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Media Review of

Easy-1 Productions: “TM-9-743 – Light Armored Car M8 & Armored Utility Car M20 Information CD

 

By Patrick Keenan - Aurora, Illinois USA

Basic Item Information

Title

TM-9-743 – Light Armored Car M8 & Armored Utility Car M20 Information Compact Disc

Author, Editor and/or Illustrator

Editor: Michael Powell

Publisher

Easy-1 Publications

ISBN/Stock Number

T028

Subject

Armored Car

Media

Informational CD (for PC or Mac)

Number of Pages

M8/M20 Manual – 259 pages/326 Scanned Images

Instruction Guide - M5 37mm AT Gun Training Manual – 67 pages/69 Scanned Images

Number/Type of Photos and/or Illustrations

M8/M20 Manual  –  175 B/W Illustrations/Photographs

Instruction Guide: M5 37mm AT Gun Training Manual - 66 B/W Photographs/illustrations

30 Color Photos (M8 Greyhound)

37 Color Photos (M20 Utility)

Text Language

English

Retail Price

$20 USD

Reviewer

Patrick Keenan

Review Date

October 6, 2007

Review Summary*

Review Type

Normal Use

Basic Positive Features

Tons of detail information directly from the source of the original technical specifications: the vehicle manufacturer via the US Government.

Basic Negative Features

No background, camouflage or markings information provided.

Overall Rating

4.50 of 5.0

Accuracy of Information Rating

5.0

Photo and/or Illustration Quality/Selection Rating

4.0

Usefulness as Reference

4.5

Recommendation

 Highly Recommended

* For information regarding the review terms, grading scale, etc. please go to the WarWheels Review FAQ/Key

Photos

         

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Detailed Review

Book Content

Easy 1 Productions is a company that specializes in high quality reproductions of the original WWII era vehicle technical manuals.  Their products are available only on Compact Disc (CD) and can be used on any basic personal computer (PC or Mac).  Most of their product line centers on US vehicles, but they do have some British vehicle products available as well.  Besides scans of the tech manuals, Easy 1 sometimes will provide bonus images, such as photographs of museum vehicles and other tech manuals related to the vehicle covered by the CD.  For instance, in this manual Easy 1 provides scans of a 67 page training manual on the use of the 37mm anti-tank gun.

Easy 1’s products are aimed toward the hard corps modeler and/or vehicle enthusiast. If you need technical or mechanical information and photos, or need info on the fine details of specific vehicles, their products are for you. However, if you want general overviews of the vehicles covered, including background, camouflage and markings information, then you’ll need another product line to help you out.  This is not a slam toward Easy 1 as that coverage is outside their concentration, but you should know what you’re getting, and what you’re not.

Also, as Easy 1’s product lines are reproductions of technical manuals, the content is based upon what was in those original manuals.  With that being said, some manuals are more useful to us modelers than others.  Some have more illustrations or photos and some have less. Therefore, my point is that each CD edition is different and should be judged on its own merits.

This review is on Easy 1’sr TM-9-743 – Light Armored Car M8 & Armored Utility Car M20 Information Compact Disc.  This CD is full of useful stuff and is a very good selection when compared to their other manuals.  It consists of four different sub-sets of information.  They are: 

1) M8/M20 Technical Manual (259 pages, with 326 scans and 175 black & white images/illustrations);

2) Instruction Guide: M5 37mm AT Gun Training Manual (67 pages, with 69 scans and 66 b/w images/illustrations);

3) M8 Armored Car photographs (30 color photographs of a restored museum vehicle); and

4) M20 Utility Car photographs (37 color photographs of a restored museum vehicle)

 

Accuracy of Information

Being that the information consists of exact copies of the original vehicle technical manuals produced by the US Government, the information is as accurate as any other source available.  If you can’t rely on this information, what information CAN you count on?
 

Photograph and/or Illustration Quality and Selection

Obviously since the pages of the technical manuals were scanned from the original printed copies, these images are not going to be perfect or of the highest quality.  However, the images are clear and easy to use with this M8/M20 CD.  There is no difficulty in discerning details or reading any pages. Once again, Easy 1 got their hands on a nice copy of the original, so we get a nice set of images as well. 

In addition, the bonus color photos we get of the museum pieces are of decent quality.  They aren’t the best, but due to the lighting situation at inside the museum there’s not much that could have been done.  The photos are definitely usable though, although a few here and there are a bit out of focus (fuzzy).

The image selection of Easy 1 productions rests a lot on the particular technical manual documents.  The more images in the original, the more we get from Easy 1.  With this specific manual, we get a lot of great photos for use; A very good selection.

As for the selection of the added color photos included with this M8/M20 CD, we get a nice selection of images.  60 color photographs are provided of a museum housed M8 Armored Car and 67 are provided of the M20 Utility Vehicle.  We do get some overall photographs, but the real bonus is in those detail photos.  These will definitely help anyone building the myriad number of M8/M20 kits on the market.

Like I said before, each Easy 1 info CD is different.  Although you can use this review to assess the general quality of the images in their products, this review cannot be used to specifically rate the quality of the images in their other CD products.  However, with that being said, Mr. Powell does well with what he has available and he will not release products that are unusable.  Just remember, the quality of the images does rely upon the quality of the original printed source though.

 
Use as Reference

Being that this informational CD on the M8/M20 is fairly comprehensive in coverage, specifically where details are concerned, this product is a great resource for us modelers or even vehicle enthusiasts.  We are given a lot of data, photos, and illustrations which cover every aspect of both the M8 and M20.

The only “negative” issue that this CD (and most other Easy 1 products) has is that there is no vehicle background, markings or camouflage information provided.  This is the only nit I have to pick with this CD and I am definitely reaching for things to find wrong by mentioning this point.  Being that camo and markings are outside the scope of Mr. Powell’s coverage, it is definitely understandable.  I would have liked to see some of this stuff though.

The last thing I must say about this product is that although it is a wonderful reference and resource, most of us can’t take it down to our workbenches to use as we model.  That is, unless you have a PC by your workstation, a television with DVD player, or a portable DVD player/monitor (you can use it this way too); and many of us don’t.  To put it bluntly, this product isn’t a book and thusly isn’t as flexible as one to use.  Otherwise, you’ll need to print each page you need and bring them to your bench.

Really, this is a small point to make, but my preference is to have my references handy when modeling and I can’t reconcile my SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) with computer media.  That is, until I get a PC by my modeling station.  Please note that this last point is a personal issue with me, so don’t hold it against Easy 1 or any other manufacturers of similar computer-modeling products.  I figured I’d mention it just so you know.
 
Conclusion

Easy 1 Productions’ M8/M20 Informational CD is a must for armored car modelers and enthusiasts.  If you need technical or mechanical information and photos, or need info on the other fine details of the M8 or M20, this is definitely for you.  You get many photos, and will be a great help in modeling both types of armored cars or even if you just want to know more about them.  If you want a general overview of the M8 or M20 including background, camouflage and markings information, then you’ll need something else to supplement this product.  This reference is really aimed toward the hard corps modeler and/or vehicle enthusiast.

Highly Recommended.

Thanks to Mike Powell of Easy 1 Productions for giving me the opportunity to review this CD.

 
Patrick Keenan - October 6, 2007