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Dragon - M67A2 Flamethrower Tank

Kit Number:
N/A
Scale:
1:35
Published:
Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Manufacturer:
Dragon Models Limited (DML)
Retail Price:
$64.99 USD
Reviewed By:
Mike Petty

 

M67A2 Flamethrower Tank

 

Introduction:  In August 2017, I posted a first look review of this kit.  In general, the kit builds into an acceptable late model M67A2 built out of the box.  The only exception is the kit provides tracks, flame gun and Commander’s turret mantle covers made from DS plastic.  I found the DS plastic parts provided with this kit difficult to work with and not very detailed.  I believe adding aftermarket track and mantlet covers greatly enhance the buildability and appearance of this model. In addition, this kit lacks the lightening holes in the outer drive sprocket and bustle rack mesh flooring. There are several aftermarket options available to address these issues. The kit also lacks the gunner's XM30 sight for the flame gun, which I will address in this review.

Steps 1-6, Suspension and Hull:  In step 1, you clean-up and assemble the road wheels, drive sprockets and return rollers.  There are 14 sets of road wheels and 10 sets of return rollers so you have a fair amount of seam clean-up.  Each road wheel is two piece, with and inner and outer road wheel in each set (Figures 1 and 2).

                            IMG_3602.JPG                      IMG_3603.JPG

                                                       Figure 1, Outer Road Wheels                                                                                       Figure 2, Inner Road Wheels

The outer half of each drive sprocket should have three lightening holes which are not provided on the kit drive sprocket.  You can either drill out these holes on the kit provided sprocket or take the easy way out and replace them with an aftermarket product.  I elected to use the DEF Model replacement outer sprockets.  I was concerned with attaching a resin piece to the plastic sprocket assembly, but there was no fit problem at all (Figure 3). 

IMG_3582.JPG 

 Figure 3, Outer Sprocket Comparison

In step 2, you add the road wheel arm housings and snubber springs to the lower hull.  I found a gap between the lower hull and the front snubber assembly (parts D41 and D42) which I filled with Aves Apoxy Sculp (Figures 4 and 5).

                      IMG_3593.JPG               IMG_3599.JPG

                                                               Figure 4, Snubber Gap                                                                                                         Figure 5, Filled Gap

In step 3, you add the return rollers to the upper hull.  You also add the armored fuel port covers (parts D19 and 20) behind the turret ring.  The M48A3 series tanks used only the right side fuel port so the left side cover was welded closed (Figure 6).

IMG_5482.JPG  

Figure 6, Left Side Armored Fuel Port Cover

In step 4, you assemble the upper and lower hull halves together.  The fit is fairly good with some minor filling which can be addressed during step 5.

In step 5, you attach the rear hull sides (parts D1 and 2), the engine deck grill doors (parts D2 and 4), lower rear plate assembly (part D35), engine deck (part D43) and rear grill doors (part 36) to the hull assembly.  There are fairly large open seams between the hull assembly and rear hull sides which need some serious filling to blend them into the hull assembly (Figures 7 and 8).

                        IMG_3635.JPG            IMG_3636.JPG

                                                    Figure 7, Left Side Rear Hull                                                                                             Figure 8, Right Side Rear Hull

The instructions show the lower rear plate with the towing pintle and tail lights attached.  However, the instructions don’t show how to assemble these parts to the lower rear plate.  I checked out the instruction sheet from the Dragon M48A3 kit number 3546 and found the construction process and part numbers.  Figure 9 shows the insert from the Dragon M48A3 instruction sheet for the lower rear plate assembly.  Note: The part numbers match the M67A2 kit as Dragon utilizes the same sprues for both kits.

 Rear Plate.jpg

Figure 9, M48A3 Instruction Insert

The grille doors provided with the kit include the top and center reinforcement bars seen in later model M48A3s.  Since I’m building this model to represent an M67A2 used by the Marines in 1968 I replaced the grille doors with some from DEF Model, which don’t have the reinforcing bars (Figure 10).

IMG_3619.JPG  

Figure 10, Grill Door Comparison

The engine deck (part D43) does not include the weld seams which are prominent on the M48A2 and A3 series tanks.  I added these welds with .010 plastic rod (Figures 11 and 12).

                        IMG_5461.JPG         IMG_3633.JPG

                                                      Figure 11, Engine Deck Weld Seams                                                            Figure 12, Engine Deck Weld Seams

In step 6, you add the road wheel arms, shock absorbers, final drives and road wheels to the hull assembly.  I spent a fair amount of time aligning the road wheel arms and shock absorbers as this process pays dividend when you attach the road wheels. (Figure 13).

 IMG_3655.JPG 

Figure 13, Road Wheel Arm Alignment

The M67A2 has a check and drain plug on each final drive.  I added these by drilling two holes in the final drive assembly and inserting a plastic rod in each hole to depict the drain plug (Figure 14).

IMG_3661.JPG 

Figure 14, Final Drive Drain Plug

Once I completed the hull assembly I added some stippling with Mr. Surfacer 500 to blend in and enhance the texture of the cast armor.

Steps 7-9 Fenders:  In steps 7 and 8, you construct the left and right fender assemblies.  Dragon molded the fenders with open area under each turret side.  This is reminiscent of older Tamiya kits.  I filled these open areas by making a pattern for each opening and cutting a fillet from .015 plastic sheet (Figures 15 and 16).  I also filled the mold punch out marks on each fender with putty.

                           IMG_3673.JPG                IMG_3675.JPG

                                                              Figure 15, Sponson Hole                                                                                         Figure 16, Sponson Fillet

The assembly of the fenders is straight forward.  The handles are molded on the sponson boxes so I removed the handles and replaced them with resin sponson box handles from TMD.  The phone box (part J1) needs a cable which runs from the box to the hull.  I added this cable with .010 lead wire.

In step 9, the instructions show to build the headlight assemblies.  The instruction sheet shows the construction of the right assembly, but doesn’t show the left.  Reference material will help out to show the differences in each side.  I constructed each light assembly and added .050 copper wire as the power cables (Figures 17 and 18).

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                                                       Figure 17, Right Light Assembly                                                                                 Figure 18, Left Light Assembly

The front fender supports (parts J2 and J3) have a small hole which requires some filling (Figure 19).

  IMG_3753.JPG

Figure 19, Fender Support Hole

I did not attach the fenders to the hull assembly until the final painting process.  This required some filling around the turret ring and adding a shim to the gap where the air cleaners and fender supports meet the hull sides (Figures 20 and 21).

                     IMG_5378.JPG               IMG_5367.JPG

                                                        Figure 20, Turret Ring Filler                                                                         Figure 21, Air Cleaner and Fender Support Shims

Steps 10-14 Turret Assembly:  In step 10, you assemble the turret bustle rack, turret ventilator assembly, flame gun mantlet and jerry can assembly.  Dragon didn’t engineer the parts for the turret bustle rack very well.  At best, you need to be very careful constructing this assembly.  In addition, the M67A2 turret bustle had a screen cage added to improve storage capability.  This is not included with the kit.  I assembled the bustle rack and added photo etched screen to simulate this screen (Figure 22 and 23).  I have to admit the whole turret bustle rack assembly just didn’t look right or fit very well on the turret so I ultimately added some filler stowage and covered most of the assembly with a trap made from Aves Apoxy Sculp.

                   IMG_3692.JPG              IMG_3769.JPG

                                                        Figure 22, Turret Bustle Rack                                                                            Figure 23, Turret Bustle Rack with Screen

The kit turret ventilator base (part F9) is designed to add the searchlight holder.  Since the M67A2 did not have a searchlight I filled the hole in this part with .015 plastic strip.  I also used some putty to blend the ventilator base into the turret casting (Figure 24).

IMG_3713.JPG 

 Figure 24, Turret Ventilator Assembly

I replaced the jerry can with one from Tasca and used the holder from DEF Model.  I omitted the kit flame gun mantlet as I’d planned to use the DEF Model mantlet cover in a later step.

In step 11, you assemble the commander’s cupola.  I replaced the kit .50 Cal barrel with one from RB Model (Figure 25).  The commander’s hatch is for the later version M48A3 so I was able to get the correct hatch from John Charvat.  I added the latch and locking details to the inside of the hatch (Figure 26).

                    IMG_3689.JPG             IMG_3701.JPG  

                                               Figure 25, .50 Cal Barrel Comparison                                                                      Figure 26, Commander’s Hatch Detail

The instructions don’t show adding the dust cover to the Commander’s .50 Cal machine gun.  The kit provides a DS plastic dust cover (Figure 27) which is very bulky.  I elected to replace this dust cover with one from DEF Model (Figure 28).

                 IMG_3683.JPG                IMG_3696.JPG

                                                 Figure 27, DS Plastic Dust Cover                                                                               Figure 28, DEF Model Dust Cover

In steps 12 and 13, you add the details to the turret shell.  I jumped ahead to step 14 to assemble the upper and lower turret halves (parts F13 and 20) and the flame gun mount (parts E1, F10 and 11).  I had to do some minor filling along the turret assembly seam, but not much.

In step 13, you add the gunner’s sight and stop cage designed to prevent the .50 Cal from hitting the searchlight when firing.  Since the M67A2 doesn’t have a searchlight I filled the holes in the turret top for the stop cage assembly.  The M67A2 does not utilize the same gunner’s sight as the M48A3.  I replaced the kit gunner’s sight (parts G11, 14 and H3) with a commander’s sight (part H5) from the clear sprue on the Dragon M103A2 kit to simulate the gunner’s sight.  I cut a filler plate from styrene strip as a base and added Lion Marc Model Designs 0.6 mm brass screw heads to enhance the sight assembly (Figure 29).

IMG_3716.JPG 

 Figure 29, Gunner Sight

In step 14, you add the flame gun and mantlet cover and commander’s cupola to the turret assembly.  As indicated earlier, the DS plastic mantlet cover to very poor so I replaced it with one from DEF Model.  Since we are not using a searchlight I filled the holes for the searchlight mounts in the mantlet cover.  The photo-etched mantlet cover frame from DEF Model is a bit fiddley, but looks great when completed.  Since I was building an early model M67A2 I omitted the riser (parts F8 and H1) for the Commander’s cupola.  I also added brass wire for the loader’s hatch (Figure 30).

  IMG_5335.JPG

Figure 30, Turret

I added some stippling with Mr. Surfacer 500 to enhance the texture of the cast armor on the turret.  Note the M67A2 I’m depicting had track blocks welded to the grab rails on the turret sides.

Track:  The kit track is the standard Dragon DS plastic.  They are poor at best so I decided to replace them with AFV Club M48/M60 track.  The only issue with the AFV Club track is that each block had two sink holes which must be filled.  This took a lot of time, but the finished product looks good (Figures 31 and 32).

                                       IMG_5297.JPG

                                                              Figure 31, AFV Club Track                                                                                           Figure 32, AFV Club Track

Painting and Finishing:  I’m not going to send a lot of time describing the painting and weathering process I used for this model as the techniques used differ from modeler to modeler.  A good friend was able to provide me with the FS number for the paint used by the Marine Corps for their vehicles.  This matched Vallejo Model Air yellow olive.  I used this color as the base for this model.  I lightened the base color with Vallejo Model Air ochre for panel fading purposes.  The mantel cover, jerry cans and cot were painted with various Vallejo colors.  I used Star Decals USMC M67 Zippo in Vietnam decals for the vehicle markings.

I applied a wash of AK Interactive Kursk earth mixed with small quantity of Mig Vietnam dust to the entire vehicle.  I then applied a mixture Mig light dust and Vietnam dust to the suspension, lower hull and traffic areas of the upper hull.  The model was dry brushed with unbleached titanium oil pint to bring out the surface details.  Wear areas were enhanced with AK Interactive dark steel pigments.

The track and road wheels were painted with Mig track and wheel color.  They were weathered with a heavy wash of AK Interactive Kursk Earth mixed with Mig Vietnam dust.  The track pad wear was enhanced with a light dry brushing of Mig track and wheel color.  I used AK Interactive dark steel pigments to enhance the wear of the drive sprocket and track. 

Figures 33 and 34 provide pictures of the base coat application.

                           IMG_5339.JPG           IMG_5349.JPG

                                                                   Figure 33, Base Coat                                                                                              Figure 34, Final Base Coat

Final Assembly:  Once the painting and weathering was completed I added the jerry cans, cot, track blocks, antennas, .50 Cal spent casings, helmets and C-ration box to the model.  I had to touch some of the paint and weathering after these accessories were added to the model.

I used a figure from the Bravo-6 USMC tanker set as the tank commander.  This figure was painted with Vallejo Model Color paint.  Figures 35 and 36 show the completed model.

                  IMG_5381.JPG       IMG_5382.JPG

                                                            Figure 35 Completed Model                                                                    Figure 36, Completed Model

Aftermarket Additions:

RB Models (35B13) Browning M2 Barrel

MV Products (116) Lenses

MV Products (118) Lenses

MV Products (700) Lenses

MV Products (200) Lens

AFV Club (AC35011) M48/M60 Track

DEF Model (DM35029) M48A3 Detail Set (turret)

DEF Model (DM35034) M48A3 Rear Panel w/Sprocket

Lion Marc Model Designs (LM600006) 0.6 mm Brass Screw Heads

Tasca (35-L14) US Jerry Cans

TMD (2004) US Sponson Box Handles

Karaya Tow Cable

Star Decals (35-C 1075) USMC M67 Zippo in Vietnam

Bravo-6 B6-35063 US Marine Tank Crew

References:

Patton – A history of the American Main Battle Tank, R.P. Hunnicutt, Presido Press, 1984

The M48 Patton in Action, Jim Mesko, Squadron/Signal Publications, 1984

Fire in the Streets, Eric Hammel, Pacifica Military History, 1991

Marines in Hue City, Eric Hammel, Zenith Press, 2007

M48A3 in Vietnam, David Doyle, Squadron/Signal Publications, 2010

The Weathering Magazine, Vietnam, AMMO of Mig Jimenez, 2014

M48 Patton, David Doyle, Ampersand Group, Inc., 2015

Vietnam War US & Allied Combat Equipment, Gordon l. Rottman, Osprey Publications, 2017

Hue 1968, Mark Bowden, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2017

DML M67A2, Armorama, http://www.armorama.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=Reviews&file=index&req=showcontent&id=13494, Federico Collada

Conclusion:  Although I’d been eyeing the Dragon M67A2, I don’t think I would have built this model unless Danny asked if I’d be interested in doing this review.  I’m glad he did, because it allowed me to research the use of the M67A2 by the Marine Corps, especially during the early phase of the battle for Hue city in January and February 1968.  As indicated earlier, this kit will build into an acceptable late model M67A2 except for the need to replace the DS plastic parts. 

Recommended for Intermediate to Advanced builders.

Thanks goes out to Dragon USA for this review kit.

Reviewed by Mike Petty, AMPS Central Virginia

2nd VP, South Region

Chief Judge

 

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