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M16 Half-Track by Andreas Herbst

n By Martin Waligorski
based on model description by Andreas Herbst

As a modeller, Andreas Herbst has a particular talent for things tiny. Whenever I encounter his contest-quality armour models in 1/72 scale, I know it's worth taking a closer look at them. So even with his latest creation presented here.

Forerunner of the modern infantry fighting vehicle, the M3 Half-Track was of half-French origin. In 1931 the U.S. Army purchased a French Citroen-Kegresse Model P17 half-track as part of a research and development effort for its own design. Working with private firms, the Army Ordnance Department produced the T14 prototype in 1939. In September of the following year the T14 was standardized and accepted for production; it became the M2 and the M3 Armored Personnel Carrier.

During World War II, the M3 proved to be a versatile workhorse, and eventually over more than 41,000 vehicles in no less than 70 versions were produced. Later, improved models of the M2 and M3 were designated M9 and M5. Production stopped in 1944, but the Half-Track remained in service until early 1950s.

The model

Andreas Herbst is the author of this 1/72 miniature. The model represents anti-aircraft version of the Half-Track, armed with a quadruple 0.5" machine gun turret. Designated M16, this version proved very successful and became the standard light anti-aircraft armoured vehicle of the US Army. It was used during the World War II, but photos exist showing these vehicles in action even during the Korean conflict.

Andreas utilized the Hasegawa M3A1 kit with Eduard photoetched parts and some scratchbuilt details.

According to Andreas "Hasegawa's M3A1 kit was of mediocre quality". Although the exterior detail was acceptable, the walls were way too thick and the interior detail was sparse. All this necessitated the face-lift with the help of Eduards photoetched set.

Andreas cut off the moulded-on side windows and replaced them with new items made from plastic card. The new driver's door was scratchbuilt, as were the collapsible side panels. Spare ammunition containers and a new radio were added to the interior.

External modifications included improved jerry cans with new handles, rolled-up camouflage nets and various other items. Moulded-on tools were sanded off and replaced with separate items.

To convert the vehicle to M16 standard, Andreas used a quadruple gun turret from Matchbox M16 kit. Moulded in 1/76 scale, the turret was a bit too small and grossly simplified, so it was enlarged and detailed. The guns themselves are Aires resin replacements. The gun barrels were very nicely detailed but proved very soft and showed the tendency to drop.

The front and rear lights were improved by the addition of clear lenses from M.V. Products (these are really tiny parts requiring careful handling).

Andreas painted his model with Tamiya and Humbrol paints. The weathering was done with artists' oils and pastel chalks. The model was displayed on a strip of grass-covered terrain placed on a base of polished wood. These items are a real help in setting off the model in such a small scale.


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