U.S. Howitzer Motor Carriage M8 Photoetch Detail Set

Published on
Review Author(s)
Scale
1/48
MSRP
$26.31
Product / Stock #
HLX48407
Base Kit
Tamiya
Company: Hauler - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Hauler Brengun
Parts

This Hauler detail set will take the Tamiya 1/48 US Howitzer Motor Carrier (HMC) to the next level. The 3” x 5.55”x1” deep box is chock full of two PE frets (2.5”x2” with Parts Nos. 1-30, and 1.5” x 1.5” containing Parts Nos. 1-6 for grills, baskets, and tool clamps) and four resin plugs with Parts Nos. 1-25. The parts arrived safely, with the exception of the two M1 carbines (Part No. 24) that were either short shot or broken in transit.

While the base Tamiya kit is great out of the box, there is always room for more detail, and this Hauler kit does not disappoint, especially in the interior as this is an open top combat vehicle.

The fourteen step instructions are detailed and adequate for any modeler with a few detail sets that have crossed their bench. The key to success is to read through the instructions and compare them to the Tamiya instructions, making annotations on which steps they should be added, and what of the base kit is to be removed to make way for the new detail additions. The resin parts have an “r” in the instructions (ie, r10), while the PE parts have no prefix. The PE fret for the grills and basket is also available separately as HLX48408 (also reviewed on the IPMS/USA Review website).

Assembly was straightforward, and magnifiers are recommended to see the small parts and their corresponding numbers. Here are additional notes, cautions, etc in the build process:

  • Step 1: Before starting with assembly, refer to Tamiya Step 1 and move the two weights further back (remove the rear retainers) so that the front of the weights do not protrude past the forward floor plate. This will accommodate the placement of part r12 (I did not and had to hollow out r12 and it was a tedious and long process).
  • Step 2: Fill in the light guard holes on the glacis (Tamiya step 11) as the light guards are square and a gap will be there after gluing.
  • Step 4: Hauler provides two spares (Part 29) and one spare (Part 30) for the spare track hangers; considerate as the carpet monster deserves its sacrifice.
  • Step 6: Building a 1/48 M2 HMG is a challenge, but a vast improvement over the kit machine gun. Providing two views would have been useful, but that is where reference photos come in handy.
  • Step 8: Recommend mounting the M1 Carbines in their mounts before sealing turret halves as it becomes very hard to do once assembled.
  • Step 9: Check references on the placement of the shelf (r19) and its location to the map box (r23).
  • Step 11: The deflector should hang straight down once Tamiya Part No. C27 (Step 16) is attached to the turret front.
  • Step 12: This is one of those PE parts (2x 12) that is a judgement call as the kit lifting hook is molded on and looks fine.
  • Step 13: Fill in the grab handle holes before attaching the PE grab handles (Part Nos 9 and 10).
  • Step 14: The shovel is two pieces (r10 and r11) and they are molded in front of each other on the mold plug. This is a head-scratcher as it should have been molded in one piece. The tool straps are beautifully done and allow the model to be built with tool straps attached with or without tools present. Again, Hauler provides spares for the carpet monster or future projects.

Besides the spare PE parts noted above, there are a few spare lifting clamps (4 x Part No. 7 and 5 x Part No. 11), grab handle (13) and 24 x Part No 8 (which are not called out in the instructions and are so tiny that I am glad they weren’t added to the kit.

This accessory package really is a kit in itself and adds a lot of detail to an already great kit. The photos show the amount of detail, particularly in the interior that really gives this kit heft and makes it pop. The parts are very tiny and well detailed. The instructions are simple, which is great as this set is an eye exam and will test your patience as you assemble the PE.

As mentioned above, one of the PE frets is available separately for the grills, basket, and tool straps (HLX 48408), so if you want to max out the Hauler detail sets for the Tamiya 1/48 HMC, you won’t need to purchase it separately.

For those looking for that extra detail for your M8 Howitzer Motor Carrier, or M3/M5 Stuart tank (the PE is interchangeable, as are the tools and M2 HMG), this set does not disappoint.

Profuse thanks to Hauler and Brengun and IPMS/USA for providing the review sample.

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