Voyager Models
M2 Update Set
Voyager Models 1:35 set #PE35117

Review by Terry Ashley

Voyager Models have joined the Half-Track set with this update designed for the Dragon M2/M2A1 Half-track (kit #6329) but the first thing you should note is it is titled “M2 Update” and only contains parts for the M2 Half-Track with none for the M2A1 such as the head light bush guards or rear stowage racks. This may indicated a second set coming for the M2A1 but could limit this set a little in its scope.
Resin and other bits
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The etched frets
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The Update Set:
Coming as it does so close after the massive Lion Roar update (set #LAS35002) some comparisons are inevitable but this set is much more modest is what it provides but then so is the price.

The set consists of:

As with previous Voyager sets the standard of etching is excellent with good relief where needed and clean crisp etching plus the usual engraved bending lines to make this process easier and the resin casting is first class without any blemishes with just the usual casting blocks to be removed.

For the front cab there is a new radiator louver assembly with the outer frame and separate louvers allowing these to be in any position and for the engine hood the securing T latches are replaced with three etched parts but the T latch is just flat and lacks a little definition.

The mounting brackets for the ditching roller are replaced with etched brackets that include the small springs provided but there is no precise location for these and springs being springs you might want to add a pin into the lower spring mounting bracket that is salvaged from the kit parts C15 and C16. This does require you to cut away the spring bracket from the kit parts discarding the remained of the parts and this will require a little care. Nothing is provided for the winch or winch bumper even though the M2 could be fitted with a winch assembly.

The side jerry can racks are provided requiring you to remove the moulded on racks and fill the resulting hole in the body and care is needed not to damage too much of the surrounding details.

The engine gets a couple of updates, a replacement fan but this only has detail on side and you will have to add the curve to the blades before fitting in place and a small cover for the generator but I have not seen this cover fitted to any photos of the White 160AX engine.

For the cab the two side doors are provided in slightly thicker etched metal than the rest of the set but the dome screws are represented by indentations and you press these out to form the dome screws, this unfortunately again results in screws without the slots and you have to be careful when embossing the screws to get them all the same size, not the best solution here.

The top window section is separate and can be attached to the main door with workable hinges and the armoured visor cover is designed to slide open and closed in its brackets. The hinges on the main door can also be made workable with other details include the inside map case as a separate part as are the door latches and handles and a few small tie down cleats.

The tie down cleats in this set are pre-formed but lack detail such as the rounded attachment and are quite basic compared the tie downs in the Lion Roar set.

The windscreen armoured cover is designed to be fitted either open or closed only without workable hinges and again have the movable armoured vision port covers and more of the embossed out dome screws along with the three support posts from thin rod and etched brackets.

On the fenders are the early M2 style head light bush guard only which have the outer frame separate from the four guard rods in thin metal and it will take some careful positioning to get these to sit inside the frames without damage as they are very thin. There are also the underside fender support brackets plus the jerry can racks with etched straps for the resin jerry cans provided which use the kit jerry can handles (parts D9) and the tool brackets and securing straps are also in etched metal.

Inside the cab are the Driver’s foot pedals, hand brake lever and the instrument panel with the outer face as an etched part and photo film dials added behind with both these attached to the kit panel after the moulded on details are shaved off.

Moving back the side storage box doors are replaced with etched parts that include working hinges and latches and the side mine racks are also in etched parts with the resin mines to use as required and these look a lot better then the poor kit mine racks.

The rear mounted steps and tail light assemblies are in etched parts with separate tread plate sections and lower mud flaps that just replace the kit parts and the securing straps for the rear mounted MG tripods are also provided as etched parts.

On the inside are the grab rails along the front of the seats from thin rod and small etched parts plus the inside storage locker door with the resin .30cal ammo boxed to add inside the locker if you wish?

Etched parts are provided to detail up the M2 .50cal MG with the forward cooling jacket in thin etched metal that you have to bend around gun barrel after cutting off the moulded on cooling jacket. There is not indication as to how much of the cooling jacket you have to remove and this is very much a trial and error procedure as well as leaving enough material for the bent cooling jacket to rest on when fitted. This does take a lot of work with the chances of disaster quite high and the end result is nowhere as good as the Lion Roar brass .50cal cooling jacket and barrel.

Additional detail includes etched foresights and rear range sights as well as the rear handgrip brackets with thin rod handles plus the barrel changing handle in thin metal. The gun cradle and pintle mounting as well as the ammo box are also provided but no ammo belts are supplied for this or the .30cal MG.

The M1919 .30cal MGs are treated in the same manner where you have to shave off the moulded on cooling jacket to replace with the etched jacket that has to be bent around the barrel and again the margin for error is high as there is no precise location for the cooling jacket on the remaining muzzle. If you are very careful you can get the job done but using any of the available .30cal MG metal cooling jackets would be a far simpler solution.

Two style of cradle are provide in etched metal along with the mountings and top handles for the .30cal ammo boxes to finish off.

The 4 page instruction sheet has the usual exploded view drawings which are easy enough to follow as there are no really complex assemblies to get bogged down with.

Instruction Sheets
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This is a fairly basic update for the M2 only which may limit the appeal of the set but most of the obvious updates are included.

There is one detail conspicuous by its absence and that is the exhaust pipe support bracket for the right bogie unit which is surprising and this is left to you to make possibly from left over etched fret framing?

Some of the details are rather basic such as the treatment of the dome screws in the doors and the machine gun cooling jackets but the set should appeal to those who are building the M2 version and just want the basic details.

Obviously this set is no where as complex as the Lion Roar set but then again nor is the price and I suspect there will be another set released for the M2A1, lets hope the exhaust pipe support bracket is included if there is?

Recommended for M2 builders 7/10

The M2/M3 Half-Track Subject Page lists other reviews of sets available for the Dragon kit

See book/CD Listing

Thanks to Voyager Models for the review set.

Page created April 13, 2007

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