Tamiya 1/35 M42 Duster

KIT #: 35161
PRICE: 2000 yen SRP
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 1992 release


The M42 40 mm Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Gun, or "Duster," is an American armored light air-defense gun built for the United States Army from 1952 until December 1960, in service until 1988. Production of this vehicle was performed by the tank division of the General Motors Corporation. It used components from the M41 light tank and was constructed of all-welded steel.

A total of 3,700 M42s were built. The vehicle has a crew of six and weighs 22,500 kg (49,500 lb) fully loaded. Maximum speed is 45 mph (72 km/h) with a range of 100 miles (160 km). Armament consists of fully automatic twin 40 mm M2A1 Bofors, with a rate of fire of 2120 rounds per minute (rpm) and either a .30 caliber Browning M1919A4 or 7.62mm M60 machine gun. The 500 hp, six-cylinder, Continental (or Lycoming Engines), air-cooled, gasoline engine is located in the rear of the vehicle. It was driven by a cross-drive, two-speed Allison transmission.

Although the M42 Duster was initially designed for an anti-aircraft role, it proved to be highly effective against unarmored ground forces in the Vietnam war. It was in Vietnam where the nick-name 'Duster' was applied to the vehicle. It was finally retired in 1988 after serving well over 30 years.  


This is an 'old school' Tamiya kit that has all the holes in the lower hull for motorizing the vehicle, though none of the equipment to do so is included. It also takes advantage of already having modeled the M41 so many of the sprues are for that particular kit. Normally I wouldn't buy this kit, but I won it in a raffle and it looks to be very nice. Tamiya obviously takes good care of its molds and had good quality control as I saw little in the way of molding glitches aside from a few ejector pin marks that might be visible when the kit is done.

The one piece lower hull takes up the first two construction steps. Most of this is attaching the road wheels, idler, sprocket and return rollers as the suspension is molded in place. The sprockets get polycaps to hold them in place. Careful gluing will allow all these items to rotate.

The upper deck is next with again, much of the detail molded in place and only those pieces that 'jut out' added. The gun assembly is nicely done and designed to move. You have a choice of guns for the defensive machine gun depending on the decal options. There is a fairly nice interior to the turret that includes crew seats, radios and the such. No crew members are provided and you do have to make the antennas from stretched sprue. The vinyl tracks are nicely molded and held together by heating a screwdriver tip and mushing down the joining pins. Apparently these are not to be painted as I'm sure most paint will simply flake off if flexed.

Instructions are nicely done with the usual Tamiya-only paint references. You have decals for three vehicles, all in overall US Army olive drab. One is a US M42 from Vietnam, one is with the Japanese Self Defense Force and a third is with the West German Army. The decal sheet looks quite nice and this may be a more recent boxing as the white areas are actually white.


Based on what others tell me, this is a nice kit and one that can be built fairly quickly. I'm sure that link and length tracks would be preferred, but this was, after all, designed to be motorized so the vinyl tracks are appropriate.



October 2019

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