ARM: Review - Takom 1/35 scale WWI Mark IV Male Heavy Tank

Kit Review: Takom 1/35 scale Kit No. 2008; WWI Heavy Battle Tank Mark IV "M ale"; 1,168 parts (736 in brown styrene, 405 in tan styrene, 22 etched bras
s, 2 turned aluminum, 2 vinyl keepers, 1 length of chain); retail price US$ 59.95
Advantages: very clean and complete model of the first fully functional com bat tank; offers such features as alternate position hatches, sponson inter iors, optional position unditching beam and "spud" type track grousers
Disadvantages: each plate type track link consists of five parts!
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all WWI fans, especially UK, German and US
    While the British created the first real tank that saw production - the Ma rk I heavy tank - it was not until the introduction of the Mark IV series i n 1916 that the tank entered true full scale production. While it corrected many of the problems of the Mark I and II (and eliminated the redundant st eering wheels of the Mark I) it retained many of the problems related to it s Daimler engine and drive system and was prone to breakdowns. It did event ually introduce a self-recovery or "unditching" beam carried on a large rai l over the hull of the vehicle and also some modifications such as the addi tion of "spud" type grousers that bolted to the plate tracks to give better traction in the mud of France. Of 1,220 built one third were "Males" with twin 57mm 6-pdr guns and three machine guns and nearly one half were "Femal es" with five machine guns.
    The Mark IV tanks were used by the British and also the Germans, who captu red a number of them when they either broke down or were knocked out behind German lines. The US Army also used some for training in the 301st Heavy T ank Battalion.
    For many years the only styrene kit of this tank available was one from Em har of Britain, but other than its sponsons it was a "flat mold" kit that p rovided a model of either the Mark IV Male or Female variants. But it only had drive wheels and no road wheels, was poor on its details, and had a rat her bizarre rubbery track which was nearly impossible to look right when in stalled.
    Now in the space of a few months not one but FOUR kits of Mark IV tanks ha ve been released - one from Tamiya of a Mark IV male and three from Takom - a Male, a Female and a "Tadpole" with an extended rear section. This kit i s the Male variant and only provides the parts for that tank with no leftov er parts in the box for a Female.
    The kit is quite neatly done as it comes with four times the parts of the Emhar kits for just the hull and its details. All relevant hatches and flap s come as separate parts and may be installed either opened or closed. Howe ver, only the sponsons have any details inside them and even if it had an i nterior it would be virtually impossible to see it unless the sponsons were removed.
    Each 6-pdr consists of 24 parts including its armored shield, and all of t he Lewis guns are slide molded with open barrel shrouds and separate 97 rou nd drums. No ammo racks are provided for either one.
    The running gear is complete - each side has 11flanged road wheel pairs, 2 2 roller pairs, drivers, and idlers plus the geared chain drive to the driv ers (at the rear of the hull). Details are excellent and they look the part , albeit it is a bit dicey when trying to line up 35 sets of wheels when ce menting the sides of the hull sides together!
    The one part of this kit most modelers who have purchased it do not like a re the tracks. Each plate track consists of a plate and a four-part hinge s et that has to be glued to the plate separately and with 136 track links th at can be more than a chore. You can purchase a set of snap-together links from Takom, find a set of tracks in either resin or styrene such as the Mod el Cellar tracks, or if all else fails (and as the directions indicate) sim ply cement the plates together and to the wheels and hull sides.
    There are two options for the unditching beam - one in which it is attache d to the tracks via adapter track plates and one where it is stowed on the rails. This is actually the first time someone has done the research and sh own how the beam actually attached to the track plates and if nothing else kudos to Takom for solving that mystery!
    The only true disappointment is the rather meager finishing options - two - of which one is a captured German tank in three color grey camouflage nam ed Heinz from 1918 and the other is Male 4098 "Lodestar" 12th Battalion RTR in khaki, also 1918. A small sheet of decals is provided but in the case o f Lodestar the modeler has to pain the white/red/white flashes on their own .
    Overall this kit is both cheaper and in some respects better than the Tami ya kit, but that one has been noted to be easier to assemble and has simple r tracks. Your call.
Cookie Sewell
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