Model Armour

DRAGON - M48A3 Mod.B
A look at what's inside Dragon's latest 1/35th kit!


M48A3 Mod.B

Manufacturer: Dragon Models

Scale: 1/35

Material: Styrene & Etched Brass

Serial Number: 3544

Price: TBA







The M48 Patton medium tank. The M48 was a development of the M47, and it performed an interim role until the arrival of the M60 main battle tank. The M48 was the primary tank of the US Army & US Marine Corps (USMC) during the vicious Vietnam War. The new kit represents the M48A3 variant, which the army accepted into service in February 1963 and the USMC the following year.

M48A3s featured a new diesel engine and a range of features were apparent because all were converted from older variants. The USA would deploy more than 600 M48s to Vietnam, the first arriving in-country in 1965. They performed well in the infantry support role, but there were few tank-versus-tank clashes. Many M48A3s were later handed over to the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) when US troops began leaving the country.






The Kit Contents

It almost seems that this is the first all new kit from Dragon for quite a while? It can't be...can it? I'd have to go through all the various recent releases to find out for sure. Anyhow...this one is. All new that is. It's a model representing the vehicle as it would have appeared during the Vietnam War. The kit consists of a number of light grey styrene sprues, a small transparent one, two vinyl poly caps, wire tow cable, decal sheet, two runs of vinyl tracks, and no photo etch. Seriously. I can't remember the last time I received a 1/35th scale Dragon kit without even a tiny PE fret. Been a while. Still...that's sort of good depending on how you look at it. It could mean that they don't include PE just for the sake of it. Good design that. Confidence in their product.



The instructions run to six sides...which mean it shouldn't be that complicated a build. I've had much longer sets of instructions from Dragon. The parts, as you would imagine...and as you can see below...are beautifully moulded. Absolutely no ejector pin marks, no flash, and the turret and hull exhibit a great cast texture, including various casting numbers where they're supposed to be. Construction is straightforward, beginning with the assembly of the running gear and suspension onto the lower and upper hull parts. Both the drive sprockets and idler wheels are constructed from multiple parts, the return rollers being fixed to the upper hull, and the suspension units being fitted to the lower hull, and then upper and lower hulls being joined. The tracks included in the kit are of the Dragon DS-100 vinyl type and can be cemented with ordinary styrene cement.



The engine deck is highly detailed and is constructed from fitting various separate panels onto the shell of the upper hull. As a result of this none of the various hatches can be made to open of course. The fenders are also supplied as separate parts too.



As with the upper hull, the turret is moulded with cast texture, consisting of a slide moulded shell onto which all the various are fixed. There's no internal detail as such, although the hatches are all supplied as separate parts and so can be displayed open as long as you intend putting a crew member or two in place to obscure the inside. The cupola is constructed from multiple parts, including transparent parts for the periscopes. Although the included .50 cal consists of just the barrel, and therefore nothing would be visible with the hatch opened. The same can be said of the main M1 gun, the barrel of which is supplied as one moulding, with a separate part for the end to represent the brake. No breech whatsoever.



There are four marking schemes illustrated on the instruction sheet,  three of which are of unidentified vehicles in 1965, se below for full details.



Many thanks to Dragon models for the sample.



Dragon M48A3 Videos

# 3544 M48A3 Mod.B- Traversing the turret


#3544 M48A3 Mod.B - 360 degree scrutiny


# 3544 M48A3 Mod.B- Making Tracks


# 3544 M48A3 Mod.B- Wheeling and dealing


#3544 M48A3 Mod.B- Fender render


#3544 M48A3 Mod.B- from Top to bottom

#3544 M48A3 Mod.B-Open hatches!


This is not intended as an exhaustive comparison of the plastic components of this kit in relationship to the real components they are meant to represent.  Measuring every part and comparing it to the size and shape of the original (even if you could find the correct measurements and engineering drawings for the original part) is impossible, other than for the major components.

Considering the volume of reviews published on this site, both on models and model-related items, we offer a detailed look at what's inside the box, an opinion on the quality of the moulding of the kit, and if possible about the detail it includes together with any problems (if known) that may be encountered when building the kit.  If you have intimate knowledge of the real vehicle the model represents and happen to notice that the manufacturer has made a mistake, then please feel free to inform everybody on the forum thread announcing the review.  I'm sure everybody will appreciate your insights.







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