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Paul A H

M3A1 Half Track - 1:72 Hasegawa

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M3A1 Half Track

1:72 Hasegawa

m3boxtop.jpg

The M3 Half Track Infantry Carrier was an American vehicle partly developed from the French Citroen-Kegresse half track, a three examples of which were purchased by the Americans in the interwar period. Weighing in at 10 tons, the M3 was powered by a 128hp six cylinder petrol engine and was capable of barrelling along at up to 45 mph. It could carry a crew of three plus up to ten infantry. Armament was officially comprised of a single .50 cal machine gun at the front and a .30 cal machine gun at the rear, but in practice it varied from vehicle to vehicle

The M3 was a highly successful design which was deployed not only by the US Army but also the armies of Great Britain and the Soviet Union. Over 40,000 examples of the various types of M3 were produced, with the vehicle serving well beyond the end of the war in Europe. Israel was a prolific user of the type in the post-war period, and some of its vehicles were still in frontline used in the early 1980s.

Hasegawas M3 is one of a handful of kits of the half track released in 1:72 scale. Alternatives include kits from Academy and Italeri. The kit arrives packed in a compact, top-opening box with artwork depicting two vehicles travelling cross-country. Inside are 62 plastic parts and a pair of flexible black tracks. Moulded detail is quite pleasing considering the age of the kit, but there is a fair amount of flash present, particularly around the chassis.

m3sprue1.jpg

m3sprue2.jpg

Construction begins with the aforementioned chassis, which has details such as the driveshaft and exhaust moulded in place. The front axle is a separate part, as are the suspension units for the tracked road wheels. The smaller road wheels are moulded a part of the suspension units, which is probably a sensible compromise between detail and ease of assembly. The front wheels have a fairly realistic tread moulded onto the tyres. Tracks are of the rubber band variety, which I personally dont like, particularly as these ones are rather basic and lacking in detail.

The front crew compartment has separate seats, both those in the troop carrying area to the rear of the vehicle are moulded in place. On the subject of crew, five figures are included, comprised of a driver, a commander and three infantrymen. The detail on the figures is pretty soft, however, and I would have reservations about using them. The floor of the crew compartments are covered in a rather nice anti-slip mesh though.

m3sprue3.jpg

The upper hull is made up of slabs of plastic which form the sides of the crew compartment, the radiator, the top of the bonnet and the rear doors. Some extra details such as jerry cans, a winch and the .50 cal machine gun are also provided. An optional canvas (plastic) roof is included too, and it looks pretty good.

m3tracks.jpg

The marking and painting guide shows just one example, although there appear to be three unique serial numbers included on the decals sheet. As usual, all three belong to the US Army.

Conclusion

Although it lags some way behind modern kits from the likes of Dragon and Revell, this is a reasonable little kit with just enough detail to pass muster straight in this scale. It is starting to show its age though and the rubber band tracks are pretty naff. Other than that its a reasonably decent little model.

Review sample courtesy of logo.jpg UK distributors for logo.jpg

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The tracks can be a real pain on this one! :analintruder:

As tends to be the case with Hasegawa's US stuff, it's just a tad bigger than it should be too.

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