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In-Box Review
135
M48A3
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by: Kevin Brant [ SGTRAM ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction

The design for the M48 tank started in the early 1950ís as a replacement for the M47. It was the third tank to be named after General Patton and the last tank to mount the 90mm gun. The tank served with the US Army and the US Marine Corp during the Vietnam War. The M48A3 was received in 1963 which included the new diesel engine.

This new kit from Dragon Models represents the M48A3 as it served in Vietnam

Contents

Inside the box:
  • 7 plastic sprues
  • 2 clear plastic sprues
  • DS Track
  • DS Mantlet Cover
  • Small Length of Wire
  • Decal Sheet
  • Instruction Sheet

Review

This is the second boxing of the M48A3 from Dragon Models, while very similar to the first, this boxing includes the characteristic search light mounted on the mantlet. Looking in the box, the kit comes molded in light grey plastic, with some great looking moldings. The molded detail looks to be very well done, including some fine parts. There does not seem to be any ejector marks or sink marks that will be visible after assembly.

The hull and turret have molded cast texture that does look well done. I did find that the texture on the turret is a little more pronounced, with the hull texture a little weak. The molding of the rear ribs also looks to be very well done. The rest of the molded on detail is well pronounced, and looks great.

The kit does include some great looking fine detail, including the storage basket for the rear of the turret. These look to be fragile pieces, and care will be needed to cut these off the sprue. The commander cupola is molded in clear plastic, so masking will be required prior to painting. While the kit does include markings for Marine units, the kit does not include the mounting of the .50 cal on the top of the cupola.

A little planning will need to be done with the mantlet mounted search light for painting. The kit does not include a cover for the light, but the clear plastic lens does look very good, and this will show the inner workings of the light off well.

The mantlet cover is molded in DS and does look to be very well done. The barrel is molded in two parts, the mid to rear section and the front with muzzle brake. The slide molding used by Dragon Models does a very nice job on the muzzle brake, and to me it looks great. Also the kit includes the Dragon DS track, and looks to be very well done, detailed on both sides. Being that the track on M48ís usually did not sag, thus the DS track should work well on this build.

While the kit contains a piece wire for the tow cable, there is no photo-etched detail included.

As for decals, both US Army and USMC markings are included:
  • A Company, 1st Marine Tank Battalion, Hue City 1968
  • C Company, 1st Marine Tank Battalion, Da Nang 1970
  • C Company, 1st Battalion, 69th Armor, Bong Son 1968
  • C Company, 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor, Operation Cedar Falls 1967
  • C Company, 1st Marine Tank Battalion, Da Nang 1968

The decals are very well printed, colorful, and should make the tank look great when applied.

The instruction are the typical Dragon Models format with 16 steps for construction. The flow is standard for a tank, and while they look well organized, I still recommend checking parts and dry fitting based on Dragon history.

Conclusion

This is a great looking Vietnam era tank from Dragon Models, and should build into a great model. The molded details look great and the addition of the cast texture is a nice touch. While the DS track is a hit or miss some modellers, it does look to be well done. The only issue I saw was the lack of any photo-etched details, which could have added a little extra fine detail. I highly recommend this kit from Dragon Models.
SUMMARY
Highs: Great moldings, fine detail, cast texture on turret, great assortment of markings.
Lows: No photo-etched parts, missing .50 cal mount common to some Marine tanks.
Verdict: Great model, looks to build into a great looking M48, highly recommended.
Percentage Rating
80%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 3546
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Jul 03, 2014
  NATIONALITY: United States
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 88.35%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 86.23%

Our Thanks to Dragon USA!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
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About Kevin Brant (SgtRam)
FROM: ONTARIO, CANADA

I am an IT Consultant and father, with a passion for plastic models. I mostly prefer 1/35 Armor and 1/48 Aircraft. My main interests are anything Canadian, as well as WW2 German and British Armor and Aircraft. I have been building models since I was a young kid, got away from it for awhile, but r...

Copyright ©2017 text by Kevin Brant [ SGTRAM ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of TankRat's. All rights reserved.


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Comments

Hi, Kevin & Darren! Thanks for the GREAT review of this latest DRAGON M48- This will be the kit that I'll buy, seeing as it has the "DS" pieces that should have been included in DRAGON's prior release of the M48. Is any PE for this particular kit available yet? Are there any "improvements" in engineering, etc? I'd like to see DRAGON or BRONCO, AFV CLUB, MENG, TRUMPETER or maybe even TAMIYA release an M46, M47, and brand new-tooling kits of the M60, M60A1, A2, and A3... Any thoughts on those? Thanks again, Dennis
JUL 08, 2014 - 12:16 PM
AFV Club has an M60A1 as a future release.
JUL 08, 2014 - 07:41 PM
THANKS! The only bad thing about AFV CLUB is their tendency to put off releasing their "new announcements". They out-and-out CANCELLED their 1/35 M8 Howitzer Motor Carriage without ANY warning whatsoever, after YEARS and YEARS of waiting. We NEED one of those- the TAMIYA kit has TOO MANY ISSUES to be popular among advanced modellers. AFV CLUB took FIVE YEARS to finally release their M5A1 (Early) and quite a long time to release the "follow-on" M5A1 (Late). It seems that they get caught up in WWII German stuff, just like their rivals at DRAGON/CYBERHOBBY... The TMD 1/35 M8 HMC Resin Conversion really doesn't count (even though it's a WONDERFUL conversion) because you still need an AFV CLUB M5A1 as a donor-kit... Back on track, I think it would be great if AFV CLUB would release the initial M60, M60A2 "Starship", and an M60A3, in it's various permutations. It would also be nice if we could have new "state-of-the-art" M46 and M47 kits... PS- A US version of the MBT70 would also be a good thing, even if one of the aftermarket companies came up with conversion kits to build US versions of the German Kpz.70...
JUL 22, 2014 - 10:39 AM
After seeing Dragon release two very nice M48's, both appropriate to the Vietnam era, I can't help thinking that a nice M8 'dozer assembly would be a very popular aftermarket accessory. I would wager that Legends could do a very nice job of it.....
JUL 22, 2014 - 01:05 PM
Its kind of idiotic of dragon to put a decal for a search light cover but not include one
JUL 31, 2014 - 09:07 AM
Hi Kevin. I'm not too clear on your rating system. You 'highly recommend' the kit, but only rated it at 80%.
JUL 31, 2014 - 12:26 PM
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