Squadron/Signal Armor Walk Around
Number 4 (5704); M2/M3 Half-Track
by Jim Mesko; color by Don Greer
and David Gebhardt, illustrated by Darren Glenn
Squadron/Signal Publications, Carrollton, Texas 2004; 80 pp. with color
and B&W photos; price about $14.95 (ISBN 0-89747-480-5)
Advantages: covers most of the key modeling points of the vehicles where
needed; very handy from a super-detailer's point of view
Disadvantages: no kits out there worthy of this type of correction!
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all WWII US and halftrack fans
Modelers today are living in a true "golden age" of reference
works, and most of them are now in mainstream circulation which makes
it easier to find the "right" book at the right time. The basic
breakout for where to go works this way: if you need a history of the
creation of the vehicle and how it came to be, the New Vanguard line from
Osprey covers most of the pertinent details; for "in action"
the reasonably priced paperbacks from Concord and Squadron/Signal's "In
Action" series cover the gamut; but for modeling "nuts and bolts"
(that series is fine for German items) the most accessible are the "Allies
and Axis" series from Ampersand and the "Walk Around" series
This is the fourth armor publication in that series, and the third one
from the capable hands of Jim Mesko. Jim had previously done their issues
on Shermans and US Army tank destroyers, and this volume follows the same
format. Based on surviving and restored vehicles, the book provides coverage
of the M2 and M2A1, M3 and M3A1, M4 81mm mortar carrier, M5 and M9 series,
M16 AAMG carriage, and the basic Israeli APC conversion as used in the
The book is not a be-all-end-all of US Army halftrack vehicles and their
sub-modifications – anyone wanting that level of detail should seek
out the very detailed and thorough R. P. Hunnicutt "Half Track"
book. But it provides very good closeup details of the engine, axles,
transmission, wheels, tracks, running gear, interior, fittings, and differences
between the four primary US Army combat carrier variants, which comprise
most of the book (52 pages). It also covers as a result of that the M2HB
mountings and details, as well as those for the pintle mounted .30 caliber
M1919A4 machine guns used in the armored personnel carrier variants.
The M4 mortar carrier is covered along with the differences between M4
and M4A1, as well as the mortar itself.
The M16 is covered along with the M45 series of Maxson turrets, and also
items like the 200 round ammunition cans for the guns on that vehicle.
The Israeli vehicle is covered from the point of showing how it differentiates
from straight American vehicles in its fittings, engine, exhausts, and
Overall this is another good effort from Jim, and one which any American
vehicle modeler will want in his library. Alas, we still do not have a
good basic US halftrack kit to work on and build up to this level of detail.