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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Bolt Action - Converting a US T19 Half-track

You may have heard me talking about another conversion I am working on, where I am taking a Warlord Games M7 Priest and turning it into a Priest Kangaroo or 'defrocked' Priest (full conversion article to come!). From this conversion, I have two of the 105mm howitzers from the Priests left over, while at the same time my brother had some Warlord M3 half-tracks he wanted me to assemble for him. So what better then to convert one of these half-tracks into the T19 Howitzer Motor Carriage?

The T19 was a US made M3 half-track with a mounted 105mm howitzer. Only 320 odd were built at the start of 1942 as a stopgap measure to be used in North Africa until the M7 Priest replaced it. Despite this, some were still used in Sicily, Italy and even in Southern France.

For my T19 conversion, I assembled the Warlord M3 half-track as normal with the exception of the crew compartment. I carved out some of the details and the seats, to create a flat surface in the fighting compartment. This allowed me room to mount the howitzer and some ammo crates, along with the crew. I then added a few pieces of stowage from the M3 kit to help give the T19 that lived in feel.

Now the mount for the 105mm is not 100% accurate. In fact it's not even really close. This is partly due because getting clear shots of the mount is hard, but mostly due to fully replicating it is beyond my skill level and mostly hidden out of sight due to the sides of the half-track. So I instead aimed to make a realistic looking gun-mount, if not a authentic one. Once it is mounted into the back of the half-track it is hard to get a clear line of sight to it, especially when the crew are added in, so I didn't feel like I needed to get it spot on. I crafted the mount out of spare plastic bits and a StuG pig-snout mantlet.

The crew are from the same M7 Priest kit as the howitzer and they work perfectly with this vehicle. I also have the plastic M3 driver in the driver's seat. While one of the metal crew is reloading the gun, the commander is on the radio and the third guy is chilling out, peering over the front of the half-track. The overall look to the crew is one of relaxed preparedness.

In Bolt Action, the T19 is listed in the Armies of the US book as a M3 105mm HMC. It is a 7+ open-topped armoured carrier, with a forward-facing medium howitzer. The M3 105mm HMC allows for an optional rear-facing MMG, but I haven't bothered, as I find rear-facing weapons generally useless, especially in a long-range support vehicle like the T19.

This T19 is going into my brother's US army that is based on the North-western European theatre. Not a 100% accurate, maybe it is one from Southern France that got lost. Having a mobile medium howitzer is a pretty nice option. While it doesn't have much armour, the range of the howitzer lets you sit back and with good use of cover, your T19 should be able to survive for a little while, at least long enough to hopefully delete some enemy infantry squads with it's big HE stick.

This was a relatively easy conversion if you have the spare 105mm howitzer and crewmen available. The M3 half-track is left mostly intact and the gun mount is the main part that you will need to craft. If you make your own, I think you will be left with a pretty unique model that is very useful in Bolt Action, so you should give it ago! If you do, drop by the Bolt Action Alliance facebook page and share some pictures with us, we love seeing the cool conversion possibilities people come up with!

"Anf" is a long-time gamer from Down Under, who currently focuses his hobby time on Bolt Action.
With an equal love of  rockets and Ice Hockey, he constantly explores weird and wonderful army lists
in his never-ending quest to collect them all.

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