The M915 family of trucks entered service with the US Army in 1979 as a measure to rationalise the wide range of different truck types already in use, often based on expensive military-only designs. The idea was to find a decent tractor unit from a commercial manufacturer that had tried-and-tested off-the-shelf components that would be cheaper than the usual Army-designed trucks, remain readily available from the commercial sector, and reduce supply-line complexity by standardising on a single manufacturer. The chosen truck from AM General (under license from Crane Carrier Company) had a number of roles to fill, so it came in a range of configurations including 6x4, 6x6, and 8x6 wheel arrangements, tractor units with fifth-wheels, dump trucks, tar sprayers, and wreckers. These all had different 9XX-series designations, but used common mechanical and bodywork components. Ironically AM General got out of the heavy truck business in the mid-80s to build the new HMMWV, and in the last decade the M915s have been supplanted by the new HEMTT family of trucks. This new book on the subject comes from Carl Schulze.
Like other Tankograd books this comes in softcover A4-size format, with thicker card covers around 64 glossy pages. Text is in German and English, with 108 colour photos, 15 black&white photos, and six dimension-annotated “top and side view” line drawings from the original sales brochure illustrating the different models. Image quality is stunning.
Starting with a five-page text introduction to the series, the next three pages of text look in detail at the M915 and M915A1 6x4 Truck Tractor Line Haul models, with 11 pages of miscellaneous in-service photos. Then comes a five-page detail walk-around section of the M915 tractor. Next up is a nine-page section on the M916 6x6 Truck Tractor Light Equipment Transporter variant complete with a page-and-a-half of descriptive text. This is followed by a five-page section on the M917 8x6 20-ton Dump Truck including a full page of text, four pages on the M918 Bituminous Distributor Truck, five on the M919 8x6 Concrete Mobile-Mixer, eight on the M920 8x6 Truck Tractor Medium Equipment Transporter, six on crew-protection kits and “hillbilly armor” gun trucks, and a final half-page note on a later order of M915s from Freightliner that differed from the original version.
There is a wealth of detail in this book that will help anyone modelling the iconic military transporter of the 80s through to the early 2000s.
This author wishes to thank Justin at Bookworld (aka Avid Reader) for the review sample of this new Tankograd title.
Highs: Great coverage of the whole tractor-truck family that will be very useful for modellers. Lots of sharp photos.Lows: None to mention.Verdict: A must-have for anyone with the Trumpeter kit in the stash.
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About Tom Cromwell (barkingdigger) FROM: ENGLAND - EAST ANGLIA, UNITED KINGDOM
A Yank living overseas on a long-term basis, I've been building tanks since the early '70s. I relish the challenges of older kits (remember when Tamiya was "new"?...) because I love to scratch-build.