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 centres on US vehicles, but they do have some British vehicle products available as well. Besides scans of the technical manuals, Easy 1 sometimes will provide bonus images, such as photographs of museum vehicles and other 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 hardcore modeller 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. 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 modellers 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’s 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.
- M8/M20 Technical Manual (259 pages, with 326 scans and 175 black & white images/illustrations)
- Instruction Guide: M5 37mm AT Gun Training Manual (67 pages, with 69 scans and 66 b/w images/illustrations)
- M8 Armored Car photographs (30 color photographs of a restored museum vehicle)
- 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/Image 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 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.
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.
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 modellers 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 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 thus isn’t as flexible as one to use. Otherwise, you’ll need to print each page you need and bring them to your bench.
Easy 1 Productions’ M8/M20 Informational CD is a must for armored car modellers 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 modelling 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 hardcore modeller and/or vehicle enthusiast.
Thanks to Mike Powell of Easy 1 Productions for giving me the opportunity to review this CD.