Wednesday, August 7

In-Boxed: M-46 Patton from Takom in 1/35th scale

We welcome John Bonanni to the TMN "crew" as he takes on Takom's M46 Patton in a spirited build guide. First up, he is showing us what is in the box, before building, and then painting and then weathering the kit to a great standard in separate articles. See what comes in the box first with his examination...

In-Boxed: M-46 Patton
From Takom 
1/35th scale
Plastic injection moulded kit
The kit comes with 9 marking choices
Product Link on the Takom Website
History of the M46 Patton:
Born in World War II, the M46 Patton expanded on the battle-tested design of the M26 Pershing. Following the war the tank was improved and reclassified; production began in late 1948 at the Detroit Tank Arsenal. Major improvements included an 810hp Continental AV-1790-3 air-cooled engine, Allison CD-850-1 transmission, and M3A1 90mm main gun. 
Additionally, the steering levers were replaced with a joystick and disc brakes wear added. The rear engine and exhaust system also saw a redesigned with the exhaust being routed to mufflers mounted on each side fender. Lastly, the M46 Patton can be easily identified with the small track tensioning wheel that was added behind the last road wheel.   
The upgrades to the original design proved well-suited for the harsh terrain throughout the Korean countryside. From August 1950 the M46 Patton began entering the conflict and served until the end of the war replacing all M26 Pershings and most Shermans. Despite rare tank-versus-tank engagements, only 119 during the war, the Patton proved to be far superior in every aspect when going against the North Korean T-34/85s. 

Following the war, the M46 Patton faded away in active service and was replaced by the M47 Patton. During the 1950s M46s found their way into the hands of some European countries (France, Italy, and Belgium) for training prior to the arrival of their M47s. 
Takom's new M46 Patton kit... So with the history bit off my chest, let’s get into it. My first impressions of the kit were very favourable even before opening the box. I have admired Takom’s dynamic box arts and the M46 is no exception. The striking head-on view of a vehicle wearing the ‘Tiger Face’ scheme will certainly grab any modellers’ attention. Upon opening the box I was greeted by 10 grey sprues, 1 clear sprue, lower hull tub, upper turret half, braided copper cable length, decal sheet, and 2 track alignment jigs. 
The decal sheet contained within the kit has options for nine different vehicles that served in Korea. The iconic ‘Tiger Face’ scheme is incorporated into four of the six US Army marking options, which served in Korea from 1951 to 1955. Additionally, you are given three options for US Marine Corps vehicles that were deployed from 1952 to 1953.
The single-piece bathtub style lower hull contains a lot of details, unfortunately, they’ll never be seen. It’s also important to note this piece was moulded flawlessly without any warpage.
The large black track jigs serve two purposes. The first time they were used in the build was to ensure all of the suspension arms were properly aligned and levelled. After the glue cured securing the arms I removed the jigs and set them aside until later for track assembly.

I was pleasantly surprised to see Takom has included two different types of link and length tracks. You can choose between T80E1 steel narrow chevron or T84E1 rubber chevron style. 

From my limited research, you have the freedom to choose from either style if you want to recreate the striking box art scheme. Vehicles from C Company, 6th Tank Battalion, 24th Infantry Division used both pad styles.
Another option Takom provides is the choice between a canvas-covered mantlet and a standard cast mantlet. 
 Each option has its own barrel, but the canvas option is a two-piece assembly. 
 The muzzle brake is moulded in two pieces with a joint running along the horizontal axis. 
The entire upper hull surface is moulded as a single piece. Engine grates are crisply moulded and the forward section is detailed in a cast texture.
Stowage boxes are moulded as single pieces and only require grab handles and locking latches.
For a part as simple as a wheel you think a model manufacturer couldn’t improve the moulding. Well, Takom has by eliminating the centre mould line. This simple improvement saves a lot of time during the laborious process of cleaning road wheels. 
 A close up to show the detail
Side skirts are included as well, but during my research, I observed they didn’t stay on the vehicle terribly long. 
Following Takom’s trend, the finer details are nicely moulded and the sprue attachment point narrows to a point making it easier to remove the part.
Forward hull hatches have a cast texture as well and the periscopes can be modelled open or closed.
The turret is moulded like most 1/35 armour subject with a top and bottom piece. Again, this is moulded in a beautiful cast texture. Some may not like the cupola being attached, but it made no difference to me. 
Well, that is it for part I of the build guide and review. John has already built, painted & weathered this kit. Keep tuned over the next two weeks as we show you his build process and the painting and weathering of this "ripper" of a Patton!

John's Build Guide Part II: 1/35th scale M-46 Patton from Takom
John Bonanni

Thanks to Takom for sending this kit to Jon to review and to build.