bookUS WWII GMC DUKW-353 & Cleaver-Brooks Amphibian Trailers

Tankograd Technical Manual Series - No 6003
Edited by Michael Franz.
A4 size, 48 pages

Review by Peter Brown

Third in this very useful series which extracts the most useful sections of wartime Technical Manuals for modellers. The original vehicle handbooks contain very useful material for modellers and American TMs had good illustrations, not only overall views showing vehicles outside and inside but also components such as engines and transmissions out of the vehicle and suspension units in pieces. They often show things which even examining an original vehicle or detailed photographic walkrounds do not show. Sometimes manuals appear for sale from but they can be expensive, even reprints or photocopies can be expensive though scanned versions of many are available on CD-Rom.

The full manual often has so much information which is not relevant to modellers which means a lot of searching for what you do want. This series is the best of both worlds as it gives extracts from the TMs aimed at providing modelling material. They use the original illustrations as published with extra details in the form of captions in English and German, supplemented by short historical overviews, specifications and even a few original photos and a couple of colour views of preserved vehicles. Standard of reproduction is good, the originals were not always to what modern eyes would see as very clear.

This one on the well-known DUKW is an ideal illustration of what the TMs and the series can provide. The background text is useful even if it may not contain much new material to the serious enthusiast, though not all publications on DUKW list the original serial number batches and a summary of the major changes in details introduced during production.

What is very useful for modellers are the illustrations showing the main changes which took place after the first 2005 vehicles were built, with new windscreen, front deck arrangements and repositioning of the spare wheel at the rear. General views of the front, rear, sides and top show these clearly with the added bonus of many features being pointed out. This section is followed by detailed views of the driver's area, instrument panels, engine, transmission, steering, axles, suspension, rudder, tyre inflation system, winch and tarpaulin cover arrangement. Even smaller details such as towing hook, fire extinguishers and compass are shown. A short section shows the standard A-frame hoist and few photos of DUKWs in use with a page devoted to rocket launching vehicles.

Added to this is a seven-page section on the Duckling or amphibious trailer. This includes background, record photos, instructions on how to hitch a trailer in the water and factory plans.

A detailed German-English glossary and list of sources and further reading rounds off the book.

This is an ideal source of material for modellers wanting to build vehicles from available kits, especially those wanting to depict the earlier versions correctly. DUKWs sailored on - sorry, could not resist that - for many years and shows the as-built vehicles so further references will be needed for in-action photos, colour schemes etc but this provides the basic details to get the model right.

Highly recommended as with other publications from Tankograd. Available from Tankograd Militarfahrzeug distributors, for more details contact the publishers Verlag Jochen Vollert on My thanks go to Justin Gainham at Bookworld for the review copy.

Page created November 23, 2005

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