by: Peter Smey [ ]
First a brief history; In 1941 the M6 started life as the T1E1 with three prototypes being built by Baldwin Locomotive Works, two with a torque converter transmission and one with an electric transmission. By May of 42' the two prototypes with the torque converter transmission were given the M6 and M6A1 designations with the electric transmission prototype not being approved. With production starting in Dec 42' 40 units were built before the Army lost interest in the project. One of the T1E1's was used as a test bed for the 90mm and the 105mm, which lead to the T29. The M6 never left US soil performing in War Bond drives until being declared obsolete and scrapped. One T1E1 is the only example to have known to survive and is on display at Fort Lee.
The first order of business is the construction of the road wheel suspension, idler/drive sprockets, and return rollers. Be careful with RW suspension, there are alignment pins on each that alternate and depending on which side you are working, depends on the way they are set. I found it easier to dry fit each side (set pins were fairly snug) until I was ready to assemble the outer armor. As I proceeded to the assembly of the lower hull I noticed that part A17 was not marked on the directions. One other thing that came to my attention was that part A25 looks as though it was molded backwards; the thinned areas of the grating are facing inward. At this point I jumped a few steps in the directions and put the side armor on so I could call the lower hull complete.
After the outer armor was glued and taped in place the fun begins. This is where the dry fitting comes in handy; there is a good amount of space between the suspension arms so pushing the set pins in on both sides is necessary. After proper alignment was achieved I glued the suspension in place and set the hull down so all the road wheels would be level. Take care to check the suspension from time to time, some of mine angled in on one another.
After the lower hull was completed I moved on to the upper hull. Which went together rather quickly, the finicky part was the placement of the tow cable brackets. Luckily only one was lost to rug monster.
The one other thing to watch out for is that the directions call for you to put the front fenders on the lower hull. The mounting points are on the upper hull. After the fenders were in place I began placing the light plumbing on, which by the way was a nice surprise. They are a two part affair, that once on look very realistic. And here is where Dragon Models strikes again! Three out of the four pieces are mislabelled in the directions, Part A21 should be A23, part A22 should be A21, and part A23 should be A22. I have to say I am a bit disappointed that no clear headlights are offered, I think they added that little extra to a kit. Headlights, guards, plumbing, and shovel in place.......on to the turret!
The first step in the turret construction has you putting together the .50 cal. This is probably the best Ma Deuce I've seen in plastic yet! The first thing I noticed is that it has stabilizing bar with the elevation handle. Then I took a closer look and saw the triggers are molded in! Then it's on to the assembly of the 76mm main gun and coax mounted 37mm. At this point I strayed from the directions and decided to put the two turret parts together. And I'm glad I did, because there is a nasty seam that will need to be sanded! Once the seam was dispatched assembly turret was completed. One more thing to watch out for, if you put the handle on that is just outside the drivers hatch you will not be able to traverse the turret all the way forward. I found out the hard way thought the turret was just a little snug with its fit to the hull, nope sent the handle into the great unknown. I think I'm just going to fill the holes and call it done and ready for paint.
The tank itself is coated with Life color Lusterless Olive Drab and Weathered Black for rubber on the road wheels. The tracks are painted with Tamiya Dark Iron. Tools are painted with Life Color Wood and Black. After the paint dried a coat of Future was applied and the weathering and decaling began. I kept the weathering simple; a pin wash of AK Streaking Grime to highlight the details was used. And a dry brush of MM Silver on the tracks. Since the tank never saw combat and was mostly used for testing and training ( which leaves a lot of options open) I decided to go with a first day of trials look.
Overall I was pleased with the build, other than the finicky suspension and a few mislabeled parts, the kit builds into a great representation of the M6.