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M10

Italeri 6485 1/35 17 pdr. SP M10 Achilles Kit First Look

by Michael Benolkin

Date of Review July 2010 Manufacturer Italeri
Subject 17 pdr. SP M10 Achilles Scale 1/35
Kit Number 6485 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Reboxing of the nice Academy kit Cons Price
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $53.00

First Look

M10
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Originally developed as part of a mobile tank destroyer force in 1941, the M10 was composite solution to a complex problem. The US Army used a modified M4 Sherman chassis to transport a 76mm (3 inch) anti-aircraft gun in an open-top turret. The US was not the only ones to adapt an AA gun for anti-tank duties, the Germans used the 88mm AA gun against British and US armor in North Africa with devastating results.

The 'duckbill' version of the M10 was the configuration put into production later in the M10's development. The 'duckbill' was actually a more effective turret counter-weight to offset the weight of the M7 76mm main gun. The extended 'duckbill' also provided a better 50 cal machine gun mount. The M10 would phase out in favor of the highly mobile M18 (with an improved 76mm gun) and the M36 (with its 90mm Panther-plinking gun).

The British Army put the M10 to good use in its own anti-tank missions, but to make the system compatible with British logistics, they replaced the US gun with the Mark V 17 pounder that was also adopted to the British Firefly variant of the Sherman tank. The Mark V gave the Sherman and the M10 the firepower to plink virtually any armor that the German Army could field.

Italeri continues to diversify its portfolio without incurring new tooling costs. In the past, we've seen a number of kits in Italeri boxes including ESCI/ERTL, Accurate Miniatures, Revell, and more. Now we see a reboxing of Academy's beautiful M10 Achilles kit.

The kit is molded in a tan styrene and is presented on eight parts trees, not including the upper and lower hull, turret halves and the tracks. The detail is finely molded and there does not appear to be any flash on any of the parts or trees. Ejector pin marks are mostly limited to areas that will not be visible when the kit is assembled, there are a couple of spots that will need attention, primarily on the inside surface of the turret.

The M10 features a very detailed driver's and radioman's compartment, inner hull stowage, engine compartment, and even fuel tanks that can't even be seen once the model is assembled. The turret is also beautifully detailed with the Mark V main gun, secondary armament, and turret stowage. The suspension and road wheels are very nicely executed.

As you can see in the accompanying photos, this model was designed for the modeler from the start - there are no holes in the lower hull for motors, switches or battery stowage. When assembled, the lower hull mates solidly with the upper hull leaving no unsightly gaps (and daylight) as was the case with the older Tamiya kits.

Options provided in this kit include two styles of drive wheels and return rollers, two different type of transmission covers, two different styles of towing loops, two different types of towing hitches, positionable driver's and radioman's hatches (complete with periscopes), and even an additional 30 caliber machine gun to augment the 50 caliber. A complete set of ammunition is provided (stored in tubes in the hull and stored at the ready in the turret).

Numerous other details are also provided including canteens, lanterns, and even a Thomson Submachine Gun. A complete set of pioneering tools are also provided. The only minor drawback that I can find in this kit involves the pioneering tools, well actually where they mount. The rear of the hull has silhouettes molded to show where to place the tools, and while this might be helpful for some, it will need to be removed with a little light sanding.

The kit provides marking options for four examples:

  • M10, 1 Bn/7 AT Regt/2 AD, Polish Army, Italy, 1945
  • M10, 1 Bn/1 AT Regt/1 AD, Polish Army, Netherlands, 1944
  • M10, 1 Bn/75 AT Regt/Royal Artillery/11 AD, British Army, Belgium 1945
  • M10, 21 AT Regt/Royal Artillery/Guard Armored Div, British Army, Netherlands, 1944

The Academy M10 and M36 releases nearly 10 years ago raised the bar on armor kits and we've seen that bar continue to rise with the proliferation of Trumpeter and DML kits on the market. What is nice about the Academy kits is that while these do have lots of good detail, they haven't over-engineered the kits with painfully small parts to make construction of these kits overly painful.

Recommended!

My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!

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