T-50 Turret M113
Vietnam (Australian Version)

1:35th Update Set No. FST081
Review by Terry Ashley

The Cadillac Gage T-50 turret mounting twin L3A3 .30cal machine guns was initially fitted the Australian M113s in Vietnam during 1968 to increase firepower and offer more protection for the Commander.

To increase firepower even further a single M2 .50cal machine gun was sometimes fitted to the inner (left) MG mount with the outside mount left empty and the .30cal MG moved to a pintle mount on the turret roof. The M2 had to be fitted to the inner mounting due to the rear of the MG body extending almost to the rear turret wall making accessibility and cocking very difficult and almost impossible if mounted in the outer (right hand) mounting port.

Other modifications sometimes fitting were a bracket on either side of the turret to hold a single .50cal ammo box and a small spotlight above the MG ports. The T-50 turret ring was also offset when facing forward to allow the required clearance for the rear hatch and a fire suppression rail was fitted to the rear on the hull turret ring to prevent the weapons firing into the open rear hatch.

The Firestorm T-50 turret set represents the turret fitted with the twin L3A3 .30cal machine guns and includes the turret ring and fire suppression rail plus the turret top pintle mount.

The set consists of 15 resin pieces, a short length of plastic rod and a piece of copper wire for the suppression rail. The quality of the resin casting is excellent with only the small casting blocks to be removed, the turret does not require any cleanup as it is cast from underneath and this just disappears inside the turret ring when attached to the vehicle.

The details on the turret are excellent with very subtle weld seams, vision blocks and canvas texture on the MG cover. Although the casting is very well done there are some minor detail errors with the front of the turret but nothing that can’t be fixed if you want to as it doesn’t really distract from the finished turret as its one of those things that only becomes apparent when directly comparing to photos.
This is to do with weld seam which runs across the top of the turret front and the position of the periscope, the weld seam should run directly across the top from the right hand corner level with the rear of the canvas cover while the seam on the resin turret is further forward on the left side. The periscope should also be about 1.5mm to the right, this may not seem a lot but it will allow the left lifting eye to be in the correct position.

Firestorm Firestorm

On the underside of the turret there is the correct offset of the turret ring so the turret will sit correctly when fitted; this is something I have not seen on other T-50 turrets available. The turret is hollowed out enough to allow a figure to sit in the opening, just the thing for either the commander from set FST060 Australian APC Crew Vietnam or FST062 Australian Tanker Vietnam.

The two .30cal MG barrels have very nice cooling jacket details included and the turret hatch has internal details plus the correct offset on the hatch hinges plus there are the three separate lifting eyes, these appear a little oversized but again may not be that noticeable on the finished turret. The periscope guard is cast very thin and looks good when attached but obviously care will be needed when removing this from its casting block and fitting in place.

The MGs are posed pointing upward as they would be when the vehicle is a rest and is often seen this way in photographs and you are also provided with the optional pintle mount for the turret top if required.

View of the assembled turret as it comes in the set

For the top of the M113 hull is the turret ring with the attached suppression rail which has to be fashioned from the copper wire provided. The instruction sheet has a template diagram and dimensions of the rail but it should be noted that while the template gives the dimensions the diagram is not to scale, so it would be advisable to draw your own template to the right size before bending the wire. Also the corner bends should be more rounded than shown in the diagram, this is easy to do when bending the wire.

The instructions are on a small sheet with a diagram of the turret showing the positioning of the parts except the lifting eyes which aren’t shown as well as brief text notes to aid in the construction.

As mentioned in the introduction the Aussie T-50 turrets were often fitted with a single M2 .50cal MG in the turret mount and a .30cal MG fitted to the pintle mount, as these extra guns are not in the kit you will need to provide these yourself if you want to do something different which shouldn’t be a problem if you have a moderate spares box (this is not a criticism of the kit, just stating they aren’t there).

To show these alternatives I used a Verlinden .50cal barrel and .30cal MG body from an Academy LVT with a Verlinden barrel added, these are easily fitted in place without any further modifications to the turret parts.
Click for larger views of the alternate weapons fit

Overall an excellent T-50 turret despite the minor detail errors and along with the other sets for Aussie M113s from Firestorm (FST064 Australian M113 Update Set and FST066 M113 Vietnam Belly Armour Update Set) you should be able to make any one of the variations seen on Aussie Buckets in Vietnam.

The resin bits
Two views of the resin turret
Click for reference images of the T-50 turret

This and other detail & accessory sets are available direct from

Thanks to David from for the review sample.

Page created 30 September 2003

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