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Dragon has already released a 1/35 scale kit of the American M4 Mortar Carrier, and has now backed it up with a new kit of its successor, the M21 Mortar Motor Carriage. The M21 had a number of improvements over the M4, chief of which was the vehicle being based on the longer M3 halftrack chassis. This extended length allowed the mounted mortar to fire towards the front (rather than rearwards as on the M4), and permitted the .50-cal machine gun to be mounted in a pedestal near the rear of the vehicle. The main armament of the M21 halftrack was obviously the M1 81mm mortar, which was supplied with 97 rounds. Another distinctive feature of the M21 was the fitting of stowage racks along the external sides of the fighting compartment. The M21 Mortar Carrier was used by both US and Free French forces during WWII.
Dragon’s new 1/35 scale M21 kit is well appointed. The new rear door on the hull can be posed open or closed, while the fighting compartment itself is brand new to replicate the M21’s unique configuration. The whole of the open-topped fighting compartment is fully detailed, including a brand new M1 mortar with aluminum tube. The internal ammo racks are filled with newly tooled mortar rounds ready for firing. On the outside of the fighting compartment are brand new stowage racks, and here Dragon has come up with a neat solution. The external mine racks come as a pre-molded option with all the mines in place, or alternatively, a full set of individual mines can be affixed as chosen by the modeler. These separate mines come with photo-etched parts to provide heightened detail. To ensure this M21 is ready for action, Dragon also throws in a bonus driver figure. As can be seen, Dragon’s M21 has an exhaustive set of specifications that allow modelers to create a model full of individual flair!