ARM: Review - Monogram (now Revell-Monogram) 1/35 scale M48A2 "Big Pat" 50 ton tank

Kit Review: Monogram (now Revell-Monogram) 1/32 scale Four Star Kit No. PM3
7; U.S. Army M48A2 50 ton Patton Tank; 135 parts (133 in olive drab styrene
, 2 black vinyl track runs; retail price (current release No. RM4853) US$22
Advantages: first kit in styrene of the M48A2 version of the tank
Disadvantages: dates to 1958 and has been passed by
Rating: see text
Recommendation: for those into nostalgia or for first time model builders
Back in the 1950s every company was trying to stake out its "turf" and whe
n it came to model armor and military kits that was quite true. Aurora jump
ed out at 1/48, Revell and its ally Adams went for 1/40 scale kits, Renwal
went for 3/8" scale (1/32) and Monogram was caught in the middle. Their sol
ution was to offer "box scale" which was nominally referred to as 1/32; it
was not, and measuring the handy scale guide in the original directions sho
ws it to clearly be 1/35 scale.
Their kits came out with odd choices of numbers as all of the military kit
s were PM (PA was aircraft and PC were cars) so this was actually Monogram'
s 37th plastic kit and not their 37th military kit.
As it was the 1950s, everything had to work. The kit features rotating whe
els (if you were very careful with assembly, which most kids in those days
were not), rotating tracks (sturdy vinyl units), opening hatches, traversin
g turret and cupola, elevating main and machine gun, and four figures (comm
ander, 1/2 figure of driver, and two infantrymen with "shadow" bases). Whil
e the kit was quite accurate for its day (only Revell/Adams kits were close
) it was very simplified for its time, which today makes it very much a cre
ature of the past.
For years it was the "go to" kit for kitbashing with the much better Tamiy
a M48A3 kit if you wanted an A2 version but now - with new kits coming from
DML of the M48A3 series and Revell (Germany) with a new A2 kit, its time h
as pretty much expired.
But the kit does have two big advantages. One, it is only about US$23 at f
ull retail so by the standards of the day is "dirt cheap". And two, with it
s low part count of 135 parts is a great starter kit for the new modeler or
the youngster. About half the cost of some video games, it is a great way
to get into modeling and due to the simplicity of the kit (other than the w
heel fasteners) is not going to generate the frustration level of an 1100 p
iece T-72B or 1300 piece Tiger I.
Revell-Monogram is still "milking" the molds and has recently re-released
the kit so anyone who is thinking of getting into armor modeling (and start
ing simple) or wants to get a son or daughter involved (it can happen!) sho
uld consider this kit.

Cookie Sewell
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