Dragon 1/35 M48A3 Mod B
KIT #: 3544
PRICE: $60.00 SRP
DECALS: Four options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Modern AFV Series


The M48 Patton is a medium tank that was designed in the United States. It was the third and final tank to be officially named after General George S. Patton, commander of the U.S. Third Army during World War II and one of the earliest American advocates for the use of tanks in battle It was a further development of the M47 Patton tank. The M48 Patton served as an interim tank in U.S. service until replaced by the U.S. Army's first main battle tank (MBT), the M60. The M48 served as the U.S. Army and Marine Corps's primary battle tank during the Vietnam War. It was widely used by U.S. Cold War allies, especially other NATO countries.

The M48 Patton tank was designed to replace the previous M47 Pattons and M4 Shermans. Although largely resembling the M47, the M48 Patton was a completely new tank design. Some M48A5 models served well into the 1980s with American forces, and many various M48 Patton models remain in service in other countries. The M48 was the last U.S. tank to mount the 90 mm tank gun, with the last model, the M48A5, being upgraded to carry the new standard weapon of the M60, the 105mm gun.

The Turkish Army is the largest operator of the modernized M48 MBT, with more than 1,400 M48s in its inventory (around 1,000 have been phased out/in storage or modified to ARVs.

In February 1963, the US Army accepted its first of 600 M48 Patton tanks that had been converted to M48A3's, and by 1964, the US Marine Corps had received 419 Patton tanks. The A3 model introduced the diesel engine, countering the earlier versions' characteristic of catching fire. These Pattons were to be deployed to battle in Vietnam. Because all M48A3 tanks were conversions from earlier models, many characteristics varied among individual examples of this type. M48A3 tanks could have either 3 or 5 support rollers on each side and might have either the early or later type headlight assemblies. The Mod B had additional armor on the exhausts and tail lights, and a raised commander's cupola.


I am pretty sure this is a new tool kit and it is nice to see something a bit more modern from Dragon. I can anticipate that this will start a series of these. The kit is unlike others that Dragon has done as the total parts count is only about 200 bits, pretty low when you consider the 7-800 part panzers that they have done in the past. The kit comes with Dragon's excellent DS tracks so no worries about a mass of individual track links. It also does not include any photo etch, something else that is a bit different from the usual. The only metal is in the tow cable. As you can see from the box illustration, this is one of the tanks with the five return rollers.

Here is a full list from Dragon's PR folks:

●Newly designed M48A3 represented w/intricate detail
●Travel lock can be assembled stand up or down
●Authentic 90mm M1 gun and detailed 0.50 cal MG molded
●3-directional slide-molded structure w/realistic detail
●Commander's hatch and turret can be assembled open/closed
●Lever provided for stabilizing the 90mm M1 gun
●Subtle headlights realistically produced
●Well-defined turret w/crisp antenna and fences
●Towing cable included
●Cupola realistically exhibited w/crystal clear vision port
●Handles and rail are on turret as original
●Side fences of fender w/delicate screw head molded on
●Front visions ports exhibited w/crystal clear parts
●Spotlights present w/crystal clear parts
●Realistically reproduced engine grill w/molded on details
●Casting number molded on M48A3
●One-piece slide-molded upper and lower hull w/delicate detail
●Jerry can finely produced
●Suspension system formed with different parts
●Engine deck produced w/excellent details
●Hull rear w/authentic engine grille and hooks
●Sprockets and road wheels assembled with multiple parts
●Detailed one-piece DS tracks

There are decals for four vehicles, all in olive drab and all in Vietnam during 1965. Only one is identified that that is not the box art kit but a vehicle from B company, 3rd Marine Tank Batallion. There are more markings on the sheet than are accounted for, so it seems that if you wanted to do other Marine Tanks, you have that option. Only one of the other options carried the white star insignia. I'm sure most will gravitate towards the named shark mouth version. I've really darkened the sheet so that the white bits could been more easily seen.


Now this is a kit that I can see building. I'm not a huge fan of zillions of parts as I tend to get bogged down. It is just me and I know lots of folks who like all that detail. One of the first tank kits I ever built was a Patton and now that this one has been done, I can see it being a huge hit with US armor fans.



July 2013

Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours at your local retailer.

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