Building the Hobby Fan M5 High Speed Tractor 1/35 scale

by Federico Collada © 2014 Modeler Site

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The M5 High speed tractor was designed and built by International Harvester in Iowa and consisted in a fully tracked prime mover which used the tracks and suspension of the M3 Stuart tank. The main role of the M5 HST was to tow a variety of guns including the 105mm howitzer M2, the 155mm Long Tom and the 90mm AA gun. The vehicle would also carry the crew and ammunition. It also could be use to tow other vehicles by the simply use of the winch or a frontal roller system.


The production began in May 1943 and 20 days later the first vehicle was delivered to the front. The production continued for 2 years with a total of 5290 units.

The only armament carried was a M2 Browning machine gun located on a ring at the right side of the metallic roof, many times this roof was not used so the machine gun was also deleted.

When the war was over the M5 HST was replaced by more modern tractors so none of them was kept in service in the United States ( although some of them were still used during the Korea war )but they stood in service in other countries like Austria, Japan, Yugoslavia or Spain.

Fascination for the M3 family

Since I started to make my first models back in the eighties I felt some kind of predilection for the M3 Stuart family of vehicles, maybe it was because of the old Tamiya models in 1/35 scale or the Hasegawa in 1/72 which were certainly one of my very first models to build……and paint! I was so proud of them!

I think I may have built more than 20 models of the M3 and variants from many firms and each time I have a new one I feel very excited, so when I received this M5 tractor I felt like I recovered that same old excitement and I just could not wait to start with it. Although this was the first time that I had a kit from Hobby Fan I expected it to be as good as any other……or as bad.


When I started to examine the pieces of the kit I immediately realized the poor quality of some mouldings and I started to think about my spares box, luckily full of Stuart pieces of all kinds.


The best part of the kit was the link per link plastic tracks, and the acetate transparent piece for the front window, I think that this is really difficult to spoil.


The rest of the parts were damaged, bent or simplified or they did not fix where they belonged. And no decals provided.


I easily replaced the poorly moulded resin wheels for an extra set I had from AFV.


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