Academy 1/35 M36/M36B2 'Battle of the Bulge' Kit First Look
|Date of Review||February 2017||Manufacturer||Academy|
|Subject||M36/M36B2 'Battle of the Bulge'||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||13501||Primary Media||Styrene, Photo-Etch|
|Pros||Excellent detailing||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$46.00|
The M36 gun motor carriage (GMC) was introduced into the European theater in late 1944 to answer one of the main limitations of the M10 - armor piercing firepower. While the M10 had been relatively effective against the earlier Panzers, its 76mm gun was limited against the heavier armor of the newer Panther and Tiger tanks. The M36 addressed this limitation with a combination of a longer range 90mm main gun and the introduction of armor-piercing rounds. In fact, during the Battle of the Bulge, the M36 was one of the few armored vehicles that could hold its own against the Tiger and Panther. The M36 GMC was a combination of the new turret and gun mounted on converted M10A1 hulls. The M36B2 was the same turret mounted on converted M4A2 (diesel) hulls.
Academy has released this updated M36 with new parts to render both the M10 as well as the M10B2 variants. The kit consists of over 600 parts molded in green styrene and presented on 11 parts trees plus one photo-etch fret. Among the features and options in this kit:
- Choice of drive sprocket styles
- Choice of return roller styles
- Positionable crew hatches
- Detailed driver's station
- Detailed bow gunner/radio operator's station
- Detailed hull interior with crew and ammo stowage
- Choice of rear exhaust configurations
- Choice of gas or diesel-powered engine decks
- Choice of styrene and photo-etched light guards
- Nice turret interior details including stowage and gun breech
- Choice of two muzzle brake types on gun barrel
- Choice of .30 or .50 caliber machine guns on turret rear pintle
- Nice external stowage including pioneering tools
- Optional and positionable turret top cover (M36B2)
Markings are provided for six examples:
- M36, 703 TD, US Army, Belgium, 1944
- M36, 82nd Airborne Div, US Army, Belgium, 1944
- M36, 2nd Cav, US Army, Germany 1945
- M36B2, 53 TC, ROK Army, 1953
- M36B2, French Army, Tonkin, 1951
- M36B2, French Army, Tonkin, 1953
Even though this kit includes photo-etched parts, the skill level is still rated at Basic because the photo-etched parts provide alternatives to the styrene light guards in this kit. The instructions are well done and show you which options to select for a each of the six given subjects.
While the kit provides since nice details inside the hull crew compartment and in the turret, there is no engine or detailing inside that compartment. That's the only thing really missing out of this kit though it is interesting that the retail price has dropped significantly since this kit was last released. Nice! Academy continues to raise the bar in what the modeler should expect in terms of detail and quality for the price.
My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!