by: Seb Viale [ ]
Pro Art Models decided some months ago to enter the harsh competition of the M2 machine gun market. Since this weapon has been reproduced by many AM companies over a period of two decades, what is the added value of this PAM kit? It not only provides an M2 machine gun that can be used in a variety of vehicles from any modern nation today, but the kit includes the LMTV ring allowing the M2 to be mounted onto a M1078 truck, for example, and a pedestal that can be used in various trucks or technical vehicles.
But the cherry on the cake is the detailing of the M2 itself, including two night vision optics. The only difference is the support to attach the Mk 93 cradle to the vehicle: no support (PAU-35034 basic kit), with LMTV ring (PAU-35035), and finally with a pedestal (PAU-35042). I will review the PAU-35034, and will make some comments on the attaching devices.
Contents of the kit
The set comes in the PAM traditional blue small box made of stiff paper. The box features a photo of the finished model. Inside the box, there are 2 plastic bags containing all of the kit contents and the PE fret.
The bag contains all of the resin parts (20 in total), and two PE frets and the brass barrel with the cooling barrel and the black and white instruction on A4 sheet. On the instruction, the resins parts are not identified carefully so you need to take special care while preparing the build.
As usual for Pro Art Model, the parts are cast in light cream colored resin with no air bubbles.
The M2 main body is cast as a one-piece resin; usually you will find with other companies a 2-piece main body for the M2 with the feed tray cover and the gun (as seen on the Voyager and ET Model versions). In this case, I found that the PAM gun is lacking in details, and the addition of the ammo belt into the feed tray can be tricky. I would definitely recommend using the above-mentioned main gun; the gun here is nice, but simple, with its best attribute that the brass barrel is nicely-depicted and dimensionally accurate.
Really, though, the main asset of such a kit is the Mk 93 cradle: well-depicted, and easy to build. PAM is providing an M2, but you can also use a 40mm grenade launcher from any plastic kit available on the market (Tamiya, Academy, DML).
The cradle build is nice and easy, and you have 2 options for the leveling device. A gun shield is also provided in PE; you just only need to add bolt heads.
Another asset is the night vision device provided in this kit in two versions: the night vision goggle (AN/TVS-5 A), and the thermal sight scope (AN/PAS-13).
Optional attaching mount: Pro Art Model gives you the option of two attaching set-ups in two other kits. The first option is the FMTV gun ring with kit PAU-35035. This ring can be used to arm a LMTV truck such as the M1078 recently released by Trumpeter (kit #01004). Such trucks have a ring on the cabin, and with this kit, you can easily get the M2 in place. This is a smart move from PAM, since the LMTV family trucks will be complete with the release of the M1083, the up-armored version of the M1078 and M1083, as well as the release of the MRTV truck.
Pro Art Model is the only available kit to provide a solution for such a truck, since Trumpeter has already announced the release of the other trucks of the same family, as well as for the MRTV vehicle. This is a real advance for modelers.
The installation can be tricky, since you need to perform surgery on the donor kit, but then the effect will be great.
The last mounting option is a simple pedestal in order to install the M2 in a variety of flat beds, from the Humvee to any type of truck. No issue here: just glue the cradle onto the pedestal mount and voila.