M16 MGMC Meat Chopper

Published on
March 12, 2020
Review Author(s)
Product / Stock #
Company: AFV Club - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: AFV Club - Website: Visit Site
Box Art

There are a number of 1/35th scale M16 half track plastic models available from Monogram, Tamiya, Dragon, and even an offering from Academy/Minicraft. Among these other manufacturer's is AFV Club with a newly tooled 1/35th scale M16 MGMC “Meat Chopper”. This kit features a detailed chassis and engine, positionable doors, hood panels, and radiator covers as well as a plethora of other details that might just make this offering the best M16 MGMC of them all.

Assembly of the 'Meat Chopper' begins with the chassis and that task begins with the transmission. The transmission consists of some twenty-six individual parts, which should give you a clue to the detail that comes in the box. (Reminiscent of a Bronco kit.) Not to be left cowering in the corner, the detailed engine consists of over thirty parts! Which includes everything from six, individual spark plugs to a four piece generator.

Don't fret, all of this lovely detail won't be buried under a non-opening hood. All of the engine compartment panels are individual parts and can be shown in an opened position. It is worth noting that the assembly steps should be followed in sequence. Although I did temporarily omit the odd individual part until the next sub-assembly step in order to get the position of that part correct. Which is to say that this is not a kit for the novice builder.

As you move through the wonderfully illustrated assembly instructions forty-one steps you'll be assembling the running gear, and associated chassis details (forward shock absorbers, frame rails, power takeoffs, etc.) as well as a beautifully detailed winch. AFV Club supplies both cord and chain to detail this prominent feature of the M16.

The running gear of the M16 consists of two, road wheel bogies (seven parts), a return roller assembly (thirteen parts), an idler (four parts), and the drive sprocket (seven parts) per side. The drive sprocket and idler are appropriately molded with all those lightening holes common to this series of half-tracks. Something else worth noting is the appropriate scale thickness of these and the other parts. To my eye they all look spot on. All of these bits, along with the engine /transmission assembly, get incorporated onto the chassis.

This area is also where the first use of photo-etch comes into play. Just as in the 'Goldilocks' fable, the small fret of photo etch provided in the kit is just right. Not overpowering or filled with extraneous bits. The pieces used at this stage consist of access panels on the transmission and a mounting strap for the exhaust pipe.

The photo etch throughout the build is for various mounting brackets, view ports, etc. I suspect that if you give it a moment Voyager, Aber, or someone will come out with an additional set of brass enhancements. With the photo etched AFV Club provides and the molded, plastic detail, I'm really not seeing a need for an after-market detail set.

The front portion of the drive train is well detailed with separate leaf springs, brake shoes with PE detail, and differential. It is also pose-able, to an extent. The front tires and main tracks are vinyl. The tracks are molded as a single piece making them true, rubber-band style tracks! Some purists may wish to source resin tires and after-market tracks. Both may be available about the same time as those other people come out with extra brass bits.

The next several assembly steps revolve around the driver/crew compartment and all is pretty straight forward. In fact, based on some photographic evidence, there isn't anything missing from the driver's compartment (gear shifts, pedals, etc.) that is not found on the real thing. Another lovely detail that AFV Club provides with the kit (as individual parts) are the louvered panels for the radiator cover. This radiator cover was often the recipient of a white, identification star. AFV Club furnishes that marking as four, separate decals. An appreciated feature.

As mentioned earlier, the engine bay covers are molded as separate, pose-able parts. That attribute also carries over to the driver/crew compartment doors. Each door is molded in two parts and can be shown either fully closed or with the top portion dropped down. Most will be pleased that the all of these body parts/panels, including the fighting compartment, are molded in scale thickness. To the point that some of them are translucent, notably the front fenders. There are numerous ancillary items (Jerry cans, pioneer tools, ammo cans, engine hood hold down fasteners, etc.) that are affixed next.

AFV Club also includes parts for two different styles of vehicle radios. One is the earlier, WWII version with the other offering being more appropriate for a Korean War vehicle. Note that there are two different fighting compartment bulkhead parts (B13/ B14) for specific vehicles. Either a WWII vehicle or a later type. After finishing with the motor carriage portion of the build, it's on to the “Meat Chopper” part of the M16 MGMC, assembling the M45 Quad gun mount.

Fun Fact: The Korean War was partially responsible for the M16 MGMC nickname “Meat Chopper”. Originally the vehicle was developed as a defense against low flying aircraft. During the Korean War it began to be used more as an anti-personnel weapon.

If memory serves, HobbyFan (AFV Club's resin compatriot) released a model of the M55 quad gun mount (an M45 on a trailer) and this appears to be a plastic duplicate of that kit, san trailer. You'll find out for yourself through the next five, parts filled steps. This portion of the build consumes over seventy five small parts and that's before you get to the M2 machine guns (eight individual parts per gun) and you're gonna want four of those. Alternative parts are provided for the different styles ( I assume early or late types.) of iron sights on the machine guns Which says nothing about the distinctive ammo cans (four parts per) and their pose-able grab/carrying handles.

You won't find yourself wanting for any molded detail with this kit, trust me! About the only things missing from this mini kit are the wires and connector cables for the battery and small 'lawnmower' engine that powered the elevation and traverse of the gun turret on the real thing. The model is engineered such that the M45 quad-mount can turn 360 degree and the pitch angle is adjustable. When all these four, separate sub-assemblies are combined together you'll have your very own M16 MGMC “Meat Chopper”.

There are decal marking options for six vehicles:

  • Three for the U.S. Army (two Korean and one European vehicle)
  • Polish Armed Forces
  • Japanese National Forces (pre-Japanese Self Defense Forces)
  • National Safety Force (U.S. Occupation Forces / Japan)

All of these vehicles were in either overall olive drab or dark green. One cool inclusion on the decal sheet is the warning on the rear of the Belgium based (December 1944) M16: “Caution Left Hand Drive”. Another decal has a “25 YDS Distance” warning placard on its rear panel. This for a Korean based vehicle from 1951.

This beautifully detailed and molded kit from AFV Club outmatches the other major players (Tamiya/Dragon) versions of the M16. Which is not to say either of those manufacturers models are unworthy, but you may expend as much time fixing the flaws with those models as you do building this newly tooled, very beautiful kit from AFV Club. As mentioned earlier, this kit may well be the best 1/35th scale M16 MGMC available. It has my vote.

Images of the finished model are courtesy of AFV Club's facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AFVCLUB.TW/ ).

My thanks to AFV Club and IPMS/USA for the review copy.


Add new comment

All comments are moderated to prevent spam

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.