Tamiya 1/35 M26 Armored Tank Recovery Vehicle Kit First Look
By Ray Mehlberger
|Date of Review||January 2008||Manufacturer||Tamiya|
|Subject||M26 Armored Tank Recovery Vehicle||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||35244||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Neat and highly detailed kit||Cons||Figures in stiff standing and seated poses|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$94.00|
One of the major factors that allowed the Allies advance, after the Normandy landings on June 6, 1944, was the quick recovery and repair of battle damaged tanks. This is where the M26 Armored Recovery Vehicles and their brave crews came in.
The U.S. Army started developing large size towing vehicles in 1941, influenced by the British experiences in the North African Campaign. In that mechanized desert war, the recovery of damaged or inoperative tanks often made the difference between victory or defeat. Aware of that importance, the U.S. Army placed great weight on the development and deployment of a tank transport vehicle.
The M26 was used with Freuhauf’s M15 semi-trailer as the 40 ton M25, also known as the “Dragon Wagon”, but the M26 tractor was also extensively used on it’s own (subject of this kit). The M26 was frequently loaded with welding equipment, vices, and other necessary tools for emergency tank repairs, on the front lines of battle.
The powerplant of the M26 was a 240 hp, 6 cylinder, Hall-Scott 440 engine, which transferred power to the rear wheels via a chain drive. The armored cab could hold a crew of 7, and was armed with a ring-mounted M2 heavy machine gun. The M26 was also equipped with a 15.9 ton winch on the front, two 27 ton winches on the rear, and an adjustable support arm for recovery and towing operations, called the “A-Arm”.
The M26 first saw action on the Italian Front in 1943, and was later exclusively used in the island advances in the Pacific. In all kinds of weather, in the middle of the night, or under heavy barrages of enemy fire, the repair crews continually fulfilled their duty to recover and repair damaged tanks. The crews strove to complete as many on site repairs as possible.
This is one of two boxings of the M26 that Tamiya markets. The other one being the M26 with the trailer as the “Dragon Wagon” (kit no. 35230). In that combination the kit sells for a whopping $131.00. I purchased mine at a bargain price of $55.00 at a little momma – poppa hobby shop. Would like to have had the trailer too, but my wallet could not stand it.
The kit comes in a large tray and lid type box. The box art shows an illustration of the M26 against an all white background. A side panel has a two view color illustration of the M26 towing a Sherman. The box art shows an illustration of the M26 against an all white background. A side panel has a two view color illustration of the M-26 towing a Sherman. It is the same vehicle as the box art and is of the 458th Ordinance Maintenance Company, March 1945 in Holland. It is in overall olive drab with white serial number U.S.A. 535230 stenciled on the sides and the nickname CAT MOUSE in white on the front with a white star.
A second side panel shows a color illustration of another M26 in overall olive drab with the serial no. USA 545812 stenciled in white letters on the side of it just below a cheesecake picture of a gal and the nickname BLACKSHEEP II, also in white letters. However, we are not told what outfit this was with. It is shown towing a captured German Panther Ausf.G tank. Next to this is illustrations of two crewmembers.
The tray of the box has cardboard partitions in one end of it. One of these holds the cab shell. Next to it, in a second partition, is a box that holds: a small stainless-steel fret of PE parts in a cello bag. White string (wound around a card), metal rods, a metal tube, lengths of wire and chain in a cello bag. Eleven black vinyl tires and a tree of black vinyl poly-caps in a cello. A tree of clear parts in a cello. A tree with parts for a 50 cal machine gun (molded in olive drab) and a chrome plated tree of headlight housings in another cello. The rest of the tray holds 12 trees of olive drab parts. These are all in cello individual cellos. There are two trees that have duplicates and the duplicates are packed 2 to a cello.
The decal sheet and instructions complete the kit’s contents.
The instructions consists of a 8” x 12” format of 20 pages that are stapled together into a booklet.
Page 1 of the instructions begins with a black and white photo of the model and the figures made up. It is followed by the history of the M26 in Japanese and English.
Page 2 begins with the history in German and French. This is followed by READ BEFORE ASSEMBLY instructions, illustrations of tools, CAUTIONS and a paint listing of Tamiya brand paints suggested for use to finish the model.
Pages 3 through the top of page 17 give a total of 36 assembly steps. Step no. 13 is for assembly and painting of the crew figures.
The bottom of page 17 has an explanation of how towing was attempted by the M26, followed by illustrations of how to set up the towing apparatus to haul a Sherman model if you have one.
Page 18 continues showing how to set up your model to tow a Panther and an alternate setup for towing a Sherman again. The bottom of the page has a 3-view illustration for one of the schemes offered on the decal sheet. It is for the Independent 458th Ordinance Maintenance Company, March 1945 – Hollard. This is the vehicle nicknamed “CAT MOUSE” (described earlier).
Page 19 has four more schemes as 2-views.
- The vehicle nicknamed “BLACKSHEEP II” (described earlier)
- M26 of an unknown unit. It has the nickname “DRY RUN” on the sides in white and the serial no. USA 536720 on the sides. The white star on it’s nose has a circle around it
- M26 of another unknown unit. It has the nickname “ NEW YORK” and the serial no. USA 536710 in white on the sides
- M26 of another unknown unit. It has two illustrations of females on the side and no serial number. The star on the front is surrounded by a circle
Page 20 begins with a 2-view of another scheme for a M26 serving with the Japanese Self Defense Force Weapons School ( Ibaraki Prefecture, Tsuchiura). It has the white serial no. 52-0001 on the front and rear along with some Japanese lettering. The bottom of the page has painting and decal application instructions and an after-market service card to mail to Tamiya for any service needed regarding the kit.
Since this kit has hundreds of parts, I am not going to try and list what parts are on the trees – like I usually do in my reviews. I apologize…but it would be next to impossible for me. I haven’t a clue what half this stuff is until I actually assemble it. You can view the pictures of the trees etc. for yourself.
The kit comes with a crew of six. Four of them are seated and go into the cab. The other two are standing. I wish that some of these guys were posed working on the winches etc.
This is one neat kit and very complicated assembly. I do not recommend it for the novice or beginning armor modeler. One should have a few other AFV kits under their belts before tackling this one – for sure.