M42 "Duster"

Published on
February 3, 2020
Review Author(s)
Product / Stock #
Company: Revell, Inc. - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Revell, Inc. - Website: Visit Site

The Vehicle

Developed from the M-41 Light Tank with which it shared many parts and features, the M42 40 mm Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Gun, or "Duster," was an armored light air-defense gun built for the U.S. Army by the tank division of the General Motors Corp. from 1952 until 1959.

The vehicle had a crew of six, weighed 25 tons fully loaded, and was armed with two fully automatic 40mm Bofors guns with a combined rate of fire of 240 rounds per minute (rpm). For close in defense, it also carried either a .30 caliber or 7.62mm pintle mounted machine gun. The 500 hp, six-cylinder, Continental, air-cooled, gasoline engine was located in the rear of the vehicle and via a cross-drive, 2-speed Allison transmission, could attain a top speed of 45 mph with a range of 100 miles. A total of 3,700 M42s were built.

Although never tested in its initially designed role as an anti-aircraft gun, given the advent of jet aircraft its success would have been doubtful. However, it did prove quite successful in the Vietnam War in a completely different role, being especially effective against massed ground attacks.

The Kit

This is a Revell "Select Special Subjects" release of the 1960's era Renwall kit. They even use the original Renwal packaging. All detail, with the exception of the head and taillights, is molded on and as was typical in 1950's kits, a lot of working parts were built in for added play value. (It was neat watching those hatches blow open when the firecracker inside went off.) All the engine deck grills and rear panels are removable and/or hinged so you can see the "detailed" engine and transmission compartment that is provided as one piece, and the driver's, co-driver's and large front hatches are operable, although there's nothing inside to see. But the biggest operating feature of all is the suspension, comprised of 76 pieces out of the kit's total of 156. All road wheels are fully articulated and move freely. Only problem is the tank had a torsion bar suspension, so the road wheels move in ways impossible for the real vehicle. They also move in axes that they shouldn't, making alignment problematic. In addition, the drive sprocket was made to actually drive the model. It looks like it was meant to be motorized at some point and the compromise on the sprocket isn't good. Finally, the idler wheel is depicted as having a rubber "tire", when in fact it was all metal and was pierced with lightening holes.

Fit is ok, making allowances for all the working parts, but due to the age of the molds, there is flash everywhere and mold seams on almost every part and a sink mark or two here and there. Due to all the working parts, you need to be very thorough in dry fitting all parts before painting and assembly to make sure they fit and operate properly. In addition, after painting, make sure they fit before you attempt to glue them in place. This is especially true for the turret to hull joint as tolerance here is very close and flash and mold seams need to be removed.

The Decals

Markings are supplied for one vehicle. The only option is to replace on the large turret stars with a tiger head. The decals are well printed and went on nicely.


Four crew figures and one rifleman are included. There are seats for four of these on the vehicle, but none actually fit in a seat. While each is named, such as "gunner" or "loader", no indication as to how they fit in their respective positions is given. Once again in these re-releases, these strange looking figures have body proportions out of a Modigliani painting crossed with Edvard Munch's "The Scream". If you line them up, their poses make them look like a modern dance company.


As I said, this is not a kit for a serious modeler. I can't even recommend it as a kit for a father-son/daughter project as there are many parts, almost all demanding clean up and all its operating features make it a bit fiddly. However, if you're looking for a trip down memory lane for not a lot of money, it fills the bill just fine and when it's completed, it does make a pleasing looking model.


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