It’s been a while since Trumpeter released their first kits in big 1:16 scale and after a long gestation we now have this kit of the US M16 Multiple Gun Motor Carriage to see if the wait was worth it?
The purpose built M16 Multiple Gun Motor Carriage with Maxson M45D quad cal.50 M2HB mounting was based on the M3 half track chassis, there were also other Multiple Gun Motor Carriage types built on the standard M3 Personnel Carriers easily identified by the lack of the folding armoured hull panels found on purpose-built M16s.
Others were built on the M5 chassis, designated M17 which were sent to Russia under the Lend Lease programme and some on the M2s chassis unofficially designated M16B which also lacked the folding armoured hull panels.
One thing is for sure, this is a big kit with plenty of parts but on the other hand is decidedly lacking in details in places with the recent Dragon 1:35 scale kit of the MGMC M16 (kit #6381) having more detail in a number of areas, most notably the suspension and running gear which is rather plain on the Trumpeter kit.
Much of the detail is still missing from the suspension bogies as with the Dragon kit and the two cab doors and armoured rear compartment sides have the fold down panels moulded fixed in the raised position which for this scale leaves you scratching your head as to why?
Details missing from the suspension include the front steering linkages, shock absorbers and connecting linkages while at the back the idler braces are completely missing as is the exhaust pipe bracket on the right bogie unit while the differentials are devoid of any bolt head or other details.
But there is also plenty of nice details included such as the full engine and quite impressive Maxson mounting with very nicely done M2 cal.50 HB GPMGs, impressively moulded drive and idlers wheels and thankfully all the hull screws have their slots as they should with two metal chassis frames to ensure everything stays in place. Overall the kit is dimensionally correct when compared to available data and extrapolated from the 1:48 plans in the Hunnicut book with any discrepancies being well within acceptably tolerances for a good start.
Many of the larger parts are held together with screws and some of these are exposed after assembly which detracts from the final appearance but some screws can be eliminated such as inside the rear fighting compartment with the parts glued together in the usual manner, but more on these as we go along.
The kit consists of 497 parts in light grey plastic plus 22 in black vinyl, a fret of etched parts, 2 preformed brass jerry can racks, 2 metal chassis frames and a 450mm length of chain, 900mm length of thread, 45 assorted screws, 18 pre-assembled metal hinges as well as the decal sheet and 32 page instruction booklet.
The black vinyl parts include the two front tyres, the two full lengths of track, 2 front axle caps and two rear mud guards as well as the 16 ‘rubber’ tyres for the road wheels.
Firstly a word of caution with the way the screws have been identified in the instructions, there are 8 small zip lock bags for the different screws and these are labelled A to G as well as having longer labels such as PM2x6, PB2x6, PM2x8, PWB2x6, KB2x6, KB2x15 and in the instructions the screws are called out not by the A-G but by the longer label which to say the least is very confusing.
You have to be very careful when the instructions call screws PM2x6 not to use PM2x8 and so on, it would have been far easier to call the screws by the A-G label but this is not the case and you must look carefully to make sure you have the correct screw as some also look very similar but won’t fit into the treaded hole if you use the wrong one, anyway be warned before you screw things up.
The standard of moulding is generally good overall with clean crisp details but there are quite a few pin parks to deal with and fine flash about the place as well as some prominent moulding seams to be removed, you should check the mating surfaces before gluing as some needed to be smoothed out a little for a better fit.
As this is such as large kit as the 32 page instruction booklet testifies the review is broken into installments to highlight the details, any problems encountered as well as offering some updates that can be done to improve the detail and assembly.
Click on the appropriate link below.
The large sheet is well printed with markings for two vehicles with vehicle and unit numbers as well as white allied stars with the hood and radiator louver stars already split if you want to show the hood open. As well there is stencilling for the vehicle and the ammo chests as well as the instrument dials on the dash board. There is also a full colour A4 page with 5 view illustrations of one of the vehicles on the decal sheet to show the decal placement.
Well this is certainly not a kit you will put together overnight and while there is quite a bit of cleanup of the mould seams and pin marks required the fit of the parts was very good overall with only a few areas needed attention and the kit offers a bit of a mixture depending on what you want from a kit?
If you just want a big impressive kit you can put together, paint and go gaa gaa then this will fit the bill as it is big and impressive but if you wanted a highly detailed model of the M16 from the box then this kit will disappoint. There is quite a bit of detail missing such as with the suspension, driver’s compartment and rear compartment interior but the engine is well done with all the basics provided with just some tweaks needed but the radiator is rather sad.
The armoured panels on the doors and rear compartment being moulded mixed in the upright position is really disappointing in this scale and things like the moulded on door and grab handles is also something you think would be done better in this scale?
The Maxson mounting and the M2 cal.50s are probably the standout feature of the kit apart from the work needed on the many pin marks and those screws and adds to the overall appeal of the kit with the fit of the parts making life easy after dealing with the holes.
What the kit does provide is plenty of scope for really getting into it and adding all those details to produce a really standout model and from this point of view offers good value as you will get quite a few months modelling for you buck.
So while there are simplifications and detail omissions along the way I can recommend the kit to anyone providing you don’t expect lashings of detail and are prepared for some good old fashioned modelling.
Recommended for modellers.
Also see the Half-Track Subjects page for additional kits/update sets reviews.
On the net:
Very good walkaround that highlights nicely many of the details missing from the kit such as the bogie housings and other bogie detail, the driver’s compartment detail as well as additional smaller detail that can be added to the gun mounting.
Detailed technical coverage of all half-track versions including many experimental and pilot vehicles.
Like the Sherman book, this is a must for reference on the U.S. Half-Track series, included 1:48 plans on most types.
U.S. WWII Half-track
Tankograd Technical Manual Series No.6010
Multiple Gun Motor Carriage M16
Extensive close-up walkarounds of the M16 MGMC
Top notch Walk Around photos of the M2/M3/M16 with plenty of detail for the modeller.
Additional M2/M3 Half-Track references
Thanks to J.B.Wholesalers for the review kit.