M8 Greyhound Light Armored Car
S u m m a r y
|Contents:||193 parts in olive drab styrene|
|Price:||Suggested retail price $19.50|
|Advantages:||Goes back to the "good old days" of Italeri kits; some nice touches|
|Disadvantages:||"Not Tamiya" kit; second comer to the market|
|Recommendation:||To all wheeled armor fans, US WWII fans, and anyone who loves US armor in Third World countries|
F i r s t L o o k
I recently complained about the number of modelers who have been more than a bit harsh on Italeri. Someone has to have "low end" kits which are more affordable to both younger modelers, and the modeler who does not want to pay three figures to get a fancy kit and all of the white metal and resin "bits" to doll it up. That doesn't necessarily translate into having to get a model which is toylike in its lack of quality. Their M47 is still one of the best armor kits ever made, and shows that the two reasonable prices and high quality are not mutually exclusive.
This is arguably the best of the recent crop of Italeri-generated kits, and had it come out first, would be a winner. It is unfortunate that it does pale in comparison with the Tamiya effort which should be in the running for a "Kit of the Year" award if not usurped by the forthcoming "Dragon Wagon" but in its own right it is a very nice little kit. It is also around eight dollars cheaper, and as such, needs to be given its due in that light.
First off, this is a very well done effort with a minimum of ejection pin marks and sinkholes noted in my sample. It is nearly identical to the Tamiya kit in almost all major dimensions, and they both match up well with the info I have on the original. There is only one glaring discrepancy in the dimensions between the two. The wheels on the Tamiya kit measure 7.5mm wide by 29mm in diameter; the Italeri ones are smaller at 7.0 mm x 27.5 mm. This is a common problem with Italeri kits, and I have no idea why most of their wheels seem to come out a bit underscale by design. Anyone buying a set of aftermarket wheels (which are now starting to appear) will not have this problem. It must be noted that the wheels on this kit are the later pattern ones more commonly seen on the M20 Utility Car, and the Tamiya ones are the ones usually seen on early production M8s.
The parts breakdown is completely different, with this kit having the same options for a future M20 based on the trees that the Tamiya one does. The turret consists of only two parts rather than three, but the correct bulge is portrayed here as well. The suspension is separate components rather than the nifty Tamiya one-piece drive line, but the parts are crisp and clean and do not appear to be materially inferior.
So with all that said, where are the eight bucks in differences? Here:
|Fuel Filler Access Port||Separate||Fixed|
|Gun Maintenance Hatch||Separate||Stick-on|
|Radio sets||1 x SCR-508||N/A|
|M2HB||.50 Mount Ring OR Ring only||Pintle|
|Small Arms||N/A||4 x M1 carbines|
|Side Options||Mine Racks OR Mine Racks only, Stowage Bins, Mines 6 x AT type||N/A|
|Packs and Tarps||N/A||7 x assorted packs, 2 x stowed tarps|
|Fuel cans||N/A||4 x 5-gal cans|
|Decal options||Four complete||Two partial|
All in all, the only thing I really am not impressed with is the very poor decal sheet. The markings are for one French vehicle in late 1945 and again "Colbert" from the 2nd Armored Division's 82nd Reconnaissance Battalion. However, it only includes the names, side numbers, serials, and a few stars, and leaves out the bumper codes and other details.
This is still not a bad kit, and can be found for as little as $13 in some areas. Best bet is to pick up one of these and one Tamiya (for the decal sheet) and then build one as a full-up version and one as a "hot rod" with the fenders removed.
Regarding the paint job, I recently picked up the Allied Command Publications' Military Vehicle Workshop Series book on the M8 and M20, and it answers a few of the questions modelers have had about painting this beast's interior. The inside of the turret above the inner ring, as well as the gun and its mount, are all OD. The rest -- the inside top of the ring, the three-legged basket/cradle, and the insides including the floor are all semi-gloss white. There is what appears to be a range clock either painted or decalled on top of the turret ring so that the crew can determine the bearing to a target at once to either tip the gunner or report the observations back to higher headquarters. I have no idea how to replicate this in 1/35 scale, as the number appear to be about ½" high and nearly impossible to get into place!
Overall, a good effort. If you have picked one up, it is not a shabby kit, and you should be able to make a very nice model from it.
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