by: Chris Hughes [ ]
Lionroar has come up with a nicely detailed update set to replace the White 160AX engine parts in the Dragon M2/M3 Half-track family of kits.
This kit includes 7 resin parts, a pre-formed brass oil pan guard, a single PE fret with 28 part
and a 1 page instruction sheet. It is securely packaged in a cardboard and plastic container with 3 pieces of packing foam inside it.
The resin pieces are very clean with no air bubbles and a minimum of pour plugs to trim off. Included in the resin pieces are the engine, air filter, oil filter, oil filler tube, fuel/vacuum pump, and front engine trunnion. The engine itself is very detailed with well defined components molded onto it such as the starter, generator, and spark plug shielding. The resin parts all fit nicely to the engine with almost no clean up required. On the right side of the engine, you may want to add the bayonet gauge/"oil dipstick" as it is not included.
The PE set is very delicate. The two strips that are used for the fan belts, part 7, are VERY thin and are easily misshaped. Care is needed when fitting them to the pulley wheels on the front of the engine. Parts 5, 6, and 9 make up the belt adjusting strap. Like the fan belts, they too are extremely thin and need to be handled with care.
The fan blade assembly, Part 1, is a 2 piece affair. It is well detailed with raised bolt heads and other details. Being a 5 bladed fan, it represents the type of fan used on White engines manufactured after September, 1942. Engines built prior to this date used a 4 bladed fan. The blades do lack the characteristic curve seen on the real thing. The blade mountings also need to be turned slightly like propeller blades. One other minor thing about the fan blades is that while the kit blades are all spaced equally apart, in reality, only 3 of them should be spaced an equal distance. The other 2 blades are spaced much closer together.
Once the fan blade assembly and belt adjusting strap are added to the engine, it’s an easy fit on the Dragon half-track frame. At this time, you may want to add the wire harness for the distributor.
I didn't assembly the frame for the oil pan guard as I wasn't ready to proceed that far with my M2. However, you'll need a good set of references to place it properly as the instructions are quite vague for this assembly.
The instructions themselves are usable. As the assembly of the engine parts is straightforward, there's not a whole lot there. However, as mentioned above, the diagrams for the placement of the oil pan guard frame are very poor. No painting instructions are included so you'll have to use the base kit instructions or other references.
Overall, this is a very nice update kit for the Dragon M2/M3 Half-track family. It can be used with all of the current Dragon M2/M3 Half-tracks. Only the minor fan blade details and the lousy oil pan guard instructions detract from it. The fit is nice and the clean up is minimal. Plus, by using this engine, you can use the kit engine in any old Tamiya M3 Half-tracks you may have lying around.
•"U.S. WW II Half-Track Cars M2, M2A1, M9A1 & Personnel Carriers M3, M3A1, M5, M5A1",
Tankograd Technical Manual Series No. 6009, edited by Michael Franz
•"White Halftracks" by David Doyle, Military Vehicles Magazine, April 2009
•CD #16 Toadman's Half-Track Car M2A1 Photo Detail CD
•CD #20 Toadman's M16 MGMC Photo Detail CD
•My personal photo collection