply gave them numbers and nicknames such as ?Type
5-B-1 glacis and hoods) or ?Type G Hull?. Many modelers took this as g
ospel and tried to pass them off as accurate, which was unfortunately not t
rue.
But in the intervening 14 years a lot more was discovered and published by
people like Steve Zaloga, Joe Demarco and Kurt Laughlin. As a result, Pat
Stansell (Military Miniatures in Review and Axis and Allied book publisher)
teamed up with Kurt Laughlin to rework this popular but now dated referenc
e into a new and state-of-the-art one. They opted for two volumes: one on t
he actual vehicles and all of the research and development data that sorted
out all of the options by their correct names, listed serial numbers, prod
uction numbers, registration numbers, and other items of concern to modeler
s, and a second volume on available kits, after market parts, and how to as
semble accurate models of each vehicle.
On 19 April 2013 the first 110 copies of Volume 1 arrived at the AMPS 2013
show in Atlanta, Georgia, and within 24 hours less than five remained. (Th
is was a special shipment and others were going to Ampersand?s offices in
Florida.)
The big question is ? is it worth it? The answer is you betcha!
The book now is broken down into a ?Cliff?s Notes? of Sherman varian
ts in the foreword to explain what follows as well as a glossary of terms.
It then breaks down the examination of the tanks into factories, small hatc
h (56 degree hull) tanks, applique upgrades, large hatch (47 degree hull) t
anks, final drive assemblies (e.g. bow shapes and sections), 75mm turrets,
76mm turrets, running gear, and appendices - Foundry Symbols, Registration
Data, Large Hatch Tank Detail Changes, and Transportation (e.g. shipping an
d shipping codes)
Each section is profusely illustrated with photos of the actual vehicles a
nd the details in question, as well as documentation cited and the proper b
lueprints/casting sheets for each part in question such as the D50878 and D
78461 75mm turrets and the D82081 and 7054366 76mm turrets. Details are als
o displayed in both line drawings and tone paintings to illustrate specific
variations and detail locations.
Color photos are used of restored or museum vehicles where appropriate and
add a nice balance to the book.
Overall, while the book may seem expensive it is a dedicated work and cove
rs one of the most popular tanks among modelers in a depth that it richly d
eserved, and is now a reference that will stand up next to the Hunnicutt se
ries, the Russian ?Top to Bottom? looks at the T-34, and the ?Panzer
Tracts? coverage of German vehicles.
Cookie Sewell
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