With the recent release by Trumpeter
of both the M1078 and the M198 Howitzer in 1/35th scale, this book comes well into the 'timely' category. The FMTV Truck series (which has several variants) is, due to its widespread use, a series which needs some good coverage. Although this is not my 'usual' area of interest, the M1078 has captured my attention, more than anything for its form and potential for one of those slightly different builds from my usual WWII interests.
Within Wings & Wheels Publications'
'Green Series' which covers Modern subjects, this recent book contains 144 pages in FULL color. The book is written by Ralph Zwilling and, for those who require it, has the ISBN 978-80-96416-75-5
. The book is published in an almost 'square', softcover format.
First of all, before I go onto the Review itself, let me make one thing clear - Iím NO expert on this vehicle, its variants or the M198 Howitzer. However, having reviewed many books of this type, I am familiar with how to relate a publication of this type to their value to the modeler.
The book is well separated into the relevant variants and subjects - all of which follow the same format.
Naturally enough, as any good book should do, the introduction covers, clearly, not just the contents of the book but also a 'potted' history of the development of each of the NINE subjects within the book. These are:
The M1071a1 with the M198 Howitzer
The M198 Howitzer
The M1095 Trailer
FMTV Trucks in Iraq
Wrecks in Iraq
The first three pages of each chapter looks at the History & Development of each subject. This is followed by an extensive Walk-Round of the subject. Taking as an example, the M1078a1. Areas covered are: Cab (external), Mudguards, The Spare Wheel (rather a misnomer as it covers ALL areas including fuel tanks, exhaust, and lights), Wheel details, Cab (interior details), Engine, Front and Rear Axles. The quality and crispness of the images is superlative.
Now, not surprisingly, Iíve chosen to concentrate on the M1078, simply because, at the present moment it's the only one of the FMTV trucks available as an injection-moulded kit (from Trumpeter
). So basing my view on this book as to the improvements to the kit (particularly in regard to the Cab interior), Iíll base my evaluation on required reference material to improve it. In this, the book gets a clear thumbs up. Following Sebastien Viale's Build-Log on the kit, many of the details which he added and improved on are available within this book. The penultimate section covers the vehicle in Iraq with correspondingly different color-schemes - the subject of the walk-rounds were of vehicles in Western Europe.
The other subject also available in kit-form, is the M198 Howitzer. Once again, in 1/35th scale and the also the subject of a recent kit from Trumpeter
. Now, I won't personally comment on the accuracy of the M198 model itself, however, tying in this Review to its application of the model is pretty straightforward. Two different Walk-arounds are presented in this chapter - the Crew and the gun itself. The first covers a lot of useful detail on the deployment of the crew in firing position. It also covers areas such as uniform details etc. On the gun itself, I have rarely seen such an exhaustive photo-coverage of any subject where such detail is so clearly presented. However, one detail is, I feel, missing - a series of photos of the ammunition and (in particular) the palletized loads. Some close-ups would have been useful related to stenciling and any other areas such as different colored rounds. This, I feel would have made this section much more complete.
As to the remainder of the book, for anyone working with Modern U.S. subjects of this type (and with fingers crossed for more FMTV variants) there is a lot of vital detail - not least, for the more adventurous, recreating some of 'Junkyard Dogs' in the final chapter.
It's a very well-edited book with an extraordinary level of detail. Quality of the images is first-class and they are all of a good size enabling one to check the smallest detail. What the book is able to cover is equally remarkable - it was ambitious to attempt to cover so many different subjects but it's been carried off well. To work with the M1078 and the M198 models, will require some additional data - in this, the book should be extremely valuable. The other aspect of a book of this type, is that not everyone who buys it will be planning to build FMTV-series truck models. For those who have an interest in Modern U.S. equipment, it is an extremely useful publication to have.
Related Links to Modeling the M1078 and the M198
Three Reviews have been published covering the two Trumpeter
Gino P. Quintiliani's Review of the M1078: HERE (LINK)
Sebastien Viale's Review of the M1078: HERE (LINK)
Mike Del Vecchio's Review of the M198: HERE (LINK)
Finally, Sebastien published a Build-Log of the M1078. It can be seen: HERE (LINK)