M2 High Speed Tractor

Cletrac

This heavy duty tug was designed for use at under prepared airports. With 122 hp and full tracks it could pull even heavily loaded aircraft on almost any surface. It also mounts a winch rated at 10000 lbs, a 3 kw DC generator and an air compressor. No doubt, its more versatile than oxen.

The M2 tractor was accepted for production in February 1941 and entered service a year later. It was produced by Cleveland Tractor Company, which was widely known in agriculture as “Cletrac”. The company was acquired by Oliver Farm Equipment in 1944, but their full-tracked designs continued to be better known by the Cletrac name. The company was later acquired by White Motors and from there Volvo and General Motors.

This is the Monogram kit. Which may be misleading. As far as I know it has never been available separately, but as a free add-in to Monogram’s well known B-24 Liberator. Mostly. Some early issues of the B-24D do not include it, but every boxing (as far as I know) of the B-24J and later boxings of the B-24D do.
It is almost comically basic. I think ten pieces, with plenty of hollow voids. I filled what looked most visible (like behind the bench seats) but mostly just built it as is. Its getting more of a close-up here than I think the kit would ever wish for itself! This is the definition of set dressing, a background prop.

What the Cletrac was built to do.

About atcDave

I'm 5o-something years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I was an air traffic controller for 33 years and recently retired; grew up in the Chicago area, and am still a fanatic for pizza and the Chicago Bears. My main interest is military history, and my related hobbies include scale model building and strategy games.
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13 Responses to M2 High Speed Tractor

  1. Pierre Lagacé says:

    I will see if I have this precious item in the box.

    • atcDave says:

      I was surprised to see some boxings do not include it.

      • Pierre Lagacé says:

        Off topic

        I bought a 3M respirator to use my airbrush inside. Is it a good idea?

      • atcDave says:

        I think it depends on the type of filter on the mask you’re using. For paint you need vapor protection more than particulate protection. That’s why a ventilated spray booth is often preferred. But yes, there are masks/filters that can help too.

  2. Chris Kemp says:

    I imagine that “high speed” would be a relative term 🙂

    Nice build though, Dave.

    • atcDave says:

      Yes! I should have said, 22 mph. Fast as tractors go. Can you imagine, racing around an airport at 22 mph with a B-24 in tow! Quite the image…

  3. Trying very hard to find this in an HO scale or perhaps the 1:72 plane kits? So far no luck. I can only find the Revell 1:48 Liberator kit that includes it. You did not mention what scale this is or what scale the bomber kits are. I am curious if this is the larger O scale version in 1:48

    • atcDave says:

      I do work exclusively in 1/48. So obviously too big for your use.
      Funny, I’d never thought this might be the only Cletrac available?!

      • Randy Decker says:

        Here’s the photo just for fun… this train is HO scale… very small stuff here.. 1:87

      • atcDave says:

        The photo didn’t show up, but I am somewhat familiar with HO (I “had” the stereotypical trainset as a kid, that Dad never let me play with!). If a 1/72 kit was out there it might be in the ballpark, close enough most observers would never know the difference. In times past, both Airfix and Frog had (maybe Bandai too?) had some airport service vehicles in that scale. Have you looked on EBay?

      • Randy L Decker says:

        Yep totally involved in figuring out this puzzle now… tried every search I can think of… Not that it is anything I’d expect you to look for but please feel free to use my email and I’ll send you a shot if your curious….?? I find it amazing that I found this thing and figured out what it was but now for the life of me can not figure out who made it? It is sitting on a 50′ bulkhead flat car…. HO scale… and it has what appears to be a long tom howitzer trailer behind it.. they do make an M4 version of the fast tractor in 1:72. But the little track vehicle is clearly an M2… A real stumper.. randyleedecker AT gmail.com

      • Randy Decker says:

        Solved….! Monogram did a Snark missile Kit in 1/72 And from the photos it is also the correct carrier/trailer and has the smaller scale tractor included. also a missile kit called a “Rascal” has the tractor but different trailer….

      • atcDave says:

        Awesome! Good to see the mystery solved. Send some pictures if you can find one (!) and get it set up. That would be interesting to see.

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