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M10 Kit

Academy 1/35 M10 Duckbill Tank Destroyer Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review September 2005 Manufacturer Academy
Subject M10 Duckbill Tank Destroyer Scale 1/35
Kit Number 1397 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Excellent exterior detailing, nice engine compartment included Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $38.00

First Look

M10 Kit
M10 Kit
M10 Kit
M10 Kit
M10 Kit
M10 Kit

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 kit is molded in a forest green styrene and is provided on nine 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 76mm main gun, secondary armament, and turret stowage. The suspension and road wheels are very nicely executed and hint that we might be seeing a series of Sherman variants from Academy in the future.

Aside from the new turret, the other and more significant difference between this kit and the previous Academy M10 releases is the addition of a complete engine compartment. For the first time, the inside of this hull is completely detailed out with little left for the aftermarket community to improve upon.

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.

Markings are provided for three US and one French vehicles. One of the US vehicles also sports the new overhead armor shields to protect the crews from aerial artillery bursts.

Academy continues to push the bar in what the modeler should expect in terms of detail and quality for the price. This kit is highly recommended!

My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!