Modell Trans Modellbau

M2A4 Light Tank

Kit #: 72328
Preview by Stephen 'Tank Whisperer' Brezinski - sbrez1(at)comcast(dot)net
Edited by Francesco Giovagnorio

This is a review of an American light tank developed in the late 1930s and is the precursor to the M3 and M5 Light Tank series. It served mainly as a training tank for the US Army and did see combat on Guadalcanal in 1942. Several M2A4 tanks were also used by the British for training. For those modelers making a collection of M3 light tanks you should have this model.

The model comes in a clear plastic box with artwork showing the vehicle profile and some markings of a yellow stripe around the turret and star and a unit marking.  The lineage with the M3 Light is obvious and with notable differences in the M2A4 having seven small view ports (pistol ports) around the turret and a different idler wheel.  The turret is similar to the octagonal, riveted turret of the initial product M3 though the 37-mm gun barrel has a different recoil mechanism and construction. 
Both the M2 and the M3 light tanks had VVSS (vertical volute spring suspension) bogies similar to the M4 Medium tanks but a lighter duty design.

The Kit Parts
We get 21 cream colored cast resin parts on multiple sprues. No etched brass parts or crew figures are included. There are no deacl markings included. Resin casting looks good to me. The parts are larger than the 1/76-scale Matchbox M3 kit, smaller than the over scale (in my assessment) 1/73-scale Hasegawa M3 kit. This Model Trans kit appears to be based on the Mirage Hobby M3 plastic model kit, which is a good thing.

This scan shows the hull casting which appears to be based on Mirage's M3 hull with a rebuilt engine deck area for the M2A4 light tank. Detail is very good. Comparing it to the Mirage hull I noticed that the side of the superstructure is missing some rivets. There is a puzzling hole in the commander's cupola hatch. On the same pour plug as the two mufflers is the 37-mm main gun with gun mantlet. My 37-mm gun barrel broke off during transit. There are bubbles and other imperfections in the castings to fill in, such as on the left fender of the hull. On the forward fenders are stored machine gun tripods that look a bit too flat to me, otherwise detail is very good.

Here is another shot of the turret and hull showing the pore plugs that will have to be cut off. This turret is based on that in the Mirage Hobby kit 72670 except that the M3 riveted turret did not have the rectangular viewports around the sides of the turret. A glitch in the Modell Trans turret is that according in my reference photos the flaps over the turret viewports should be on the inside of the turret not on the outside as Modell Trans gives us.

The suspension parts are well molded with the track links molded around the idler and sprocket wheels. The parts do not look like they will be difficult to cut off from their pour plugs. At middle left is a small pour plug with the headlights and tail lights. Below with the idler wheels are three of the four return rollers and two U-shaped parts that look like headlight brush guards like we see on the box art. At top center are the two machine gun barrels for the sponsons but my kit appears to be missing the coaxial and the bow mounted machine gun barrels. The four lengths of track is the flat rubber block type with end connectors similar to the T41 or T51 track used on the Sherman.

The kit does not come with any assembly instructions but these photos of the assembled model should help. A set of instructions for the Mirage Hobby M3 will also help with the Modell Trans kit. Missing from this assembled model are grab handles on the various hatches, handles that we can replicate with fine copper or brass wire.

Review sample purchased by the author.


This model can be purchased from Tracks & Troops

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Article Last Updated: 06 January 2015