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In-Box Review
135
US M22 'Locust'
US M22 'Locust' Airbourne Tank (T9E1)
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by: Dave Oliver [ ISHERMAN ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction

The US M22 ‘Locust’ was originally commissioned by the British army to provide a light tank suitable for providing armoured support for airborne forces. Its diminutive size and weight was necessitated by the need for it to be transported either by Hamilcar glider or suspended underneath the Douglas C-54 Skymaster aircraft. Due to these rather restrictive design requirements and various problems with its engine and transmission, its rather convoluted development meant that it was only ready for service towards the end of the war.

Regarded as pretty much obsolete when compared with more modern Axis armor. The type only saw action with the 6th Airborne Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment of the British Army, during ‘Operation Varsity’ in 1944. Here, its mechanical and combat shortcomings immediately became apparent, leading to only two of the eight tanks deployed actually being able to take part in the battle.
The type was declared obsolete in 1946 but was subsequently used by both the Belgium army as a command vehicle and also saw combat with the Egyptian armed forces during the Arab/Israeli war of 1948.

This kit covers the American Version of the tank with three different decal options available.

Contents


The kit comes in a large top opening box with a detailed run down of the kit parts printed on the side. This includes:

  • 1 upper and lower hull section, moulded in green styrene
  • 6 sprue trees
  • 1 clear sprue with periscopes and lights
  • 1 Photo etch fret
  • 1 decal sheet
  • 1 Instruction sheet

Review

The first thing that struck me upon opening the box was the minute size of the tank, it really is tiny! looking a little like a Bonsai Sherman. The box art does a good job of making the subject matter look quite imposing, but having seen the real thing at Bovington Tank Museium a few years back, I don’t think it would have given Tiger crews any sleepless nights!

The number of sprues in the box and the shear number of parts, bears testament to the amount of detail Bronco have managed to put into the kit. The interior is well represented with the crew positions and fittings all being present. The addition of the transmission and prop shaft and the gear teeth on the turret ring are also welcome. However, with all this detail present it seems a little strange that there is no engine included.

The turret interior is worthy of mention, the crew positions are all present with the turret floor nicely detailed. The main gun and the breach are also pretty comprehensively detailed. All in all the kit is begging to have all the hatches left open to display all these nice touches. Maybe a figure or two would have been the icing on the cake but I am sure there are plenty of aftermarket items that would fit the bill.

The hull exterior is very well detailed, at first I thought the manufacturers had neglected to put the weld seems on the hull. On closer inspection they are very delicately moulded and would probably only become visible once painted and given a pin wash. The various bolts and rivets are all present and correct and the very intricate clamps for suspension under a C54 transport plane are well rendered.

One criticism is the lack of the cast texture on the turret. A quick look on the internet reveals a very rough and irregular looking texture that is not represented on the kit. I am sure that a bit of time spent with a Dremel and some Mr Surfacer could sort this out, it’s just a shame that on such a nicely detailed model, it couldn’t have been moulded from the start.

The inclusion of a comprehensive P.E. fret is a welcome addition, with the light covers and exhaust shield being very well represented, something that would be very difficult to reproduce in styrene.
Various other interior details and items for the gun breach are also included, as well as clamps and attachments for various items of exterior kit.

The road wheels also display a high degree of detail and the bogies certainly look very intricate, a fact reflected in the number of parts required for their construction. Some of the parts appear a little warped on the sprue, but having done a little test fitting, they go together very well. The tracks themselves come in several separate pieces, with the whole top set of links moulded in one piece and several individual links that go around the idler wheel and drive sprocket at either end. I am sure once constructed they look great, Personally I would have preferred all separate links to give the track a more uneven and weighted appearance.

The instruction sheet is very well presented with large pictures for each step of the assembly. A nice touch is the separate coloured items indicating the P.E. parts, something that makes the location and the part itself, much easier to identify. There are four different decal options listed at the end of the sheet, obviously all the tanks are olive drab but there is a reasonable amount of variation in the different decal options. It would have been good to include the year and the appropriate theatre for each one but this is a minor criticism.

Conclusion

This is very comprehensive kit of a somewhat obscure subject. The interior detail and photo etch items really are first rate with very crisply moulded styrene and a good choice of markings.

SUMMARY
Highs: Interior detail steals the show while complex wheels and bogies really set the model off. Comprehensive P.E. set means this would make an impressive build straight out of the box.
Lows: Turret lacks moulded casting texture. With all that interior detail, it seems strange that they didn’t include an engine A crew figure or two would have been nice.
Verdict: A beautifully detailed kit, with only a few minor omissions. Highly recommended
Percentage Rating
90%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: CB35162
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Jun 28, 2013
  NATIONALITY: United States
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 90.00%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 87.97%

Our Thanks to Bronco Models!
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 Dave Oliver (Isherman)
FROM: ENGLAND - EAST ANGLIA, UNITED KINGDOM

Dave started modelling after receiving a 1/144 Brewster buffalo as a Christmas present at the age of 6. he carried on modelling into his teens until life got in the way, resuming the hobby about 4 years ago. He builds armour, aircraft and sci-fi subjects.

Copyright ©2017 text by Dave Oliver [ ISHERMAN ]. 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, All! Dave- THANKS FOR A GREAT REVIEW!!! The British M22 Locust and the US T9E7 are very welcome additions to one of my display cabinets!!! I think the M22/T9E7 are great subject-matter and very nice little kits! I have one of each. US T9E7s saw service in the US only, mainly in testing at the Army's Proving Ground. A few found their way into training assignments. The US Army and USMC weren't interested in this little tank, as it was more of a light combat car rather than a tank, and not really suited for actual combat scenarios. We already had Combat Cars in service, taking shape in the M8 and M20 Armored Cars. The US Armored Cars' and Half-Tracks' combat experience in World War II and Korea showed that these vehicles proved to be more of a liability than an asset, as even rifle-caliber munitions could and did penetrate their thin armor. Consequently, only the V-100 in Vietnam and the contemporary M1117 Guardians serve as armored police and security vehicles... As to BRONCO being brave enough to market such a rare and relatively insignificant US/Allied tank, I find myself experiencing some mixed feelings: A- BRAVO!!! For taking a chance and FINALLY doing an OBSCURE US/ALLIED subject, and B- Why produce such an OBSCURE US/ALLIED subject, when they could have done any number of more common US/ALLIED vehicles..? I'm not being picky; the M22/T9E7 Light Airborne Tanks just SEEM to be kind of odd subject matter. Nevertheless, I AM EXTREMELY HAPPY that BRONCO took the death-defying leap and gave us the M22/T9E7!!! I know that there will be people out there that are going to quibble over the "link-and-length" tracks. There's an almost endless forum in progress on this hobby site, arguing the relative merits of DRAGON's "Magic Tracks" and "DS Tracks. I chose not to stick my nose into THAT bee-hive!!! I for one, applaud BRONCO's decision to mold such microscopic tracks in the "link-and-length" manner. My eyes are very happy with that, and my arthritic fingers are overjoyed!!! I agree that these tiny kits could have been just a little bit better with the addition of a couple of crewmen and an engine compartment with a power plant. But, I'm not going to complain about it- How many HUNDREDS of kits such as the gigantic Tigers, IS-2s, E-100s, etc (in proportion to the tiny T9E7) don't include an engine, or crew compartment detail? Give it a little time; I'm sure that the Aftermarket Boys will be filling those gaps in very short order. The same goes for figures of tankers. OK, so let's see a show of "hands"- How many of us are going to go out and buy aftermarket items such as tankers, interior update kits, PE upgrades plus stowage sets anyway..? Not to mention some kit-bashing and/or scratch-building? I do it all the time. In some of my other posts, I've already stated that I haven't built anything "straight-out-of-the-box" since I was 8 years old- I'm going on 61 years old, so that's A LOT of models!!! Please understand: I AM NOT criticizing this review. I'm only sharing my opinions, that's all... Personally, I'd like to see some "state-of-the-art" M3-series Stuarts, M3 Lee/Grants, T2/M2-series Light Tanks, T7E-series Light Tanks-morphing-into-Medium M7 Tanks- which were cancelled when the geniuses in charge realized that the M7 would have turned out to be just a mediocre alternative to the M4-series Mediums already in production. Some pre-war T4 combat Cars might be nice, along with a couple of different versions of the woefully inadequate Marmon-Herrington CTLS-4ATC-series. (Light Tank T16) Very small numbers of these "tankettes" saw service in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. Others were exported to China, and the Dutch East Indies. To wrap up, I'm very happy to see the M22/T9E7 kits, and I hope that we'll be seeing more rare/obscure US/ALLIED AFVs and Softskins!!!
JUN 28, 2013 - 07:19 PM
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