Wednesday, November 17

Preview Update: Tamiya's new M18 Hellcat in 1/35th scale last minute details

Tamiya's new M18 Hellcat in 1/35th scale is almost ready for mainstream release. We have some extra information on the kit and pictures of what can be expected in our preview...

Preview: Tamiya's American Tank Destroyer M18 Hellcat in 35th scale

American Tank Destroyer M18 Hellcat
From Tamiya
1/35th Scale
Military Miniature Series No.376
An overall length of 192 mm
Two marking choices are included
The subject: The M18 Hellcat
During World War II, the M18 Hellcat tank destroyer was developed by the United States Army to compete with powerful German tanks such as the Tiger and Panther. Equipped with a high-powered 76mm tank gun on an open-top turret to aid vision for the gun crew. 

An overhead shot of an M18 Hellcat Tank Destroyer showing the open turret configuration.
To secure space inside the turret, the main gun loading section was laid out with the barrel rotated 45 degrees. A lighter, automatic transmission and the first torsion bar suspension for American tanks were a feature of this tank, where speed was a factor in the design and use. The tank can "shoot and scoot" out of danger if needed.

A soldier mans the M2 .50 calibre machine gun on an M18 during a training maneuver. The Hellcat’s main gun was a high-velocity 76mm cannon
The star-shaped 9-cylinder gasoline engine mounted on the rear of the hull demonstrated a maximum speed of over 80km /h, making it the fastest tracked vehicle in World War II (and fastest tank in US service until the Abrams). Production of the Hellcat began in July 1943, welcoming its first line on the Italian front in 1944. 
After that, the Hellcat was dispatched to Northwestern Europe and the Pacific front and it had a fair share of victories against not only German tanks, but all other soft skin and infantry it encountered. The Hellcat contributed to the victory of the US military as a pioneer in anti-tank combat.

The new kit from Tamiya:
This new tooling of the American Tank Destroyer M18 Hellcat is reproduced in 1/35th scale. And although there is no set release date and price, one would think it would be appearing about the end of the year.
The kit's features:
- This new kit has an overall length of 192 mm, and an overall width of 80 mm. 
- It is based on research of the actual vehicle, the height-reduced body is equipped with a powerful 76mm tank gun, and the fearless style is reproduced with a rich sense of reality. 
- The interior of the turret, such as the main gun loading section, ammo racks, radio, and swivel gear, has a detailed finish. 
- The texture of the canvas cover attached to the mantlet is also realistically recreated. 
- The headlight lens is a clear part. 
- For the complicated suspension, the parts are integrated together to make for easy assembly. 
- The single pin type track is a connection type with a straight part integrated. 
- A full-body image of a standing tanker is included
- Two types of markings for vehicles deployed on the Italian front at the end of World War II are included.

- A compact yet powerful model that has been struggling to take advantage of its high mobility. Two types of markings were selected from the vehicles belonging to the 805th Tank Destroyer Battalion.
- The open-top turret is the highlight of the M18. Not only the inside of the high-density turret where many equipment is arranged, but also the sharp details of the M2 heavy machine gun are the highlights.
- Like the real thing, the main gun is at an angle of 45 degrees to secure space inside the turret. Ammunition racks and seats are also made into parts with a rich three-dimensional effect.
- The canvas cover of the shield uses 3-D scanning technology to realistically express wrinkles, textures & seams.
- A  full-body figure of the commander with a map in one hand is included in this kit.
- The 76mm ammunition is fired and unfired versions are included in the kit. The 12.7mm machine gun ammunition box is also available.
- The tracks are an easily to assemble and detailed construction
- The characteristic openings on the sides of the starter wheel and guide wheel are also present
- The intake/exhaust port grill on the upper surface of the hull is composed of separate parts, and the mesh-like structure is sharply moulded.
- The details of the hull interior such as the floor and bulkhead are also finely finished. The shells mounted on the sponsons on both sides of the car body are also included.
You can see more about this and Tamiya's other kits on their website...