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M274 Kit

Glencoe 1/15 M274 Mechanical Mule Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review October 2005 Manufacturer Glencoe
Subject M274 Mechanical Mule Scale 1/15
Kit Number 5401 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Simple build Cons
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $9.98

First Look

M274 Kit
M274 Kit
M274 Kit

After the Korean War, the US Army defined a new concept for cross-country mobility - the Platform. Developed by Willys, the makers of the immortal Jeep, the M274 was a lightweight powered flatbed that featured four wheel drive (4WD) AND four wheel steering.

Weighing in at 900 pounds, the M274 could easily be airlifted around the battlefield, and its 16 horsepower engine could propel the vehicle up to 25 mph. This was the precursor to the 4WD All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV) that are popular work and play vehicles today.

The M274 could mount a 106mm recoilless rifle. It measured in at 119 inches long and 50 inches wide. The Mechanical Mule was used by the US Army as well as by some NATO and other allied nations.

The Glencoe 1/15 M274 Mechanical Mule kit was originally tooled by ITC, this kit features fully articulated steering (all four wheels steer to the steering wheel). Even at 1/15 scale, this is a small kit that is an easy build.

The kit is molded in olive green styrene and there is a bit of flash present one tree. These molds have been continuously maintained by Glencoe and the flashing was only present in the one spot visible in the first photo. The kit parts themselves are clean and ready for assembly.

The project starts with the recoilless rifle, with the two halves of the gun going together followed by the breech lock and gun mount. The barrels are slightly warped, which is not uncommon for long thin lengths of styrene. Gluing and clamping the gun together an inch at a time should take care of the warp.

Next comes the chassis, the two frame rails are connected by three cross-members. The fixed axles receive the steerable ends and are then mounted to the chassis. The instructions have you install the wheels at this point but for ease of painting, I'd wait until after you've painted the M274 to add the wheels.

The motor halves and the steering mechanism are next onto the chassis. The flatbed goes onto the chassis along with the operator's seat, controls and the main gun.

This is definitely an unusual subject that is an easy build and will look great next to the growing number of 1/15 and 1/16 vehicle and figure subjects. At this retail price, the M274 kit will make for a nice break on the workbench. This kit is highly recommended!

My sincere thanks to Glencoe Models for this review sample!