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M26A1

Hobby Boss 1/35 M26A1 Pershing Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review November 2009 Manufacturer Hobby Boss
Subject M26A1 Pershing Scale 1/35
Kit Number 82425 Primary Media Styrene/PE
Pros Beautiful detailing outside, nice engine compartment as well Cons No crew compartment or turret interior detailing
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (Yen) ¥5000 (About $54 USD)

First Look

M26A1 Kit
M26A1 Kit
M26A1 Kit
M26A1 Kit
M26A1 Kit
M26A1 Kit
M26A1 Kit
M26A1 Kit
M26A1 Kit
M26A1 Kit

Prior to World War II, US Army doctrine stated that tanks were intended for infantry support and specialized tank destroyers would engage in tank-on-tank battles. In this role, the Sherman was a versatile armored vehicle, but its armor wasn't up to the threat of German guns. Nevertheless, planners believed that serious threats like the Panther and Tiger would be limited in number by the time of the invasion. Indeed, the Tiger was limited in numbers, while Panthers equipped over half of the armored units around Normandy. The Panthers were quite effective against the Sherman as well as the allied tank destroyers.

A number of heavy tank designs were built and evaluated with the T26 showing the greatest promise. weighing in at over 40 tons, the T26 was armed with the M3 90mm L/53 anti-tank gun that also armed the M36 Jackson tank destroyer. Where the M36 shared its chassis design with the M4 Sherman, the T26 featured an all-new chassis design with torsion bar suspension and powered by a V8 Ford engine rated between 450-500 horsepower. The T26/M26 didn't enter combat until the end of World War 2, but it was able to hold its own against the Tiger tank. The M26A1 was nearly identical to the earlier M26 though it incorporated a bore evacuator and a muzzle brake.

The M26 Pershing, named for General John Pershing who led the American Expeditionary Force in Europe during World War 1, was reclassified as a medium tank after World War 2 and remained the principal main battle tank for the US and a number of its allies until replaced by the M46 Patton. Not only did the M26 see combat at the end of World War 2, it also fought alongside the Sherman during the Korean War as well.

I remember how impressive the 1/35 M26 Pershing kit looked when Tamiya released theirs a number of years ago. Despite the nice detailing of the kit, it still lacked an interior so unless you stuffed the open hatches with crew figures, it was best to button up the tank for display. You don't have that problem any longer.

Hobby Boss has produced the Pershing also in 1/35 scale and like the Tamiya kit, it captures the exterior detailing quite nicely. Unlike the Tamiya kit however, this kit has some interior details. It looked like they started down the path of a fully detailed kit but stopped for some reason. Let's take a look:

The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on 11 parts trees, plus two runs of vinyl track. One small fret of photo-etch is also included for a pair of engine deck screens.

The lower hull has additional interior sidewalls that were the start of the crew compartment interior as well as a floor section that is the base of the engine compartment. The interior has the torsion bar suspension visible on the inside of the hull, just like on some of the better Panther and Tiger kits on the market. The suspension arms and road wheels are all nicely done as are the return rollers, showing the early design that would serve as the basis for future tanks like the M46, M47, M60 and M1.

The engine compartment is nicely laid out with a detailed Ford V8 engine, cooling fans, transmission, exhaust system and even fuel cells. You'll definitely want to pose the engine bay access hatches open or leave them loose so you can show off that nice compartment.

So with that nice engine compartment, why did Hobby Boss not finish up with the crew compartment? We may see a future release with one perhaps, but the layout is definitely there should an aftermarket company want to fit this kit with a crew compartment. In fact, aside from the interior side walls, engine firewall, and the torsion bars along the floor, the only interior detail is the portion of the M2 machine gun that protrudes into the bow gunner's space.

Detailing on the upper hull is definitely well-done as Hobby Boss shows off their fine styrene injection molding technology. The light guards, fender brackets, and tool boxes are finely molded and a little weathering will really pop out the detailing.

Like the crew compartment in the hull, there is no detailing in the turret either. I would have at least expected a gun breech, shield and recoil mechanism in there, but the barrel terminates with the mantlet. Nevertheless, the exterior detailing is still quite nice from the shell ejector port, periscopes, antenna mount, and lift rings, there is some nice detail to also highlight with a little weathering.

Markings are provided for a US Marine Corps M26A1 from the Korean War.

This is a nice looking kit and it should stand well against the Tamiya and DML Pershings on the market. With the fully loaded engine compartment, this tank offers some interesting diorama possibilities. Hopefully the aftermarket community will render the crew compartment as well as this kit would look great with all of the hatches and access panels open.

My sincere thanks to HobbyLink Japan for this review sample!

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