|TANKOGRAD - U.S. WW II M25 DRAGON WAGON|
Jeremy Wee takes a look at the latest 'Technical Manual' from Tankograd!
Editor: Michael Franz
Softcover; A4, 64 pages
I couldn’t help but feel like a kid with a new toy when I received this review sample in the post. As I currently have the Tamiya Dragon Wagon kit in my stash, it was always a wish of mine to have access to some form of technical manual that could provide me with all the details required while doing the build. The internet does provide quite a substantial amount of information but like most things, they are scattered within multiple sites so to be able to source the information from a single place is as good as it gets in terms of reference material.
This book is filled with a wealth of black and white photos, outlining specific components of the Tank Transporter. What it does lack are walk around photos however one does not typically expect such detail in a technical manual. The format of the book consists of the familiar split of English and German translation on every page.
As you flip through the first few pages of the manual, you will be greeted with 2 coloured images of a fully restored M26 from the War and Peace show at the Hop Farm (Beltring). This is followed by quite an extensive introductory section which walks the reader through the historical timeline from when the concept of a tank transporter was first introduced up until the post WWII period. It even provides the range of registration numbers used during WWII as well as original black and white photos of the M26 tractor deployed during the war. A very useful guide especially for those of you out there who print their own decal set.
Moving on from the introductory section of the manual, more details are presented where each component of the M26 tractor is clearly labelled. Graphical illustrations are used to view the frontal and rear view of the tractor. I was also very glad to see an actual black and white photo of the top view of the tractor as I had little luck in locating such a photo while searching through the web.
What really got me excited about this manual is that it also includes quite a good level of detail of the prototype, pre-production version of the M26 tractor. If you tried to perform a Google search on this topic, you would have to look fairly long and hard before coming up with anything fruitful. Within the manual contains quite a good number of black and white photographs showing a few angles of the prototype and even has a photo taken from the top, with the roof canvas removed which exposes the interior of the cabin with some stowage found within it.
The M15 trailer is also given a good focus with a few graphical illustrations showing the different views without the M26 tractor. For all you German armour fans out there, you would be pleased to know that there are quite a few original black and white photos showing the Dragon Wagon towing a captured Jagdtiger and a Panther tank during WWII.
As this publication is part of the technical manual series, you would be expecting quite an in-depth detail about the the tank transporter and this publication does not disappoint. The subsequent sections begin illustrating every part, every component found in the cabin, including every instrument and controls. The sections are as follows:
Cab Interior, Controls and Instruments
Engine, Power Train and Suspension
Cab, Body and Equipment
Semitrailer Chassis, Body and Equipment
Each section is complemented with graphical illustrations, cross sectional diagrams with each part clearly labelled, down to the nuts and bolts. There are even black and white photos of how allied troops would operate the chain hoist to load a spare wheel onto the rear of the M26 cabin.
I’m not entirely sure if there is a better reference material out there that can provide more detail than this technical manual especially on a vehicle that is no longer in service.
This manual provides more than enough reference material for any prospective Dragon Wagon modeller, down to the lowest level of detail. A wealth of original black and white photo complements the details very well and provides quite a few options even for diorama enthusiast.
The structure of the manual was very well thought out, having a substantial introductory section and progressively delves into the detail as a reader progresses through. I can’t recommend this technical manual enough and would encourage any M26 Tractor or Dragon Wagon modellers to use this as reference prior to starting any of your builds.
My thanks to Justin at Bookworld for the review sample.