Vietnam Era/M48 Patton Experts, Please Help!

So I am starting to get into the tank situation in Vietnam for the first time.

I was thinking of making a model of a US Army M48A3. Apparently, this is “the” tank of the Vietnam war.

My understanding is that the USMC tanks had the little “turret” with the M2 Browning on the top of the turret, but that the US Army tanks DID NOT have this.

But I can’t find a 1/35 M48A3 kit without the 50 cal mini-turret.

Did any M48s in Vietnam NOT have that little turret? I’m asking because I can’t stand the thing and would rather build a kit without it, if that’s even possible.


There were three M48 variants used in Vietnam





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AFAIK all M48 variants seen in Vietnam were fitted with the M1 cupola, with or without the G305 riser



Thanks for the pics and comments.

Did anyone ever make a kit of the M48 A2C? I think that’s the one I like best. Right now, it’s hard to find any M48 kits other than the really old Tamiya M48A3 kit, and the Takom M48A3 (Mod B) kit.

I may have to learn to like that M1 cupola.

Revell makes an M48A2C

Even the M48A2C has the M1 cupola. Only the original M48 had the Urdan-style cupola w/external .50 cal mount. All M48s from the M48A1 forward had the M1 cupola.

Slingshot Models makes the original M48 cupola. It would take some work, but you could backdate an M48A1 to an M48. Both Dragon and I Love Kits offer M48A1s.

The M48A5 used in Korea had an Urdan-style cupola as well. Takom’s kit has these parts.

You can use the Dragon Magach 1 & 2 kit to make a M48A2C. You’ll just need to source some appropriate decals for it.

can’t say I ever saw one without the riser under the cupola, but of course didn’t see everyone over there. There is a photo of one that has two risers on it that shows up every now and then. Who had it; I don’t know. I’ve seen Army and Marine tanks with a post welded to accept the standard M2 gun cradle, and I’ve seen them with a standard M2 tripod simply welded to the turret to. Still like Gino said they all were shipped with the cupola.

There were M48a2’s in two basic configurations. Some were gasoline powered, and some were diesel powered (converted?) The Big Red One and maybe the 3/4 CAV had M48a2’s with the 1st Infantry being gasoline powered. There were probably some others as well. Most 48’s were M48a3’s and a few Model B tanks thrown in there (69th Armor had some). Marines pretty much used nothing but strait M48a3’s, and most everybody else did as well in I-Corp. Never saw gasoline powered anything deep in the bush (other than a Jeep or 3/4 ton).

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Don’t forget the Centurion mk 5’s used by by the Australians.

The diesel ones were no longer M48A2s. The biggest change to the A3 designation was the diesel engine as opposed to a gas engine. All diesel-engine M48 tanks (converted or new production) were designated as M48A3s.

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I never knew that. I’d only heard they converted some of them

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@HeavyArty @Gary_Totty this why i love this site, you learn some new every day!

my question is about the headlamps on the front of the upper hull, when did they do away with crescent shaped guard that find on the old Tamiya kit and go with the square shaped one you find on the front of M60 tanks? was it a field upgrade?

kind regards


The smaller oval lights were part of the M48A3 Mod B upgrades.

From what I can gather the head lights changed on the mod B M48A3. The Mod B had the vision riser on the TC cupola, reinforced exhaust grills, new head lights and new front fenders. The front braces were removed. There may have been internal improvements as well but I don’t have my sources handy. The differences I noted are what you can see from exterior views.

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There were also armored, square taillight surrounds added.

Wasn’t the change from curved to squared headlight guards/mounts part of the change from A1 to A2 production? All the A3s were rebuilt from A1 & A2 so could have either headlight arrangement. Not sure if this was harmonised in the mod B programme…

That I have no idea as to when they made the change over. In my era; all M48’s were the samething to us.

The Model A, or Model 1963, M48A3 tanks were all rebuilds of the M48A1, and had five return rollers and the original, round headlight guards. The Model B, or Model 1968, M48A3s were rebuilds of the M48A2 series, and had three return rollers, and the new square headlight covers with the new headlights (as later used on the M60 tanks). The Model B had the vision riser on the cupola, but this was also retrofitted to the earlier Model A series from 1968 on.

M48A3 mod B vehicles have five return rollers.

Mod B also have different front fender mounts.

Here is a photo of the rear, where you can see the square lights and the added reinforcing bars around the engine grilles

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