M101 3/4 Ton Cargo Trailer
Minimanfactory Kit No. MMF 35003
1:35th Scale

Review by Terry Ashley


The M101 3/4 ton Cargo Trailer is a single axle, two wheel, steel frame cargo trailer designed to be towed by a 3/4 ton or larger truck with a welded steel box body bolted to the lower chassis/frame. The body is equipped with a tailgate and mounting brackets for cargo racks and can also be fitted with upper wooden side slat panels and a frame for a tarpaulin cover. A steel A-frame is bolted to the front of the chassis/frame with an attached one-position lunette, a support "leg" and two hand brake levers. The M101 is designed to operate on all types of roads and cross-country terrain as well as in all weather conditions. The M101 can operate freely over primary and secondary roads however it is restricted to a maximum speed of 15 mph when towed cross-country.

The M101 was designed in 1952 to be towed by the M37 3/4-ton truck and has been paired with a variety of prime movers since then, such as the M880 series pickup truck and the Commercial Utility Cargo Vehicle. The current HMMWV can also tow the M101 without incident on prepared roads but it was not suitable for cross-country travel behind the HMMWV due to the narrower track width of the M101 against the HMMWV. This causes stability problems resulting in the HMMWV having to slow down cross-country to avoid trailer damage and rollovers with a new trailer designed for use with the HMMWV.

The M101 remained in use for decades as a general cargo trailer towed by any of the commonly used military vehicles rated for 3/4 tons or more.

The Kit:
This full resin kit from Minimanfactory consists of 26 parts in light cream resin and 2 tyres in black vinyl material plus a small etched fret with 42 parts and a small four page colour instruction sheet.

Etched parts

The quality of the resin casting is again excellent with very few if any blemishes such as air holes and more importantly there is no warping on any of the parts in my kit with the trailer bed and chassis casting being perfectly square and flat for impressive castings that make the assembly very straightforward.

There are the usual casting blocks to be removed and some thin resin ‘film’ on some parts which is easily removed with a pass of the trusty #11 blade. The vinyl types also have thin vinyl film inside the and a casting block that are easy to remove with a sharp scalpel or #11 blade. This does leave a scar where the casting block was attached but this can be positioned at the ground contact to 'hide' it on the assembled trailer.

Vinyl tyres before and after cleanup and fitted to the resin hubs

The main part of this kit is the large trailer which is in one piece with separate lower chassis/frame which adds rigidity to the trailer casting that helps keep it nice and square as assembly moves forward.

The detail on the trailer is very well done with well defined side panels and the ridges included on the inside floor and the separate rear trailer gate can be positioned open or closed as you wish. There are additional etched tie down hooks fitted around the sides of the trailer as well as etched attachment fittings and fine etched chain for the rear gate.

Added to the underside is the separate chassis frame which again is cleanly cast with well defined details and this has 4 small pins that fit into corresponding locating holes on the underside of the trailer for very precise fitting. There was no trimming or other alterations needed when fitting the trailer and chassis together in my set making for quick and easy assembly.

The chassis has separate suspension assemblies that include the two leaf spring units, full axle and separate shock absorbers for each wheel. These all fit together without any real problems but the ends of the springs may need to be trimmed a little to fit into the locating brackets on the chassis frame.

It is important you line up the axle parallel to the chassis cross members and also ensure the height of the axle above the chassis is also parallel as well as the axle centre line is aligned with the centre of the wheel well. It is best to do all this before fixing the chassis frame to the trailer to allow for any minor adjustments. I also used a soft pencil to mark the centre of the wheel well to help with the proper alignment.

There are separate brake drums that fit to the axles and then inside the resin wheel hubs which have excellent details with quite deep undercuts around the rims but there is some fine resin film to be removed from the hub lightening holes.

Added to the chassis is the front A frame with separate tow hitch and lower support leg that can be fitted raised or lowered along with additional parts for the front hand brakes with etched brackets and front rear trailer shackles used when securing the trailer for transport as well as additional etched parts for the chassis support brackets on the underside of the trailer.

There are a few items not included in the set that are commonly seen on M101 trailers and these are the spare wheel often carried on the front A frame, the upper wooden slat sides and wire tilt frames for attaching the canvas cover. It wouldn't be a big task to build the slat sides from plastic card if required and make the tilt frames from wire to add a different look to the basic trailer kit.

These are in the form of a small four page booklet with colour photos of the model during construction showing the parts in place as you go, each is called out by number and as the kit is no complicated at all these are easily followed without any problems encountered.

There are also 6 colour reference photos of the M101 included which are quite small but do show some details with a couple of the photos also showing the wooded slat sides if you wanted to add these as above photos and these will come in handy when assembling the kit.

This is fairly simple yet excellent kit with high levels of resin casting and detail on the parts and the lack of any warping on the larger parts such as the trailer bed and chassis frame again makes the assemblies even easier and I didn’t encounter anything out of the ordinary for a resin kit during the dry fitting.

The trailer can be used with virtually any suitable towing vehicle and setting from the 50s to present day for a wide application as it was a common sight in Vietnam as well as more recent actions.

Highly recommended 7.5/10
Resin Parts:

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Detail images
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Thanks to Minimanfactory for the review set.

Page created August 8, 2008