Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Le Crabe

The M29C was was nicknamed the "Crabe" by the French, and used extensively in the wetlands of the Tonkin and Mekong deltas with varying success during their conflict with the Viet Minh.

From what I understand, these vehicles were obtained from American surplus in Manilla, and given some modifications for use in Indo-China.

Crabes were given a machine gun mount which typically carried a .30 M1919A4, but could sometimes carry a .30 M1919A6, Bren Gun, FM24/29, or even an M20 recoilless rifle.

Vehicles carrying radios may have had the machine gun mounted to the driver's side. After 1953 they were supposed to carry two machine guns, but I don't think I've seen a picture of how the second weapon was mounted.

Some other common characteristics were that the wiper motor and windowpanes were removed from the windshield, and the surfguard was usually in a raised position. You'll see the surfguard dented in, I assume to accommodate people sitting on it.

Extratech makes an Indo-China version of the M29C, but it is essentially the same kit as the one produced by Hauler, except with some additional parts.

The resin is a light gray, and comes with additional parts for the machine gun, and an expanded photoetch fret including more parts for the mount.

Decals are for American vehicles used in WWII, and French vehicles used in Indo-China

While the kit is certainly nice, I think that the price tag makes it prohibitive to the average modeler or wargamer, so below are some comparisons of the Extratech kit with the more affordable model from Sgts Mess.

The level of detail is certainly better on the resin model, and I think that the shape of the bow is also more accurate, but those are minor details I could probably live with for a model that is a quarter of the price of the resin kit.

Dimensionally, the metal model is actually 3mm longer than the resin model, but about 0.5mm less in width. If you were to model the Sgts Mess kit with a raised surfguard, that difference would probably be less apparent.


Hairy Caveman said...

Thanks for the review! I have to admit I usually prefer accuracy over cost, but when the price difference is that much I soon change my mind!
This was a bit of an education for me. I've read a lot about the French involvement in Indo China but I'd never heard of this little vehicle until now!

EY said...

Hi Caveman,

There's not much love for the M29, but it's one of my favorite vehicles. Glad the post was useful for you, and thanks for commenting.