AFV Club 1/35 M548 Gun Truck Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||August 2006||Manufacturer||AFV Club|
|Subject||M548 Gun Truck||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||35S32||Primary Media||Styrene/Resin/Photo-Etch|
|Pros||Can be built as a cargo carrier, or a Vietnam-era gun truck||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$47.98|
The M548 is an unarmored, fully tracked cargo carrier that is based upon the FMC M113 chassis and has a six-ton cargo capacity. Its 212 horsepower engine gives the M548 quite a bit of off-road mobility to get supplies out to where the troops are located.
Like the M113, the M548 is air transportable by the C-130 as well the C-141, C-17, and C-5. In 1994, the M548 was upgraded to the M548A3 standard with the installation of a new 275 horsepower powerpack and new transmission.
Unlike the M113, the M548 is a convertable top vehicle providing excellent all-round visibility. In the elements, a soft-top can be erected to provide some cover for the crew, and a frame can also be erected over the cab to provide a gun ring capable of mounting a 50 caliber machine gun for self-defense.
Many of the parts will look familiar to M113 APC modelers though this kit provides an interesting new variant of the family. AFV has produced the parts on six trees molded in olive drab styrene, plus a single clear tree containing the windshield and light lenses. Resin parts are included for the gun mount base that sits in the cargo bed of the Vietnam variant. A photo-etch fret rounds out the kit with engine deck grilles, gun shields, and miscellaneous details.
The instructions are excellent. They are rendered using a 3-D CAD tool to provide clear layouts and parts placements which will make assembly of this kit far easier. These type of instructions should be the industry standard by now, but are not.
Assembly of the kit will be quick and easy, even with the multimedia parts. If you don't build the gun truck version, you won't need the resin parts and only two photo-etched grilles to complete the kit.
On the other hand, the gun mount is well-worth the effort as it is VERY nicely laid out. If you want to see one in full scale, take a look here. Even if you build your M548 as a cargo carrier, you'll still have a highly detailed quad 50 caliber gun mount to stand alone or mount into the back of another vehicle.
Markings are provided for four examples:
- M548 Gun Truck, Vietnam
- M548 Cargo Truck, Vietnam
- M548 Cargo Truck, 17th Engineer Bn/2nd Armored Div
- M548 Cargo Truck, 23rd Engineer Bn/1st Armored Div, IFOR, Bosnia, 1996
This is a nice looking kit and was pleased to find one on sale. Now if only I have get a few spare minutes on the work bench...