One the most spectacular classes of military vehicle for their sheer 'presence' is undoubtedly the heavy tank transporters. From the heavy Famo's of WWII to the Modern Fauns, Tank Transporters have always been a favourite of modellers. This CD Rom consists of a reproduction of three of the Department of Defence's original manuals for the maintenance of both the Armoured Tractor unit and the M15 trailer along with some good 'additional' material. .
The CD Rom T044 - The Dragon Wagon
is a compilation, on a single CD Rom produced by the U.S. company, Easy 1 Productions
of three of the relevant technical manuals for the M25 Tractor unit and the heavy trailer. The disc contains a total of five separate sections which are:
Museum Photos, Parts Catalogue, Period Photos, TM 9-1767E on the M15 Semi-Trailer and TM 9-767 on the M25 Tractor-Trailer combination
. Excluding the period and museum photos, no less than 980 scans of the original documentation are included.
The logical way to assess this product is to evaluate it according to its practical value to the modeller by considering the 'utility' of each section,.
: This section, which consists of 106 photos of preserved examples in a 'WalkRound' format. This is very useful as the quality is good and act as an excellent counterpoint for the 'archive' photos of the vehicle within the pages of the TMs.
: This part contains 11 photos of the vehicle 'in the field' drawn from contemporary sources. It has to be said, that this is the weakest part of the 'package' the photos are grainy and not particularly inspiring although they do have one or two ideas which could be translated into some very spectacular set pieces.
: Is the section on the massive M15 trailer unit. This is one of the three TMs (Technical Manuals) included in the CD Rom. Not much exists 'graphically although the photos are useful. As the winch gear was carried on the M25, this is logical. Of particular interest to the modeller will be the detail of the axles, the wheel cable guide pulleys and the support leg assembly.
This section covers the M25 Tractor unit. If the previous section was slightly lacking on images, this section is OVERFLOWING with them. There are images covering every aspect of the tractor from the power unit to the tools from the light units to the entire cab assembly, it's all there. Also in this section are more details on the 40-ton trailer. This is precisely the section where anyone planning to build the Dragon-Wagon will be drooling. at the detail presented. Although, inevitably, the crews of the vehicles in the 'field' would personalise their vehicles, this section gives the modellers a VITAL starting point - all the standard equipment which was necessary to keep an M25 functioning.
The Parts Catalogue
: This is the final section and is principally a collection of photos of the principal components of both the M25 and the M15. This section is equally as good as the previous manual and although there is some (inevitable) duplication of images the value to the modeller is enormous. Want to know how a blackout driving light dis-assembles? It's there. Storage compartments inside the cab? Yes, present as well... Massively useful and practical is the best way to sum-up this section.
Fortunately for the modeller, there is an excellent kit of the 'Dragon Wagon' available in 1/35th scale from Tamiya
. It is however a model which will need some additions and an element of super-detailing to bring out the huge potential. For anyone contemplating a build project involving this vehicle, I would consider this resource an absolutely fundamental purchase. However, good as this product is, there are areas which could be corrected. The quality of the images (scanned from the original TMs) could be improved somewhat in both clarity and to take out the 'sepia hue' which is present in virtually all the pages. However, in fairness, Easy 1 Productions
is a small company with limited time (and resources) to rework the almost 1000 scans. As it is, this is a VERY useful resource although as I found when I reviewed their half-track CD, the serious modeller will also arm themselves with a book containing contemporary images of the vehicle in the field. This is by no means a reflection on the publishers - they have fulfilled their part of the deal admirably, by presenting an enormously valuable resource. Armed with this, the next step is to start the mammoth project of detailing the basic kit.
My thanks to Mike Powell of Easy One Productions
for this and the other review samples. To purchase this or any of the other Cd's from the company, their website can be seen: HERE