M7 Priest/Kangaroo

Kit #: 7513 Preview by Luis Rodríguez Duarte - rodridu(at)yahoo(dot)es
Edited by Al Magnus

Pieces for both the Priest and Kangaroo options are included on the sprue. The model depicted is a 1944 production example, because it has the typical features: reinforced cast transmission cover, low mounted lights and brushguards, baskets on rear stowage boxes, heavy duty M4 style bogies and grille between air filters. For an intermediate production model it should retain the heavy duty M4 bogies and the side flaps for the ammo racks, but it should have the bolted tranmission cover instead, no grille in rear and high mounted lights. Earlier vehicles had M3 bogies and sometimes the early cast transmission cover, lacking the armoured side flaps (though some were upgraded with these devices in field). Very early vehicles had the MG "pulpit" narrower in height and the bolted "nose" from the M3, with a small cut for the front gun from this medium tank.

The running gear is almost the same as seen in their Sherman III Fast Build but the tracks are T51 plain rubber style. Though better that the strange track design seen in the Shermans, these are poor for a display model. The lower hull looks to be a copy of Dragon's Shermans so I'm sure that Dragon running gears could nicely fit and thus greatly enhance the model. I think too that the spare bolted tranmission included in many M4A2 Dragon kits could fit with some work.

A pretty sparse floor is provided with a bulky and over simplified transmission, but being a separate piece I'm sure it could be improved. The worst part to me is the outer details. Not so much for the tools and side details, which are not so horrible (except maybe the tools), but for the spare track links boxes in the front, which are a bad joke! - plain and lifeless. The same could be said about the light and brush guards.

The pulpit is quite basic and the 50cal MG is too sparse. Two very tall and standing US commander figures, looking through binoculars, are provided. I feel that they are oversized for 1/72.

The Priest option has a basic howitzer with separate sight and platform. A better alternative might be to fit an ACE howitzer instead. The best parts are the separate and empty ammo boxes, coupled with four individual gun rounds (not the best in detail but OK) and four fiberboard cases which are too simplified and a bit thin for my taste. There are not quite enough rounds to fill the racks but extras could be made with moulds if you know to make them, and I prefer it to fill empty boxes that remove bulky shells or scratchbuild racks.

The Kangaroo option has a plain bolted plate front cover with a Boys A/T rifle to fit on the front plate. Very curious! As far as I know Kangaroos did not sport these obsolete weapons. Although it's a pretty basic design, it is nice to have this "Buffalo rifle" in hard styrene for other projects.

Decals comprise four marking options for the M7 and two for the Kangaroo. For the M7 there are two US Army M7s in NW Europe 1944 (dirty OD, side stars with surround and plain star for the nose) and Normandy (stars only), one Free French in Cassino area 1944 (generic French markings, no specific unit markings) and one British Priest in MTO 1943 (nice horizontal bands, OD/Light Stone or Light Mud/Blue-Black camouflage, vehicle number S 169311 in white on the sides). For the Kangaroo there is a Canadian Kangaroo in NW Europe 1945 (SCC 15, stars and vehicle number white S 169312) or a NZ cousin in Northern Italy (ídem but with only a front star with surround and vehicle number T 214613). Decals have quite a thick carrier and I'm not sure if they can be used for display purposes.

So, based on the version descriptions above, the only accurate decal options are for the pair of US M7s in late 1944. The British Priest would have been an eary/very early version, the French M7 a mid-production model, and the Commonwealth Kangaroos were "Defroked Priests" (i.e. surplus vehices replaced by the standarized 25 pdr. Sexton with the howitzers removed), which would make them very early, early or mid-production vehicles, not from 1944 nor late production.

In conclusion, this is a fairly basic model, targeted for wargamming, but I think that the overall sizes and shapes are acceptable though I still have to compare it with scale drawings, nevertheless. With upgrade pieces and (A LOT!!!!!) of work, this could be finished as a decent diplay model. It is the only game in town until some other company develops a true display model, which sadly seems will not occur this year.

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Article Last Updated: 03 May 2010