Tamiya CD-ROM M4 Sherman Tank
The folks at Absolute Air Land & Sea have produced six great titles in their Tamiya reference line-up. These include the Supermarine Spitfire, Messerschmitt Bf109, North American P-51 Mustang, Soviet T-34 Tank, German Tiger I Tank and the subject of this review - the US M4 Sherman.
Each title includes a library of photographs, movie footage, virtual tours of the inside and outside of each subject, color profiles of the subject, a summarized development and operational history and, whenever possible, a contemporary look at the subject.
In the case of the Sherman, all of these features are available. One of the great resources that the Absolute ALS team have had available is access to several armor museums in the United Kingdom. They were able to film the Sherman during start-up and in operation in nearby fields in the British countryside. These restored vehicles have also provided a great resource for virtual tours of the interior of these great machines.
The Absolute Air Land & Sea website (http://www.absolute-als.com) has excerpts from all of their current titles available for your viewing. One good example is the 'free' tour of the interior of the Sherman. If your system is compatible with Quicktime, you can click here to take a peek. Hold the left mouse button down and drag the mouse around the inside of the image to 'move around'. If you also hold the Shift key, you'll zoom into whatever is centered in your window whilst the Ctrl key will zoom you back out. Give it a try.
You might see some of this stuff if you wait patiently for the right episode of the History Channel or other related documentary, but you'll never have on-demand references like these anywhere else. This Sherman title, along with the others currently available, are definitely worthwhile supplements to your reference library, and you'll never get to hear these great machines like this except in person (If you think the audio tracks on the History Channel and/or Wings channel are authentic, guess again. Most of the time they are dubbed in 'representative' sounds and you're lucky if they get a match for a liquid-cooled engine, much less a Merlin!).
You can find these CD-ROMs in most book stores and better hobby shops.
Look for four new titles coming - Tiger II and Panther before Christmas, and Me262 and Fw190 after the holidays.