British Tank Destroyer M10 IIC Achilles
Tamiya, 1/48 scale
The M4 Sherman was the backbone of American and British armour forces by the time of the Allied campaigns in Italy and North Western Europe. The Sherman was a hard working tank available in vast numbers thanks to American mass-production techniques and it could hold its own against its German contemporaries, the Panzer III and Panzer IV. However, the 75mm main gun was ineffective against the German heavy tanks, the Panther and the dreaded Tiger.
The 76mm gun fitted to the dedicated US Tank Destroyer, the M10, fared little better against these behemoths.
The Achilles was an expedient response to this deadly challenge.
The Achilles was a British conversion of the American M10 Tank Destroyer redesigned to accommodate the powerful 17pdr anti-tank gun. This gun required a deeper turret, modified interior stowage and revised mantlet and gun mount. Although the Achilles was lightly armoured, the lethal 17pdr gun was more capable of penetrating the heavy German tanks. The Achilles, and the similarly expedient 17pdr Sherman conversion, the Firefly, engaged Tigers and Panthers until the last days of the war.
MR Model offered a multimedia Achilles conversion for Tamiya’s M10 kit back in 2007, but now Tamiya has released a 1:48 scale mainstream model of this potent tank destroyer.
This new 1:48 scale Achilles Mk.IIc comprises 205 parts in olive coloured plastic, four polythene caps, four metal ingots and markings for a single vehicle.
Tamiya released their 1:48 scale M10 tank destroyer in 2005, and the kit shares a number of sprues, but there are some important differences. First and most obvious is a brand new sprue that offers the new turret, gun, stowage and other unique features of this British vehicle.
The kit also features a plastic lower hull, unlike the die-cast metal part in the earlier M10. Many modellers didn’t like the die-cast hull. I didn’t mind them though. If you yearn for scale weight, you are provided the option of installing four metal weights inside the hull.
Suspension units are common to the 2004 M4 Sherman release, with late-version upswept return roller mounts and both laced and pressed road wheels on the sprues.
Tracks are rubber chevron. These are broken down into links and lengths, and should be a quick and easy installation if my previous experience with Tamiya’s 1:48 scale Sherman family is anything to go by.
A full complement of 17 pdr stowage is included, as are Sten guns and ammo boxes. Applique armour is provided for the front glacis, and the turret looks good with its characteristic duckbill counterweight and long 17 pdr gun.
The 17 pdr breech detail is well rendered too, and the modeller is also offered a turret mounted .50 cal M2 machine gun.
The small decal sheet provides markings for “Chelsea”, attached to I Corps in Normandy during the summer of 1944.
Tamiya’s Achilles is another welcome addition to their 1:48 scale family. This should be a fast, easy build and it won’t take up too much space on your display shelves, but the level of detail and potential for realistic painting and weathering delivers the best of both worlds.
Text and Images by Brett Green