The Legend Productions’ 1/35 M3D Dragon HMG (Kit Number: LF3D064) on Universal HG Pedestal Mount with Transparent Gun Shield has already been reviewed on Armorama
. Therefore, I will not attempt to mimic this review. Instead, I will show what this kit could be used for in the 1/35th scale modeling world by offering some ideas and suggestions. Perhaps those modelers already have some of these kits in their stash and are looking for suggestions on how to build and customize them.
While it may not (yet) be in service with conventional U.S. ground forces, the M3D is indeed used by one unspecified U.S. Army Special Forces group. The M3D has a higher rate of fire at around 950 to 1,100 rounds per minute, is lighter in weight by 13.5 lbs (74.5 lbs total weight), is shorter by a foot, and has an improved flash hider, a fluted barrel, and a Pictinny Rail as improvements over the venerable Browning M2HB. Both heavy machine guns are .50cal (12.7mm) feeding from a linked belt although the M3D Dragon can be feed from either side.
The .50cal (12.7mm) Browning heavy machine gun remains the staple of U.S. and NATO ground forces’ man-portable heavy weapons that pack a mightier punch than the 7.62mm M240 medium machine gun. Hard-hitting and heavy in weight, this crew-served weapon requires a team of soldiers to carry the gun and tripod over terrain. This heavy machine gun can also be used in fixed emplacements, and are often found arming the turret rings of light, medium, and heavy tactical and logistic trucks, tanks, and engineering and recovery vehicles as either primary or secondary armament.
Uses and Applications in the 1/35th Scale Modeling World
• Military trucks:
According to a webpage published in 2014, the M3D Dragon .50cal HMG (on Pedestal Mount with Transparent Gun Shield) is only used by one unnamed U.S. Army Special Forces Group and one other “Middle Eastern country.”1 If not following historical accuracy, this kit can be used for the cargo bed of a preferably U.S. Army (or NATO) 4X4 (examples: HMMWV, JLTV, or LMTV), or 6X6 tactical wheeled cargo vehicle (e.g.: U.S.M.C. MTVR), 8X8 logistics vehicles (e.g.: HEMTT), or civilian Technical pickups to create a “Guntruck.” LF3D064’s pedestal mount and base appears more realistic and conventional than Legend’s LF3D034 “M2A1 Quick Change Barrel HMG on Pedestal Mount for HMMWV and Guntrucks” cantilever bar tripod pedestal kit. When added to the cargo bed of a tactical vehicle or pickup, the pedestal base takes up little space and allows the gunner to stand in the same bed to fire the weapon. This procedure, of course, isn’t officially sanctioned by the U.S. Army or Marines (exposed gunner’s position with no safety restraints in the cargo bed), but such a “Guntruck” approach may be used by U.S. Army Special Forces (e.g.: on the M1078 LMTV “War Pig”), or as field modifications by future U.S. soldiers. This M3D kit can also be used as improvised ad-hoc armament on the cargo bed of civilian trucks such as the 1/35th scale MENG pickup kits, Russian URAL and GAZ cargo truck, and open no rooftop Land Rovers to name some examples. (Again, recall that the webpage dated to 2014 M3D Dragon’s status).
Legend’s LF3D064 kit would be suitable for armament for any Post-Apocalyptic Guntruck variant for the 1/35th scale plastic, resin, and diecast trucks available on market. This heavy machine gun kit could also be used for Rebel, Post-Apocalyptic, and Sci-Fi checkpoints, roadblocks, gate and bridge entrance crossing enforcement, as a blocking force behind sandbags and fortifications, and for structure and base security. Research 1/35th scale BlackDog, MIG Productions, Shapeways, Plus Models, and the search engines to find the 1/35th scale structure you desire.
This kit would be suitable for arming small dioramas and vignette slice scenes of warships that carry the .50cal heavy machine gun armament on the bow, stern, sides, or bridge wings. Most U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard carry 12.7mm heavy machine gun armament. The newer more modern M3D heavy machine gun piece would have to be replaced by the older M2HB (without Picatinny Rail and flash hider) if so desired for accuracy, but the pedestal mount would be accurate. Shapeways sells some 1/35th scale ship and boat parts that could complement this kit to create a vignette.
This kit could arm 1/35th scale Tiger Models U.S. Navy or Swedish Special Forces Fast Assault Craft Combat Boat (CB) 90 as an extra deck gun. The newer more modern M3D heavy machine gun piece, gun shield, and ammunition can holder tray would have to be replaced by the older M2HB (without Picatinny Rail and flash hider) to arm older patrol boat kits such as the Vietnam-era U.S. Navy MACV-SOG patrol boat as only the pedestal mount would be historically accurate.
This kit could be used for base, wall, gate, fortification, or command post vignettes as a fixed heavy weapon defensive station. 1/35th scale sandbags can be added to weigh down the base since it won’t be bolted down to the dirt. Research 1/35th scale BlackDog, MIG Productions, Shapeways, Plus Models, and the search engines to find the 1/35th scale structure you desire.
• Sentry and Guardian role:
This kit can be used inside the interiors of a warehouse, tunnel, or a hangar vignette scene where the gunner is guarding the contents inside the building from the ground or from an elevated position. The machine gun would usually be aimed at the opening of the building and would make for an ideal defensive armament.
Legend Productions’ LF3D064 has many uses in the 1/35th scale modeling world with the possibilities of placing this .50cal weapon set limited only by one’s imagination from realistic to fantasy to Sci-Fi. The details and casting are crisp, the tiny parts very well executed, and the instructions in color. Legend Productions provides a quality kit for the modeler to utilize in all sorts of modern .50cal heavy machine gunner scenarios (1/35th scale machine gunner figure not included).
Special Thanks to Legend Productions of South Korea of the review sample. Photos are from Legend Productions and are used with permission.
1 Army Recognition website. “Central Wisconsin Armory exhibited its M3D Heavy machine gun at AUSA 2014.” Published, Wednesday, October 22, 2014.