Dragon 1/35 T-19 Howitzer Motor Carriage

KIT #: 6496
DECALS: Five options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Smart Kit


Between the world wars, the US Army sought to improve the tactical mobility of its forces. With the goal of finding a high-mobility infantry vehicle, the Ordnance Department had evaluated the half-track design by testing French Citroën-Kégresse vehicles. The White Motor Company produced a prototype half track using their own chassis and the body of the M3 Scout Car.

The design, using as many commercial components as possible to improve reliability and speed production, was standardized in 1940 and built by the Autocar Company, Diamond T Motor Company, and the White Company.

Offered with a choice of White 160AX or IHC RED 450 engines, the M3 was driven through a manual constant-mesh (non-synchromesh) transmission with four forward and one reverse gear, as well as a two-speed transfer case. Front suspension was leaf spring, tracks by vertical volute spring. Braking was vacuum-assisted hydraulic, steering manual, without power assist. The electrical system was 12-volt.

The M3 was the larger counterpart to the M2 Half Track Car. The M2 was originally intended to function as an artillery tractor. The M3 had a longer body than the M2 with a single access door in the rear and seating for a 13-man rifle squad. Ten seats were arranged down either side of the vehicle, with three in the cab. Racks under the seats were used for ammunition and rations; additional racks behind the seat backs held the squad's rifles and other stowage. A small rack for mines was added on the outside of the hull just above the tracks. In combat, most units found it necessary to stow additional food, rucksacks and other crew stowage on the outside of the vehicle. Luggage racks were often added in the field, and very late vehicles had rear-mounted racks for this crew stowage.

Early vehicles had a pintle mount just behind the front seats mounting a .50 caliber (12.7 mm) M2 Browning machine gun. The later M3A1 adopted a raised, armored 'pulpit mount' for the .50 caliber, and .30 caliber (7.62 mm) machine guns could be used from mounts along the sides of the passenger compartment. Many M3s were later modified to the M3A1 standard. The body was armoured all around with an adjustable armoured shutter for the engine's radiator and a bullet proof windscreen.

Total production of the M3 ran to nearly 41,000 vehicles. To supply the Allied nations International Harvester produced several thousand of a very similar vehicle, the M5 half track for Lend-Lease.

Typical of all military vehicles, there were a ton of variations and adaptions. One was the installation of the M2A1 105mm Howitzer in the cargo area to produce the T-19 Howitzer Motor Carriage. Over 300 were produced, seeing action in North Africa, Sicily and Italy though were quickly replaced by the much better suited M7 Priest.


Once again, Dragon Models has taken existing kits and cross-matched sprues to provide an all new offering. There are also some new tool items that are peculiar to this variant. It is one of the less parts intensive kits with only 250 pieces, making this pretty much a quick build as far as Dragon kits go. The features of the kit are as follows:

- Aluminum gun barrel w/finely reproduced rifling
- Brand new T19 105mm howitzer w/complete breech
- Intricately reproduced gun elevation system
- Fully detailed gun cradle mount w/bolt and support-brace details
- New fighting compartment configuration for T19
- Shield supports connected to gun also included
- Gun trails w/hand wheels finely reproduced
- Gun breech made by slide molds
- Cradle-mounted M1919A4 w/ammunition box finely rendered
- Floor pattern realistically produced
- Gun shield for T19 105mm howitzer has fine details
Newly tooled ammunition bracket w/ammo
- Detailed dashboard instrument panel
- Delicate steering wheel and controls
- Photo-etched visors for armored window covers
- Armored front grill can be modeled in two modes; individual photo-etched slats available for open position
- Front hood mounts reproduced by photo-etched parts
- New fighting compartment side armor w/handle detail
- Fine screw-head and rivet detail present on inner and outer armor plate surfaces
- Detailed door at rear of fighting compartment
- Newly designed rear plate w/step detail
- Top half of cab door can be assembled in lowered position
- One-piece exhaust and muffler
- Sharply molded OVM
- Differential housing has bolt and rib detail
- Dual drive train w/disc-brake assembly
- Complete engine w/radiator and oul sump
- Suspension springs finely rendered
- Full drive-train assembly w/engine transmission, differential housing and suspension units
- Plastic track modeled w/center-guide band
- Finely detailed one-piece chassis
- Bogie assembly with internal spring detail
- Fully detailed steering mechanism
- Tires intentionally shaped to mimic bulging caused by heavy load
- Multi-directional slide-molded sprockets and idler wheels

There are decals for five different vehicles, all in overall olive drab, and most of them from unknown units. Instructions are typical for Dragon with superbly done illustrations and the usual Gunze paint references.


In all, another fine addition to Dragon's growing M3 half-track variants and a fine kit for those wanting to get their feet wet in quality armor kits.




January 2010


My thanks towww.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours today at your local shop on on-line retailer.

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