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Building the DML M2A1 Halftrack

Dragon’s brand new US M2A1 Halftrack answered a lot of modeller’s dreams. Not since the 1970’s have we had these vehicles in 1/35th injection moulded form, and those were heavily criticized for things such as inaccurate running gear amongst other things.

You can find a full in-box review of the Dragon kit here.

the kit
The kit as supplied can make 2 variants, the M2 with a full MG skate ring around the crew compartment, and roller on the front, or the M2A1 that has a winch on the front and M49 ring over the co-driver’s position. Looking at references, almost any combination of these features can be made, since things were often field modified and backdated etc.
the build begins
Construction begins on this kit with the assembly of the engine, front axle, and those gorgeous drive wheels!

Not much of the engine will be visible once the model is complete, although if you leave the engine louvres open you will see the radiator through the gaps. Dragon have engraved the panel lines of the hood on the reverse side, so although no alternative hinges or hasps are provided, with a little work the hood can be depicted open, and then this little gem of an engine can be seen. All you’d need to add are some wires etc, as extra detailing, and there are plenty of references out there for the White 160 AX 6-cylinder.

When faced with a number of small sub-assembly’s such as that presented on the first page of these instructions, I usually remove all the necessary parts from the sprues and lay them out in a similar way to they are on the instructions, then clean them up, and finally assemble them. In this way I tend not to get similar parts mixed up, so I suspect that parts A9 and A8 are reversed on the instructions, since when I came to assemble mine they were, so double check yours when putting them together.

When you come to the two front wheels you’ll see that Dragon have engineered the ‘flat’ into them, with some subtlety too, it’s definitely not overdone! Everything about this first stage in the instructions just reeked of quality. Everything fitting together perfectly to produce the small sub-assembly’s for later.

Moving onto the next stage of the instructions, I began to build the bogeys for the running gear. The bolt detail of the 16 road wheels is wonderful, as is all the detail. These can actually be built working, although as the tracks are supplied as rigid injection moulded parts, I didn’t see a use for this, and assembly is much simplified if everything is just cemented into place. The assembly can be a little fiddly on these, most especially with parts D5, and you’ll probably need tweezers! Be aware that the instructions show the first bogey to be constructed, back to front….on the illustration part D34 should be shown sliding into part D32 the other way around, although strangely, the other bogey is shown assembled correctly?

  • 01
  • 001
  • 002
  • 003
  • 004
  • 005
  • 006
  • 007
  • 008
  • 009

About the Author

About Vinnie Branigan (Teacher)


If nothing else, this proves that DML at least listens to the discussions going on via forums around their kits. I take that as a positive indicator of awareness at least and willingness to acknowledge concerns one way or the other.
NOV 13, 2006 - 12:25 AM
And how long will it be until we see a pic posted in the gallery with the little bulge postioned at the top? :-) :-)
NOV 14, 2006 - 02:05 PM
This thread is pedantic to say the least. Who cares if there's a bulge in the tyres? It really is not that important in the greater scheme of things! If you don't like the look of it then don't buy it but stop whinging about it! As an Allied modeller I'm overjoyed that this kit has been released to replace the bog awful Tamiya half track. If that's the only inaccuacy anyone can find on the kit I'd say DML have done a fantastic job..just forgot to inflate the tyres to the correct PSI as you can always do that on a battlefield under fire. Get a grip
NOV 15, 2006 - 05:34 AM
i volunteer
NOV 15, 2006 - 05:49 AM
There you are. It's not as if the Dragon tyre has a wrong thread pattern, or the wrong number of wheelnuts, or is the wrong size.... it's only underinflated. How about using the Tamiya front wheels? They don't bulge... Henk
NOV 15, 2006 - 08:32 AM
Excellent article, Vinnie! I just got my M2/M2A1 kit last night and am chomping at the bit to get started. This kit looks like one of those rare "box shakers" that require only some glue thrown into the box, which is then shaken and out comes a built model. :-) Seriously though, I could find no reference to "glitches", or problems with this kit, in your article (at least not major problems) and I am looking forward to getting on with this project. Once again, well done. Dave
NOV 18, 2006 - 02:19 AM
Well I just got my halftrack today, and gone through it several times, wiping up the drool as I go, and this is coming from a non-allied builder! :-) I had a look at the little "issue" people have with a couple of certain parts, they look fine to me. Mine will be goin in a dio anyways, so they propably won't be noticed. But what a kit! and now it's promptly going into one of my boxes, as I'm packing to move!
NOV 18, 2006 - 08:05 AM
For any of you who might be interested, a tweaks list for this fine kit has been posted on ML. My buddy Jay did a lot of detective work and has very comprehensively listed many of the minor adjustments needed to make a great kit even greater. Give it a look! Happy Thanksgiving folks! Dave
NOV 22, 2006 - 06:52 AM
Well, enough of the tires. Vinnie, what you are missing is the cover for the gaping hole in the crew compartment. A lot of people are missing this, it is in the directions but it's very hard to miss. Even the one in AFV Modeler is missing it, I almost did too, had to add it after the model was built. Jim
DEC 13, 2007 - 04:20 PM
James, there's little point in posting as a response to this feature. The author of the article is no longer a member of this site..
DEC 13, 2007 - 08:51 PM