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Book Review
Son of Sherman, Vol. 1
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by: Matt Flegal [ NINJRK ]

Introduction

Fourteen years ago Ampersand released a collection of articles from Military Miniatures in Review on the Sherman tank titled "The Modeler's Guide to the Sherman". It covered details of the hull and suspension variations along with an overview of what Sherman related model products were available. At the time, it was a very good reference and made a nice companion to Hunnicutt's Presidio Sherman book. Then back in 2006 or so we began to get teased with an expanded version when simply reprinting it became an issue. After a long wait, I can say that I am extremely grateful that they took their time to do it right, for they have indeed done it right.

Review

Before I begin rhapsodizing, let me clarify what this book isn't. It is not a replacement for Hunnicutt's seminal work. While it covers some interesting development pieces it is not trying to cover the genesis and reasons for the development of the M4 through its lifespan. It is also not a combat or employment history. If that's what you want, get Steven Zaloga's excellent "Armored Thunderbolt". It does not cover modified M4's, so there is no coverage of Sherman funnies, rocket launchers, or "Ishermans". One minor omission that puzzles me is that there is scant coverage of the M4A6 beyond a half page of text.

My best description of what the book is? This is a visual reference of every external structural detail over the lifespan of the factory produced M4 tank. Exhaustively so. We get 2 pages of several dozen photos of the variations of lifting eyes described with the specific hulls they were welded to, never mind 8 photos of the various antenna brackets placed. Over 200 crisp and clear photos of existing tanks show the various external parts and areas to accompany the almost 80 excellent hull, turret, and running gear variations. These drawings are similar to the ones in the old MMiR's but appear to be higher resolution and better shaded. Combined with several charts that indicate exactly what configuration was coming out of which factory during which quarter of the production years you can make a tank accurate down to the casting number (which are of course detailed, along with the appropriate serial numbers to each variant). That right there would make this a tremendous value for the money.

So then they go and just show off by including over 350 period photos, some in color, of the various M4's. Most photos are half a page and crystal clear. They are used to illustrate the various external configurations but they also make this the best Sherman photo book I've found. In action shots, weathering, crew, maintenance, etc are all covered. I recognize many of the photos from other works but these photos are better reproduced than in several of those works and they are all in one place. All of this put together make for an amazing book and really one of a kind at the moment. Take that Panther!

Conclusion

In some ways this book is overkill for the average modeler, like, say, me. . . I'm not going to sand a casting number off a Tasca Sherman because it's not appropriate to the particular month of the year I'm portraying. If I wanted to though, this book would give me the tools. However, I do like to my models accurate and this certainly gives me everything I could want for that. The fact that things like measurements for the applique armor including exactly where to place them on the hull are included is the kind of thing that I will use. The background of the various production facilities was interesting and to a detail I'd not yet seen. The short chapter on shipping and unpacking the Sherman suggests some interesting diorama ideas. For this alone, this book is highly recommended. Add in the hundreds of period photos and this book becomes a must buy. Heck, even if you never model a Sherman the weathering reference as well as crew/figure reference would be of great interest.

We seem to be in a bit of a golden era for printed reference works for modelers. This book is one of the best.
SUMMARY
Highs: Hundreds of outstanding photos Clearly and logically laid out Comprehensively covers the fielded Shermans Excellent drawings of the various configurations and components
Lows: No m4A6 drawings (I'm grasping here. . .)
Verdict: If you model Shermans, buy it. Just an outstanding reference
Percentage Rating
98%
  Scale: N/A
  Suggested Retail: $55 SC, $67.50 HC
  Related Link: Manufacturers site
  PUBLISHED: Jul 23, 2013
  NATIONALITY: United States
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 90.56%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 92.12%

About Matt Flegal (ninjrk)
FROM: ALABAMA, UNITED STATES

Copyright 2019 text by Matt Flegal [ NINJRK ]. All rights reserved.



Comments

To prevent how some people get all wound up over delivery of a hobby book, I'd suggest we all put Vols 2 and 3 out of our conciousness completely until someone actually states that a) it can be pre-ordered (in which case pre-order it), b) announces that it can be paid for (in which case pay for it) and c) announces that it has been shipped (in which case patiently await its arrival). I swear, the way some people get wound up, you'd think it was something vitally important like the birth of their child. It's a hobby book. On tanks, ferchrissakes! Paul[/quote: Hi, All! Paul does have a point- it did take a long time to get the first volume into print and finally, out there for us to buy. BUT- actually collating all the information correctly, and separating the trash from the truth is a long, drawn out process, especially in a work of this magnitude... The wealth of information regarding the US M4 Medium is an on-going process, much of which has only come to light in the last few years. OK, so some of us are getting just a little bit overly enthusiastic... We should realize however, that the work involved in getting these books into print is an overwhelming effort. The first 2 books in this series are IN-DEPTH works about the US M4 Mediums and Vol.3 will continue in the same vein, covering the Lend-Lease British, Commonwealth, and Soviet Shermans. There are a few books out there that cover the history and technical aspects of the US M4 Medium and Allied Shermans. Several other books cover building them. However, and this is the crux of the matter, none of these other fine books have ever covered this particular tank in a series of three volumes, in such depth, including a separate modelling book that directly corresponds in harmony with the rest of the series... OK granted, this is not the discovery of "The Holy Grail". There are umpteen books out there that cover the histories, technical aspects, and the modelling of Tigers and other German Armored Vehicles. As regards to the M4 Medium, it's never been done on such a huge scale as this before. I see these books as the culmination of a lot of hard, and in some respects, tedious work on the part of Pat Stansel, who well deserves great credit for his efforts. (Applause) This series of books promises to be a new landmark in the historical, technical and modelling fields of the US M4 Medium series tank... I'm sure that many modellers will be happy to buy these books, both for reference and for their reading pleasure. I count myself as one of them...
JUL 24, 2013 - 01:57 PM
I don't know where you are getting this Dennis. There has been no official statement beyond SON OF SHERMAN VOLUME 3: Title TBA Second historical volume now in development! I'd advise you and everyone else to avoid speculation and ignore anything outside of official announcements on the Ampersand website. You are just going to get yourselves spun up for no reason. More importantly, it's going to cause needless hassle for us when it is released as we'll be bombarded by people asking "Does this cover XYZ? I thought this was going to be on XYZ? When is the volume on XYZ coming out?" KL
JUL 24, 2013 - 03:52 PM
Thank you Paul. Given the recent past, I would be surprised if (a) happens next time, rather things will go right to (b). KL
JUL 24, 2013 - 04:02 PM
Thanks Mike. I should've said something like that in my original reply. KL
JUL 24, 2013 - 04:04 PM
Hi Eugene, If you are interested in British/Commonwealth Shermans and armour then I would suggest some of the fine books by Dennis Oliver. Code Name Swallow ISBN 838945033X, The New Breed ISBN 978-09804631-0-1, Jungle Armour ISBN 978-0-9804631-2-5, British Sherman Tanks ISBN 926-361-131-5. Also see British Armour in Sicily and Italy and British Armour in NW Europe by the same author. For individual vehicles and camouflage & markings then have a look at the Armour Colour Gallery and Armour Photogallery books from Model Centrum Progres. Son of Sherman focuses on the design and development of the US M4 Sherman. It's a very cost effective book for the technical details of the various US Sherman types and combination of parts/styles that can bee seen on tanks both US and Commonwealth. Therefore if you want to know about glais types, what factories made what style of tank, turret types, foundry marks etc, etc and all the other details that made up specific versions of the M4 series then this book provides all of that data and more. It does not cover the additional changes made to British and Commonwealth tanks, but the detail in depth of the basic Sherman types and parts that were common to both US and British/Commonwealth Shermans. Hope that helps. Al
JUL 24, 2013 - 09:50 PM
I don't know where you are getting this Dennis. There has been no official statement beyond SON OF SHERMAN VOLUME 3: Title TBA Second historical volume now in development! I'd advise you and everyone else to avoid speculation and ignore anything outside of official announcements on the Ampersand website. You are just going to get yourselves spun up for no reason. More importantly, it's going to cause needless hassle for us when it is released as we'll be bombarded by people asking "Does this cover XYZ? I thought this was going to be on XYZ? When is the volume on XYZ coming out?" KL [/quote] My info came right from the initial announcements on the AMPERSAND website; I've exchanged a few emails with Jeff at AMPERSAND, since then. I have gotten no further info besides what Jeff has told me, so I'm not going to get into an argument with you guys over this. Rant and rave all you want...
JUL 25, 2013 - 04:16 AM
I am only part way through reading this book, but I have found it to be quite excellent. It is very similar to vintage production and technical manuals for classic cars, but with significantly more depth into the production history. I am very happy with it so far, and personally I find myself applying it to rebuilding actual Shermans than building model kits, but that is partially due to my background. I just wish I could actually get my hands on a real one
JUL 25, 2013 - 04:35 AM
Well, I got a look at a copy, at my local hobby shop, and I have to have a copy, plain and simple. Now I just need to get it into the budget.....
JUL 30, 2013 - 04:22 AM
I don't know where you are getting this Dennis. There has been no official statement beyond SON OF SHERMAN VOLUME 3: Title TBA Second historical volume now in development! I'd advise you and everyone else to avoid speculation and ignore anything outside of official announcements on the Ampersand website. You are just going to get yourselves spun up for no reason. More importantly, it's going to cause needless hassle for us when it is released as we'll be bombarded by people asking "Does this cover XYZ? I thought this was going to be on XYZ? When is the volume on XYZ coming out?" KL [/quote] My info came right from the initial announcements on the AMPERSAND website; I've exchanged a few emails with Jeff at AMPERSAND, since then. I have gotten no further info besides what Jeff has told me, so I'm not going to get into an argument with you guys over this. Rant and rave all you want...[/quote] OK then . . . I have just talked to Pat and he has confirmed that the subject for Vol 3 has not been announced by Pat or Jeff beyond what was written above on the Ampersand website. There have been no announcements, emails, or discussions stating that Vol 3 will cover Russian, British, or Commonwealth tanks. To quote Pat: "Any information to the contrary is internet hyperbole." KL
AUG 02, 2013 - 03:23 AM
   

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