ARM: Review - DML 1/35 scale T28 Super Heavy Tank

Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/35 scale ?39-?45 Series Kit No. 675 0; T28 Super Heavy Tank - Smart Kit; 1,720 parts (1,573 in grey styrene, 69
etched brass, 36 clear styrene, 32 steel springs, 8 DS Plastic track runs, 1 twisted steel wire, 1 turned aluminum barrel); pre-order price US$69.95 via Dragon USA Online
Advantages: first kit of this vehicle in styrene; nice attention to detail
Disadvantages: use of wrong tracks causes a 15" error in overall width
Rating: Recommended with Reservations
Recommendation: to US Army and ?Super Heavy? fans
    As the German army began to adopt heavier and heavier tanks and tank guns, the US Army soon felt it would need a heavy assault gun or tank destroyer to both deal with them and German fortifications. The gun decided upon was a high-powered 105mm weapon dubbed the T5E1, but while trialed on a T1E1 ( ?M6A2") tank chassis it was found to be not sufficiently mobile or armore d to serve the purpose. As a result, a new super-heavy tank chassis was des igned and five prototypes were ordered in March 1944.
    The new tank was actually an assault gun with the new gun in a ball mount at the front of the hull. Parts were borrowed from other US tanks to speed development, such as a modified version of the HVSS suspension from the M4 series tanks and T80E4 track from the M26 tank as well as other components. Dubbed the T28 heavy tank, it was soon redesignated as the T95 150mm GMC d ue to the lack of a turret. But in the end only two pilots were built; even Pacific Car and Foundry had trouble producing a vehicle this large and hea vy. But due to all of the problems with its construction the first prototyp e did not reach AGP until 21 December 1945 ? three and a half months afte r the end of WWII.
    Massively armored (12" frontal armor at 0 degrees) but also massively unde rpowered by a 500 HP Ford GAF engine, even with an automatic transmission a nd low gearing its best top speed was 7 mph. Weighing at a whopping 190,000 pounds ? 95 short tons or 86.1 metric tons ? a full fueling of 400 gal lons gave it a road range of 100 miles (which would take over 12 hours to r each!)
    The T95 ended its life as a test mule at the Yuma Engineer Proving Ground but one did survive and is now part of the Armor Museum Collection at Fort Benning, Georgia.
    For many years this beast has been a popular subject for scratchbuilders, usually in 1/72 or 1/76 due to its huge size. But now, on the heels of the Meng A39 Tortoise, DML has released a new kit of this monster in 1/35 scale . It has more parts than any other DML kit other than the K5(e) Leopold gun , which is a lot for a vehicle 37 scale feet long.
    But sadly DML muffed the dimensions of the vehicle as they apparently assu med it used standard T80 type tracks with a 23" width; it does not, as the tracks used for this tank were narrowed to only 19.5" each. The result is t hat the basic vehicle has a scale width of 131" (95mm) and the auxiliary tr acks each have a width of 31.6" (23mm). That results in a total width of 19 4" (141mm); the actual vehicle dimensions were 124" and 27.75" or 179.5" (1 30.2mm) overall. The only good news is that, like the Commander Models M6 h eavy tank, the vehicle is so big that many modelers probably won?t notice or care.
    There are a number of anomalies with the kit. For one, DML DID get the mod ified HVSS bogies (no shock absorbers) right but they use a metal spring in side each of the HVSS spring units for reasons best known to themselves. Ea ch bogie (and there are 16 of them) consists of 23 parts with separate tire s and wheels to each one.
    There is a lot of work in the inner mounts for the auxiliary track runs ? each has an etched brass operating lever that needs to be installed dur ing assembly, and they are handed with 12 unique ones included. But as some one noted on the CAD drawings, DML apparently missed the fact that there ar e facing inside the auxiliary track runs and as a result the modeler will h ave to chase down photos of the runs off the vehicle to get them right if h e wants to show the tracks being towed or attached.
    The aforementioned tracks are neatly done, but they are the usual DML HVSS style track which requires the guide teeth - here the later style T80E4 st yle with ?fork? center guide and not the T80E1 ?box? style. There a re 408 shoes per tank (four runs of 102 each) and DML provides every one of them.
    The rest of the kit is pretty straightforward. The muzzle brake is slide m oulded and suitably massive, and two Sherman sprue sets are provided for th e commander?s and driver?s cupolas. The nicely done DML M2HB machine gu n from their late M4 kits is also included.          The last two steps cover towing the tracks with the various tow connection s or fitting them to the main vehicle and also the optional track fitting w inches (two are provided with a choice of four possible locations on each s ide).
    No credits for technical assistance are provided for this kit.
    Only one finishing option is provide ? olive drab with ?T95.1" and reg istration number 40226809. A number jungle is included on the Cartograf she et to opt for the second vehicle (40226810) or ?Panzer ?46" what-if fin ishes.
    Overall, it is disappointing that DML would go to this much trouble for a new kit and make such a bad mistake on the width and tracks used by the veh icle.
    Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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