Friday, September 2

We see a Patton forming - New art & info on Takom's "Big Three" U.S. releases in our preview...

Takom have released more information on their trio of 35th scale M48A3 Mod.B, M48A5, and M247 kits. Box art & CAD drawings betray a lot of the kit's features, which goes along with the real things in our preview...

New art & info on Takom's "Big Three" U.S. releases in our preview...
A trio of three tough American tanks, the M48A3 Mod.B, M48A5, and M247, all in 35th scale, are due to be released in October from Takom. We know now a little more about these releases now after we received new boxart and CAD images of the kits today. We will go through all three now.

The M48A3 Mod.B:
The need for an upgraded engine and the want to cease using the high consumption (and flammability) of the gasoline engine in the A2, the diesel powered AVDS-1790 was recommended for the replacement engine for the A3 Patton. By February 1957, the Army had converted around 600 M48A3 Patton tanks and the Marine Corps had received 419. Because many M48A3 tanks were conversions from earlier models, many details varied among individual examples of this type. M48A3 tanks could have either three or five support rollers on each side and might have either the early or later type headlight assemblies, some retained their earlier Mod A turrets and different cupola styles. 

M48Patton 1st Division Quarter Cavalry. Vietnam, 1968/9
In addition to the conversion of older model M48s, Chrysler continued to build new vehicles. These used the M48A2 hull design (with 3 return rollers) and had redesigned fenders and mudguards, armoured boxes around the taillights, among other minor details. They were fitted with another re-designed commander's cupola, the M1E1. It had a modified hatch to allow more room in comparison to the previous M1 cupola, and the two rear vision blocks were eliminated. The driver's steering wheel was replaced with a T-bar control and received a padded seat. M48 procurement for the Army ceased and M48A2 hull production ended in May 1961. The Newark Tank plant was closed in October. This newest version of the M48 series received the designation Tank, Combat, Full-Tracked; 90mm Gun, M48A3 on 19 March 1958.

Infantry of E Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines, riding on an M48A3 in Vietnam, 1966
The M48A3 was withdrawn from Europe by October 1961, being replaced by the M60 tank. As US armoured and cavalry units rotated out of combat deployments to South Vietnam most of their M48A3s were either directly transferred to the South Vietnamese Army or to Thailand. FORSCOM withdrew the M48A3 from combat service with both the US Army and US Marine Corps in 1973, replacing them with the M60A1.

USMC M43A3’s training in 1973
Some M48A3s continued in service with National Guard units until 1979. Some were repurposed as Armoured vehicle-launched bridges (AVLBs). Afterwards, they were relegated to target use for the testing of radar and weapons systems until the mid 1990s. They were replaced in this role by the QM60.

The Kit's features:
From the cover art and CADs we can glean a few things, first that the hatches can be opened of closed, that the suspension and the road wheels are posable, the tracks are two-pieces each in plastic, which looks pretty promising. Photo-etch iis of course included int he kit to represent smaller parts.

The M48A5:
The last major US upgrade of the M48 tank series was the M48A5. This conversion upgrade was applied to M48A3 versions still in service with Army National Guard units in order to maintain the training levels of Guard units as well as using a commonality in ammunition amongst tanks. The upgrade featured the mounting of the M68 105mm gun carried in the M116 mount and the all-metric measurement M16 fire control system. The hull was upgraded by applying the M60A1 RISE Hull PIP Update Kit and incorporated as many of the components as possible.
Some of these included the retrofit of the AVDS-1790-2C RISE diesel engine incorporating TLAC engine panels coupled to with a CD-850-6 cross-drive transmission, a 300-gallon fuel capacity and the T142 track assembly, M13A1 NBC protection system for the crew and the replacement of the .30 calibre M37 coaxial machine gun with the 7.62mm NATO M219/T175 machine gun.
Because all M48A5 tanks were conversions from earlier models, many characteristics varied among individual examples of this type. M48A5 tanks could have either three or five support rollers on each side and might have either the early or later type headlight assemblies, some retained their earlier cupola styles.
The Kit's features:
The second M48 of the month (this IS becoming a Patton­čśä), this tank has several features of note. First, we noticed was the three part tracks, with the centre and two pads to each link. The posable/movable suspension and hatches that be posed open or closed. The modeller has the choice of the cupola M-60 or .50 cal machine guns.

The M247 "Sergeant York":
 Dubbed the "Sergeant York", the M247 DIVAD (Division Air Defence) was a self-propelled anti-aircraft gun (SPAAG), developed by Ford Aerospace in the late 1970s. Based on the M48 Patton tank, it replaced the Patton's turret with a new one that featured twin radar-directed Bofors 40 mm rapid-fire guns. The vehicle was named after Sergeant Alvin York, a famous World War I hero.
The Sergeant York was intended to fight alongside the M1 Abrams and M2 Bradley in the U.S. Army, in a role similar to the Soviet ZSU-23-4 and German Flakpanzer Gepard. It would replace the M163 Vulcan Air Defence System SPAAG and MIM-72 Chaparral missile, ad hoc systems of limited performance that had been introduced when the more advanced MIM-46 Mauler missile failed to mature.
Despite the use of many off-the-shelf technologies that were intended to allow rapid and low-cost development, a series of technical problems and massive cost overruns resulted in the cancellation of the project in 1985.

M247 Sergeant York at the AAF tank museum in Danville, Virginia
The Kit's features:
Like the M48A5, this kit features the three part track links with the posable/ movable suspension and wheels (not that you would want to be rolling it around). The kit's turret is fully posable in the transport or the firing positions, with posable hatches. Although this type was not adopted, Takom have five marking choices in the kit's box. There is photo-etch int he bo for the smaller/ thinner parts also. 

These three are expected in November. Keep tuned here for more info on the kits themselves when they present themselves...

You can see more about Takom's kits on their website or on their Facebook page