I recently received a review copy of the Tamiya Sheman M4 CD-Rom series “Absolute Land, Sea, Air” produced by Cassel & Co. (ISBN:0-304-35689-1). The package appears like many other software titles found in your favorite computer store, a large glossy box with nice color art - but contains only a nicely packaged CD Rom in a jewel case… what a waste of space!
The CD advertisment on the outer package states (quote):
AS CLOSE AS YOU WILL GET TO A M4 SHERMAN
“Rare Archive footage • Contemporary Colour film with full stereo sound• hundredd sof still photographs • Exclusive 360-degree panoramic images of interiors and exteriors. • Detailed drawing and plans to all scales •Comprehensive marking and camoflage guides • Meticulously researched technical data files • Complete development histories • Everything but the smell…”
And for once, I think the advertising lives up to the hype. Not exactly dymanimc audience captivating stuff unless you consider ‘Olive Drab” to be a great color, or the debate of “Tiger vs T-34” to be worth the merit of hours of conversation – but in both cases, I do, so this CD fits the bill for my idea of exploration and entertainment.
The initial introduction screen is a video collage narrated in a slight English accent, detailing rather well-worn and often told information about the “under-armed, under-armored, and heavily produced reliable sherman” – nothing new here, so after two or three minutes, I jumped right in.
The majority of the material could be found with some extensive internet research with few exceptions. Having all that information on a single reference CD is a wonderful thing… it will save me future hours of research, in return for a few minutes at the keyboard. The time saved can now be spent behind the workbench laboring over yet another fret of Eduard Photoetched Brass updates!
The most interesting single value I found was the smooth-scrolling 360-degree panoramic views. In this module, the user can use his/her mouse to “look around / up and down” the full interior of a well-restored M4 Sherman (A1 version, from what I can tell). The exterior of several other support vehicles isalso included, but are more of a series of “walk around” photo shots. With the panoramic view, once you see an area or object of interest, you simply stop moving the mouse, and you can examine close up detail of a given view in full color and highly sharp imaging… it is quite elaborate, well done, and very easy to use.
Other areas that I found quite useful were the camoflage patterns, insignia markings, and the fine scale drawings and technical layouts.
There is a lot of incidental information that would also be of good use to the general modeler… including a full motion video of a fully restored Sherman going through a manuever exercise in a large muddy field… complete with a group of accurately dressed soldiers sitting on the deck and in the hatch openings. There is also a nice clip of the inner steering mechanics and controls, which is a nice introduction for those who have never had the chance to climb into a real tank.
Overall, I found the published value of $19.95 to be well worth the price for anyone considering a detailed build of one of the many versions of M4 (including ‘funnies’) offered by the various model companies. Additional titles of the T-34 and Tiger 1 are also offered, so I’ll definitely be buying those as well… and then maybe once and for all we can settle the Tiger vs T-34 issue for all time!
A special thanks to the folks at Tamiya USA for the complimentary copy of this fine title.
Overall, I found the published value of $19.95 to be well worth the price for anyone considering a detailed build of one of the many versions of M4 (including ‘funnies’) offered by the various model companies.
About Keith Magee (KFMagee) FROM: TEXAS, UNITED STATES
After a hiatus of several years following the sale of my hobby shop (Hobby Annex in Dallas, TX), I am ready to build again... I love dioramas, with a focus on WW2 and tend to spend a lot of time documenting my work... any questions, just let me know! - Keith