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MODEL:   U.S. M55 Quad Mount Machine Guns 2in1
BRAND:     Dynamo Models
KITNUMBER:    35 DM 001
MATERIAL:  injectio moulded
SCALE:  1/35
NUMBER OF PARTS:  49 + photo-etch set + 3D set + decals
PRICE:  approx. 33,- euro   

The M45 Quad mount was a towed anti-aircraft gun consisting of four .50 caliber M2 Browning machine guns mounted in pairs on either side of an armored open-top gunner's compartment with electrical laying. It was developed by the W. L. Maxson Corporation to replace the earlier M33 twin mount (also from Maxson). Although designed as an anti-aircraft weapon, it was also used against ground targets, where it earned the nicknames "meat chopper" and "Krautmower" Introduced in 1944, it saw service as late as the Vietnam War.
During World War II, the M45 turret was mounted on two specific systems: the M16 Multiple Gun Motor Carriage and the M51 Multiple Machine Gun Carriage. When mounted on the M20 trailer, it was known as the M55 Machine Gun Trailer Mount, but this system had not finished testing before the cessation of hostilities. M51s were withdrawn from service by the end of World War II in favor of the M55.
During the Korean War, the M55 and M16 saw extensive combat, and lessons learned in Korea led to the conversion of an additional 1200 M3 halftracks into the M16A1 variant by adding an M45 turret. These can be identified by the lack of fold-down armor and rear troop door on the crew compartment and were often fitted with the roller front bumper instead of the winch bumper fitted to all M16s. In 1954 an additional modification was made to roughly 700 M16 MGMCs, adding the rear troop door and bolting the fold-down armor in the up position. This modification became known as the M16A2 MGMC.
The M55 received a new, more powerful generator in the 1960s and served through the Vietnam War, usually mounted in the back of an M35 2.5 ton or M54 5-ton gun trucks.

The M45/M55 is operated by two loaders and one gunner. The mount is capable of traversing a full 360 degrees around, with an angle elevation between -10 and +90 degrees. Traverse and elevation are electrically driven, powered by two rechargeable 6-volt batteries. All four guns could be fired at once, but standard practice was to alternate between firing the upper and lower pair of guns, allowing one pair to cool while the other was in use. This allowed for longer periods of action as overheating of the gun barrels was lessened.
The "tombstone" model M2 ammunition chests held 200 rounds each—with one ammunition chest on an M45 system holding ten times as many rounds as each of the four twenty-round 20mm magazines of the German Flakvierling system held (and which, on the German ordnance system, had to be changed every six seconds on each gun of the quartet to ensure its own top 800 rpm "combined" firing rate), with each M2 ammo chest weighing 89 pounds each when full.

Both the Royal Netherlands Army (and KNIL – Royal Netherlands East Indies Army) and the Royal Netherlands Air Force have used the M55 as close support. For the army, the M55, mounted on an M16 halftrack, was introduced in 1946. A total of 224 units were delivered under MDAP (Mutual Defense Aid Program). In the 1960s, the M16s were phased out, not the M55, with which a number of quadruple machine gun platoons, were established in the same year. Whether they immediately ended up on the DAF YA328 is not entirely clear, there are photos where they are pulled by a Dodge and were mounted on a DAF YA314. Eventually, however, they ended up on the cargo version of the DAF YA328. In 1977 there were three M55 quad machine gun squads in the 1st Army Corps. The M55 was officially part of a Light Anti-Aircraft Artillery Division, of which there were three. Each battery was equipped with an M55 (on YA328) for close support, but the platoons were independent (without logistics) and were also assigned to other army units if necessary. After all, the anti-aircraft battalions were not always on exercise.

Around 1978/79 the Quad platoons were disbanded and became mobilizable. Around 1990 the M55’s were completely phased out. What happened to the M55s is not entirely clear. Some of them seem to have been returned to the US. A number of them went to museums and a few also went to Suriname. As far as the KNIL is concerned, I was able to find that a Light Lua battalion was stationed at BIAK Netherlands East Indies), which undoubtedly also had an M55 at its disposal.

With regards to the Royal Netherlands Air Force, I haven't been able to find much (doesn't mean it isn't there) about the M55. Certain is that with the introduction of the HAWK, the M55 was also used for close support, often in a fixed position. When moving, they were mounted on DAF 1600, there are also photos of Unimog mountings.

With the release (as a complete cast resin model) of the cargo version of the Dikke DAF (Fat DAF) YA328, the idea arose to convert it into an M55 "carrier". I once built the M16 halftrack with M55 from Tamiya and thought, that is great, I can use it for the build. Unfortunately it was glued to well and was actually not suitable due to the lack of parts. A new model could no longer to be found and what I could find was far too expensive, especially including postage. The Dragon model then. Also unfortunately, sold out everywhere for a normal price.
I did a little dance of joy when the Dynamo model suddenly appeared and also for a reasonable price knowing that you have the option to choose from two versions. So could not wait to purchase it!

The kit 
The Dynamo (in collaboration with AMMO) model is actually the Dragon model, but with extras. In the first place, you can build a version from the period 1944-45 Europe during the Second World War, which is basically the same as the Dutch version, and a version from the Vietnam period.
The model consists of six injection molded frames, one with a figure and one with transparent plastic parts, of which only the parts of the visor are needed, the rest can be added to the spare parts. In addition, packed in a neat plastic box nine 3D printed parts. These 3D parts are the missing parts to be able to build the different version(s) and a photo etch part. The injection molded parts look perfect, with no flash and sinkholes and no ejection marks in places where you would rather not see them. The 3D parts are also of high quality, and printed with, in almost all cases, well protected by casings instead of just supports. Detailing is superb. The decal sheet looks great and gives you the option to make one of the two versions ( two options each. For a Dutch version there is nothing included, or you have to assume that they cannot be read from a fair distance, but it is indeed real text.

The building instructions are in color, four colors for the front page and the different profiles. Two colors for the steps of the construction to indicate what belongs to which version and what the 3D parts are. The description is clear, but you must keep a close eye on which version you are building and what goes with it. There are four options for a version.
Two x Second World War and two Vietnam. The difference is mainly in the naming of the M55s.
Reference is made to AMMO Mig paint numbers, but of course other brands are also possible.

Dutch version?
That is by all means possible. What can be omitted surely are the .50 machine guns with the clearly flared muzzle flame damper. For the rest, it is important to collect as many photos as possible of the model you want to build. For example, mounted on the Fat DAF YA328, the M16 halftrack, a DAF YA314, pulled by a Dodge, an Air Force version as a fixed installation or with DAF1600 or Unimog. With aftermarket products, the model can be further pimped. Incidentally, there are photos in which both types of ammunition drums (Tombstone or not) are in use by Dutch units. The NIMH already offers a good start for photographic material. On the Twenot forum there is a detailed description with comments for the construction of a DAF YA328.

Dynamo, mainly known for the figures they bring to the market, scores well with this model. Originally the Dragon model, but the extras like the 3D printed parts, which make two versions possible, make it exceptional. Both the injection molded parts and the 3D parts are of excellent quality and fineness. Packing the 3D parts separately in a plastic box shows how Dynamo thinks of us as modelers.
By default, the model already offers nice options to build, but for me the added value is clearly in the fact that a Dutch version can be made with quite nice possibilities. Decals are in principle not usable for a Dutch version.

Excellent model.

Reviewer:   Fred Bachofner 


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This article was published Noveember 2023 by the webmaster M. de Vreeze