Panda Hobby 1/35 M8 AGS

KIT #: PH 35039
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 2018 tooling


The United Defense M8 Armored Gun System was an American light tank that was intended to replace the M551A1 Sheridan in the 82nd Airborne Division, as well as being expected to replace TOW-equipped Humvees in the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment (2nd ACR). The M8 project was eventually canceled in 1997. Its role in the 2nd ACR was eventually taken by the M1128 Mobile Gun System.

The basic hull of the M8 is made of welded aluminum alloy, with a modular armoring system that allows the vehicle to be equipped according to requirements. The Level I (basic) armor package is designed for the rapid deployment role and can be airdropped from a C-130 Hercules and protects the vehicle against small-arms fire and shell splinters. The Level II armor package can still be carried by C-130, but must be airlanded and is designed for use by light forces in a more serious threat environment, while level III armor is designed for contingency operations and is supposed to provide protection against light handheld anti-tank weapons. Level III armor cannot be carried by C-130. All versions are air-transportable by C-5 Galaxy and C-17 Globemaster III (five and three respectively).

The M8 is armed with the XM35 rifled autoloading 105 mm cannon main gun with an M240 7.62 mm machine-gun mounted coaxially. The M35 has a rate of fire of approximately 12 rounds per minute, with a ready capacity of 21 rounds with 9 more in stowage. A Browning M2 .50 caliber heavy machine gun is mounted in a manually-operated pintle on the commander's hatch. Power is provided by a Detroit Diesel 6V-92TIA diesel developing 550 hp.


This is another vehicle of which I have never heard. Of course, I pay more attention to aircraft, but still, you'd have thought that something about it would have leaked into my memory, especially as it is yet another US Army expensive no-go piece of equipment.

The kit is very nicely molded with a full lower hull like is standard on most armor kits. As goodly amount of time will be spent on the suspension as this one has separate track links. The links are handed so be sure to use the proper ones on the proper side. Separate links have their fans and those who don't like them. Really, it is the best way to portray tracks though they are time consuming. Like a T-34, this vehicle has no return rollers, the tracks returning atop the large road wheels.

Once it is on its suspension, work can start on the rest with the rear of the vehicle being the next part of the project. One then moves to the upper hull and it is here that the majority of the photo etch is expended in terms of screens for the most part. Then on to the turret. This has a single upper casting with the plate that slots into the upper hull.

The turret uses the really little p.e. bits and has the stand-off armor plating. The hatches are separate but with no interior they are shown closed. A nicely done machine gun is included along with a fairly complex looking mounting system. The main gun barrel is several parts and has no breech (which is not all that unusual as there is no interior detailing). Other bits that attach to the turret are fuel/water jerrycans and smoke/grenade launcher assemblies.

Instructions are very well drawn and you are given a tiny decal sheet with little more than serial numbers. The full color painting guide offers three color options. One is all desert tan, one is olive green and the third is a green, brown, black scheme as used in most NATO armor of the time.  


This looks like it will make into a pretty neat little AFV. It is not overly parts intensive and should assembly with little fuss though it does look like it will take a while to finish. The end result will be a very nice model of a vehicle that could have been. Like Kitty Hawk's earlier Sukoi kits, this will build into a rather large aircraft. It is nice to see the recce version being kitted as these variants are frequently ignored by kit manufacturers. It helps that a lot of nations flew the 25R types and now you can add one to your display shelves.


December 2018


Thanks to Glen Coleman and Kitty Hawk for the preview kit. You can find yours at your favorite retailer.

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Review Index Page

Back to the Previews Index Page