ARM: Review - AFV Club 1/35 scale M42A1 Duster - Late Prod
- From: AMPSOne@xxxxxxx
- Date: Sat, 19 May 2012 20:16:50 -0700 (PDT)
Kit Review: AFV Club 1/35 scale Kit No. AF35042; M42A1 Self-Propelled
Anti-Aircraft Gun Duster (Late Type - V. N. War); 466 parts (440 in
olive drab styrene, 18 black vinyl keepers, 3 etched brass, 2 black
vinyl tracks, 2 steel springs, 1 black nylon string)
Advantages: first new kit of this popular vehicle in styrene in more
than 30 years; very detailed and nicely laid out design
Disadvantages: uses the Skybow M41 suspension vice the AFV Club M41
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for Vietnam War fans and “Duck Hunters”
The first time I ever found out about how solid armored vehicles can
be took place in mid 1969 while I was studying Vietnamese at Fort
Bliss, Texas. Two of the guys in my class had an, um, up to recently
illegal relationship with one being a big jock and the other being
very rich. The rich kit had a pristine 19631/2 Corvette “split window”
coupe in British Racing Green which he drove to class every day. One
afternoon he let his boyfriend take the wheel and of course, Mr. Macho
has to burn out in front of the pedestrians in the rest of the class.
But while burning rubber and shifting, Mr. Macho did not see an M42
Duster pull out of a maintenance building and turn right into his
path. BANG! The ‘Vette hit the Duster head on and both vehicles
stopped. But whereas the Corvette was now totaled the Duster only had
some scraped paint. The driver, a small black SP5, was not amused, and
let go with a long string of invective at our wayward pair for
scratching the paint job he had just cleaned and waxed! Score - Duster
1, Corvette 0.
While I had the old Renwal kit of the Duster back in the 1950s, I was
not too impressed with the Tamiya one which came out in the early
1970s, and even with both sets of brass from Eduard and some new
tracks from Model Kasten and the AFV Club M41 suspension figured it to
be too much work to update. So, like many other modelers, I was
excited to hear that AFV Club was going to do a completely new M42
Duster (or two). So I waited. And waited. And waited.
About five years after it was announced, the AFV Club M42A1 Duster
kit has recently appeared on hobby shelves. Was it worth the wait? In
short – you bet!
This new kit is full of details and has an amazing turret assembly –
the guns take some 76 parts and the turret proper another 25. (I think
there were maybe 12 in the Tamiya one.) The guns come with turned
aluminum barrels with a choice of no flash hiders or the early three-
prong ones (later ones had a ring that went around them for
strengthening as the early ones tended to shatter). Two spare barrels
are offered in styrene but come with the proper springs at the base
that are visible when the barrels are stowed.
The complete ejection system is provided with the “jai alai” type
catchers under the barrels and the chute in the hull which guides the
spent casings out of the vehicle. All of the major details are
provided to include a nicely done M60 machine gun and fire
extinguishers plus etched brass “speed rings” for the gunners.
Traverse/elevation gearing motors and cranks are provided as well as
interior details for the upper gun shields.
The only oddity with the lower hull is that for reasons best known to
themselves AFV Club has substituted the Skybow M41 suspension (which
they now own as their kit AF35S51) for their own very nice M41
suspension (AF35045 if purchased separately). The apparent reason for
this is that the later production Dusters used the same wheels with
rubber tires as the road wheels for their idlers; early production
ones used the steel wheels with lightening holes that come in the AFV
Club suspension. Also the AFV Club wheels have the rim guards (“mud
catchers” according to some older tankers) and the Skybow ones do not;
however, the later production vehicles have the rings on them. There
are a few detail differences (due to putting the “Flat” side of the
pins facing opposite directions, they cannot be swapped, and the axles
of the two kits are different in diameter). Go figure.
All of the bins on the hull have the internal partitions but none of
the racks needed for 40mm clips as are carried on the actual vehicle.
Ditto the hull which has all three hatches open but has no interior
other than the inside of the main hull door.
The engine deck comes in three sections but has separate mufflers and
muffler guards, plus nicely detailed air cleaners and a one-piece and
very petite APU muffler. It also has a separate pioneer tool rack with
The track runs are old-fashioned vinyl but are quite flexible. They
would appear to use ACC cement as all the directions say is
“agglutinate”! As these vehicles used live track, no sag would be
apparent and unless the modeler HAS to have replacement tracks should
Five finishing options are offered, four Vietnam and one National
Guard: A - XXIV Corps, 1-44 AW Battalion, Vietnam (OD overall); B -
“You’re In the Hands of Duster Death!”, US Army stock number only (OD
overall); C - I Field Force, 4-60 AW Battalion, Vietnam (OD overall);
D - II Field Force, 5-2 AW Battalion “Have Guns - Will Travel”,
Vietnam (OD overall); E - Unidentified unit, MERDC winter verdant
scheme (field drab/forest green/black/sand).
A poster print of the 1-44 AW Battalion vehicle is included.
Overall this is a really nice change from the ancient Tamiya kit but
the swapping of the wheels is a bit odd. Why didn’t AFV Club simply
add two extra road wheels for the later production vehicles?
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