17 Pdr. SP M10 "Achilles"
Italeri 1:35 Scale Kit No.6485
Review by Terry Ashley

Introduction: (Notes by Peter Brown)
Long promised, this kit from Korean company Academy represents the American M10 Tank Destroyer fitted with the British 17 pounder Anti Tank gun. Vehicles thus converted saw service from mid 1944 with anti-Tank regiments in Armoured Divisions and separate Corps antitank regiments, the usual organisation in British, Canadian and Polish units was for one 12-gun battery in each Regiment to have M10 with 17-pdr, another with M10 fitted with the original 3" gun and two more with towed 17 pounders.

They served in North West Europe and Italy in WW2 and remained in British service well into the 1950s first with Royal Artillery units and later with some Royal Armoured Corps regiments, and they also remained in Canadian use for some time as well as being in Belgian use into the 1950s and as late as the 1970s in Denmark.

The name "Achilles" has stuck to this vehicle but I can only find a few references to this being used, most original official documents and handbooks refer to them as "M10 17pdr" or M10C" with slight variations.

The kit:
This “new” kit from Italeri is a re-box of the Academy British Tank Destroyer Achilles (Kit #1392) released some years ago with the only differences being a new decal sheet and instruction sheet.

The kit represents the later model M10 with duckbill turret counter weight and no bolt bosses on the hull sides, it includes alternate road wheels, alternate transmission covers, two radios (British and US) with a full fighting compartment/transmission and engine compartment (but no engine).

There are a number of left over parts from the Academy M12/Sherman kits that this kit shares it’s lineage with that you can add to the spares box.

The kit has approximately 550 parts crisply moulded in light tan plastic, a set of vinyl T56E1 Steel Chevron track and the decal and instruction sheets. The standard of moulding is good with few if any visible pin marks and just the usual moulding seams to be removed before assembly.

Dimensionally the kit matches available plans and data quite well with minor areas of concern with the gun mantlet and turret width being about 1.5mm too narrow and angle of the rear hull plate is too steep. The barrel length is about 8mm too long with the muzzle brake too small as well as the tool storage being for the US M10 and was different on the British vehicles.

Lower Hull/Suspension:
The lower hull is a conventional tub with underside engine panel detail, the side suspension mounts and sponson filler panels with separate rear plate and front transmission covers.

The suspension is the intermediate raised roller type with alternate open or solid spoke road wheels (with inside detail) and alternate simple plate and revised fancy drive sprockets. There are alternate cast transmission covers with the earlier rounded profile and later sharp beak type.

The interior has complete transmission and driver’s controls included with raised fighting compartment floor and well detailed rear firewall. Other details include the radio, instrument panel and a full load of ammo canisters for the side sponsons.

The rear hull has a full engine compartment including the side walls, sponson fuel tanks and rear hull plate with the intake screens but with no actual engine is ready for any available aftermarket engine.

The tracks are rubber band type and feature the T56E1 steel chevron pattern, the detail is quite good for this type of track.


Upper Hull:
This is a full one piece moulding with the front fenders included and separate engine deck doors with detail on “both” sides plus separate driver’s and co-driver’s doors with separate periscopes as well as the turret race with traverse teeth and bolt heads around the race.

All the fuel filler caps are also separate as are the bolt heads on the front armour plate. There are many other small parts for the hull including lights and guards (commendably thin) as well as pioneer tools.

As mentioned above the angle of the rear hull plate is too steep which results in the mid hull length being about 2mm too short. The upper hull/engine deck is the right length but the length at the outer hull kink which meets the bottom of the upper rear plate is too short.

One feature is the inclusion of moulded numbers and letters, bolt heads and latches on sprue runners which you can cut off with a sharp scalpel and positioned for casting numbers on the hull and turret as well as adding detail anywhere it is needed, it may take some care to remove and fit these but the end result would be impressive.


This has nicely moulded turret sides, rear and front sections and the later style duckbill turret counter weight have no sink holes to mar the subtle surface texture. The front top plate features the raised strengthening strip along the top but the opening for the telescopic sight is solid and opening this out will add detail.

The barrel tube is in two halves with separate muzzle break (two parts) and separate counter weights (two parts).

The "Achilles" mantlet is a little narrow by about 1.5mm compared to available info and the large circular collar for the 17pdr gun appears a little underdone on the kit, the edges are slightly rounded instead of sharp and the prominent weld seams are missing, nothing really that can’t be fixed? The shape of the mantlet otherwise looks good with rounded edges.

As mentioned above the biggest concern is the exposed barrel being 8mm too long with the muzzle brake undersized and while you can easily shorten the barrel tube there is little you can do about the muzzle brake other than to use an aftermarket metal muzzle brake.

There are several metal 17pdr barrels for the Firefly available as well as the armorscale (set #B35012) for the Achilles and you could use the muzzle break from any, I have used the one from the Lionmarc (set #LM50001) simply because I had it handy.

The work involved cutting out an 8mm barrel segment from just behind the counterweight and reglue the counterweight on the shortened barrel tube, ensuring it's properly aligned. You then simply glue the metal muzzle brake to the front of the counterweight and you have a barrel the correct length with a muzzle brake the right size without too much trouble.

You could do a lot more and add the full metal barrel and add detail to the mantlet if you wished, but that's another story.

The interior is very busy with the large well detailed 17pdr breech with separate breech block and many small fittings. Also included are the transport supports that attach the breech to the front turret roof during transport.

There are ready rounds in racks of three for the rear plate plus 5 separate rounds to use anywhere. Crew seats and other fittings complete the comprehensive turret interior.

One feature is the inclusion of moulded numbers and letters, bolt heads and latches on sprue runners which you can cut off with a sharp scalpel and positioned for casting numbers on the hull and turret as well as adding detail anywhere it is needed, it may take some care to remove and fit these but the end result would be impressive.

There is a good selection of extra bits of storage and equipment provided to use as you wish plus a .30cal and .50cal MG as an alternate rear turret armament. Additional you get 32 fibre ammo tubes to use in a diorama setting.

The decal sheet has markings for 4 vehicles with unit insignia and serial numbers for:
Overall this is a nice kit of the British M10 17pdr Achilles with only a few issues as above. It has nicely moulded parts, good part fit and relatively easy assembly and the inclusion of the full driver’s/fighting compartment, engine bay and turret interior is a nice bonus.

The availability of the kit again under the Italeri label should be welcomed by Allied modellers.

Rating 8/10

The Sprues:

Sprue Images
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SHERMAN A History of the
American Medium Tank

R.P.Hunnicutt. Presidio Books ISBN 0-89141-080-5
M10 and M36 Tank
Destroyers 1942-53

New Vanguard No 57
Osprey Publishing
Wydawnictwo Militaria No.115
ISBN 83-7219-080-1
Wydawnictwo Militaria
Allied & Axis 12
Ampersand Publishing
Soft cover, 96 pages
Allied & Axis
US Tank Detroyers
Walk Around

Sqd/Sgnl Pub. #5703

Page created October 17, 2010

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