Hobby Model Kits
The M7 Motor
Carriage was the production vehicle of the T32 HMC. The T32 was
designed to provide a mobile artillery piece and put together the
105mm M2A1 Howitzer on a modified M3 Lee chassis. It was built by
several factories and served until the end of the war with the US
Army, USMC, Canadians, Free French Forces, and British Army. Postwar
use included the Korean War.
There were several
identifiable changes during the production run. The early M7 had
stowage boxes over the rear deck which opened down and away. On
the top of these was a cradle for a small fuel tank which could
be jettisoned. The very early ones lacked ammunition ready racks
and were equipped instead with four crew seats. Later on, two of
these seats on the left side were omitted to make room for ammunition
progresses, some M7 were equipped with the rounded transmission
armor cover (E4188) but it does not seem to have been adopted. The
hull rear stowage boxes were modified by omitting the fuel racks
and having them open from the op towards the center. Some of these
saw the heavy duty suspension units (D47527) with the offset return
roller on a straight arm bracket.
The last M7
built had the heavy duty suspension as standard along with the sharply
angled transmission armor, lowered pulpit, lowered headlight mounts,
and modified engine deck which omitted two vents to either side
of the center deck plate. The Italeri kit represents this production
Inside a rather
large box under a well done painting, we find ten sprues, two of
which are the vinyl tracks, and one which is doubled. The sprues
are divided into pairs and bagged separately. Also in the box and
separately bagged, but not sealed, are the decals. Instructions
and a marketing card complete the contents of the box.
are in a booklet form with eight pages covering construction in
12 steps. A one paragraph text provides a brief of the Priest. The
assembly sequence is good and the illustrations are clear. A parts
map completes the instructions. Photos of the completed model are
included where necessary. A separate painting and markings guide
provides guidance to decal placement.
The parts are
molded in the same green as Academys allied kits and the styrene
is not brittle so cutting, sanding, and gluing are easily accomplished.
Details on the parts are sharp and the bolted surfaces have been
rendered separately so as to not lose fidelity.
Sprue A is the
same running gear found in most of Academys Sherman based
kits. This made its debut with the M-12 and the exhausts, part 8,
are still there. However, this is a very nice sprue offering both
spoked wheels with the correct number and stamped wheels with an
insert for the inner sides. The only thing missing from the stamped
wheels are the rivets, two between each radial arm. Your spares
box will receive 34 parts from both sprues as two are provided to
ensure enough parts. Another option is to use the early heavy duty
VVSS but one must rely on instructions from another kit as they
are not in the booklet. While the oldest of the sprues, very little
flash and pin marks are evident.
Sprue B covers
the interior along with the rear hull. Slide molding has been used
to add a recessed groove to the tops of the ammunition tubes. There
is slight flash on some of the parts but easy to deal with.
The upper hull,
engine deck, and some stowage items are on Sprue C. The detail on
the upper hull includes some nicely rendered welds, bolts, and rivets.
The machine gun ring for the pulpit is found here. Strip styrene
can be used to improve the detail by adding the missing lands. No
flash or sink marks were found on this sprue.
The first unused
parts appear on Sprue D. This sprue covers the gun and tank tools.
Slide molding has again been used and the result is quite good.
There were some light sink marks on the heavier pieces and light
flashing evident. Both will be easy to handle. However, there are
pin marks on the visible side of several parts which will be difficult
Sprue H provides
for the newly tooled suspension and transmission cover. Also includes
are the fancy drive sprockets to offer a more commonly seen option.
There are two types of outer bogie halves one being common for this
vehicle while the other, with horizontal braces and a larger radius
in the upper edge, I have seen on M3 Lee tanks. Note that the instructions
illustrate a three piece transmission armor with a cutout to clear
the sponson of the M3 Lee. However, the kit includes the correct
three piece armor without the cutout.
outer halves showing options, .50 Cal ammunition boxes stowage,
and drivers instrument panel (compare to TM below).
illustrations showing the instrument panel (upper half)
and the left headlight & horn arrangement.
of slide molding for the ammunition tubes (upper) and the
cannon parts (lower).
marks on the outer sides of the gun cradle.
marks on the outer sides of the gun slide but not on the
The tracks are
the T51 rubber pad type and the details are sharp but there is a
seam on each which will be difficult to remove. Aftermarket options
include sets from ModelKasten, Friulmodel, RHPS, and Resicast for
burnt Sherman tracks. Personally, I will use RHPS due to cost. Should
I ever consider burnt tracks, the best option are ModelKasten tracks
as they have the skeleton detail and I can model only a portion
of the tracks as burnt.
has been used on sprues Y and Z to open up the muzzles on the two
50 Cal HMGs, the 30 Cal MG, and the side detail of a 50 Cal ammunition
box. Sprue Y has the larger machine guns and the pair is not identical
with one having a cradle attached. Two pintles are also includes
and a multi-part ammunition box with a side opening lid as opposed
to the second type with the flip lid. On the same sprue as the 30
Cal machine gun are two types of canisters (one water and one fuel)
with separate lids and handles.
The decals cover
some nice options but are incomplete. Although the instructions
include front views for each of the four options, none are provided
with markings for the front and rear of the vehicles. The options
include an M7 from the US 2nd Armored Division in Sicily (July 1943);
Battery B, 14th AFAB of the US Armys 2nd Armored Division
in Normandy (1944); a British Priest of the 11th Regiment Royal
Horse Artillery, 1st Armored Division, El Alamein (1942); and the
Free French 31st Firing Battery, 64th RADB, of their 2nd Armored
Division in France (September 1944). While the markings are vibrantly
printed and well chosen, I found them slightly thick and with a
In the twelve
steps, one begins with the suspension. The fancy drive sprockets
and welded road wheels are correctly called out. Here the choice
of outer bogie halves is offered. I would suggest part H1 as it
is the most common in photos. Part H2 is seen on the M3 Lee. The
second step preps the hull tub by removing some parts and grinding
them away, adding the suspension bogies and idlers. I would suggest
leaving the idlers off until track installation.
Steps 3 to 5
deal with the transmission assembly, both inner and outer sides.
The next step, the 6th, adds the drivers compartment and front
fenders along with the instrument panel. This item does not match
that found in the TM (see photo 15) but it is possibly correct for
an early or mid model.
The gun assembly
is tacked in step 7 and it is made of several pieces with the barrel
and recuperator slide molded. An inset showing the finished model
is included but I do not see how this helps the modeler in assembly.
While a raised fighting platform is included, I need to see if the
omitted drive shafts will be visible after the platform is in place.
make up the upper hull in step 8. The front pieces, part C1, includes
some nice weld detail. There are a few shallow knock out punch marks
to deal with and the rail on the machine gun skate ring mount is
a but simplified. The grouser boxes on the glacis are shown as stowing
spare track blocks. While some may not find this unusual, the way
Academy recommends assembly definitely is unorthodox. They would
have you glue the blocks to the glacis and then the boxes over them.
For this kit, I have plenty of grousers left over from the many
Academy M10/36 kits in my stash.
The next two
steps deal with the rear of the vehicle. It is nice to see the engine
hatches on the lower vertical plate are separate. Box type air cleaners
are provided but the photos I have seen which show the air cleaners
seem to have the round can type. Formations models does make a set
that would be perfect.
The final two
assembly steps cover the well done heavy machine gun, adding the
upper hull to the lower hull, ammunition stowage, accessories, and
As the kit is
designed, it is a mid production model. It has the top opening lids
and the revised increased ammunition stowage. The headlights guards
are included and the option to use the later heavy duty bogies are
there even though they are not mentioned in the instructions.
In the first
published English review on this kit, Cookie Sewell beat me in pointing
out the two missing vents on either side of the central engine plate.
While I considered ways to include these vents and their cover,
Cookie mentions an option I did not think of, covering them in stowage
after placing some brackets.
to be added are the bolts to mount the transmission armor housing
are shown as rivets on the sides and bottom of the hull. These could
be replaced or hidden behind weathering.
This is actually
a very nice effort from Academy and shows their dedication to the
modeler in taking the time to correct the suspension. The ability
to correct my M3 Lee using the left over outer bogie halves is also
a bonus. The small problems there are can be taken care of with
only the difficult pin marks being the most time consuming. This
kit is recommended to all Allied modelers.
- Army Heritage
Collection Online, www.ahco.army.mil/site/index.jsp
- here many technical manuals are available online, including:
- TM 9-731E
(Carriage, Motor, 105mm Howitzer, M7).
- TM 9-1325
(105mm Howitzers M2 and M2A1; Carriages M2A1 and M2A2; and
Combat Vehicle Mounts M3 and M4).
- FM 6-75
(Field Artillery Manual: Service of the Piece: 105mm Howitzer,
- Doyle, David,
M7 Motor Carriage, Allied-Axis Issue 17, pp 77-96, 2006.
Chris, CD #15 Toadman's 105mm H.M.C. M7, M7B1, and M7B2 Photo
Detail CD, Toadmans Tank Pictures.
R.P.. Sherman, A history of the American Medium Tank,Presidio
- Mesko, Jim,
U.S. Self-Propelled Guns in Action, Squadron Publications,
review on this site.
has done an excellent review on Missing-Lynx with a few details
missed by me. Click here.
review was published here.
- Saul Garcia