Introduction: I posted the first look review of this kit in May 2019. At that point this kit was just hot of the boat and selling fast. In fact, it is such a hit that in 2020 it’s difficult to find except on-line, with prices ranging up to $100 USD not including shipping.
Right up front this is a great kit with very clear instructions (if you follow them). I’m biased toward the Pershing/Patton series of tanks and TAKOM did their homework on designing and producing this kit. While Eduard and Voyager have produced photoetched sets for this kit, in my opinion they are not needed to produce a really good model of the M46 Patton. However, I have to admit in building this kit my AMS did kick in just a little because I added lead foil straps and PE buckles for the pioneer tools, lenses for the headlights, .010 lead wire for the head and tail lights, a lead foil strap for the TC hatch and fine copper wire for the blackout lights. Sometimes you just can’t help yourself.
Let’s build this kit:
Steps 1-9 Suspension and Track: In steps 1-2, you add all the suspension parts (road wheel arms, shock absorbers, idler arms and snubbers) to the lower hull. TAKOM provides jigs (parts Z1 and Z2) to help align the road wheel arms. They really helped getting the suspension parts aligned.
I did have a little problem aligning the connecting rods on parts S9 and S10 with the idler arms (parts S11 and S12). I managed to fix this problem by bending the connecting rod to fit into each idler arm. This did not seem to impact alignment of the idler arms.
In steps 4-6 you construct the road and idler wheels, support roller wheels and drive sprocket. I elected to clear all the parts, but not assemble the road and support roller wheels until the final construction phase. I did this because I found while building the TAKOM T29E3 that it was easier to paint the lower hull and suspension before you attach the road and support roller wheels.
In steps 7-9 you assemble the track. TAKOM provides both the T80E1 rubber backed steel chevron and T84E1 rubber chevron tracks with this kit. I elected to use the T80E1 track as most of the Korean war pictures of M46’s showed this track being used. The track is link and length. You build each track run using the jigs (parts Z1 and Z2) as guides. I elected not to assemble the track to the lower hull until final painting and weathering
NOTE: While the track runs looked good on the respective jigs, when I fit the tracks to the model each run seemed to be a track block short. I believe this was because I didn’t pay careful attention to the spacing of the individual track block during assembling. I was able to address this issue during final assembly by breaking loose and repositioning some of the track blocks.
Steps 10-16 Upper Hull: I started by assembling the pioneer tools to their holder. I added lead foil straps and PE buckles to simulate the tools tie down straps. I did not attach this assembly to the glacis until after painting and marking of the model.
I added all the bits and bobs to the front of the upper hull. You do need to add a bit of filler around the hull machine gun assembly to blend it into the glacis casting. Part S31 is the housing for the external fire extinguisher pull. I added a 2mm strip of .010X.020 plastic to simulate the pull handle. The driver’s and co-driver's hatches (parts S42 and S43) are very well detailed and fit into the hull with no problem.
Moving down the upper hull I drilled out and added part S53 to each side. I don’t know if these are bilge outlets or auxiliary generator exhaust pipes. The parts for the main gun travel lock A10, S32 and S33 are very delicate and prone to tweezer launch so be careful. Also, there are nine lifting rings (part A11) which are very delicate and need care when removing from the sprue. They are also very prone to tweezer launch.
Finally, I added the rear hull plate (part M10) to the lower hull. Take care to ensure the fit between this plate and the upper hull is correct. I added the towing pintle, tow hooks, first aid box and taillights to the rear hull plate. I also added .010 lead wire to each taillight assembly. As a final step, I simulated casting texture of the lower hull with Mr. Surfacer 500.
Steps 17-21 Fender Assemblies: Each fender includes sponson boxes, muffler guards and mufflers, fender supports, headlights and brush guards. Each sponson box has several handles (part A12) which require some mold seam cleanup. Since these are very small parts I elected to clean them on their sprues. Be very careful when you remove these parts from their sprues as they are very prone to tweezer launch. Also, the handrails on each sponson box are very delicate and prone the breaking.
I constructed each muffler assembly but left them off the model until they were painted and weathered. Likewise, I cleaned up the muffler covers but left them off as well until later in the assembly process.
At this point I made the decision to test fit the track and assemble the fenders to the hull. Things went better than anticipated and I removed the track assemblies and glued the fenders to the hull with no issues. Once the fenders had dried, I refit the track assemblies with no fit issues. I added the .010 lead wire and fine copper wire to each headlight and added them on each side of the glacis. I was also able to add the headlight brush guards without any issue. Step 21 shows the addition of sand shields to each fender. Generally, the sand shield were not attached to M46 tanks used in Korea so I elected not to add them to my model.
Steps 22-26 Turret: This kit provides the modeler the option to build the main gun with or without the mantlet cover. Since I’m modeling a vehicle from the Sixth Tank Battalion, I elected to use main gun with the mantlet cover. Another neat option is a very detailed Crouse-Hinds searchlight. These were mainly mounted on USMC M46s, so I did not use this on my model. However, it’s destined for a future project.
The turret shell is in two parts (upper and lower). The instruction would have you add a majority of the turret details to the upper shell before you assemble it to the lower shell. Since most of these detail parts will be easily destroyed by my ham hands, I decided to glue the turret halves together and then add the details. This was the right decision as I needed to use filler on a few spots to fill a gap or two between the two halves.
The mantlet cover is in five pieces. I had no particular problem in the assembly but did need to fill some of the seams where the various parts come together. I also filled the searchlight attachment holes in the mantlet cover. The main gun tube is a two-part affair which required some minor filling of seams. Likewise, the muzzle break is two pieces which also required some seam management. The main gun tube assembly fit into the mantlet cover assembly well, but I used some Mr. Dissolved Putty to fill the seam joint. The instructions show to remove some attachment points from the front of the turret so the main gun/mantlet assembly will fit flush. After removing these attachment points, the fit was generally very good and required just a little filler in a couple of spots.
At this point I started adding the various details to the turret. The kit provides both T80E1 and T84E1 spare track assemblies so make sure you use the one compatible with the tracks you select for the model. I left the spare track assembly off until final painting and weathering. The TC hatch has a punch out mark on the inside center which I addressed by filling it with some .050 plastic strip cut with a circle punch. I also added a strap to the inside of the TC hatch with strip of lead foil. The kit .50 Cal MG is very detailed and required removing a seam line off the receiver and barrel. Finally, I enhanced the turret by applying a coat of Mr. Surfacer 500 to the cast surfaces.
Painting and Weathering: Once I completed all the construction, I washed the various sub-assemblies in hot soapy water to remove all the grime. I then primed everything with Tamiya Grey primer.
I decided I’d paint the entire model with paints from the Mission Models paint line. I’ve had good luck with this paint but haven’t used it for an entire model. I used Worn Black Grey Tires (MMP-105) as a base coat for the track, road and support roller wheels and outlining the various panels and recessed areas on the hull and turret.
Next, I painted the entire hull, turret and the centers of the road and support roller wheels with US Army OD (MMP-025). I applied this paint in thin coats so you could faintly see the panel outlines and recessed areas.
During the fighting in the Han River area, the Sixth Tank Battalion painted tiger faces on their tanks. These were represented by major forward portions of the hull and turret painted yellow with a tiger face, claws and black and white strips. The kit provided marking for two Sixth Tank Battalion tanks, so I figured I’d give it a shot. I was very concerned that any yellow might be too vivid; however, I used Yellow (MMP-007) straight from the bottle with very good results. I hand painted the black and white with Vallejo Model Color paints. The tiger face and claws are decals provided in the kit. I applied a couple of coats for Vallejo Model Air clear coat to the areas to receive the decals. I used several applications of Solvaset to get these decals to conform to the various surfaces. After the decals were set, I applied a second coat of Vallejo Model Air Clear and a final coat of Vallejo matt varnish.
I painted the machine guns, pioneer tools, and track jacks with various Vallejo and Ammo of MIG paints. The mufflers were painted with Ammo of MIG Dark Rust and Vallejo Environment Rust Texture. After an initial base coat of Worn Black Grey Tires (MMP-05), I applied a light coat of Cold Rolled Steel (MMM-02) to the tracks.
For weathering, I applied an initial light wash of Vallejo Oiled Earth to the entire model. I then applied a mixture of AK Earth Effects wash and AK European Earth pigments to the suspension and lower hull. I went heavier with this mixture in areas where dirt would accumulate under the fenders and suspension areas. I applied a mixture of AK Track Rust pigments and Turpenoid to the tracks. At this point, I applied a coat of pigment fixer to all the areas where I’d applied pigment mixtures and set the model aside to dry for 24 hours.
I know this is “old school” but I used Unbleached Titanium oil paint to dry brush the highlights on the areas painted OD and Naples Yellow Extra oil paint to dry brush the highlight on the areas painted yellow. Finally, I used AK Dark Steel pigments to highlight areas on the MGs, worn areas on the tracks and areas on the hull and turret burnished by high traffic.
I have a tank commander figure from DEF Models which I need to paint and add some groundwork to the base to completely finish this project. I’ll provide some update pictures when I complete these tasks.
Patton A History of the American Main Battle Tank, R.P. Hunnicutt, Presidio Press, 1984.
Armor in Korea, Jim Mesko, Squadron/Signal Publications, Inc., 1984
Tank Warfare in Korea 1950-1953, Steven J. Zaloga and George Balin, Concord Publications Company, 1994
M26–M46 Pershing Tank 1943–1953, Steven J. Zaloga, Osprey Publishing, 2000.
The M26 Pershing and Variants, Troy D. Thiel, Schiffer Military History, 2002.
The Patton Tank Cold War Warrior, Michael Green, Pen and Sword Books, Ltd., 2012.
Conclusion: As I mentioned up front, this is a great kit with very clear instructions (if you follow them). The kit was fairly easy to build and does not require any aftermarket detailing to build into a great looking model. I believe TAKOM is one of the best armored vehicle model companies currently in business. The detail provided in this kit is excellent. A couple of weeks ago, I had an opportunity to review the M46 TAKOM used as a basis for this kit. They incorporated all the details on that vehicle in this kit.
Highly Recommended for Intermediate to Advanced skill level modelers.
Thanks go out to TAKOM for this review kit.
Reviewed by Mike Petty
AMPS, 1st VP
AMPS Central Virginia
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