by: Federico Collada [ ]
The US Marine Corps made extensive use of their flame thrower vehicles during the Pacific war at Okinawa and Iwo Jima, were they proved highly valuable when assaulting fortified positions and dug in bunkers. After the WWII the interest in flame thrower tanks ceased but some years later, the war in Korea showed them highly valuable again so plans were made to substitute the old Sherman based ones using a more modern vehicle. After some tests the decision was made to use the new M-48 Patton as a base placing the flame thrower projector inside a fake 90mm gun to make the tank almost identical to the regular M48 so they couldn’t be distinguishable.
The M67 mounted an E30R1 flame gun and E28 fuel and pressure system and a 1430 litres fuel tank, the system provided a continuous flame of one minute to 150 meters although the accuracy dropped drastically when projected further than 90 metres. As there was no need for a gun loader the crew was reduced to three men and the gunner fired both the flame thrower and the .30 calibre machine gun.
When based on the M48A1 the designation of the vehicle was M67, when based on the M48A2 it was M67A1 and when using the M48A3, M67A2. The only recognizable differences with the standard M48 tank was the slightly different main gun and the flattened top front lights guards that allowed the flame thrower some more depression.
The M67 was produced from 1955 and used only by the US army and marines. The marines deployed in Viet Nam had two tank battalions equipped with M67A2 “Zippos” where they proved more useful at defensive positions at base camps rather than in offensive actions were the lack of sufficient fuel made them of little use in long term operations.
In the Box
The new Dragon kit is based on their previous M48A3 kit from which all the parts are still included plus a new fret with the specific M67A2 parts, 8 medium grey plastic parts frames and 2 transparent ones, a small decals sheet, the soft vinyl tracks and mantlet cover and two twisted metal wires to make the tow cables. Some of the previous model parts will not be necessary and so they are marked on the instructions sheet. All of the M48A3 pros and cons are still seen in this new model as nothing has been changed.
The M67A2 is the only available one in plastic in 1/35th scale by now, as the M48A3 kit is a giant step forward if compared with the Tamiya old version when considering the accuracy and detail level but still shows some disadvantages.
The soft vinyl tracks are not worthy as they don’t represent any upgrade from individual link, magic tracks or length and links tracks, all of them available on other Dragon kits and some simplified parts are still not up to the expectations a modeller can have when buying a modern kit of this price range. On the other hand, the kit is easy modelling and appropriate for novice modellers who will not have to deal with tedious link by link tracks or huge amount of parts.
The instructions are very clear but incomplete, there is a step omitted where they should show how the rear lights and winch should be placed on the part D35.
The building process starts making all the wheels and fixing the suspension elements over the lower part of the hull, the correct location of the arms base is not very well achieved so some care must be taken here if you want all of them to align correctly. After adding the return rollers and some details is time to join both upper and down parts of the hull, here will show some lines that have to be filled and sanded and something that Dragon has neglected, the upper part sides doesn’t show the cast texture that has been reproduced in the rest of the hull, I easily solved this applying a diluted acrylic mud coat.
With the rest of the suspension elements fixed the instructions take care now of the fenders and the elements attached over them. It’s strange that some parts like the hull have been so very well detailed that even the casting numbers are reproduced, but then the handles on the side boxes have been reproduced together with the box in a single piece not reproducing the hollow that they should show between them and the box lid, something that even the old Italeri M-47 did. The rest of the parts involved in this and the next stages are very well detailed and fit perfectly so not much attention is required.
When starting to build the turret a bit of patience would be advisable with the rear basket, made of 5 parts that fit nicely but need to be glued one by one and waiting for them to be completely secured before gluing the next one.
In the end you are given the option to select between using the soft vinyl mantlet cover or not, in each case you will have to use different parts. Although the M-48 was rarely seen without this cover in Vietnam. The kit vinyl parts are not very well designed and this material is a bit hard to work with as it’s almost impossible to sand it so any correction or filling between parts must be made with lots of care.
The last step shows how to place the tracks, surely the worst part of the kit as it can be damaged with ease both with the glue and the tension and they present mould marks and burrs at the links connectors, the best option here is to substitute them.
The decals provided with the kit allow you to choose between 3 tanks, all of them used in 1968 and none of them identified.
Although this kit is in the same price range of other highly superior ones, it doesn’t include photo etched parts and many of the plastic ones have been simplified, the fuel can is representative, moulded together with its basket and fastening belt when they could have been reproduced separately with more refinement. The DS tracks are definitively a con that most modellers will no doubt choose to substitute. On the other hand the general detail level is good enough ( with some exceptions ) to build the kit out of the box and the building process is very amusing due to the correct amount of parts involved and the good fitting.