The new book from Tankograd covers a subject that is not the most popular among modelers, i.e. not combat vehicles, but logistical support ones. Two previous books in the Tankograd American Special series were also about support vehicles (tank transporters and armored / gun trucks), and this new book covers HEMTT series of modern American heavy trucks. Thanks to Italeri (and Revell who re-boxed them), kits of M977 and M978 trucks from HEMTT series are available in 1/35 scale, but these are quite simplified and it is interesting to see if the book can provide information necessary to improve these models.
“HEMTT – U.S. Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck, M977 to M1120 – Development and Technology” by Carl Schulze is a bilingual German/English publication, printed on high quality semi-gloss paper in a format close to A4 size. The book contains 64 pages with 124 color photographs, one five-view scale drawing (1/72) of M977 truck and seven side view drawings (also in 1/72 scale) with major dimensions and features of various versions of HEMTT shown. All text in the book, including photo captions is printed in two languages. Color photos in the book are of very good quality, although contrast on a few of them is a bit too big and some details in shadowed areas are not well visible. Photos show trucks in all painting schemes used by the U.S. Army, i.e. most common three color NATO camouflage, desert tan and rarest overall forest green. Most photo captions only repeat bits of technical information already provided in the main text part of the book, but some describe what is actually seen on images in more detail.
The text part of the book is relatively short with ten pages divided into sixteen sub-chapters. These are:
- Heavy Expanded Mobility Truck - covers the historical background of the use of heavy tactical trucks in US Army after WW2;
- High Mobility Tactical Truck Program – describes a program initiated in 1978 that resulted in selection of Oshkosh XM977 truck for series production;
- Series production – provides details on number of manufactures vehicles, international users etc.;
- Basic variants – lists initial variants introduced when HEMTT family entered service with the U.S. Army;
- M977 – a short description of basic cargo variant;
- M978 – as above for tanker truck (or Fuel Servicing Truck);
- M983 – a description of tractor truck variant;
- M984 – a description of first version of a wrecker-recovery truck;
- M984A1 – a description of second variant of wrecker-recovery vehicle;
- M985 – information about heavier version of cargo truck, designed for carrying MLRS rocket pods;
- M985A2 – as above, but this versions designed specifically for Patriot missiles transport;
- HEMTT Technology – this chapter provides technical overview of HEMTT family of vehicles
- Remanufacturing, Extended Service Progam, A2 and Family of Heavy Tactical Vehicles – this sub-chapter covers modernization and refurbishing programs initiated by the U.S. Army for their large fleet of slowly ageing HEMTTs.
- HEMTT LHS and Common Bridge Transporter – covers two of newest HEMTT versions, built by installing Multifift Mk IV Load Handling System on M977 and M985 trucks;
- Further HEMTT Variants – provides short description of other specialized vehicles based on HEMTT series, like M1142 Tactical Fire Fighting Truck or M1074/M1075 Palletized Load System trucks and remote relative of HEMTT: U.S. Marines Mk48 Logistic Vehicle System articulated truck.
- The Future: HEMTT A3 – final sub-chapter in main text part of the book covers future A3 variant of HEMTT proposed by Oshkosh and currently being evaluated by the U.S. Army.
After the text part of the book is a full page table containing technical data for most major variants of HEMTT family.
The next part of the book is filled with captioned photos and drawings, with no paragraph text. This part is divided into ten chapters:
First eight of these chapters include a lot of good quality „in action” type photos of listed variants. First six and also the eight chapters additionally include side view drawings showing major dimensions of trucks, while the first chapter includes also five view drawing of basic cargo HEMTT in 1/72 scale. M977, M978 and M984A1 chapters include “Walkaround” sections with a few close-up shots of various truck components in each. With a number of photos varying from only five to twelve in these walkaround sub-chapters, these are not your ultimate detailing references, but still provide some very useful shots.
The ninth chapter includes photos of M1142, M1074 and USMC Mk48 trucks.
The final chapter includes just one photo of Oshkosh HEMTT A3 truck prototype.
I’m not an expert on HEMTT trucks, but I have already collected quite a lot of references in preparation for building Italeri/Revell kits. These references include U.S. Army technical manuals, various books and hundreds of photographs downloaded from the Web. While I didn’t try to verify each and every piece of information provided in Tankograd book with my other references, these bits which I did check appear to be fully correct. I only found one small error in description of so called NATO camouflage colors in a caption under a photo on page 23, as they are given as green FS34093, brown FS300051 and black FS37030, while in fact they are FS34094, FS30051 and FS37030. On page 17 AH-64 Apache attack helicopter in the background is misidentified as UH-60A utility helicopter, but this of course is irrelevant to the book subject. Another possible identification error is on the bottom of page 51, as some features of visible material handling crane suggest that it is in fact M977 truck, not M985 as captioned. But as these variants are almost identical externally, it is difficult to be 100% sure.
The book only includes a couple of photos of HEMTTs with armored cab installed, used in large numbers in Iraq now, but a short note at the end of text part of the book announces a future Takograd Special book that will cover these, together with PLS and Mk48, in more detail.
It’s an excellent book for everyone interested in HEMTT series and should be very helpful both in improving the Italeri kits and in finding inspiration for interesting dioramas featuring these large trucks. While modelers attempting to super detail their models will most likely not find all the information they need in this book, it still should help answer many questions. As a general reference for HEMTT family it is superb and highly recommended, and those who need more detail shots can find them on various Internet websites, like PrimePortal.
Highs: Good basic technical information about HEMTTs and excellent photos.Lows: Not the ultimate model detailing reference, but it was never supposed to be one I guess.Verdict: As a general reference for HEMTT family the book is superb and highly recommended.
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About Pawel Krupowicz (Vodnik) FROM: WARSZAWA, POLAND
As first lines of this bio appear under all my reviews, I feel it is important that I start with this information: In March 2005 I ventured into the other side of modeling "industry" - I was not only building model kits, but also helping design them as a consultant for Dragon Models Ltd.. These days...