every army in WWII realized that for low altitude air defense heavy antiaircraft
guns were too slow and awkward to use against enemy aircraft. As a result, they
tended to adopt light weaponseither heavy machine guns or small caliber
automatic cannongrouped together to provide maximum firepower and wall
of lead tactics. The Soviets used a quadruple Maxim machine gun mount (7.62mm),
the Germans quadruple Flak 38 guns (20mm) and the Americans quadruple .50 caliber
machine guns (12.7mm). The U.S. originally used a twin .50 caliber mount, but
realizing that it could carry four machine guns with little additional effort,
the mount was quickly upgraded to four weapons.
in the late 1950s, Monogram released a 1/35 scale model of the first series vehicle,
the M13 with twin .50 caliber guns, which was a very nice kit in its day. In the
late 1970s, Tamiya released the M16 version with four machine guns which proved
popular, but both kits were really let down by their clumsy suspensions (in Monograms
case it was the 1950s and play valuee.g. rolling wheels and
trackshad the advantage over scale results.) When DML announced it was going
to do a new series of halftracks and then released their first one (6329), a combination
M2/M2A1 Smart Kit in October 2006, the M3/M3A1 and M16 were also announced.
But while test shots of the M16 went out in January 2007, for reasons best known
to themselves DML did not release this kit until September 2008 while still holding
the M3/M3A1 2-in-1 kit.
received the test shot in 2007, it was only in mid-2008 that DML permitted Steve
Zaloga to release an article on his build of that model, and as it was very nice
and covered the history of the vehicle as well I will not rehash what he has already
taken their solid basic sprues for the American halftrack series and provided
six new sprues of parts for this particular variant. One sprue is a continuation
of the C sprue with the parts for an M3 series hull such as the longer
mine racks, which is apropos as the M16 series halftracks normally used the longer
body of the M3. The sprues cover the new rear hull with separate flaps at the
top for road march or combat poses, modified frame and body parts, and the M55
Maxson electrically powered turret.
turret is a late model one with the gunners platform at the rear and is
very nicely done, complete with a clear styrene reflector sight; the earlier metal
spiderweb ranging site is not provided. Each of the machine guns uses
slide molding to achieve a hollow bore and consists of a gun and separate ammo
loading cover, as well as three 200 round ammo cans for each weapon (e.g., four
loaded and eight spare for the kit).
noted that due to the test shot version he had it came with multiple radio sets;
this one does not, and only comes with the complete late-production SCR-528 radio
set in a forward facing cabinet. There is no provision for the earlier radio mount
on a shelf facing the rear compartment (which Steve noted had to be added from
scratch as it was not in the kit; this is not a lick on the kit, however, as it
builds as the later production variant and not the early one).
it uses the M2 base kit parts, the bogies and track runs are very impressive,
as the idlers and drivers are slide molded with respectively thin
details and openings. Each bogie assembly consists of 18 parts and is very petite;
the mounting suspension provides five more with the track tension adjusters nicely
portrayed. The tracks are very interesting: DML molded them in hard styrene plastic
in two halves, cut in such a way that the chain plate drive tooth
guides in the center are represented as they are found on the actual vehicle.
Since the tracks were metal with rubber endless belt casings vulcanized
onto them, this is a neat way to portray it.
the sides of the cab unit are molded in one piece as well as the hood DML has
grooved the inside and provided open space for the stowage bins if the modeler
wants them opened. Boo birds carped that the vehicle is assembled
with screws and not rivets (true) and that DML provided no screw head slots. This
is still the case, but since each screw head is about 0.008" or less in diameter,
if you are really that picky get a sharp Number 11 blade and score them.
cab is neatly done, and two sets of grille mounts are includedopen
and closed, but the open one must use the etched brass louvers. This vehicle only
comes with the combat lights which mount on the grille shell. The
model has the civilian style dashboard, so note that the instruments
are a brushed aluminum color on preserved/restored vehicles and not the more common
black with white numerals. DML provides no decals, but Archer Fine Transfers has
a dynamite dashboard set for all M2/M3 series halftracks.
winch and roller each come with their own bumper and accouterments. The winch
has a length of nylon string for the cable and a chain for the final hook arrangement,
which matches photos of wartime models in service. Note that the driveshaft for
the winch needs to be installed in Step 4.
bits include the fact it comes with the so-called potable water carrier
versions of the jerry cans with flip-up lids (the gas cans normally
had screw-type caps with better seals). Steve noted that the mounts for these
are not correct (solid versus skeletonized) but once the cans are in place it
is a moot point; if you leave them off, you need to scratch build new ones.
only item of major discussion with this kit remains in the box the bulged
tires. While a large number of Boo Birds complained they were wrong,
for every photo of a U.S. halftrack with round tires one with slightly bulged
ones can be found, and the majority of preserved ones always seem to bulge a bit
(recall the weight of the engine and armored cab are on the front axle). Still
this tends to be an individual matter of taste more than a major error.
and finishing instructions are provided for six vehicles: 482nd AAA Battalion,
9th AD, Remagen 1945; 390th AAA Auto Wpns Battalion, Germany 1945; Unidentified
Unit, Western Front 1944 (codes mudded out); 457th AAA Auto Wpns Battalion, Luxembourg
1945; 209th AAA Auto Wpns Battalion, Luzon 1945; 1st Light AA Regiment, 1st Polish
Armoured Division, France 1944 (black and OD camouflage). A targeted sheet of
Cartograf decals is provided.
even with nits to pick this is a superior kit and a great advance over its two
predecessors. Still, no clue why we had to wait 20 months for it to be released!
Media and Contents:
470 parts (443 in grey styrene, 17 etched brass, 8 clear stryene, 1 brass chain,
1 nylon string)
Chassis and suspension
B 28 Armored cab assembly
C 29 M49 mount and front
C 17 M3 mine racks and detail parts
D 48x2 Bogie assembly
E 8 Clear styrene parts
H 2 Front grille (open/closed)
Machine guns and radio set
N 23 M16 rear armored body components
P 34 M16
Maxson turret components
Q 20x2 M16 - two machine guns and ammo cans
M16 - crew figure (driver and gunner)
W 8 Slide molded drivers and idlers
17 Etched brass
MB 1 brass chain
MC 1 nylon string
to Freddie Leung for the review sample.