Modelers of IDF subjects may remember a book published several years back titled Wild and Cruel Cats, which covered Israeli APC’s based on T-54/55’s and the Centurion. The author of that book, Dr. Robert Manasherob, has now published another title, Lioness & Lion of the Line. This new book is the first volume in a planned series on Sherman tanks in service with the IDF. Volume One focuses primarily on the Sherman M50 and its development, with a short section devoted to the M51.
Those of you who are familiar with the publisher Concord will find this book to be done in the same type format. The book itself is 80 pages, which include a total of 331 photos, 79 b/w period pictures, and 252 in color. There are also 4 pages of color plates and 7 pages of 1/35 scale drawings. All of this printed on a quality glossy white paper stock.
A Look Inside
The first few pages of the book are devoted to a short introduction outlining the background leading up to the IDF’s need for a more powerful tank. Included here is a very brief description of the atmosphere in Israel at this time plus details on the development and implementation of the modifications done to the Sherman tank, which became known as the M50. There is also a short section concerning the organization of the IDF’s armored forces at this time. This introduction totals seven pages in all with one photo on each page, and the rest is text.
After this intro you begin to get into what this book is really all about and that is the photos, many of which are previously unpublished. On pages 8-44 you will find the majority of the black & white photos and also all of the scale drawings. The photos are for the most part two to a page, but there are pages where you will find one or three per page. Included are pictures of the M50 in action, during training, and also on parade, as well as a number of crew pics. These pics show the different Sherman variants that were used for the conversion, like the M4, M4A1 and A4, and the M4 composite hull. Photo reproduction is very good, with all the pics appearing clear and with details that are easy to see. They all have detailed captions that describe just what you are looking at.
One of the things I found interesting in this section was the use of glossy paint on the tanks. This is visible not only when the tanks are on parade but during training and in combat. As modellers, I thought this was interesting since most of us automatically paint our models in flat paints or flat coat everything when done.
Pages 45-48 give a very brief intro to the M51, which includes a list of all the modifications made to the tanks. There are six B & W photos on these pages showing the M51 on the production line, and one showing a new M51 during a drill (also seen on the cover).
Following the short section on the M51 is where for me, and I’m sure many other modelers, this book really shines. Pages 49-76 are where you will find the many color, and very clear detail photos of the M50. Again, the photos are all described in detailed captions. This section includes 10 pages of color interior detail shots, which were taken by Chris “Toadman” Hughs, of the Littlefield Collection’s fully restored M50. There are good clear shots of the crew stations, the main gun breech, and just about every other interior area of the tank that you could get to. Next, are another 10 pages packed full of close up detail shots of the different VVSS suspension units and the rest of the running gear. Pages 69 & 70 have detailed shots of the lower rear hull looking up under the upper hull overhang. There are three pages of turret detail pics, with a promise of more extensive coverage in Volume 2. For Sherman aficionados this section alone may be worth the price of “admission.”
As a small bonus, and given for comparison purposes, there are three pages of pictures of a captured Egyptian Sherman equipped with the AMX 13 FL 10 turret with the M50 gun at the Latrun Museum in Israel. On pages 77-80 and the inside back cover are the color plates which include six profile views of different M50’s and a guide to camouflage and markings of early M50’s
I know it’s been said here and elsewhere, in other reviews and forums, but it bears repeating; it’s a good time to be an IDF modeler! We have new kits and conversions being announced on a seemingly very regular basis. On top of which, we are getting some fantastic references to go with them. This latest reference addition Lioness & Lion of the Line is no exception, and I highly recommend adding it to your library. Even if you are just a fan of the Sherman tank, I think you will find that it will come in handy. I know I will be looking forward to the follow up volumes in this series as well.
Highs: The many good clear photos, and the detailed captions that accompany them are for me the definite highs in the book.Lows: The only low I can come up with is the price, and considering that this is a limited print run that is understandable.Verdict: An excellent reference for the Israeli M50, and for Sherman fans in general. This would be a very nice addition to your tank reference library.
About Mike Land (Kelley) FROM: GEORGIA, UNITED STATES
My story is like so many others, I began modeling as a kid, then in my teenage years I discovered more interesting things...girls, cars. I got married in my early thirties and got back into modeling pretty heavily in my mid thirties (I'm 46 now) I was amazed at the changes. As a kid I started with m...