1/48 TAMIYA U.S. M8 LIGHT ARMORED CAR "GREYHOUND"

kit #32551 US retail price $27.00

A nice addition to the 1/48 scale armor world.

THE KIT

The kit consists of 124 plastic parts on 5 sprues, 1 metal chasis piece, 2 screws, decal sheet and a 10 page instruction sheet. An errata sheet is also included.


The Tamiya M8 is your typical Tamiya as there no flash and very few injector pin marks. The plastic is very crisp without any real soft detail. Overall, it is a very good kit that builds up quickly and easily but it is lacking in some areas of detail and is incorrect regarding one of the marking options. These areas will be commented on during the step by step build up.

Step 1 consists of joining the metal chasis to the plastic lower hull piece. The metal chasis piece has no detail on it but it will be hidden by latter assemblies. Other than that, this is a very straight forward step and needs no additional comments.

Step 2 has you attach the rear suspension parts to the lower hull. You'll want to scrape the mold seams off of the leaf spring assemblies. Other than that, nothing special here.

Step 3 covers the drive shaft, differentials and axles. They are molded in one piece and all you have to do is clean the mold seams and add the steering knuckles to them. Very straight forward.

Step 4 has you add the parts from Step 3 to the lower hull along with the front shock absorbers.

Step 5 includes the front leaf springs and the lower front hull armor plate. Make sure you keep the edges of the armor plate(Part B7) aligned properly as mine slipped a bit and I didn't see it until it was too late.

Step 6 covers the rear plate(part B20) and muffler. In this step, the instructions tell you to drill two holes for the first aid kit if you are building the M8 "Colbert" from the 2nd Armored Div in the decals. However, this is incorrect. The first aid kit is a very late/post-war add-on while as marked, "Colbert" is for Operation Cobra in July/August 1944. So, if you want to use the "Colbert" markings, don't drill out the holes.

Step 7 covers cleaning up the upper hull piece, part B24. You are supposed to drill a series of holes for the pioneer tools in this step. An errata sheet is included giving you the correct locations.

Step 8 has you assembly the upper hull, superstructure and a couple of other pieces to the lower hull. You'll want to check the alignment of the upper hull(Part B24) with the lower rear plate(Part B20) and lower front hull plate(Part B7) to make sure there aren't any gaps between them. This area was easy to assemble and there aren't any injector pin marks to clean up. However, there isn't any detail inside the crew compartment to speak of. No seats, steering wheel, ammunition racks, nothing, nada, zip! This was a bit of a let down for me.

Step 9 has you assemble the wheels. Make sure you get the correct ones(Parts A18) on the front as they are of a slightly different pattern from the rear ones.

Step 10 has you attach the rear side panel the the upper hull. There is a gap just below the antenna mount and the side panel that photo references show shouldn't be there. It should be filled in with strip styrene or putty.

Step 11 covers the addition of the pioneer tools, wheel covers, and other small details. Here you have the option of adding mine racks(Parts A14 and A23) or stowage bins(Parts B10) to the hull sides. The mine racks are appropriate for most WW II M8's as the bin didn't show up on the production line until November 1944. I found the fit of the wheel covers to be fine without any alignment problems. They are taped on my sample as I will be painting the suspension at a later date. My M8 is missing the right headlight as the carpet monster needed a snack.

Step 12 has you adding the siren and driver/co-driver's hatches. While no instructions are noted for leaving the hatches open, they can be and they do have some detail on them including protectoscopes, vision slots and handles. There are a couple of injector pin marks on each hatch that will need to be removed should you choose to leave them open. If closing them, as per the instructions, you'll need to cut of the interior door handles. Based on my experience, that's not the only thing you'll need to remove. When I dryfit the hatches, I found that they didn't fit snug into there openings. One side on each hatch was always raised up a bit. So, for the front hatches(Parts B15 and B16) I trimmed off the protectoscopes and thinned the inside edges of the hatches. For the top hatches(Parts C16 and C17) I thinned all of the inside edges. This gave me a good fit but a couple of corners ended up being rounded as a result. I'll fix this with some putty before painting. Keep in mind that the tops of Parts B15 and B16 should stick up just a bit from Parts C16 and C17 so don't sand them flush.

Step 13 covers the assembly of the 37mm gun mount. It is very basic with some breech detail, co-axial machine gun, gunner's telescope and an elevation handwheel.

Step 14 has you assemble the turret and add the gun mount from Step 14. Molded on the outside of the turret is a solid equipment storage rail and 20 tie down cleats. You may want to scrape the rail off and replace it with styrene or brass for a better look. The insides of the turret halves(Parts C18 and C19) have a few injector pin marks to clean up. You'll also have a seam to fill and sand where the turret halves join. Do this before adding the gun mount as you won't have alot of room to do it afterwards.

Step 15 covers the turret ring, and .50 caliber machine gun mount. The turret ring has the commanders/loader and gunner's seats attached to it. They are basically the correct shape and size. However, there should be a turret traverse wheel attached to the ring and that detail is not provided. The .50 caliber machine gun mount provided is one of the various types of improvised mounts added to M8 by the troops. When the M8 was first produced, a mount for the .50 caliber M2 machine wasn't provided. Late production vehicles had the D67511 folding pintle mount added to the rear of the turret. This mount is most appropriate for post-war M8's, especially those used in the Korean War. Tamiya doesn't include this mount which is another disappointment for me.

Step 16 includes the assembly of the single figure included with the kit and the .50 caliber M2 machine gun.

The markings included in this kit are for a M8 of A Troop, 25th Mechanized Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, 4th Armored Division and "Colbert" 3rd Platoon, C Company, 82nd Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Armored Division.

CONCLUSION

Tamiya has brought 1/48 scale modelers a nice looking M8 armored car. It is easy to build and with the exception of the driver's hatches, relatively free of fit problems. The lack of interior for the crew compartment and the minimal interior for the turret is disappointing. However, the aftermarket companies will have a good time coming up with sets for this kit. Recommended.

REFERENCES

Mesko, Jim, US Armored Cars in Action Armor Number 37; 1998; Squadron/Signal Publications; Carrollton, TX

Prigent, John, "A Great little Greyhound", Military Modelling, Vol. 28, No. 18 1998

Zaloga, Steven, "Gilding the Greyhound", Military Modelling, Vol. 32, No. 1 2002

My own personal photo collection


This kit was purchased at .


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