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M2 Half-Track Armored Car with 37mm Gun

Dragon, 1/35 scale

by Steven J. Zaloga

Dragon's 1/35 scale M2 Half Track is available online from Mission Models for $37.99


The new Dragon M2 half-track came as quite a surprise at Euromilitaire this year. I was sent a test shot a few days before the show along with the sprue for the following M3 half-track armored personnel carrier. I had started to convert a Tamiya M3A2 half-track to a M2 re-armed by the 41st Armored Infantry Regiment, 2nd Armored Division over a year ago, but gave up the project out of sheer frustration working with the awful old Tamiya suspension. So I resurrected the project on receipt of the Dragon kit.


The Dragon kit is superb, and finally gives Allied fans a kit of the quality that has been the Dragon standard for German AFVs for the past year or so. It is a generation ahead of the old Tamiya kit in all respects. In my opinion, the worst feature of the old Tamiya kit was the rear suspension due to its simplification and the horrid tracks. Dragon nails this with a clever track design consisting of a two-piece component split down the center-line. This results in a nice rigid track with proper guide-teeth which also allows Dragon to provide a very delicate suspension that would otherwise be crushed by a vinyl track. The idler and drive sprocket are superb examples of what can be done with current slide mold technology and the outer rims have the proper holes around the edge. The only short-cut on the suspension is the idler spring which has been molded solid.

The underframe is extremely intricate with lots of detail that unfortunately will never be seen unless modeling an overturned vehicle. The kit comes with a full engine as well as a detailed radiator. The wheels are molded in hard plastic and feature a flattened surface on the bottom, a much better option than the dodgy vinyl tires found in some kits.


The kits' superstructure includes a sprue with a forward cab which will be the common element of future versions such as the M3. The aft superstructure is on a separate sprue. In the first M2/M2A1 kit, the sprue includes a complete M2 and M2A1 superstructure. The M2 has the full skate ring, while the M2A1 dispenses with the skate ring and has the forward pulpit machine gun. What is especially nice about the kit is the ample supply of .30 and .50 cal machine guns along with appropriate pintle mounts. The .50 cal machine gun is all new and IMHO, the best .50 cal in plastic to date (though I haven't seen the new Tasca example). The one shortcut on the exterior is the molding of the mines into the mine rack. Many units in the ETO issued instructions against stowing mines in this fashion, and tended to use the racks for other items. Fortunately, this is easy to build from sheet plastic.

Overall, the fit was generally good with the usual small glitches here and there. I ignored the kit instruction and glued the forward cab to the aft superstructure before attaching them to the chassis in order to ensure a good fit between the front and rear on this very visible joint. As a result, I had some minor problems getting the superstructure to mate properly with the chassis. But this was nothing that couldn't be solved by a good whack with my Dremel Mini-Mite against the offending surface on the chassis frame!


As I mentioned, I converted my M2 to one of the upgrades built by the 2nd Armored Division in England in 1943-44 prior to D-Day. They took the 37mm gun mount off the obsolete M6 37mm GMC tank destroyer, and remounted it in the M2 bay after removing the stowage bins. One modeling option would be to simply use the Peerless/Testors/Zvezda/Italeri Dodge M6 37mm GMC parts, but I decided against this option as the parts are old and clunky. I used the Trakz 37mm gun with minor modifications and a new shield and gun mount from plastic.

In summary, the Dragon half-track is a superb new kit which has a wealth of conversion and markings options.

More please!!

You can also read Cookie Sewell's impressions of this kit in Missing-Lynx's Reviews section

Model, Images and Text by Steven J. Zaloga
Page Created 04 November, 2006
Page Last Updated 04 November, 2006