by: Jim Lewis [ ]
Originally published on:
At the close of WW II, the US Army considered the concept of producing a family of armored vehicles based on a common chassis/powerplant to streamline logistics and support requirements in the field. One of these concepts that made it into service was the M19 40mm Gun Motor Carriage (GMC). Based on the M24 Chaffee Light Tank, the M19 GMC mounted a twin-barrel 40mm anti-aircraft cannon as an early example of a forward air-defense system. Considered one of the best AA weapons then available, the license-built Swedish Bofors guns sat in a lightly armored turret that could rotate through 360 degrees and elevate the guns 90 degrees vertical or depress the guns -5 degrees horizontal. The M19 GMC carried 336 rounds in the stowage bins, and could tow an Ammunition Trailer with additional rounds for combat operations. Some crews modified their vehicles to also mount either a .50cal or .30cal MG for close-in defense (provision to do so in this kit not included).
The M19 was initially set for production of 904 GMC, but trimmed down to 265 by the end of WW II. It came too late to be used in WW II, but saw extensive deployment in the Korean War. In Korea, with the lack of enemy airpower threatening the UN troops, the M19’s 40mm Guns were trained down upon enemy troop concentrations – with devastating effect in turning back “human waves”. The use of the M19 40mm GMC in the anti-personnel role in Korea set the tone for the tactics employed by crews of the M42 Duster in the Vietnam War.
Inside the Box
CMK’s resin kit is a very impressive combination of three (done by Eduard) photoetched frets, 142 detailed resin and two poly-vinyl track runs. CMK provides a sharply registered decal sheet of thin markings for the modeler. The Instruction Booklet is fifteen pages long, and provides simple exploded (if squashed a bit) drawings for the assembly sequence and suggest painting options in three languages. The poly-vinyl tracks included in the CMK kit are Italeri’s post-WW II versions from their M24 Chaffee model kit.
CMK provides waterslide decal options to model two M19 GMC’s:
Bahnhoff Betty a M19 40mm GMC from the 46th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion, Hanau, Germany 1954
An M19 40mm GMC from the 15th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion, US 7th Infantry Division as it appeared in Hungnam, Korea 1951. This decal sheet comes complete with the markings carried on this M19 – a white Top Hat, Little Beaver and Delores and Los Angeles City Limits. Squadron Signal’s Armor in Korea has a photo of this vehicle on page 34.
Reasons for the Ratings
Packaging – The CMK kit comes in a sturdy cardboard box, with attractive color product labels on three faces. There are no packing peanuts inside the box, as CMK has smartly opted to shrink-wrap the major parts into bags. These bags, in turn, are heat-sealed into smaller pockets that keep them from grinding upon each other. There were no damaged or missing parts in my kit example.
Instruction Sheets – They are clear and easy to follow. The exploded drawings are simple and only show the minimum of what the modeler needs to know to assemble the kit. Simple painting instructions are called out – which were equally simple of the real M19 GMC. The decaling pages call out which markings are to be used for the vehicle the model opts to render.
Quality of Parts – Though the modeler doesn’t have to replace the poly-vinyl tracks, it is great of CMK to provide them in this kit. They are of adequate quality, and with skilled hands can be modeled quite acceptably. But, since I was commissioned to build this particular example – replacing the tracks with more detailed items wasn’t even discussed – it was expected.
CMK’s resin castings were excellent in my kit example – some even bordering on outstanding. I was thrilled to find little to no resin flashing to trim away, little warpage, easy to remove resin pour gates and interestingly dual-cast Road Wheels. These went a long way to ensuring all the Road Wheels contacted the workbench surface properly before moving to attaching the track runs. The Bofors Gun Barrels are done in resin – thinly I might add. There is slight warpage that doesn’t appear to be difficult to correct. The Suspension and running gear is also done with care in resin.
The single-piece Hull is impressively done, cast with Fenders in place. Only that huge resin pour gate gave me pause – it might be challenging for novice resin AFV modelers to remove without marring the Front Plate. All in all, this CMK model kit is one of the three best I’ve ever seen. I was literally thrilled to get a hold of it and build it as soon as my client asked me if I was interested. How many kits can one say that about?
With its commanding retail price, I’ve been hesitant to purchase CMK’s effort without being able to inspect one in the box prior. When my client presented this model kit to me, however, I was very impressed. CMK’s 2001 effort is well done and pays tribute to this little known and seen American weapon system. The M19 GMC was not produced in large numbers, but was used effectively during the Korean War, and this kit fills the bill for AFV modelers interested in this time period. There is some room left for the skilled AFV modeler to add their own detail touches, but not much. I recommend this model kit for modelers experienced and comfortable with resin subjects.