|GRIFFON: PE for M16 Gun Motor Carriage|
A beautifully reproduced update set from Griffon Model with nearly everything you need to produce a stunning model. Just add skill!
PE for M16 Gun Motor Carriage
Manufacturer: Griffon Model
Material: Photoetched brass
Serial Number: BPL35005
Price: (Approx.) £31 (LuckyModel.com & Free Shipping)
Griffon only appeared on the scene last year, and yet since then they've produced an astonishing range of aftermarket and update sets to rival the best in terms of quality. Attractively packaged and well-thought out, they can justify being your first port of call should you require an update set for any specific vehicle or kit.
Although on the packaging it states that this set is specifically the 'Engine Compartment, Hood and Rear Stowage (Inside)', there's actually a lot more to this set as we'll see.
Lift this set of a rack in a shop and you'll be surprised at how heavy it is! As mentioned, it's an extensive set, and probably should have been packaged in one of the Griffon boxes rather than as it comes in a series of plastic bags stapled to the cardboard header, which is more usual for their smaller and less extensive sets.
The set contains 12 Photoetched frets. Two of them are quite small with the rest being the usual size of approximately four inches by two and a half. In addition there is a small decal for the dashboard and instruments, short pieces of styrene rod, and some lengths of fine, malleable brass wire.
The instructions for this set run to twelve sides of A4, and as is usual in sets of this sort from Griffon, instead of producing a set of new instructions, they're supplied from the three different aftermarket sets that have been combined to make this one. In practice this can make it a little more awkward to follow them as construction proceeds, but as long as they're studied carefully and a plan of attack is drawn up, you shouldn't have too many problems!
The three sets combined to make this one are; L35026 - WWI American M16 MGMC, L35A036 - Engine compartment hood for American M2/M3 series Halftracks, and L35A034 - Rear vehicle stowage & Battlefield modified Jerry can racks for M16/M13 MGMC.
There are of course, lots of improvements that can be made to the basic Dragon kit with just some plasticard and patience, but...depending on how you want to display your model of course...there are things that this set can do that will raise it to another level, and if you want to produce a truly stunning display piece, and have the skill of course....then this set should prove indispensable.
Let's start with the main set that's included, the general set for the M16. The first thing we're offered are some much needed upgrades for the suspension bogies. These include the drainage holes, and some casting numbers, both of which are missing from the kit. There are a fair number of missing bolts etc., included too, but not sure how visible these would be, although to be fair I included them in my build of this kit!
The missing and oft talked about exhaust bracket is supplied for atop the right suspension bogey, along with new foot pedals for inside the drivers compartment to replace the moulded ones and a series of embossed floor panels. The reworking and additions for inside the drivers compartment are quite extensive, and includes lots of things I missed when I built mine, even though I was working from a series of exhaustive pictures I had taken of the real thing. Such things as angle brackets, straps, levers, the missing winch handle, hood louver handle, a complete replacement using that decal for the dashboard, and new seat supports are included. On the outside there are replacement offered for the solid jerry can racks of the kit, although these will require you to remove the kit ones and blank off the resulting 'hole'.
At this point, the inclusion of three different sets of instructions becomes complicated. For example, the first set of instructions that you would be working from at this point, whilst cross-referencing with the Dragon instructions, become somewhat moot if you're planning on using all the set, since you'll have to start referencing the second set of instructions at this point that details replacing the hood sidewalls! As I said...complicated....but do-able!
There are of course, replacements offered in the set for all the tool stowage straps and brackets, inside and out, as well as inserts for the steps to the drivers compartment, and various hinges and latches to improve the detail on the doors and armoured flaps.
The .50 cal ammo containers get improved too, with some additional detail, as do the brackets that support them on the quad mount. There are small lengths of PE ammo supplied, but I would suggest either leaving these off or seeking other replacements as they do tend to look a little 'flat'.
As for the quad Maxon mount itself, the two small shields atop the main one are replaced, along with their hinge detail etc., and various small details are added. There's a complete replacement offered for the shelf at the back that holds the electrical generator and battery, as well as complete replacements for all the spare .50 cal ammo can brackets that look much more in-scale. There are numerous small details included for the fighting compartment and rear wall, in addition to a new canvas bucket bracket for the rear wall, rifle bracket for inside the drivers compartment, retaining straps and bracket, and complete replacements for all the top hinged armoured panels. Again, the in-scale appearance of these should be a vast improvement!
The second set of instructions contains some small duplication, e.g. another set of footpedals etc., but it mainly consists of totally replacing the engine hood. For this you'll have to remove the front portion of the sidewall as provided by Dragon. Carefully. Once you've done this it's mainly the installation of the new walls which consist of flat panels, in addition to some internal detail for the engine bay that is not included in the kit. There's also a complete replacement provided for the front section that consists of the radiator cover and those louvres. I suspect that most people will find the most difficult parts to construct and replace convincingly are the new, working hinges that are provided all over the hood. There's quite a few! Practice makes perfect!
The final, and shortest set of instructions are for those additional jerry can racks for the front of the vehicle. I cheated here, and used Legends resin ones for mine, but I have to admit that I would have used these Griffon ones if I would have had them then! You get two racks, one for each side of the front of the vehicle, each one capable of holding three jerry cans or any other stowage you can find, and we also get the two boxes for the rear wall on the outside. This of course, opens up the opportunity of having these displayed opened....
Considering the price of some aftermarket sets from other manufacturers, this set represent great value for money, especially when you consider what you get! It's not for the beginner, and will require some skill to install completely, but parts can be cherry-picked for your build of course. Recommended!
A big Thankyou to Michael at Griffon Models for the review sample!