US M3 75mm GMC
Half Track conversion

Trakz TX 0116
1:35th Scale

Review by Terry Ashley

TamiyaThis conversion set is designed primarily for use with the Tamiya M21 81mm Mortar Carrier (Kit #35083) and was first released under the KMC label some years ago and then re-issued briefly as a Warriors set with the inclusion of etched parts and now is again re-issued as a Trakz set. This long lineage has not affected the quality of the resin parts which are very crisp with well defined details and apart from the usual casting blocks and some excess resin film to be removed is blemish free.

The etched parts are okay but show their age on some of the finer parts but are still quite adequate for the job.

I don’t have the earlier sets on hand to check if any updates have been done but this is really irrelevant as we look at the contents of this set which consists of 79 parts in light cream resin and as mentioned are perfectly cast as well as the etched fret in thicker metal than normal.


For the vehicle itself there are new interior floor panels that fit into the kit floor (part C28) which requires you to remove some plastic and other details to accept the new resin floor panels and there are additional storage boxes and fuel tanks for the rear plus a new bulkhead between the rear and front compartments plus new front crew seats.

There is a new driver’s armoured panel with the cut-out for the gun and at the front there is a new front bumper and the roller supports and roller to replace the winch with the Tamiya kit as well as fender head light guards provided in etched metal to add good definition.

The remaining parts are for the 75mm gun which is very nicely detailed with the lower gun support having separate hand wheels and other details plus a two part barrel with the muzzle hollowed out and separate lower cradle. There are alternate parts to show the breech opened or closed plus numerous other smaller detailed parts that make up a very busy looking assembly.

The large gun shield is entirely in etched metal with the two side and upper panels having small ridges along the edges to fit together for a more positive join while on the insides are separate flange joins with rivet head details that not only add this detail but add strength to the shield joins and is well thought out.

There are additional smaller etched parts to add to the inner walls but you will have to add the many small external rivets yourself as these are impossible to include with the normal etching process. Small indentations are in the shields to indicate the location and spacing of the rivets which will help when adding these from either heated sprue or using a left over kit such as a Tamiya M3 Stuart to donate the rivets.

The instructions are in the form of a double sided ‘letter’ sized page with small exploded view drawings showing the assembly of the parts plus some additional notes and you will need to study these carefully before assembly to fully familiarise yourself with the assembly.

Even though we are in urgent need of new state of the art US Half-Track kits thankfully there is plenty of reference available for the vehicles which will be of assistance when building this set with some listed below.

While the set is designed primarily for the Tamiya M21 kit you can use the standard M2A3 Half-Track (Kit #35070) but additional work will be needed in the rear compartment for the new parts.

A very nicely detailed conversion set to built this important variant of the Half-Track with the gun assembly being quite complete and the large etched shields are very well done despite the need to add your own rivets.

Some experience working with resin and etched parts will help as this set is not for the beginner but it is good to see this set available again under the Trakz label.

Highly recommended.

The resin parts:

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See the M2/M2 Halftrack subjects page for reviews of other sets available.


A History of American
Semi-Tracked Vehicles

R.P Hunnicutt
ISBN 0-89141-742-7
U.S. Half-Tracks
Their Design and Development

David R.Haugh
Darlington Productions
ISBN 1-8992848-02-3
M3 Infantry Half-Track

Steven J. Zaloga, Peter Sarson
Osprey New Vanguard 11
ISBN 1-85532-467-9
U.S. Half-Tracks
in Combat 1941-1945

Steven J. Zaloga
Concord Armor at War #7031
ISBN 962-361-654-6
M3 Half-Track in action #2034
Jim Mesco
Squadron Signal Publications
ISBN 0-89747-363-9
Militaria 25, Half-Track, Volume1

Thanks to ModelMecca/VLS for the review sample.

Page created 8 May 2005

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