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Takom- M50A1 Ontos with Interior # 1019

Catalog Number: 1019 Manufacturer: TAKOM
Published: Thursday, August 31, 2023 Retail Price: $79.99
Scale: 1:16 Reviewed By: Phillip Cavender

M50A1 with Interior # 1019

 

 

The First Look for this kit can be found at: http://www.amps-armor.org/SiteReviews/ShowReview.aspx?id=15145

Takom's M50A1 Ontos with interior # 1019 is their nineteenth release of 1/16th scale models beginning with # 1001, the French Light Tank Renault FE char can/Girod turret, introduced in 2013. Historically making kits in 1/72nd to 1/16th scale, Takom is a model manufacturer well known to the modeling community for producing excellent scale model kits.

The M50 developed in the 1950s saw action during the Lebanon Crisis of 1958, the American intervention in the Dominican Republic of 1964, and during the Vietnam conflict. The M50A1 was powered by a Chrysler 351 cubic inch V8 with six 106mm M40A1C recoilless rifles with four M8C .50 Cal spotting rifles and had a crew of three.

Takom has divided this build into three sections:

  1. Bottom structure with interior
  2. Upper hull
  3. Recoilless rifles

An excellent reference I used for this build is one authored by our friend David Doyle of Daviddoylebooks.com. David is known by all in the modeling community and is a generous supporter of the Armour Modeling and Preservation Society.

Doyle, David. M50/M50A1 Ontos: Self-Propelled Multiple 106 mm Recoilless Rifle. Schiffer Military, 2023.

 

The decals I plan to use for this build are the "Dontos Road Runner" ones based upon the M50A1 currently located at the National Armor and Calvary Museum, Ft. Benning, Georgia. Incidentally, several images in David Doyle's reference book were taken by Don Moriarty whose nickname was "Dontos".

Bottom structure with interior

Steps 1-2 consist of building up the lower hull starting with the one-piece base and adding the side unit.  The inside stored ammo round stowage racks are then added.  Additionally, in step 2 is the placement of the primer protector rack on the sidewall. These are movable for the placement of the rounds. There are a couple of mold ejector pin marks on the lower hull that will have to be addressed. These steps are straightforward and without issues.

Steps 3-5 consist of building the gunner's seat, and the four ammo rounds (one M344 HE round and three M346 Hep-t rounds). Then the perforated photoetch is added to the rounds and the base designation rims. I found it extremely useful to use a metal universal roller tool I purchased a while ago from UMMAUSA to bend the photoetch. We also see the construction of the driver's seat. The springs associated with the seat structure have great detail molded in. Also, the gunner's foot switch, accelerator pedal, transmission shifting, and part D61 which has the driving light control switch, the choke control knob, and ignition switch are added to the driver's compartment. The other indicator lights are already molded into the sidewall. Decals for the instruments are also included on the decal sheet. 

Steps 6-7. Here we see the construction of parts in the driver's section including the right and left control handles, the forward driver's hull wall, the footrest, and the RT-524/VRC FM transmitter-receiver radio set. Since I had broken one of the handles on the radio set, I used 26-gauge wire to form new ones.  In step 7 the hand grenade box, left side wall, and supports are built up and installed. There are 5 ejector pin release marks (raised) that will have to be removed.  Also, I scratch-built a throttle control handle for the driver's compartment using photoetch and styrene.

I waited to glue in the radio set, gunner and driver's seats, ammo rounds, and fire extinguisher until they and the interior were painted.  I also waited to glue in the left side wall until the interior was detailed. This completes the bottom structure with the interior.

The completed bottom section with the interior was cleaned and primed using A.Mig-2022 One Shot Grey primer.  After this dried, I sprayed on 2 coats of Vallejo Model Air White 71.001. The fire extinguisher was painted with A.Mig-049 Red using 2 light coats. The seat cushions and backs were hand-painted with A.Mig-033 Rubber and Tires then dry brushed with A.Mig-0601 Light Grey Dio-Drybrush Paint. The instrument panel decals were applied, and a coat of clear gloss was applied. They went on well without issues. The radio set and 106mm rounds were airbrushed with A.Mig-926 Olive Drab Dark Base. After this dried the projectiles were painted with A.Mig-046 Matte Black with the photoetch hand painted with Vallejo Metal Color 77.721 Burnt Iron. A light chipping was done using Vallejo Model Color German Black Brown 70.822. A build-up of dirt was added by using AK Pigment Vietnam Earth with a pigment binder. Additional chipping was added to the interior after the below picture was taken.

Steps 8-11 and Steps 12-15 consist of constructing the road wheels with supporting arms, and sprockets (15 teeth per references), and adding the suspension side channels with the front support, final drive assembly, track skid bumpers, bumper spring assembly parts A14 & A41, and the shock absorbers. The level of detail is excellent, especially the adjustment screws on the forked guide of the rear road wheels. When gluing the two halves of the road wheels, a seam line left must be sanded off as references do not show a seam line on the rubber tread. The road wheels when assembled to the supporting arms travel freely making painting the rubber treads simple.

Test fit the road wheels and supporting arms to the hull before gluing or painting. The front supporting arm has a cutout that allows clearance for the sprocket. Keeping the order of attachment of the sub-assemblies in mind, I moved on to painting using A. Mig One Shot Grey Primer 2024, then two light coats of A. Mig 081 US Olive Drab Vietnam Era FS 24087.  After these were allowed to dry, I hand-painted the rubber wheel treads with A. Mig Rubber and Tires 033. 

Steps 16-17 consist of adding the transmission compartment front cover to the hull with the transmission oil access cover.  Although the louvers are not molded open, they are well-detailed.  Next up is adding the lighting system with the left/right service lights, blackout driving light, and left/right blackout marker lights.  * Note the direction of the marker light inserts by checking references. Additionally, the lighting system was wired using 0.4mm round lead wire. Then the brush guards are added. Step 17 is the construction of the rear shell stowage compartment with handles, towing shackles, and the six 106mm ammo rounds with photoetch. I primed this compartment and airbrushed on a coat of white before gluing it to the rear.

Note the inside ammo stowage racks are open and not locked into place in order to show they are hinged to the side walls.

Step 18 consists of adding the front towing lugs with shackles and construction of the rear armoured access door for the outside 106mm ammo stowage.  This door has hinges that allow open or closed positions for the stowed ammo.  An access handle is also attached.  Next up is the tracks, for which I used Tamiya Extra Thin glue.  They were lightly clamped and allowed to dry overnight.  Afterward, they were primed, and two light coats of A. Mig 035 Dark Tracks were airbrushed on.  Since most of the tracks shown consist of metal crossbars, the rubber sections will be hand-painted with A. Mig 033 Rubber and Tires. * Since taking the below photo, I did notice a link that will be re-glued. Also, the wiring in the image is for the four LED lights installed. 

Steps 19-21 consist of building the two side sponsons and gluing on the .50 caliber ammunition box with tracer magazines, radio rack, gun cleaning rods, and the construction of five M1919 ammo boxes.  These two sponsons are detailed, but there are numerous knockout holes that will have to be filled and sanded.  Step 19 is the attachment of the front and back fenders and mudguards.  The front fender and mudguard are incorrectly numbered D52 instead of L39.  This error was found after several minutes of trying to attach the front fender and mudguard.  Also, the same goes for the rear fender and mudguard.  Parts C1 and D53 should be C1 and L23.  This can be seen by viewing references for the correct placement of cap screws and bolts attaching the fender and mudguard to the sponson.  Also, in step 20 is the attachment of the individual parts to the driver's hatch such as the M13 periscope, periscope guard, and hinges.  The hatch is able to be opened or closed due to hinges having pins.

Steps 22-24 consist of adding the rear doors with vision port slide and handwheels, door stowage box, engine compartment air intake louvers, engine access door, hinge torsion springs, and driver's hatch cover assembly.  Parts K38 and K15 allow the hatch to open and close.  There is a pin on the hatch, which part K38 inserts into.  In step 24 the interior small parts are added.  Items such as the dome lights, oil temperature, and pressure warning light, ventilating blower, driver's hatch cover seal, rear door handles, latch knobs, turret traversing latch, and other small parts are added. With these steps done, it was time to paint the interior before adding to the lower hull. I primed with A. Mig One Shot White 2022 before spraying on 2 coats of Model Air White 71.001.  Interior parts were hand-painted with various Ammo paints.  The driver's interior hatch was sprayed with US Olive Drab Vietnam Era A. Mig 081 after priming. The same was done for the interior of the rear access doors. 

To show the interior I added 4 Warm White LED lights powered by a 3V lithium battery with the on/off switch to be placed somewhere on the base.

Steps 25-27 consist of constructing the exhaust system with photoetch. Takom supplies a bending template (part G2) for part of the exhaust. This is an added benefit as the part to be bent would be difficult without it. Also, is the construction of the pioneer tool rack, right taillight, air cleaner service door, fuel filler cap, the rear door hold open latch mechanisms, various door handles, antenna mount, and finally in step 27 the construction of the rifle traveling lock support mechanism

Steps 28-31 are the final assembly steps for the upper hull and turret before the construction of six rifles starting in step 32.  In these steps the left taillight assembly is added, the 30-caliber machine gun mount, 5-gallon Jerry can, spare tracks, and cover for the crew compartment blower outlet.  In step 30 the turret hatch is built up. Takom provides a linkage for either displaying the hatch open or closed. (Parts L50 & 49). Also, step 30 adds the weapons control unit, the elevating handwheel mechanism, the elevation quadrant, the traversing handwheel, the gunner's periscope, and the manual hydraulic pump lever. Finally, in step 31 the rifle gun cradles are built up and a leaf spring assembly is added. 

Steps 32-34 consist of constructing the two 106mm recoilless rifles and placing them on the gun cradles.  These are numbered 1 and 6. Note: "The Onto's recoilless rifles were assigned numbers left to right facing them from the rear. Number 1 to the lower left and Number 6 to the lower right." Page 20 from Doyle, David. M50/M50A1 Ontos: Self-Propelled multiple 106 mm Recoilless Rifle. Schiffer Military. 2023.  * The breech is workable if not glued into place.

Steps 35-40 consist of constructing the other four 106mm recoilless rifles numbered 2-5.  As noted, the barrels are two pieces which to my surprise were simple to position together.  Then after sanding, the delicate construction begins by adding the assembled breech lock, hydraulic hoses, and firing cables.  Four 50-Cal spotting rifles are then constructed and placed on numbers 2-5 recoilless rifles.  The receivers, barrels, and magazine detail of the 50-Cal spotting rifles are excellent.  In step 39, the 30-Cal MG is constructed and placed on the gunner's hatch.  The gun assemblies were primed using A. Mig One Shot Black Primer #2023, then 2 light coats of Vallejo Metal Color Burnt Iron 77.721 were applied to replicate the Parkerized color. After this dried a mixture of black and gunmetal pigments were buffed on. Again, the molding detail is excellent.  Finally, step 40 shows the combining of the turret and guns to the upper hull.  A slight twist and everything fits perfectly.

 

Steps 41-43 begin the construction of the 1/16th scale figure. Most parts such as the legs, arms, body, and shoes are two parts. The goggles have a clear lens that is inserted into the frames. A few mold seams require sanding, but with the large scale, this was not an issue. The parts have attachment points to the molding sprues on the outside of the figure, thus not cutting and sanding in the seam line. Once the glue is applied, they snap together with extraordinarily little seam showing. There are no paint callouts listed with the instructions for the figures, but with the enormous amount of material available, this should not be a problem during the painting process. Test placement was correct, then the figure was painted with the usual procedures mostly using Ammo by Mig acrylic paints.

In order to showcase the detail and as I hadn't decided what base or setting I would place the model on,  I  intentionally did not use any weathering on the model. 

Painting

The instructions call for the use of Ammo by Mig Jimenez paints. Due to the complexity of the model whereupon painting would be required before moving on to the next step, painting was done when required. A base coat of A. Mig US Olive Drab Vietnam Era 081 and One Shot Primer were used for most of the build. For an in-depth review of the painting, please refer to the steps above.

Decals

Using Micro Set and Micro Sol the decals were applied after a light coat of clear gloss.  I had not issues with silvering, but to ensure this would not be a problem, I brushed on a coat of Mr. Mark Softer. The decals used were from the Dontos, "Road Runner," The US Army Armour and Calvary Collection, Fort Benning, Georgia.

Conclusion:

It was an enjoyable build given a few quirks in the process, of my own doing, such as gluing the photoetch onto the ammo rounds not exactly.  If not properly glued, the completed rounds will not fit in the outside ammo storage area.  Another tedious chore, which reminded me of putting together metal tracks, was the construction of the six 106mm recoilless rifles due to the number of parts involved with each gun. 

If anyone is reluctant to build the Ontos due to display space, the completed model is comparable in size to the 1/35th scale Takom King Tiger. The Ontos has dimensions of 9.25" long x 6.5" wide x 5.5" tall when complete. 

On another note, I wondered why metal barrels with rifling were not included in the kit as these are currently unavailable on the market. I was informed by one of Ft. Benning's Armor and Cavalry Restoration Center's Takom advisers that metal barrels would have been prohibitive due to the weight of six barrels sitting on a platform of plastic. 

After each build, I asked myself "Would I undertake a project of this magnitude again" My answer was, "Definitely Yes" This build was one of the nicest and most interesting models I have constructed. It did make a difference by having good reference material available to refer to. Kudos to David Doyle for his excellent reference book.

References Used Include:

Doyle, David. M50/M50A1 Ontos: Self-Propelled Multiple 106 mm Recoilless Rifle. Schiffer Military, 2023.

U.M. Marine Corps. "Organizational Maintenance Rifle, Self-Propelled, Full-Tracked, Multiple 106 MM, M50A1. "TM-00545B-20, January 1964.

 

Highly Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders.

Thanks go out to Takom for this review kit.

Reviewed by Phillip Cavender

 

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