Today Paul is back to complete his Fighting First box trilogy. You can find his review of the boxset here.
So after finishing up the Stuarts and Shermans, it is onto the M10s. Like the Stuarts and Shermans, the M10 is a plastic model with all options on a single olive drab coloured frame. The M10 frame is jam-packed with options; allowing for an M10, Achilles and a M36 to be assembled. I went with the M10 to fill out my desert options.
Assembly of the hull was really simple. The upper hull is a single piece that nicely slots into the lower hull. I particularly like this as I find the joins on the hull can be harder to disguise. Fewer pieces also means less assembly time and more gaming time. The two pieces attach behind where the glacis plate will be fitted at the front and at the back behind the engine deck. The hull is then completed with the glacis plate and the rear panel.
The turret is slightly more complex but not onerous. Really the important step here is to select the correct gun and barrel. These are intentionally not universal so that you can only assemble a matching pair. The upper turret and lower turret pieces slip together well and the gun mantlet will cover the front join. The counter weight is next and fits at an angle. Again, most of the join is not visible but extra care should be taken with the side joins as these will be visible. Finally, the 50cal is inserted into the hole on the rear of the turret. The new plastics make this really simple. The old metal and resin kits were less precise and the small hole and nub for the 50cal often meant that the 2 pieces did’t fit so well. These are very precise and fit well. The barrel of the MG is thin so hopefully they will stand up to gaming use. I intentionally set mine up so they didn’t hang over the side of the turret to try and minimise any damage they might take.
Finally I added some stowage. I did this at the end of an extended assembly session fairly late at night. I used way too much glue and you can see the results. The glue has leaked out the sides and doesn’t look great. Still the stowage is welcome and appropriate. In the future I will be looking to add to the supplied stowage to add further interest and variety to my models.
I followed the same steps as I used for both the Stuarts and the Shermans. Check out those articles for the steps I took.
Well done to Battlefront for providing decals with these 2 models. In fact there is a complete sheet provided so you will end up with some spares. I used 2 stars on the sides of the model along with the tank numbers for the hull sides and a recognition star on the engine deck.
In the Game
And onto the exciting bit. In MW, the M10 is a beast. In the V4 book – Fighting First, the M10 has had a boost to front armour, moving from 4 to 5. This means they are better able to withstand the large amount of AT 7 around. Even the AT 8 of the base Panzer III is going to struggle to penetrate the M10s frontal armour, especially at long range.
The M10’s 3 inch gun is AT 12 means that it is capable of penetrating anything it meets on the gaming table including the Tiger. I think the M10 is best kept at range where it’s AT 12 is more than enough against medium armour (FA 5 and 6) whilst adding one to it’s own FA moving from 5 to 6.
The main weakness of this Tank Destroyer is the “hit on a 3” rating. Even concealed at close range, 50% of shots will hit the M10 compared to 33% of a veteran Marder in the same situation. To mitigate this, you really need to make the most of movement orders to minimise return fire. Thankfully the ‘Seek, Strike and Destroy’ rule lets Tank Destroyers that successfully ‘blitzed’ attempt a ‘shoot and scoot’ movement order too. So pop out from cover with a ‘blitz’, fire at full ROF, then ‘scoot’ back. Its all good until you fail the 4+ skill check…
In terms of list construction, you can now take a Tank Destroyer formation in MW. This is an exciting development for TD tactics. A word of warning though, these units are good but expensive.
I think the M10 unit is best used as a support option for one of the other formations, providing some heavy AT support to either an Infantry, Armoured Infantry or Tank force.
Well that’s it, I have had a blast painting up this box set. In summary, these new plastic models with decals make this box a no-brainer for someone looking to start a new US armour force.
I hope you enjoyed this series of articles.
And because I can, here is the whole box set painted….