M67A2 Flame Tank
First Look Review
Background: During World War II a number of combatants mounted flame throwers on armored vehicles. The United States used flame thrower mounted on M3 Stuarts and M4 Shermans used extensively in the Pacific Theater of Operations to help root out Japanese defensive forces. The United States again deployed flame tanks during the Korean War to root out defending North Korean and Chinese forces. The usefulness of flame tanks during the Korean War prompted the United States to study development of this capability in future tank designs.
The M67 series was designed utilizing the M48 tank chassis. The M67 was originally based on an M48A1 tank hull, with the 90mm main gun replaced with an M6 flame gun connected to an M7A1-6 fuel and pressure unit. The M67A2 was based on the M48A3 chassis. The M67 did not achieve wide spread use by the United States military. The U.S. Army operated a few M67A1s and the Marines operated some M67s and M67A2s. The Marines issued nine M67 series flame tanks to the Flame Platoons in the Headquarters and Service Companies of each Tank Battalion.
In 1965 the 1st and 3rd Marine Tank Battalions deployed to Viet Nam with their M67A2 flame tanks. The M67A2s were used in some field operations; however, they could not carry enough fuel for sustained operations so were mainly relegated to defensive base camp duties, clearing vegetation from perimeters and burning garbage. During the 1968 Tet Offensive two M67A2 and two M48s were the only armor support in Hue City for almost two weeks until relieved when armor units broke through the Viet Cong/NVA lines. The first Maine tank unit left Viet Nam in late 1969 and the remaining Marine tank unit left during 1970. After these redeployments, the M67A2s were phased out of Marine tank unit Tables of Organization.
The Kit: The M67A2 is the sixth Dragon kit (3544, 3546, 3559, 3565 and 3567) using the M48A1/M48A3 basic kit designs. This kit shares a majority of its parts with these other kits. There is one additional sprue which contains the parts for the M6 flame gun. Because this kit is based on the Dragon M48A1/M48A3 kits it shares some of the issues discussed in previous reviews. These issues include lack of lightening holes in the outer drive sprocket, not removing the reinforcing bars from the engine grill doors, lack of bustle rack mesh flooring and DS track which suffers from punch out marks and some flash. There are several aftermarket options available to address these issues. In addition, it appears the gunner's XM30 sight for the flame gun is not included in this kit. I believe this will require some basic scratch building to address this issue. One very positive detail is that Dragon included the modified headlight brush guards common to the M67A2.
What's in the Box: This kit contains eight light grey plastic sprues, one clear plastic sprue, one DS plastic sprue, one set of DS tracks, one loop of braided wire for tow cables and one set of decals. The six-page instructions are in Dragon's standard black and blue print. When building this kit, you should pay very close attention to the actual parts and read through the whole instructions before starting, because Dragon often makes mistakes naming parts and leaves out steps that you only discover later on. Just a word of warning. While most of the sprues are from previous M48 series kits, sprue L represents the M6 flame gun and mantlet. The details seem to be very sharp and look close to those in the reference materials.
Sprue A Upper and Lower Hulls
Sprue C x 2 Suspension
Â Sprue D Engine Deck and Suspension
Sprue E DS Track
Sprue F Turret
Sprue G Turret Details
Sprues H and K Clear Parts
Sprue I DS Mantlet
Sprue J Fenders and Hull Details
Sprue L Flame Gun
The Instructions provide marking guidance for that famous "unidentified unit" serving in Viet Nam in 1968. I'll need to do some research on how the M67A2 flame tanks were actually marked.
Eduard (35283) and Voyager (PE35610 or PE35726) make photo etched sets for the Dragon M48A3. DEF Model makes a grill door and sprocket set (DM35034). DEF Model (DA35003), AFV CLUB (AF3505) and Bronco (AB3563) make replacement plastic track sets. Star Decals make a marking set specifically for Marine M67A2s in Viet Nam. I suspect there are other aftermarket upgrade sets available, but the M67A2 is fairly straight forward so may not need additional upgrades.
Patton, A History of the American Main Battle Tank, R. P. Hunnicutt, Presidio Press, 1984.
M48 Patton in Action, Jim Mesko, Squadron/Signal Publications, 1984.
M48A3 in Vietnam In Action, David Doyle, Squadron Signal Publications, 2010.
M48 Patton, David Doyle, Ampersand Publishing Group, Inc. 2015.
Conclusion: This kit appears to be very well detailed. I've spent quite a bit of time around M48A3 tanks and Dragon seems to have hit most of the dimensions and details correctly. I am disappointed they missed the lightening holes in the outer drive sprocket and the XM30 gunner's sight specific to the M67A2, but both of these details should be easy to address. I am looking forward to building what appears to be an excellent kit.
Highly Recommended for Intermediate to Advanced builders. Beginners may have some difficulty working with the DS track and mantlet cover.
Thanks goes out to Dragon USA for this review kit.
Reviewed by Mike Petty
AMPS 2nd VP, South
AMPS Chief Judge
AMPS Central Virginia
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