M45 "Meat Chopper"
US 4x50" AA Gun

Kit #: AR72239
Preview by Rob Haelterman

The M45 quad mount was a weapon that was developed at the end of WW2 and is perhaps best known for its use on the M16 half track, but it was also used as the M51 Multiple Machine Gun Carriage, which was an M45 on a two-axle M17 trailer.
M55 was the designation of the turret installed on a simpler, single-axle M20 trailer. In this configuration it came too late to see action in WW2 (which means that this illustration, for instance, isn't quite correct) but served in Korea and Vietnam. Extra armor plates were sometimes added in the field.
This kit represents the turret on the single axle trailer, and should thus better be called M55 instead of M45.



Single plastic sprue

Resin MGs and PE details

Decal sheet

Assembly and painting instructions


CAD-drawings on the side of the box will also help with assembly.

Other useful references are the walk arounds on Prime Portal (here and here).




I started with the trailer. The trailer looked like this (from Military Wiki).

Step 1 in the instructions mentions the option between parts 8 & 9 versus parts 26 & 27, but doesn't make it clear that these are for stowed or deployed supports respectively. Neither do the instructions point out how to install the deployed struts or that the option of deployed struts requires you to pivot part 7 as well. The painting guide and the artwork on the box can help here. Note that the wheels were sometimes removed when deployed; the M45 then only resting on its 3 struts.

I lost one of the PE stiffening plates for the rear (part 9). I decided to replace both with plasticard. The wheels were slightly flattened at the bottom.

Afterwards, I turned to the turret. Some parts (struts, handles) need to be made by the modeler. The instructions don't make it very clear how to mount the struts, but pictures found on Cybermodeler can help.

To install parts 14 & 15, I had to do some guesswork, but using the small pegs on part 23 helped with locating them.
The PE in the kit is nicely done, but is difficult to bend where it needs to bend and keep flat where it needs to be flat, as there is no fold line and the parts are very thin. Scribing a fold line helps.
The optional platform (PE part 7) can very occasionally be seen, but based on photographic evidence, it would be rare. It looked to good to leave off, though.
The MGs come with optional parts for the rear spade grips and barrel grips, but both are very, very rarely seen in pictures of operational systems. One exception can be found in the walkaraound on Cybermodeler (here and here). The resin MGs in this set (identical to the one in the M41 kit) are real gems and easily the best I've seen in resin so far. Word has it that Armory will soon release them separately. I, for one, can't wait for that to happen.
Three types of ammo boxes are provided. All three can be found on operational systems, but I feel the "tombstones" are most common (especially when mounted on the M16 halftrack), while the big rectangular boxes could be seen on guntrucks in Vietnam. The smaller, standard ammo boxes, can occasionally be seen, but I guess that firing time would have been extremely restricted when using these. Unfortunately, all the ammo boxes suffer from molding imperfections, as on one face the plastic has shrunk leaving a depression on each box that will take a lot of care to fix.

Paining and markings

The kit includes a full color leaflet offering two marking options (see above and below). The drawings are helpful for assembly as well. No color references are given (but anyone with the most elementary set of references will know that we are talking Olive Drab here) and neither are units or time frame mentioned. The markings are sufficiently generic, though, to fit almost any environment. Actually, you could get away with applying no markings at all.
Some errors have been introduced in the second marking option, which are easy to spot, but are distracting (see below).
Decal 4 is present on the sheet, but is not called for on the marking instructions.

The decals themselves are very thin, and thus fragile. Care most be taken not to damage them, or have them fold on to themselves during handling. The lettering is tiny, but mostly readable. After I finished the kit, I noticed that some of the letters of the stenciling were incomplete, which might have happened during handling. This doesn't detract from the model as stenciling is bound to suffer during the operational career of any piece of (military) equipment.



In general, I feel that the kit captures the look of the real thing, albeit with detail that is a bit on the soft side. The PE is (at times) difficult to handle (with my limited skills) while the resin MGs are absolute gems.
The biggest let down are the sink marks on the ammo bins, although I cannot ascertain if these are present in every kit; otherwise, this builds into a very nice scale replica of an iconic gun.





Preview sample kindly provided by Armory.



This model can be purchased from Tracks & Troops

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Article Last Updated:
29 August 2019

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