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AFV Club 35034 U.S. Army M35A1 Quad .50 Gun Truck

John Prigent

Well, I suppose the first question anyone will  have is: is this an M35A1 or just the M35A2 that AFV Club issued before?  The answer is, an M35A1.  The significant visible differences are the exhaust arrangements and the Vietnam  period rear lights, and both are included on a new sprue together with the cab and body side armour and some other small parts.  This of course means that Vietnam fans can build a reasonably accurate M35A1 straight out of the box just by leaving of the armour and gun parts.  The M35A1 and A2 actually had different engines, but since there's no engine in the kit this doesn't matter, and I believe that the two tie-down loops each side of the rear chassis were also different though I have no details of them.

 What else is in the box?  The complete M35A1 kit, obviously, and itís still good.  Also a new sprue with the quad .50 gun turret and two sprues of ammo boxes - .30, .50 and I think 40mm as well.  These come as single boxes and in blocks, and are intended to fill up the truck's cargo bed round the gun.  The snag here is that Nancy, according to the photos shown on the Guntruck.com site (www.guntruck.com, an excellent reference), had the complete trailer-mounted quad .50 fitted into a steel box.  Neither the trailer nor the steel box are given in this kit.  Ho hum.  A steel box is easy to make from plastic card, a bit longer than the actual cargo body so the tail gate has to be fitted down, but not hanging past the end of the tail gate itself.  The missing trailer is a bit more problematical, and the best thing seems to be to use the supplied ammo boxes to cover up its absence Ė or to wait for someone to produce the trailer in resin.

 There should also be an armour plate behind the gunner's back, and this can easily be added with plastic card.  The decal sheet looks good, but examination of the photos quoted shows that the flower emblem is not quite correct and the face on the gun turret seems to be different too.  Here I think we are in the realm of variations after damage had been repaired.  The decals certainly seem to me to look like the markings shown in the small photos reproduced in Squadron/Signal's book Gun Trucks, so there seems no reason to add the gunner's back armour unless you really want to amend the markings.

 Any other problems?  No, only the expected knock-out pin marks which will need attention with filler.  This should build into a nice model, but itís a shame about that trailer mount.

 Recommended with reservations.