M16 Multiple Gun Motor Carriage Part One

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This being my first submission, Iím not quite sure if much space should be dedicated to my background and history in modeling, but to be brief about it, I am now in my mid Ď50s and have been building military vehicle models since I was in my early teens. I am a huge fan of well made plastic kits, and my favorite subjects are WW2 armor and support vehicles of the USA and the amazing variety of German vehicles available in kit form. So, Iíve been building for a long time, I like high quality kits, and I like WW2. I am a professional freelance graphic artist and illustrator by trade and am fortunate to have some spare time to dedicate to my passion of building highly detailed miniatures. I am also a military veteran, US Army, an ex-Armored Tank Crewman, and have had my hands on many of the pieces of equipment represented in these plastic models. I also collect WW2 weapons and have extensive knowledge of their look and finish.

For this particular big project, and this is a fairly big project considering the level of detail and accuracy I am aiming for, I have chosen the excellent Dragon Models kit #6381, M16 Multiple Gun Motor Carriage, in 1/35 scale. Having built over the years the old Monogram 1/32 and Tamiya 1/35 kits, this Dragon kit is, in my opinion, the best representation of this vehicle ever put on the market. The Dragon US halftrack kits are a quantum improvement over any which came before, and I am actively determined to collect them all. Their M16 kit is simply excellent, and would make an amazing model even if just finished right out of the box, with no mods or added parts.

That said, there are some compromises, some misrepresented parts, not to mention a few inaccuracies here and there, so as we go we will source some accessory kits and add some photo etched parts. These will be shown and described as we proceed with the build.

There is one other thing I think Iíll address right from the start: weathering, wear and tear, the effects of the environment, and my outlook and philosophy on those. Iíve seen a lot of great models. There are some truly gifted builders out there and a lot of them post here on Armorama. I have an issue though with builders who go way out overboard with their weathering and wear. Iíll explainÖ

These are military vehicles. I have been in the military. I knew people who were in the military in other countries. They all believe in maintenance. Equipment is regularly inspected and serviced, everywhere. Even in wartime, minimum standards are upheld. Now when I see some WW2 vehicle models, I am shocked at the level of wear and tear and weathering on some of them; they look as if they were in a scrap yard for a hundred years in acid rain. It was WW2, í39 to í45, so most of the equipment canít be over 6 years old. If weíre talking US equipment from D-Day onward, most of it is brand new factory fresh. Every Army does maintenance. Every Army cleans their gear and vehicles occasionally, otherwise some heads roll when the General drives by. So how can vehicles only 6 years old at worst, much newer on average, and under constant crew maintenance, look like a chipped up, worn out, rusted piece of junk? Well of course, they would not. That said, letís begin.

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About the Author

About Gary Roberts (WARCLOUD)

I am one of the fortunate ones who has been gifted all my life with the Charm of Making..I am professionally an Artist / Illustrator at this stage of my life, and am or have been a Musician, Commercial Artist, Movie Effects Tech, Set builder, Mechanic, Machinist, Motorcycle Racer and Builder, and ev...


Very nicely done! I like it! I do think it's a bit comical for there to be a controversy on the bulge issue for the front tires. Ask anyone who has been in the tire or automotive industry and they will agree that there will be a sidewall budge present ... especially if those pressures have been dropped. The vehicle weight alone will cause this too. So, the call shouldn't be made by a group of modelers, just ask your local repair shop for the answer. I have spent over 20 years in that field and know the answer as well. ~ Jeff
APR 14, 2012 - 12:44 AM
I thoroughly enjoyed reading through this one Gary, can't wait to see what's in store next
APR 14, 2012 - 01:39 PM
Hi Gary, really interesting subject, and very detailed infos, I will wait for the next parts. Rgeading your issue with the "overweathered" vehicles, I think it is just the question of approach. From the 100% replication of a vehicle, where every bolt is in position, to the artistic fantasies of Jean Bernard Andre, I think everything is acceptable, as far it is tell something about you and not just a repeat of a lesson. Those "madmaxed" Stug III-s and Tigers imho tell about the hopeless and sadness of war (yes you are right, in a bit surreal way), while the accurate reproduction tells about the desire of perfection, which is also an appreciated feature of a man. Cheers, Istvan
APR 17, 2012 - 08:46 PM
Thanks to everyone on your positive feedback on this project. Thanks to James Bella for giving me the opportunity to display my madness in public among my fellow madmen..as for "overweathering"..the idea of scale modelling as Artistic Expressionism...this is a concept indeed. I had not remotely considered this. I have seen some models which are so overdone, so chipped, so rusted, so worn, that they really do fit my description of 100 years sitting in acid rain. But do you think this was done in some sense of artistic expression of the bleak nature of war? Hmm...I have a philosophical concept to ponder now. I just assumed these guys were simply incurable show-offs with their advanced finishing techniques. It's way hard to do that realistic chipped paint rust and extreme wear and filth on the level these guys achieve, it's a high art. Expressionistic? I'll think on this. Thank you for that new perspective.
APR 20, 2012 - 05:01 AM
Thanks for sharing the build. I'll be following it thru. I'm going to be building this Dragon kit very soon myself to provide air cover for my Bailey Bridge
MAY 06, 2012 - 10:06 PM
HEY!! I didn't die! My move to Europe got WAY more intense than I ever expected..the same old story..material, logistics, weather! No, I haven't abandoned this feature, I just got taken away by the huge operation Called Move To Czech Republic! Now that I'm HERE, and we have bought our cottage and have it set up to live in, I am hoping to unpack all of the modelling materials and kits (yes...I brought it ALL) and continue! Stay Tuned!!
JAN 14, 2013 - 09:38 PM
I'll be following this one with great interest! As for front tire sag on the M16, you bet they do. I've got four AA halftracks (real ones, an M15A1, two M16s and an M16A2) in the museum collection, one of which we operate on a regular basis. The front wheels always bulge. Warcloud, let me know if you need detail shots of anything in particular. Jon
JAN 24, 2013 - 01:25 AM
Sorry I didn't find this post sooner..there's no notification feature here I can find.. M16 halftrack issues right now on the scale model... The "tombstone" drum mags do not fit in the rear compartment corners. The 1/35 model magazines do seem to scale up correct size for the real 21" high mags, which means the rear armor body itself is likely...WRONG. What I need are the exact measurements in the 'track itself..floor to top edge of armor wall, with flap up and flap down..and an exact H-W-D on the tombstone mags. This is a huge issue, so data on this is GREATLY appreciated!
APR 30, 2013 - 10:24 PM
Yes, as I said, I am also a WW2 weapon collector and am among several vehicle collectors as friends..15,000lb. + vehicles will put a bulge in their tires, especially if one follows the TM on off road/mud-rain-snow operation.
APR 30, 2013 - 10:26 PM