Tamiya 1/48 U.S. Howitzer Motor Carriage M8
The M8's design was based on the M5 light tank chassis, which was itself an evolution of the M3 Stuart. Possessing a welded hull with sloped front armor and the reliable vertical volute spring suspension, it was powered by a twin V8 gasoline engine that allowed for speeds over 35 mph. The chassis was fitted with an open-top turret and sported a 75mm M3 howitzer which could fire anti-tank and smoke shells in addition to the standard explosive rounds. Design work began in early 1942 and production started nine months later, continuing until January 1944 with 1778 units. Serving in North Africa, Italy, Western Europe, and the Pacific, it provided supporting fire for American units and even reconnaissance missions. Their mobility and usefulness in fighting enemy infantry made them a vital tool for Allied infantry units.
As is typical for 1/48 kits from Tamiya, there is not an overload of parts-- with four sprues inside (2 being duplicates) and a small sheet of decal markings, some poly caps, string for the tow cable, and a pair of weights to give the tiny model some heft. Parts seem pretty well detailed, with any ejection marks for the most part kept to interior surfaces that won't be seen. Let's get some close-ups of each--
Sprue A (of which there are two) consist of the link and length tracks, road wheels, sprockets, and idlers, grab handles, tow cable parts, and the VVSS. There are definitely sink marks on the interior faces of every second or third link of the track lengths that will need to be addressed if they end up visible on the track runs.
Sprue B consists of parts for the hull tub, suspension cover, rear panel, rear idler suspension, headlights and brackets, and tools. The rear panel has the sledgehammer, axe, and track link tool already molded on to it-- making it a bit more difficult to paint and detail. I wish they'd left these off as they did with the shovel, pry bar, and pick axe shaft and head.
Sprue C contains parts for the crew compartment floor, top deck, turret, gun breech, barrel, and mantlet. grab handles, spare track links, and .50 caliber anti-aircraft machine gun. Also included is one crew figure to pose next to the M8 as shown on the kit box art.
There is a length of string for the tow cable, a small decal sheet for the two sets of markings, and two weights for under the crew compartment floor.
The instructions are typical Tamiya which I appreciate-- with each step marking what part is being assembled. The main sheet has the 20 part assembly directions and painting instructions. An extra sheet contains the two markings and there is another sheet for beginners containing building tips.
Marking options include one for the 106th Cavalry Reconnaissance Group in Germany (February 1945) or one for the 758th Tank Battalion, 5th Army in Italy (April 1945).
This looks like a pretty straightforward build all around-- not a whole lot of parts and a monochromatic OD scheme which gives one a chance to work on their differentiation skills. I have done most of Tamiya's quarter scale kits, and if this holds to form-- assembly can be done in an afternoon and this overall can be a nice and easy weekend build.
Highly Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders, pending Full Build.
Thanks goes out to Tamiya for this review kit.
Reviewed by Michael Reeves
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