by: Chris Hughes [ ]
IntroductionIn early 1942, Ordnance was looking for a way to improve the firepower of the twin .50 caliber machine gun armed M13 MGMC. By mid-1942 the four gun version of the two gun Maxson mount was developed. After testing and modification, the mount was standardized as the M45 in December of 1942. At the same time, the new multiple gun motor carriage (MGMC) was designated M16.
M16 production started in May 1943 at the White Motor Company. By the time production of new M16's was completed in March 1944, 2877 had been built. A further 687 were converted from M13 MGMC's and twin 20mm gun motor carriages. The M16 saw service with U.S. Army until February 1958 when it was declared obsolete.
The kitThe Trumpeter M16 comes packaged in a very large box that measures 16 1/2" x 28 1/2". Packed inside are 1 clear parts sprue, 25 grey colored parts sprues, a pre-assembled front fender/ driver's floor assembly, pre-assembled crew compartment, pre-assembled cab, and pre-assembled crew compartment floor/fuel tank assembly. Also included are a photo-etch fret, two piece metal frame, two pre-formed brass gas can mounts, a pair of rubber front tires, two rubber mud flaps, 16 rubber road wheels, two pre-formed, plastic idler wheels, a pair of two piece plastic sprocket wheels, a pair of rubber tracks, metal chain, a length of cable thread, various screws and hinges for a total of 726 plastic and metal parts. Finally, a 32 page instruction booklet, decal sheet and painting guide are also included.
ReviewChassis/frame details: The left and right frames are metal lengths that are attached to plastic cross-members with a series of screws. Screws are used to secure many of the drive train pieces to the frames. The plastic parts are relatively well detailed and free of flash in my example.
Engine: The engine is well detailed and is assembled in 5 steps with a couple of parts added later on in the build. All of the major engine components are present. The spark plug shields are included but the wiring harnesses are not. The radiator lacks any detail whatsoever and is represented as a flat plate. This is too bad as it will show through the open radiator louvres at the front of the vehicle and also if the hood is opened up. A photo etch fan blade is included along with a few other PE engine parts. However, modelers will have to make their own fan belts as none are provided in the kit. No flash was present on any of the parts in my sample and mold seams have been kept to a minimum.
Exterior: Something that maybe received with some mixed feelings are the pre-assembled crew compartment, driver's compartment, etc. Having them already done will save the modeller time and will also not cause any worry about making sure everything is squared up. The parts themselves are cleanly cast with most, if not all injector pin marks in areas that will be hidden by other parts. The engine bonnet is in multiple pieces with working hinges that will allow the engine doors to be opened and closed. However, the lifting handles are molded on the doors as solid rectangles. For a kit this size, I find this to be totally unacceptable as there's no reason why they couldn't be separate pieces. The radiator louvers are molded in the open position and can be carefully removed to show them closed.
The driver's and assistant driver's doors are molded with the folding portion in the up position. The joint where the two sections meet is scored on the exterior of the door but not the interior. The door interiors are marred by up to 10 medium size injector pin marks. Another downer on the doors is that most of the detail is molded directly on them. These details included the door handles, latches, and securing pins. Finally, the vision slots are molded directly onto the doors in the open position. I really believe Trumpeter could have addressed these areas better.
The crew/fighting compartment has the folding armor flaps molded in the up position. Like the driver/assistant driver's doors, they are scored only on the exterior. The slotted screw heads that dot the exterior stand out a bit too much. U.S. half-tracks were assembled with a series of dome shaped screws and Trumpeter didn't quite get the shape right. However, they are slotted!
Suspension: The suspension features 2 rubber front tires, 16 rubber bogie tires and a pair of 1 piece rubber tracks. The front tire tread pattern looks pretty good. There is a mold seam running down the middle of the tread, much like a real tire but it shouldn't be too hard to remove. No manufacturer logos or numbers are embossed on the sidewalls. The rims look good and have the right number of bolts. The front axle assembly is workable so care is needed during assembly. The details look good but on a model this size, modellers will probably want to add appropriate cables and hoses to this area.
The rear bogies are a multiple piece affair. The bogie frames have the Ordnance part number cast on them but not the manufacturer's logo. The volute springs are only partially detailed and probably could be improved. The rubber track is passable but I'm not sure how sturdy the suspension will be once the track is attached. The drive sprocket and idler wheels are the correct diameter and have the right number of bolt heads however the exterior sprocket wheels have injector pin marks on the spoke faces that may pose a problem for some modellers. The rear idler springs are solid, one piece affairs that probably would've looked better using real springs.
Interior: Most of the driver's compartment comes pre-assembled. There are a few injector pin marks to fill in the upper part of the frame but they are easy to do compared to some of the ones mentioned earlier. The tread plate pattern on the floor looks pretty good and is not overdone. The ventilation slots in the assistant-driver's floorboards are molded closed but can easily be opened with a #11 blade. The instrument panel is represented by decals and include a vehicle data plate decal. The driver's gear and brake levers appear to be shaped well but the lever for the power take-off for the front winch is missing. Also, the lever used by the assistant-driver to operate the radiator louvres is molded as a solid piece when it should be a lever the fits into a slotted bracket. I can see this being one solid piece in 1/48 scale and maybe even in 1/35 scale but it shouldn't be this way in a 1/16 scale kit!
Mounted behind the assistant-driver is the radio. What kind of radio Trumpeter is trying to represent is beyond me. The standard radio fit on a M16 is either a SCR-510 or SCR-528, neither of which look like the piece of plastic that is in the kit. Next to the radio mount is a rack for four .50 caliber ammunition chests. This part is provided in both plastic and PE brass. According to Steven Zaloga, this configuration was an early version of the M16 with later versions having a rack for two ammo chests instead. Modellers will want to check their references to see which set up they should use.
For the most part, the fighting compartment is complete. Spare .50 caliber barrels were normally carried in the fighting compartment but are not included in the kit. The fuel tanks are molded as part of the fighting compartment floor. The metal shroud that covers the fuel tanks is too thick and really should be replaced. The handles on the fuel caps are molded onto the caps and either should be scribed underneath them to give some depth or replaced altogether.
Maxon Turret: The Maxon turret included in the kit is the later M45D mount which has a cannoneers platform at the rear. The receivers and barrels are dimensionally correct and have good detail. The .50 caliber machine guns include a choice of pre-drilled barrels with or without the barrel changing handle. As most M16's appear without the handle, the modeller can carefully shave the handles off and that will solve the lack of spare barrels.
The ammo chests look pretty good but have the carrying handles molded onto them. Another needless shortcut in this scale as far as I'm concerned. Also, no ammunition belts are included.
Other details: A nice set of gas and water cans are included. The pre-formed brass mounts look very good and are quite welcomed. Also, ignore the rear view mirrors that are included in the kit. They are not a standard issue item and are probably from a museum or private collector's vehicle.
Instructions, decals and painting guide: The main instruction booklet is laid out in a relatively easy to follow manner. After looking through it multiple times, I didn't find anything that would be really confusing. However, there are no paint call-outs anywhere in the booklet. Modellers will have to have their painting references available when it comes time to paint detail.
The decals include markings for three different vehicles from the following units: 482nd AAA Bn, U.S. 1st Army in Europe; 203rd AAA Bn, U.S. 1st Army in Europe; and 50th AAA Bn, U.S. 8th Armored Division.
The supplemental painting guide only includes the markings for the 482nd AAA Bn. I could not find any photos showing the vehicles represented by the markings. Furthermore, according to Shelby L. Stanton's [u]World War II Order of Battle[/u] which covers all U.S. Army ground force units from battalion on up, the 50th AAA Bn didn't exist!
ConclusionI had very high hopes for this kit. However, Trumpeter seems to have had a couple of different teams working on this kit. Certain areas like the machine guns and the vast majority of the engine are quite nice. The pre-assemble crew compartment and other areas can also be considered a plus. But, these are let down by the doors, radio, radiator and several other areas. Fortunately, these are areas that can be fixed by modellers with average skill. However, I'd hope that future release pay more attention to these details. If Trumpeter does that, they'll turn a good kit into a near great one!
Boresight U.S. Halftrack Special, AMPS, Sept/Oct 2007
Half-Track by R.P. Hunnicutt
Tankograd TM Series #6010 U.S. WW II Half-Track Mortar Carriers, Howitzers, Motor Carriages & Gun Motor Carriages, edited by Michael Franz
TM 9-710 Basic Half-Track Vehicles(White, Autocar, and Diamond T) Department of the Army
U.S. Half-Tracks in Combat 1941-1945 by Steven J. Zaloga
Walk-Around M2/M3 Half-Tack by Jim Mesko
World War II Order of Battle by Shelby S. Stanton
Recent postings on Missing-Lynx by Steven Zaloga regarding the M16
My own personal photo collection