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Built Review
148
M10 IIC Achilles
M10 IIC Achilles British Tank Destroyer
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction
Tamiya released into their 1/48 series kit 32582 M10 IIC Achilles British Tank Destroyer and we examine this interesting model. To follow the assembly of this model, please see Click here for additional images for this review at the end of this review for the blog!

M10 IIC Achilles British Tank Destroyer
America watched masses of panzers rampage across Europe in 1940 and scrambled to create a countermeasure. American senior officers such as Major General Chaffee, Lt. Gen. McNair, and Maj.Gen. Bruce proposed different theories on America's antidote to the panzer plague. It was decided purpose-built tank destroyers that would actively seek and destroy panzers were the best idea, freeing tanks for the role of infantry support. The M10 3in GMC (Gun Motor Carriage) slung the powerful M7 3-inch anti-tank gun on a slightly larger body on a common M4 chassis. With thinner armor than tanks, M10 was a bit more mobile. However, while its cannon could easily defeat contemporary Pzr III and Pzr IV tanks, against the newer Tiger and Panther M10 was ineffective. M10 was later up-gunned with a 90mm gun (designated M36 Jackson) which allowed it to engage those enemies.
    Britain was supplied with a number of American M10 tank destroyers under the Lend-Lease program. The M10 was based upon the famed M4 Sherman tank, but with lighter and more highly sloped armor which allowed the M10 to reach higher speeds. The British switched the original U.S. 3-inch gun with their own powerful 17-pounder on over 1,000 M10s, changing the name to IIC, or sometimes called "Achilles". While the new gun required a muzzle brake to be fitted onto the vehicle, other modifications were limited to thicker front and side armor, plus a turret-top shield. - Tamiya


In the box
"Achilles" is packaged in a standard Tamiya light cardboard lid-tray box with Tamiya's usual impressive box art. Inside are instructions, decals, two small packs of poly caps and parts, weights, and bags of six olive sprues of parts:
    1.Two sprues of suspension and running gear (sprue A) with sprue R and sprue P attached (Those hold drive sprockets, idlers, road wheels, and air filter canisters).
    2. Sprue H, "Achilles" variant of the M10: 17-pounder; turret; ammunition; Sten guns; extra armor, etc.
    3. Sprue B, M10 upper hull and equipment
    4. Sprue J, hull floor and hull sides
    5. Sprue T, standard American "Tool-set, pioneer equipment, motor vehicle Set No. 1", plus a .50 caliber machine gun

Molding is high quality with no flash, sink marks or visible ejector circles, and almost no noticeable mold seams. The parts are sharply molded. Several pieces are close to scale thickness. Some sprue attachments are thicker than necessary but all nip off easily with sprue cutters and hobby knives. Most parts have no surface texture and what texture there is very subtle. Overall, molding is impressive.

This Achilles appears to be a later model with the "sharp-nose" style 1-piece cast differential cover with recessed bolts in the bolt strip along the upper lip. Tamiya has an American M10 out there and the universal upper hull sides display the only surface flaws I found - weird molded circles where bosses for supplemental armor would be mounted. These appear similar to ejector marks, but they are not. Considering that to mount tools and other items on the hull, that Tamiya molded divots inside the hull to drill open to accept the pieces, I am flummoxed as to why they did not engineer the same for those bosses. However, bosses are molded on the front plate.

Sub-assemblies are conventionally designed. With a few exceptions Tamiya engineered this kit much like how I remember their 1/35 M10 of some 30 years ago. Yet the lower hull chassis is not a single piece; tracks are neither rubber bands nor individual links. They are made in lengths of flat track with shorter segments reaching up from the bogies to encompass the sprockets and idlers. Clever.

Tamiya includes minimal stowage: two spare bogies and two spare lengths of track. That is disappointing as the M10 was designed to carry the crew's voluminous equipment externally; photos show M10s festooned with bags and rolls and packs. Equally unfortunately for an open top AFV model, there are no figures in this kit.

details
This model features many individual fittings to add to the main components.

I wish the .50 caliber machine gun handles were molded as a separate part instead as integral with the gun.

Hull The single largest piece is the upper hull. While the driver and assistant's hatches are separate and positionable, the upper hull features molded fuel and coolant tank filler caps, and engine compartment doors, grilles and covers (not molded open). A bit of weld seam runs along the glacis and side armor. All lifting eyes and light guards are separate pieces, as are an antenna mount and the spare track brackets. Across the lower and upper hull rear plates, air filters, M4A2-style back exhausts system with exhaust gas deflector hood, lights and lift rings, and fire extinguisher bottles are all separate parts. Front and rear towing lugs have no bolt holes through them.

Tools of Tool-set, pioneer equipment, motor vehicle Set No. 1 (sprue T) are also individual parts.

As noted above, Tamiya has a Yank M10 out there. The extra two types of road wheels - solid and open - and different sprocket faces are for it.

Inside the hull is a one-piece fighting compartment floor and rear bulkhead; molded to this are the driver and assistant seats. It is not super-detailed but you can't see much once the turret in on. Sponson ready-round racks attach to the sides. Good, because they camouflage the lack of a view block from the interior to the tracks.

Turret Up top the turret is a multi-piece assembly: left and right halves; counterweight and brackets; mantle; turret-top shield. That roof plate has three tarp poles molded onto it; again, these could be carved away and new ones fashioned with wire or sprue.

Inside the turret are many parts: traversing wheels; boxes and stowage; personal weapons; seats; several racks of 17-pounder rounds, and the 17-pounder. An M2 HB .50 caliber machine gun with a separate ammunition box stands proud on a rear pintle. Unfortunately, it is molded in its cradle mount.

The exterior is dotted with the dozens of eye loops for fastening gear to. These are molded on and will be annoying to carve away although they will be easy enough to make with wire. Hopefully there is a nice photo-etch set soon to be released.

17-pounder Eight pieces assemble the breech: breech with recoil tubes; breech guards; elevation wheels; breech block. Tamiya though of a clever way to mold the gun without seams: the barrel is whole while half of the muzzle break is a separate piece. The butt of that piece abuts the two-piece barrel counterweight.

But where is the gunner's sighting equipment!? Tamiya forgot it.

Decals, instructions, painting
Tamiya guides assembly with a 17-step folded instruction sheet. Illustrated with black-and-white line art, it is clear and smartly organized. Disappointingly, Tamiya did not illustrate the different sprues. Text is in Japanese, English, German and French. Parts are identified by sprue number, keyed for unique paint colors.

Tamiya limits the paint guide to only 10 colors of Tamiya paints. XF-61 Dark Green is listed as the vehicle color.

Decals are also limited to a single vehicle: Chelsea, S237811, I Corps, Normandy, summer 1944. These decals appear to be opaque, well registered, and thin with reasonable excess carrier film.

Assembly and Fit
Typical of a Tamiya model, 'Achilles' is well molded and has very good fit between almost every part. Assembly just fell together. Excluding a great deal of rumination about painting and associated slight deviation from Tamiya's excellent instructions, I figure I spent about nine hours from nipping off the first part, to attaching the final piece.

Pay close attention to the instructions as there are four steps to build six VVSS assemblies. Three different rear faces build the suspensions, and the two different parts of return rollers are used, too. Then be aware that you orient the return rollers in the opposite direction for the right or left VVSSs. All are 'directional' to ensure proper alignment of the track components.

Also, take note that there are two axes in the vehicle tool set. They are identical except one is molded to face forward, one backwards. "Achilles'" is the forward facing one. (Fortunately, I attached the wrong one with white glue. so it was easy to remove.)

Used care with the fine lift rings and thin tools. Some of the small parts are easy to loose grip of and feed the carpet monster. I lost one piece, fortunately and inconspicuous one that you will not miss unless you know specifically what to look for.

For the track assemblies Tamiya provides a long top length that spans from sprocket to idler. It is the "master track" as it attached to the front return roller via a pin/slot, creating proper alignment for the subsequent parts. Four links mount into the teeth of the sprocket. The tank rests upon a long piece that spans from the first bogie to the last one. The another intermediate short length reached from the ground to the idler. It needs cement. Finally, you wrap five more individual links around the idler to complete the track. One side fit so tight that no cement was needed, while the other side needed cement. However, I went back and used Tamiya extra thin glue to make sure all of the links bonded together forever.

You can follow the assembly in the build-blog. (Please see Click here for additional images, below, for the assembly blog.)

Conclusion
Tamiya's "Achilles" looks like a very good 1/48 model of this British tank destroyer. Tamiya's engineering, design and molding should make this an enjoyable model to build by modelers of any skill level. Modelers wanting more should expend little effort carving away some molded-on details and adding parts.

Detail of the 17-pounder and other turret detail is good. Fit and molding fidelity is high quality.

A couple of things count against this model. I am perplexed as to why Tamiya blemished the exterior of the upper hull sides with molded circles for the extra armor bosses (not included in this kit) when Tamiya tooled guide holes inside the hull for mounting external parts.

Another concern are the divots for mounting the headlight guards. Tamiya's box art and instructions show covers for the headlight mounts yet there are none in the kit. The headlights are not used presumably because the extra frontal armor is in the way. But Tamiya did not present any guidance for filling or covering the divots for the light guards. A simple problem to fix, but completely absent from the instructions.

Decals for a single vehicle and no figures is also disappointing. I can understand the lack of figures as Tamiya wants to sell these as a separate kit, but I am used to Tamiya providing more marking choices.

After decades of awaiting more 1/48 military kits since the demise of Bandai's series of such, I am always happy when Tamiya releases a new quarterscale subject. I am satisfied with this 1/48 M10 IIC and recommend it.

We thank Dragon USA for providing this model to Armorama for review! Please mention to them and retailers that you saw this model reviewed on Armorama!

Click here for additional images for this review.

SUMMARY
Highs: Detail of the 17-pounder and other turret detail is good. Fit and molding fidelity is high quality.
Lows: I am perplexed as to why Tamiya blemished the exterior of the upper hull sides with molded circles for the extra armor bosses, and no guidance for filling the unused headlight guard divots. Where is the gunner's sighting equipment?
Verdict: Tamiya's engineering, design and molding should make this an enjoyable model to build by modelers of any skill level.
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: 32582
  Suggested Retail: $33.00
  Related Link: TM 9-731G. 5. 3-INCH GUN MOTOR CARRIAGE M10A1
  PUBLISHED: Jan 24, 2015
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 87.00%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 82.61%

Our Thanks to Dragon USA!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)
FROM: TENNESSEE, UNITED STATES

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright 2017 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


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