M113, LandCraft 5
...American APC, from Pen & Sword
Author: Ben Skipper
Publisher: Pen & Sword
LandCraft number 5 from Pen & Sword is a second title from author Ben Skipper, and this time he tackles the subject of the American M113 APC. A 64-page soft-cover book, split nicely between the detail of the real thing for the first 33 pages, and the remainder of the book being devoted to the modeller's details. A slight change to the format for the series by keeping all the information on the real thing together in one part, followed by the modellers' elements, rather than having the detail of the real M113 split at front and back of the book, which has been the usual format of the series up to this point.
Following the initial Introduction we are taken through the Design and Development story of the M113, moving on from the WW2 era half-track, the new designs went for a fully tracked option plus an armoured roof to give overheard protection. From the early M59 and M75 the M113 came along. The simplicity of the armoured 'box' made it a very flexible design, which has helped it prove popular with plenty of other countries as well. This is followed by a few pages tackling the M113 in Detail, which includes some useful colour photos of the interior of the basic APC. That leads into the next topic, the M113 in Service & in Action. Early service in Vietnam, and since then in the Middle East and on into the Gulf War and beyond. That leaves us with the final part of the book dealing with the real thing, and the many M113 Variants, which include unarmoured variants such as the M548 Load Carrier and the chassis for the British Army Tracked Rapier. The second half of the book starts with Camouflage & Markings, 8-pages of colour artwork. Next the Model Showcase, with 4 fine model builds, 2 of which feature the Australian M113 MVR, the M113 fitted with a Scorpion tank turret and another with the earlier M113 FSV, where it was fitted with a Saladin turret. The fourth one is built by the author himself, a basic M113A1 APC of 11th Cavalry at Long Binh, Vietnam, in 1967. The final part of the book, staying with modellers resources, details a wide variety of models from various manufacturers in assorted scales, along with conversion and detailing sets (both resin and etch brass) plus Decal sets.
The M113 has had a long and ongoing service history, with a great mix of variants among the many users around the world, and this provides a good overall picture of the the M113 story, while also providing plenty of references and inspiration for modellers. I'd have liked to see a slightly wider selection of variants in the Model Showcase considering the widespread use of the M113, but that's purely a personal opinion and the featured models are certainly very nicely done. Another good addition to the LandCraft series which I am sure modellers will enjoy.
Thanks to Pen & Sword for our review copy.