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REVIEW
Dragon M3 75mm GMC
keenan
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Posted: Thursday, July 02, 2009 - 11:46 AM UTC
Brian Culbertson reviews Dragon's "M3 75mm Gun Motor Carriage Kit #6467 Smart kit."



Link to Item

If you have comments or questions please post them here.

Thanks!
Havoc
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Posted: Thursday, July 02, 2009 - 05:49 PM UTC
Thanks, Shaun!

I wonder how long it will be before someone releases a separate aftermarket barrel? I know that Griffon makes a PE & barrel set, but I, for one, just want a new barrel.

Also hoping that Warriors/Dave Harper will produce a set of Marine gun crew figures for this one!

Thanks again for the review, Shaun.

Regards and Aloha,

Johnny B.
keenan
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Posted: Friday, July 03, 2009 - 01:35 AM UTC
The credit needs to go to Brian. All I did was the edit.
Glad you liked it.
Shaun
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Posted: Friday, July 03, 2009 - 01:32 PM UTC
Nice review Brian.
DT61
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Posted: Saturday, July 04, 2009 - 01:23 AM UTC
Thanks for the review. I picked up one of these kits and will pick up the Giffon PE and metal barrel.
Darryl
BigfootV
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Posted: Saturday, July 04, 2009 - 05:59 AM UTC
Hey Darryl,

Thx, Griffon makes the "Royal" PE set for the M3, as everything for the kit, barrel, shield, ammo rack, enigne compartment, stowage compartment, basiclly the whole 9 yards.

You may want to look into that set so you don't nickel and dime yourself to death.

DT61
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Posted: Saturday, July 04, 2009 - 06:34 AM UTC
Thanks Brian, I appreciate the heads up. I will order that set shortly.
Darryl
Vodnik
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Posted: Saturday, July 04, 2009 - 08:12 AM UTC
Excuse me, but this:

Quoted Text

The other low point in the kit are the tracks, two piece molded in plastic. No Magic Track or "rubber band" are provided. Fit issues may show up during the build because the tracks are molded in hard plastic if the idler and drive sprocket placement has not been measured correctly on the frame.


is just ridiculous! All other reviews note the DML track design in Halftrack kits as an excellent idea for this track type, allowing for very good detail reproduction and I fully agree with these opinions. "Magic Track"?... Magic Track are individual link tracks - how can a track that was a one piece rubber band in reality be represented as individual links in a kit? And rubber band? What would be a benefit of that?
Also mentioning fit problems in a "in box" review does not make sense - this is something better left to full build reviews. And these tracks in DML halftrack kits fit PERFECTLY (yes, I actually built Dragon M3 model), as the idler and drive sprocket placement has been measured correctly on the frame.

Pawel
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Posted: Saturday, July 04, 2009 - 09:21 AM UTC
Pawel, I have the utmost respect for you.
Since I've never build this kit or any other Dragon kit, (this being the first one), I've found hard to believe with the current methods of production in kits these days that Dragon would not include some different type of tracks.
Molded track, like the ones in the kit, are something most builders may find strange and would question like I did, since I never seen track molded in this fashion before. The kits I've dealt with, like the CMK Pz. 38(t), are molded but have breaks for fitting around the sprockets. Plus the fact that Dragon has included Magic track or other type track in there kits, like the 250/10 as an example. I just find this odd considering their prior track record for including them in earlier kit releases.

Now, I'm doing a build blog on this kit and I'm close to the placement of the track on the kit. I've already run into a problem with the placement of the right rear sprocket adjustment arm which may throw the track alignment off.
I pointed this out because at $54.99, the least Dragon could have of done is provided a different Track type that would justified the price of the kit.

So my friend I stand by my comments in the review, I'm but a humble man that speaks his mind and tells it like it is. I'm not afraid of getting hammered once in a while. Everybody makes mistakes, even the might Dragon.

Have a safe 4th of July.

Dangeroo
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Posted: Sunday, July 05, 2009 - 03:51 AM UTC
Hi Brian!

No offence to you mate, but I have to agree with Pawel. Since he seems to be biased (as seen in his signature) I should add a neutral statement (hey, I live in Switzerland after all! ).
The tracks on the Tamiya US halftracks were rubber band and everyone complained (rightly so...). As far as I see it, the way Dragon did it is the only way to do it correctly. All reviews, for example by Steve Zaloga, were impressed by the way the track "problem" was handeled by Dragon. I'm sure you'll change your mind once you build it...

My 2 cents!
Cheers
Stef
Vodnik
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Posted: Sunday, July 05, 2009 - 04:26 AM UTC

Quoted Text

The kits I've dealt with, like the CMK Pz. 38(t), are molded but have breaks for fitting around the sprockets. Plus the fact that Dragon has included Magic track or other type track in there kits, like the 250/10 as an example. I just find this odd considering their prior track record for including them in earlier kit releases.


Take a look at this photo (by Saul Garcia from primeportal.net):


Do you see any links here that could be provided as individual parts? These tracks were single piece bands of rubber with a steel core - no sections, links, connectors or any other separate items - just one closed loop of track.


Quoted Text

I pointed this out because at $54.99, the least Dragon could have of done is provided a different Track type that would justified the price of the kit.


They provided the best representation of this track type available on the market in this scale. What is to complain here?... That no one did it that way before?...


Quoted Text

Everybody makes mistakes, even the might Dragon.


Absolutely, there is plenty of mistakes in every Dragon kit and this one isn't an exception. I don't say that this kit is without flaws, I just think that you picked up what everyone else considers as advantage and decided to present it as a flaw...

Other reviewer's opinions (reviews of DML M2A1 kit - the first DML Halftrack kit with these tracks):

Cookie Sewell at cybermodeler.com (http://www.cybermodeler.com/hobby/kits/dml/kit_dml_6329.shtml):


Quoted Text

" The tracks are very interesting: DML molded them in hard styrene plastic in two halves, cut in such a way that the "chain" plate drive tooth guides in the center are represented as they are found on the actual vehicle. Since the tracks were metal with rubber "endless belt" casings vulcanized onto them, this is a neat way to portray it. (Steve answered one of my questions in that they do fit on fairly easily, as they are installed at the same time as the drivers and idlers so the entire assembly can be snugly fitted to the model.)"



Frank De Sisto at missing-lynx.com (http://www.network54.com/Forum/477322/message/1161476930/Kit%2C+DML+6329%2C+M2A1+Half-Track+2-in-1+Smart+Kit):


Quoted Text

"Tracks.

Since this is a so-called “Smart Kit”, DML’s designers have been mandated to come up with creative solutions in order to provide for an unprecedented level of accuracy and fidelity. The tracks show that these guys are taking their “marching orders” quite seriously. The track assemblies for each side are split into two injection-molded styrene parts, longitudinally; this provides for crisp tread detail on the faces of the continuous “rubber-band” tracks that the prototype was equipped with. The inner surface also has nicely-rendered guide chain details. In short, the kit’s designers have succeeded extremely well in this area."



Terry Ashley at perthmilitarymodelling.com (http://www.perthmilitarymodelling.com/reviews/vehicles/dragon/dr6329.htm):


Quoted Text

"The rubber/steel belt tracks of the half-tracks usually don’t show any sag and Dragon have moulded these in two halves pre-formed to the correct profile to fit around the drive and idlers wheels and the details on the track is nicely represented.

You should note that the two track halves have to be fitted around the fully assembled suspension units and can’t be fitted if glued together earlier so take care here as the instructions are not that clear on this.

Overall this is very good solution to these type tracks as there is no pressure on the delicate suspension components allowing the intricate detail to be included without fear of damage.
"



Pawel
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Posted: Tuesday, July 07, 2009 - 05:11 AM UTC

Quoted Text

All other reviews note the DML track design in Halftrack kits as an excellent idea for this track type, allowing for very good detail reproduction and I fully agree with these opinions.



As do I but like you said, they are opinions and apparently Brians differs, really not that big of a deal...


Quoted Text

And rubber band? What would be a benefit of that?



You Honestly don't see the benefit of a nice set of cream colored DS tracks? I would wholeheartedly welcome them, as I could finally model all those early vehicles...





Quoted Text

Other reviewer's opinions (reviews of DML M2A1 kit - the first DML Halftrack kit with these tracks):

Cookie Sewell at cybermodeler.com (http://www.cybermodeler.com/hobby/kits/dml/kit_dml_6329.shtml)



Exactly, you said it yourself. Other reviewers opinions. I wonder if anyone called Cookie's statement ridiculous, lets read:


Quoted Text

" The model has the "civilian" style dashboard, so note that the instruments are a brushed aluminum color on preserved/restored vehicles and not the more common black with white numerals. "




Black with white numerals were found on IH vehicles only, which Dragons kits do not represent. Dragons dashboard is perfectly fine.




Quoted Text

Frank De Sisto at missing-lynx.com (http://www.network54.com/Forum/477322/message/1161476930/Kit%2C+DML+6329%2C+M2A1+Half-Track+2-in-1+Smart+Kit):

"Tracks.

Since this is a so-called “Smart Kit”, DML’s designers have been mandated to come up with creative solutions in order to provide for an unprecedented level of accuracy and fidelity. The tracks show that these guys are taking their “marching orders” quite seriously. The track assemblies for each side are split into two injection-molded styrene parts, longitudinally; this provides for crisp tread detail on the faces of the continuous “rubber-band” tracks that the prototype was equipped with. The inner surface also has nicely-rendered guide chain details. In short, the kit’s designers have succeeded extremely well in this area."



I was going to point out how the T14 'prototype' actually had different tracks and suspension all together but those first two sentences used to describe the kit left me confused and bewildered.



Brian,

in your review you mention the missing screws on the gun shield. This is actually dependent on manufacturer, some shields had the screws that can be found on Griffons recent update set . However not all gun shields had them, some were welded construction.



Reviews are just the opinions of the people writing them, they are not gospel and certainly shouldn't be taken as such. While the writer does technically open themselves up for ridicule by offering these opinions openly, they really don't deserve anything shy of respectful counterpoint IMO.

PantherF
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Posted: Tuesday, July 07, 2009 - 06:20 AM UTC
Nice review Brian. I may never build a half-track, but I do like the thought of having these tracks this way and the front tires with the loading bulge on them.
BigfootV
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Posted: Tuesday, July 07, 2009 - 03:49 PM UTC
Hey Lamont,
Thx. You are correct with the Gun shield, some were welded. Which I did fail to mention in my review, my bad. But the Griffon PE that I'll use to replace the Dragon shield, which is the later, final production version.

Hey Jeff,
Thx for the kind words. The bulged tires are a sign, to me as a Truck driver, of low air pressure. Now having said that, it is a combat vehicle. So who knows why it was modeled that way.

staff_Jim
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Posted: Tuesday, July 07, 2009 - 04:17 PM UTC
As I have said before when issues of review accuracy arise, this is the nice thing about the Internet. Unlike magazines which print things once for the most part and are not updated, we can actually let authors amend or fix anything that they may have missed or gotten wrong. We are all human after all.

That said I really do hope that our reviewers are not looking for mistakes simply to have something to write. If you know of a problem with a kit by all means report on it, but for your own sake do your homework and be ready to defend your opinions. The bulgy tires are a perfect example of this in my view. I have seen pictures of bulges and no bulges, so who is right? That might be one to avoid making a stink about IMHO. It's just a personal preference thing to me.

Jim

PS: Cudos to Pawel for taking a stand on the rear tracks. I think DML has gone out on a limb in doing something different. Many of us are old enough to remember that the reason most tank kits came with rubber tracks was because they were suppose to be able to roll... And if you want those plastic DML tracks to sag I suggest some well applied heat. Works all the time on plastic.
BigfootV
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Posted: Tuesday, July 07, 2009 - 05:15 PM UTC
Hey Jim,

Point taken on the tire issues. As I stated to Pawel reply, first Dragon kit I've touched, wanted to break the Tamiya mold and try something different to review. Trust me, I wasn't looking for mistakes in this kit. After opening up the kit and seeing the things that were listed, which I though were odd, I had to go back and find the reviews from Terry Ashley, Cookie Sewell.
Having read these reviews I come to the opinion that was stated in this review. Mr. Ashley touched on the screw heads not being slotted on the cab and the fighting compartment, fixed by Dragon, in this kit. I was questioning why Dragon fixed a MINOR, Very minor detail in my opinion, on the screw heads and not the tracks or tires. Did I often people? Yes, 4 out of 9 found the review NOT HELPFUL. Oh well.

Anyways, the point here, my opinion. And I hope Pawel at least respects me for standing up and not back down on voicing that opinion.


Tarok
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Posted: Tuesday, July 07, 2009 - 05:58 PM UTC
Hi Brian,

Thanks for the review - personally I found it useful as an In-Box review, which is what it is

I'm not really into Allied, let alone US, vehicles so Pavel's above rubber band (the real track) photo is interesting - learnt something new today I apologise if this is pouring fuel on the fire (or if anyone mentioned it above - I haven't read all the drama top side), but if the real thing was a big, bad ass rubber band, why wouldn't a band type track be suitable in scale? Yeah, yeah, I've probably missed the point, and someone's going "you've gotta be kidding!?!", but humour me - I look forward to your replies (I think...)

Never knew the Brit used these. Right, Mr DML, when's the Brit Half-track crew being released? Actually I think I might add this vehicle to my wish-list just so that I can do a Brit version - with all the recent tank & A/C crews being released it should be easy to put a crew together

Thanks again for the in-box, Brian

Rudi
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Posted: Tuesday, July 07, 2009 - 07:15 PM UTC
The REME used the half track as a works vehicle when they were fielding Centurions.
Halaci
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Posted: Wednesday, July 08, 2009 - 05:28 AM UTC
Rudi,

in the Concord book "British Armor in Sicily and Italy" there are a plenty of pics of these GMCs, my one will be definitely one of them (probably Acorn Inn). The Polish troops also used the Halftrack, though I think only the troop carrier version. Bison had a decal set about the Polish armor in Italy and in it there was car which was used as a grandstand in a parade, with a long coat-of-arms banner on its side.
Vodnik
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Posted: Wednesday, July 08, 2009 - 05:46 AM UTC

Quoted Text

why wouldn't a band type track be suitable in scale?


Not quite, for the reason described by Terry Ashley:
"Overall this is very good solution to these type tracks as there is no pressure on the delicate suspension components allowing the intricate detail to be included without fear of damage."

There is no way the quite delicate suspension parts in this kit would survive the stress applied on them by properly tensioned rubber band tracks.

Pawel
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Posted: Wednesday, July 08, 2009 - 02:09 PM UTC
Thanks for your comments, gents.

Pavel, I guess that makes sense (and I better go read that PMMS review )
CDK
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Posted: Thursday, July 09, 2009 - 01:55 AM UTC
Having used DS tracks myself, I don't see any issue with 'tension' as they are very soft and pliable and wouldn't need to be 'stretched' over the delicate suspension. DS isn't even close to the old fashion 'rubber band' tracks pulled taught over tanks running gear so we can put batteries in and play.

DS tracks take to glue very well and could be installed in the same manner as the old Tamiya tracks...

with glue.

Not thread, not tension, just intelligently placed glue.




.

As far as trying to bend my hard plastic kit tracks with heat, well...

if there is a modeler out there who sees this as a viable option and wants to take the chance at possibly ruining the tracks I'm all ears, let me know how you make out. Until then I'll stick to late model vehicles.
210cav
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Posted: Thursday, July 09, 2009 - 08:57 AM UTC
Brian-- great review. I am looking forward to replacing my ancient CMD one with this beauty. I am anxious to see a building blog on her.
thanks
again
DJ