Saturday, May 29, 2010
US Marine 75mm GMC half track
This a fairly well known photo of what at first glance appears to be an M3 75mm GMC. In fact, it's been captioned in books as such and even built that way in model form. When the photo is studied a bit more carefully, one finds the tell tale stowage doors on the sides of the body giving away instantly, that this is the smaller, M2 chassis. Whats left of the windshield frame is still attached to a cut up skate rail, seen just through the drivers open door top. There are quite a few 'custom' mounted machine guns as well as the antenna mount.
Considering the gun shield makes passing between the cab and the crew compartment virtually impossible, the rear compartment of the M2 would make a horrible choice for this configuration as unlike the larger M3 chassis, it lacks any rear door. The M4/M4A1 half track however, a variant based on the M2 chassis did have a rear door, making this a possible base vehicle to build this odd conversion. With that in mind I grabbed two kits and decided to cut them up and make one.
The biggest hurdle is right off the bat, cutting these two crew compartments up and joining them seamlessly. They need to be straight and true if this is to come out right. After many test fits until I was satisfied, it was all placed dry fit to the chassis and tacked in place with a little glue. Once that set up enough to remove, I added a new rear floor and finished gluing the rear body assembly and set it aside to dry.
While the rear body dried, I assembled the cab without the windshield. The model part is cast completely in clear, which after masking off the glass panels, gets painted. Cutting this part up was out of the question, so I scratch built the remanining frame in place and attached it to the skate rail. To match the photo, I cut the skate rail and the top of the windshiled frame away to clear room for the gun barrel. There is still much work to go into the gun as it was just dry fit for these photos but it gives a sense of where this is heading.