40 mm Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Gun M42 «Duster»

40 mm Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Gun M42 Duster.

The M42 Duster is a light anti-aircraft vehicle with twin 40 mm Bofors L/60 M2A1 cannons mounted in an open turret on the chassis of the M41 «Walker Bulldog» light tank. From 1952 to December 1959, General Motors Corporation’s Fisher Body Division Tank Arsenal in Grand Blanc, Michigan, produced 3700 M42 Dusters for the US Army and allied armed forces, where it replaced the WW2 vintage M16 Multiple Gun Motor Carriage. Production of the M42 Duster was halten in 1959, when it considered inadequate to counter the threat posed by military jet aircraft. Accordingly, the US Army adopted self-propelled HAWK surface to air missile systems for front line service, and passed the last M42 Duster on to the US National Guard in 1963. From 1966 to 1971, during the Vietnam war, the M42 Duster was reactivated to serve as a ground support vehicle. When these ADA units left Vietnam in December 1971, they turned their vehicles over to the Army of the Republic of Vietnam.

Available Scale Model Kits

  • M42 Duster, 1:35 AFV Club 35042
    • M42 Duster Ammo, Stowage, and two US Crew, 1:35 Verlinden 2739
  • M42 Duster, 1:35 Tamiya 35161
    • Bundeswehr Gunner 1 in M55 Uniform and Field Cap, 1:35 DOLP 105
    • Bundeswehr Gunner 2 in M55 Uniform and Field Cap, 1:35 DOLP 107
    • Photoetch parts for Tamiya M42 Duster, 1:35 Eduard 35449
    • M2A1 Barrel (early prod.) for M42 Duster, 1:35 Model Point 3573
    • T91E3 Track Links for M41 / M42 Light Tank, 1:35 Trumpeter TK-08
  • M42 Duster (5th Bn, 2nd ADA, Vietnam), 1:72 Altaya 39
  • M42 Duster (Lebanon), 1:72 Model Miniature RK179
  • M42 Duster and Bachir Gemayel, 1:72 Model Miniature MM-R060
  • M42 Duster, 1:76 Archer Models MUS06
  • M42 Duster, 1:87 ROCO 208
  • M42 Duster, 1:100 Roskopf 108
  • M42A1 Duster, 15 mm Battlefront VUS161
  • M42 Duster, 15 mm Old Glory 6046
  • M42 Duster, 15 mm Quality Castings Q-6046
  • M42 Duster, 1:285 GHQ VN23
  • M42 Duster, 1:300 Heroics & Ros USM28

Technical Specifications

  • 40 mm Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Gun M42 Duster
  • Motor: Continental 6-cylinder, air-cooled, 500 hp, gasoline engine
  • Transmission: Allison 2-speed, cross-drive
  • Speed: 72 km/h on roads
  • Range: 160 km
  • Hull Length: 5820 mm
  • Width: 3230 mm
  • Height: 2850 mm
  • Ground Clearance: mm
  • Track Width: mm
  • Weight: 24.8 t
  • Armament: twin 40 mm Bofors M2A1 anti-aircraft gun with 336 rounds
  • Crew: Commander, Driver, Gunner (2), Loader (2)

Historical Employment

  • US Army, 1953–1963
  • 4th Bn, 517th Air Defense Artillery Regiment (US Army, Panama), 1953–1970
  • US National Guard, 1960–1988
  • 1st Bn, 44th Air Defense Artillery Regiment (US Army, Vietnam), 1966–1971
  • 5th Bn, 2nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment (US Army, Vietnam), 1966–1971
  • 4th Bn, 60th Air Defense Artillery Regiment (US Army, Vietnam), 1966–1971
  • Federal Defence Forces of Germany, 1956–1979
  • Hellenic Army (surplus M42 Dusters from German stocks)
  • Japan Ground Self-Defense Force
  • Jordanian Armed Forces
  • Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), 1958–1984 (15 M42A1 Duster)
  • Lebanese Militias
    • Army of Free Lebanon – AFL
    • Lebanese Arab Army – LAA
    • Tigers Militia of the National Liberal Party (NLP)
    • Guardians of the Cedars – GoC
    • Kataeb Regulatory Forces – KRF
    • Lebanese Forces – LF
  • Pakistan Army (123 Dusters)
  • Republic of China Army and Marine Corps (Taiwan)
  • Royal Thai Army
  • Turkish Armed Forces (TAF)
  • Venezuelan Army (until 1989)
  • Army of the Republic of Vietnam, 1971–1975

In the face of US air superiority in Vietnam, the M42 Duster was primarily used as a ground support vehicle. Collectors and modellers will find the multi-colour camouflage patterns of Turkish, Greek, Jordanian, Taiwanese, or Venezuelan M42 Duster anti-aircraft vehicles very interesting to paint. Even the German Bundeswehr used temporary winter camouflage patterns of slaked lime and sandy loam applied over the »Yellow Olive RAL 6014« base coat.


  • Anweiler, Karl: Rad- und Kettenfahrzeuge der Bundeswehr.
  • Bausset, Pascal: Duster in Lebanon
  • Doyle, David: M42 Duster – Armor Walk Around № 5
  • Gau, Lutz-Reiner: Deutsche Militärfahrzeuge. Bundeswehr und NVA.

Cold War Miniatures