Hobby Boss 1/35 M-26 Pershing

KIT #: 82424
PRICE: $47.99 MSRP
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: New mold kit


Much like other armies at the time, the U.S. Army envisioned two main roles for tanks: infantry support and breakthrough exploitation. From 1942 until the end of World War II, both roles were covered in the main by the M4 Sherman, which was better suited for the "cavalry" role. The infantry would have preferred a better protected and better armed vehicle, even at a price of less mobility. In late 1942, U.S. Army Ordnance started to work on an "infantry-oriented" design which was supposed to be more versatile than the British infantry tanks.

During the next two years, various prototypes were built under the designations T20, T22, T23, T25 and T26. These covered a variety of combinations of weapons, transmissions, and suspensions. However, the initial success of the M4 led the Army Ground Forces command (AGF) to believe that there was no urgent need for a new tank. Even with the appearance of the heavy Tiger and medium Panther tanks, the AGF did not alter its position, believing both tanks would be fielded in relatively small numbers. The AGF was correct about the Tiger, a specialized heavy tank that was never encountered in large numbers. The Panther, first encountered in small numbers at Anzio, however, was produced in very large numbers and formed half the German tank strength in Normandy. Also, according to the Army doctrine of the time, tanks were not supposed to engage other tanks; this was the task of tank destroyers, more mobile armored vehicles with powerful guns, such as the M10 tank destroyer. As a result, the development of the new tank was slow. When the Allies invaded western Europe during Operation Overlord in June 1944, the M4 still equipped the bulk of American tank units. It quickly became clear that the tank destroyer doctrine failed in the field and that even the upgunned Sherman was unable to engage the Panther on equal terms. Efforts were made to speed up development but the tank, by now called the T26 and dubbed the Pershing, reached the battlefield only in February 1945 and saw very little action in World War II.

In May 1946, due to changing conceptions of the US Army's tank needs, the M26 was reclassified as a medium tank. Designed as a heavy tank, the Pershing was a significant upgrade from the M4 Sherman in terms of firepower and protection. On the other hand, its mobility was unsatisfactory for a medium tank (it used the same engine that powered the M4A3, which was some ten tons lighter) and its transmission was somewhat unreliable. In 1948, the M26E2 version was developed with a new powerpack. Eventually the new version was redesignated the M46 General Patton and 1,160 M26s were rebuilt to this new standard. Thus the M26 became a base of the Patton tank series, which replaced it in early 1950s. The M47 Patton was an M46 Patton with a new turret. The later M48 Patton and M60 Patton, which saw service in later Vietnam and Mideast conflicts and still serve in active duty in many nations today, were evolutionary redesigns of the original layout set down by the Pershing.


This now makes the third 1/35 Pershing that has been released, the other two by Dragon and Tamiya. Both of the other tanks are well done and one might wonder why a third is needed. Well, I'm not a marketing person so couldn't tell you but from the look of things, this kit is just as nice if not more so than the previous two releases.

The overall molding of the kit is top notch. No sink areas, no flash and no ejector pin marks that will be seen after construction. Hobby Boss also takes the additional step of having no more than two sprues per bag and covers the delicate parts with protective foam sheet. Means no broken or damaged parts in shipment.

There is no real indication of whether this is a WWII or Korean War Pershing and I don't know enough about the subject to tell the difference. However, I can tell you that there are a ton of parts and that the kit offers a full engine and transmission; in fact a complete engine compartment. If you wish to display your kit with the engine covers open, there will be a lot of detail to show off. Photo etch is kept to a minimum with just two pieces and those used as what looks to be anti-grenade screen. It appears that all the hatches could be posed open, but with no detail in the turret or the rest of the tank, I can't see why you'd want to unless you wished to fill the opening with crew members.

As with many other kits of armor that use torsion bar suspensions, this one has all the bars and looks like it could be positioned in other than a flat position. The kit uses 'rubber band' type tracks. Each side is two pieces and the interlock is very good. I'm not sure if this is deformable styrene or vinyl as there is no indication either way.

Instruction sheets are superbly done and with all the parts and construction steps, two full fold-out sheets are needed. Colors are all Gunze and generic references. The painting guide is full color and shows three overall olive drab tanks. Other paint references aside from Gunze are shown here. None of the three options is identified as to unit or place in history. All are pretty much generic stars with different serial numbers, though one is names 'Margaret 2'. Decals (not shown as they are boring), look to be well printed. My experience with Hobby Boss decals is positive so these should prove to be just as good.  


So now armor modelers have another choice for their Pershing. This one looks to be a very nicely designed and molded kit and I'm sure you'll be pleased with it.



August 2009

Thanks  to Squadron Products for the preview kit. Get yours today at your local retailer or on-line shop.

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