by: Brian Culbertson [ ]
Griffon Models from China has produced a number of PE sets for the recent release of Dragon's M3 75mm GMC Kit #6467. In this review I'll cover the Gun Shield (Final Production Version), Ready Ammo Rack and the Stowage Compartments Rear Floor. I will be referring back to the previously reviewed Dragon kit from time to time for comparisons. A build blog will be started using the Dragon Kit #6467, and fit issues, if any, with both the Dragon and Griffon sets will be addressed at that time.
the gun shield
Let's start with the gun shield, item L35A038, shall we. The gun shield set contains two frets; the larger fret contains the main parts for the shield itself, and a smaller fret containing the detail parts. A 2 inch ABS rod is also enclosed. The frets are packaged, laid flat on a plastic covered card card measuring 6 x 3 1/2 inches. All of the other sets are packaged in the same manner. Semi-easy to follow instruction are also enclosed in all the sets.
Comparing the Dragon kit shield with the Griffon shield replacement is almost a dead heat, with the Griffon shield edging out the kit shield in detail. The Dragon shield does not have the slot head screw detail, where as the Griffon shield does. The Dragon kit is molded one piece and also lacks the underside rivet strip for support between the upper and side pieces.
ready ammo rack
Placed under the M1897A2 75mm gun on the M3 GMC is a "ready to use" ammo rack that holds 19-75mm HEAT, armor piercing, and HE rounds. The ammo selection and type varies depending on the need.
This set, item L35A039, contains only one PE fret for the rack itself, along with a re-sealable plastic bag containing ‘pre-formed’ brass ammo tubes, which hold the ammo in place, and 75mm metal ammo. This set has the correct amount of ammo, 19, same as the one provided in the DML kit. Detailed instructions are provided here also and constructing the ammo rack should be a straight forward process.
Comparing the Dragon parts and the Griffon replacement pieces there's no contest with this one. Griffon wins out with the detail, although the Dragon parts can be detailed out to be made halfway decent if the builder put some effort into it.
The stowage compartment on the M3 75 mm GMC is located in the fighting compartment level with the crew seating on either side of the gun towards the rear. Judging from photos of the fighting compartment, there looks to be an area of only 4 foot x 6 foot between the stowage compartment and the ready ammo rack.
The Griffon set, item L35A040, contains two large frets labeled "A" and "B." The "A" fret contains the backbone of the set, the box itself, and has two of the six compartment doors along with divider parts. The "B" fret consists of the outer frame support parts, hinges, more dividers and the rest of the door. Two wire threads made of brass are also enclosed for the workable hinges. Yes, you can open or close them just like the real stowage compartment on the M3.
Comparing the Dragon part and the Griffon part, again no contest based on detail. The removal of the molded stowage compartment, Dragon part R11, and replacing it with the Griffon compartment will be the challenge. This replacement has to be done right or the rest of the fighting compartment construction will be off. Very detailed instructions are provided with this set.
Overall, there is excellent detailing through-out all three sets as Griffon did their homework with these.
The gun shield, detail spot on, attention to the angles of the shield cannot be ignored.
The ready ammo rack, again detail spot on, correct amount of rounds enclosed in the set. This set will be the easiest of the three during the build.
Finally the stowage compartment, again detail is outstanding, this set will be the monster of the build since it is complex and the completed assembly must fit in a tight space. This set is not for the weak of heart, nor is it recommended for the novices who are breaking into the use of PE for the first time.
MSRP in USD are as follows, although these sets can be found at much lower prices:
Gun Shield $11.85
Ammo Rack $31.95
Stowage Compartment $16.65