I decided to use the Dragon M48A3 model to represent a tank on maneuvers at Camp Pendleton, with Gomer Pyle in a fix. Trouble is, the kit I have has no spotlight. Yes, it’s TV, but I do wonder if an M48A3 in this situation would really need one or not.
Not sure if this applies directly to your problem, but there’s plenty of pictures of the M103A2s at Pendleton on exercises, and there are two truck tires, looks to be from a 5 ton truck, stacked up on top of the mantlet, in an effort to simulate the size and weight of the absent searchlight…seen in the M103 book from David Doyle…again, not exactly sure this helps.
My guess, that on Camp Pendleton it might have been removed unless there was a training exercise that might require it’s use otherwise it’s parts might go adrift or broken in normal tank operations.
I recommend the Legend M48A3 Mantlet Cover/Searchlight Set as the kit mantlet is oversized and not well defined. The set only costs about $15 and really dresses it up.
It looks nice, but why add accessories that I don’t need to?
Because the kit matlet sucks. You can do what you want though, its your model.
Maybe someone on this site has an extra searchlight they don’t need and can sell it to you or swap.
I don’t think it’s necessary. Even deployed in a combat zone not every tank had a light.