Dragon 1/35 M3 75mm Gun Motor Carriage
|PRICE:||around $52.00 MSRP|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The German victory over France in 1940 using armored divisions profoundly impressed the United States Army. Realizing that defense against tanks was essential, an urgent requirement was issued for the development of tank destroyers for the U.S. Army. In June 1941, an M3 Halftrack was mated with an 75 mm gun M1897A4 , which was an American version of the famous "French 75" of World War I fame. This experimental vehicle was known as the T12, and proved to work remarkably well given the speed with which it was developed. Standardized in October 1941 as the 75 mm GMC M3, over 2,200 75 mm GMC M3's were produced until April 1943. However, a large number of them were converted back to standard halftracks before issue to troop units, resulting in only 842 seeing field service. The GMC M3A1 was a variant that used a different gun mount. The 75 mm GMC M3 was reclassified first as limited standard and then as obsolete in 1944.
The gun had an indirect fire range of 9,200 yards (8,400 meters), and fired the AP M72 (Armor Piercing) shell that could penetrate 3.2 inches of armour at 500 yards, the APC M61 (Armor Piercing Capped) shell that could penetrate 2.8 inches of armour at 500 yards, and the HE M48 (High Explosive) shell for use against infantry and other non-armored targets. 59 rounds of 75-mm ammunition were carried aboard. The crew were equipped with a rifle and four carbines for self defense.
This latest incarnation of the M3 halftrack has been considerably upgraded and include a number of brand new features to make this the most accurate kit of this variant yet produced. Just to give you a rundown of what is new and improved:
Gun and Shield:
- Brand new M1897A4 75mm gun with complete breech
- Gun traverse system authentically reproduced
- Shield support connecting gun is also included
- Gun shield for M3 75mm GMC is slide-molded
- Gun trails with hand wheels finely reproduced
- Rear plate specifically designed for M3
- Rear cab door is newly tooled
- Ammunition rack with ammo installed under main gun
- Fighting compartment arrangement specific to M3
- Two types of rear storage bins for M3 GMC
- Newly tooled fighting compartment side armor with detail
- Fine screw-head and rivet detail present
- Top half of cab doors can be assembled in swung-down position
- Delicate steering wheel and controls
- Detailed dashboard instrument panel
- Interior fuel tank with cap
- Photo-etched visors for armored window covers
- Armored front grill with bolt detail can be modeled in two modes;
bonus individual photo-etched slats available for open mode
- Front hood mounts reproduced by photo-etched parts
- Detailed rear bucket for GMC M3
- Sharply molded OVM
Chassis and suspension:
- Full drive train assembly with engine transmission,
differential housing and suspension units
- Rubber track modeled with center guide band
- Finely detailed one-piece chassis
- Dual drive train with disc-brake assembly
- Fully detailed steering mechanism
- Suspension springs finely rendered
- Sprockets and idler wheels are multi-directional slide-molded
- One piece exhaust and muffler
- Bogie assembly with internal spring detail
- Complete engine with radiator and oil sump
- Differential housing has bolt and rib detail
- Tires intentionally shaped to mimic bulging caused by heavy load
- Bonus driver
- Cartograf decal
Some of the things I really like about this one is the superb detail of the gun itself and the simplicity of the tracks. As these were basically rubber, they didn't sag and so producing them in halves like this really makes one of the more tedious tasks of armor building much easier.
The kit decals provide markings for new fewer than seven different vehicles. Unless mentioned, the base color is Olive Drab. The one on the box art is from the 601st Tank Destroyer Battalion in Tunisia during 1943, Next is one with a large, broad US insignia as used in Sicily in 1943. A stateside version in standard markings is next followed by one used by the Marines in Saipan in 1944. This one has additional large swaths of dark yellow. Next three are British. With the 1st King's Dragoon Guards is one with a large roundel on the hood and areas of what appear to be sand as operated in Italy during 1944. As part of the British army in Germany during 1945 is a standard colored vehicle from the same unit. Finally with the 27th Lancers in Italy in 1945 is another standard marked GMC. As mentioned in the list of features, the Cartograf decals are very nicely done.
Overall, another fine military vehicle kit from Dragon and one that should find much favor with US armor builders.
My thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Buy yours today at your local store or on-line retailer.
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