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In-Box Review
135
M3 75mm GMC
Dragon Models, M3 75mm Gun Motor Carriage Kit #6467 Smart kit, 1/35 scale
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by: Brian Culbertson [ BIGFOOTV ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

introduction
In 2006, Dragon introduced its M2/M3 Half-track series. The following is a review of the newest member of the family, the M3 75mm Gun Motor Carriage kit #6467. A build blog will be posted in the forums at a later date.

History
Impressed by the speed of which the German Army advanced across France and realizing a need was there to defend against tanks, the United State Army put forth requirements for development of tank destroyers for the U.S. Army.
In June of 1941, the M3 half track was joined up with the M1897A4 75mm gun. The M1897A4 was the American version of the famous French 75mm gun used in World War I. The M1897A4 had an indirect fire range of 9,200 yards. At 500 yards, firing the AP M72 shell, the gun was capable of penetrating 3.2 inches of armor plate. And firing the APC M61 shell could penetrate 2.8 inches of armor plate at 500 yards also. This experimental combo was dubbed the T12. This combination seems to have worked well since the trails only lasted four month and the design was standardized in October of 1941 as the 75mm GMC M3.
The kit:
Upon unwrapping the outer layer of plastic and opening the box, I found the following: Total part count, over 250 pieces. All parts are grayish in color.
There are ten sprues total. They consist of the following:

"A" sprue contains parts for the motor, frame, front drive, and other chassis parts.
"B" sprue contains parts for the cab, dash, doors, and pioneer tools.
"C" sprue contains parts for the rest of the frame, winches, etc.
"D" sprue (x2) contains the front wheels, return rollers, bogies, and tracks.
"E" sprue contains clear parts (90% of which will not be used.)
It should be noted that these sprues are also find in the M2/M3 Half track kit. Some of these parts will be left out of the M3 75mm build because they are not needed. New cab sides are contain in sprue "T", which I'll cover, the "B" cab sides are not used.
"R" sprue deals with the fighting compartment of the 75mm and the mount.
"S" sprue is the 75mm M1897A4 gun itself.
"T" sprue deals with the new cab sides and hood, along with the gun shield.
The reason for the new "T" sprues is when the kits first came out, a few reviewers had stated the cab lacks the screw head slot detail. Well, I'm happy to report that new "T" sprue cab sides have the screw head slots.
"H" sprue (x2) deals with two different radiator grills, one is the winch option, and the other is the roller front end option. The kit shows the roller version on the box art.
"L" sprue contains the driver figure.

There are two frets of photo-etched parts contained in the kit, labeled MA, and MB.
Fret MB deals with the replacement of the jerry can holders on the cab sides.
Fret MA deals with front grill and headlamp improvements.

A small chain and rope are included.

Finally, two small resealable plastic bags contain the idle and drive sprockets, labeled "W."

Kit quality
There is no flash but there are some ejector pin marks present. Some of these may need to be filled during the build, but it looks like some may not be seen. Dragon missed the mark on the gun shield which does not have the screw head slots. The 75mm gun barrel is a 4 piece assembly which will create some seam removal issues. The front wheels are "bulged" as if there's massive weight up front.
The other low point in the kit are the tracks, two piece molded in plastic. No Magic Track or "rubber band" are provided. Fit issues may show up during the build because the tracks are molded in hard plastic if the idler and drive sprocket placement has not been measured correctly on the frame.
Marking and painting options, instructions
The kit contains Cartograf decals for 7 different vehicles:
1 601st Tank Destroyer Battalion, U. S. Army, Tunisia 1943.
2 U.S. Army, Sicily 1943, unit unknown.
3 U.S. Army, Stateside 1943, unit unknown.
4 "L" Co., 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, USMC, Saipan 1944.
5 1st King's Dragoon Guards, British Army, Italy 1944.
6 1st King's Dragoon Guards, British Army, Germany 1945.
7 "A" Sqd., 27th Lancers, British Army, Italy 1945. "Acorn Inn"

The instruction sheet is made up of 14 steps detailing the various options of the kit; choice of winch or none, opened grill slats or closed grill slats, etc. Looks to be easy to follow. I'll tackle this in more detail during the build blog.


More technical information about the M3 75mm Gun Motor Carriage can be found here:
The American Vehicle Database

A Build Log has been started on the Forums to evaluate the kit construction.


SUMMARY
Highs: No flashing seen with this kit. Addition of Photo-etched parts a plus.
Lows: Bulged front wheels, Poor gun shield detail, 75mm gun barrel comes in four sections, and molded tracks are a bit of a let down. PE shield, after market barrel, wheels and track would be worth looking into.
Verdict: Overall, a good looking kit. Detail excellent in some areas, lack of detail in the above mentioned areas.
Percentage Rating
75%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 6467
  Suggested Retail: $54.99 USD
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Jul 02, 2009
  NATIONALITY: United States
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 84.13%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 86.19%

About Brian Culbertson (BigfootV)
FROM: COLORADO, UNITED STATES

Retried Long Haul Truck Driver, currently attending Culinary school in Denver. Construction for 15 yrs., Drummer for 10 yrs. away from work. Married, one child, 20 yr old with Autism. Model builder since 1977. Started with 1/48 aircraft, WW2, lost interest. Toyed around with other scales, then fou...

Copyright 2017 text by Brian Culbertson [ BIGFOOTV ]. 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

As I have said before when issues of review accuracy arise, this is the nice thing about the Internet. Unlike magazines which print things once for the most part and are not updated, we can actually let authors amend or fix anything that they may have missed or gotten wrong. We are all human after all. That said I really do hope that our reviewers are not looking for mistakes simply to have something to write. If you know of a problem with a kit by all means report on it, but for your own sake do your homework and be ready to defend your opinions. The bulgy tires are a perfect example of this in my view. I have seen pictures of bulges and no bulges, so who is right? That might be one to avoid making a stink about IMHO. It's just a personal preference thing to me. Jim PS: Cudos to Pawel for taking a stand on the rear tracks. I think DML has gone out on a limb in doing something different. Many of us are old enough to remember that the reason most tank kits came with rubber tracks was because they were suppose to be able to roll... And if you want those plastic DML tracks to sag I suggest some well applied heat. Works all the time on plastic.
JUL 07, 2009 - 11:17 PM
Hey Jim, Point taken on the tire issues. As I stated to Pawel reply, first Dragon kit I've touched, wanted to break the Tamiya mold and try something different to review. Trust me, I wasn't looking for mistakes in this kit. After opening up the kit and seeing the things that were listed, which I though were odd, I had to go back and find the reviews from Terry Ashley, Cookie Sewell. Having read these reviews I come to the opinion that was stated in this review. Mr. Ashley touched on the screw heads not being slotted on the cab and the fighting compartment, fixed by Dragon, in this kit. I was questioning why Dragon fixed a MINOR, Very minor detail in my opinion, on the screw heads and not the tracks or tires. Did I often people? Yes, 4 out of 9 found the review NOT HELPFUL. Oh well. Anyways, the point here, my opinion. And I hope Pawel at least respects me for standing up and not back down on voicing that opinion.
JUL 08, 2009 - 12:15 AM
Hi Brian, Thanks for the review - personally I found it useful as an In-Box review, which is what it is I'm not really into Allied, let alone US, vehicles so Pavel's above rubber band (the real track) photo is interesting - learnt something new today I apologise if this is pouring fuel on the fire (or if anyone mentioned it above - I haven't read all the drama top side), but if the real thing was a big, bad ass rubber band, why wouldn't a band type track be suitable in scale? Yeah, yeah, I've probably missed the point, and someone's going "you've gotta be kidding!?!", but humour me - I look forward to your replies (I think...) Never knew the Brit used these. Right, Mr DML, when's the Brit Half-track crew being released? Actually I think I might add this vehicle to my wish-list just so that I can do a Brit version - with all the recent tank & A/C crews being released it should be easy to put a crew together Thanks again for the in-box, Brian Rudi
JUL 08, 2009 - 12:58 AM
The REME used the half track as a works vehicle when they were fielding Centurions.
JUL 08, 2009 - 02:15 AM
Rudi, in the Concord book "British Armor in Sicily and Italy" there are a plenty of pics of these GMCs, my one will be definitely one of them (probably Acorn Inn). The Polish troops also used the Halftrack, though I think only the troop carrier version. Bison had a decal set about the Polish armor in Italy and in it there was car which was used as a grandstand in a parade, with a long coat-of-arms banner on its side.
JUL 08, 2009 - 12:28 PM
Not quite, for the reason described by Terry Ashley: "Overall this is very good solution to these type tracks as there is no pressure on the delicate suspension components allowing the intricate detail to be included without fear of damage." There is no way the quite delicate suspension parts in this kit would survive the stress applied on them by properly tensioned rubber band tracks. Pawel
JUL 08, 2009 - 12:46 PM
Thanks for your comments, gents. Pavel, I guess that makes sense (and I better go read that PMMS review )
JUL 08, 2009 - 09:09 PM
Having used DS tracks myself, I don't see any issue with 'tension' as they are very soft and pliable and wouldn't need to be 'stretched' over the delicate suspension. DS isn't even close to the old fashion 'rubber band' tracks pulled taught over tanks running gear so we can put batteries in and play. DS tracks take to glue very well and could be installed in the same manner as the old Tamiya tracks... with glue. Not thread, not tension, just intelligently placed glue. . As far as trying to bend my hard plastic kit tracks with heat, well... if there is a modeler out there who sees this as a viable option and wants to take the chance at possibly ruining the tracks I'm all ears, let me know how you make out. Until then I'll stick to late model vehicles.
JUL 09, 2009 - 08:55 AM
Brian-- great review. I am looking forward to replacing my ancient CMD one with this beauty. I am anxious to see a building blog on her. thanks again DJ
JUL 09, 2009 - 03:57 PM
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