Tamiya's release of the M8 armored car, it was natural that the
M20 would appear. This low-silhouette vehicle was used in the reconnaissance
and scout regiments. The M20 carried a more powerful radio than
the M8 and had a map table, benches, and a small step-up for the
MG gunner. It was fast, reliable and some commanders used it as
their personal vehicle. Armament consisted of a .50 caliber M2 Browning
MG, a bazooka anti-tank rocket launcher, three M1 carbines, and
the small arms the crew carried.
turret of the M8 kit has been replaced with a sprue providing all
the necessary parts to convert to M8 in to the M20: new front hatches,
new interior with bench seats, a bazooka, rifle rack, etc. The kit
includes a driver figure. If you have the M8 as well, there are
some 37mm rounds left over in this kit, so it's an excellent opportunity
to fill the rather empty racks in the M8 with six more rounds.
With Tamiya's excellent instructions and parts layout, this kit
is very easy to construct. Step 1 has you add the separate bottom
to the chassis and Tamiya has designed this very well. The drive
shaft and axles are cast as one part (B17) and all you have to do
is add some of the smaller parts to it to complete it. When this
is done, you can attach it to the underside of the hull and add
the shock absorbers and front side of the hull (C7). In Step 4 you
add the rear panel, the rear shock absorbers and the exhaust. I
drilled out the end of the exhaust and opened the holes on C15 to
add the first aid kit later in Step 15.
instructions tell you not to glue the wheels until after you have
attached the upper hull; you may wish to paint the wheels and the
car body separately and add the wheels at the very end of the project.
The wheels assemble from five parts. The back pieces with separate
brake drums fit inside the main wheel body, trapping the famous
Tamiya poly caps and allowing the wheels to turn.
Step 5 is the beginning of the interior and first you have to make
some subassemblies like the fire extinguisher and rear bulkhead.
These are all attached in Step 6, together with the back rests for
the front seats. One of the two bench seats and the lower parts
of the front seats are fixed in Step 7. The next step concerns positioning
the other bench seat, jerry can, canteen, and driver.
The upper hull is next in Step 9, and here is the first place for
improvement. The column of the steering wheel should end just in
front of the hull front with a vertical column running down to the
floor. This area is quite noticeable when you leave the front hatches
open, so it's worth correcting this.
10 focuses on the armored superstructure. Take care that everything
aligns well. This assembly is attached to the hull in Step 11, which
in turn is attached to the chassis together with the rear engine
doors. The last step in the interior part is to add some rifles
to the rack and you can take this opportunity to include some more
stowage of your own.
Again, you start with some subassemblies; MG ring, .50 caliber MG,
and mine racks. In Step 15, the exterior is completely fitted out
with fenders, tools, the tripod for the .50 caliber M2 Browning,
the tail lights, etc. You have a choice to add mine racks or stowage
hatches are next as well as the brush guards for the head lights
and here you could improve on the kit. The hatches fit fine when
closed, but when you want them open to show some of the interior,
they just don't fit. Try to catch some photos (perhaps at the AMPS
website) to fix this. The last step is to fit the machine gun and
ring and tow rope, which is made of nylon cord and two end loop
pieces. If you've chosen the mine racks, you can add the mines.
Because this is a U.S. vehicle, your choice is simple: olive drab.
It was common, however, for the front drivers section to be painted
white for better internal visibility. There are also many other
small items such as weapons and gear that break up the predominant
color. As with any open-topped vehicle, you will need to plan ahead
for painting certain parts; it would be easier, for example, to
paint the interior before attaching the roof assembly than
markings are offer several options, including the 2nd Armored Division,
82 Armored Recon Battalion, C Co., 1st Platoon in France, August
1944; the 807th Tank Destroyer Battalion, B Co., 1st Platoon in
Germany, 1945 (with "Crunchin' Kitty" logos on the rear
fenders); and a very colorful M20 of the commander of 5th Armored
Division, 2nd Dragon Regiment of the Free French Army in France,
All in all, it's a quite good kit in the typical Tamiya style with
state of the art molding, and very easy to construct out of the
box. There are a few small faults but don't let that distract from
a otherwise good kit. And you can always add extra detailing with
Eduard photo-etch or Verlinden's M20 accessory set. For references,
Squadron Signal offers an inexpensive book on U.S. armored cars,
while Richard Hunicutt has authored the definitive volume for just
under $100.00. And AFV
Interiors has images of the M8 interior, which can help you
detail the wiring and gear clips for the interior of the M20 driver's