T95 Super Heavy Tank - First Look
Some of you who are familiar with late-WW2 and immediate post-war US armor might be scratching your heads and asking yourselves ‘What is a T95 Super Heavy Tank?’ This review will answer this, among other questions you might have.
In 1943, the US Army identified the need for a heavily armed assault tank to help attack the Siegfried Line fortifications on Germany’s western borders. The Ordnance Department and Army Ground Forces agreed in March 1944 to build a test batch of five vehicles, with an eventual target of 25. At that time, the vehicle was known as the Heavy Tank T28.
Design and development work dragged on through 1944, and it was not until March 1945 that the Pacific Car and Foundry Company commenced production of the initial five vehicles. At that time, since the 105mm T5E1 gun was housed in a fixed casemate rather than a rotating turret, the Ordnance Department requested that the vehicle be redesignated as the 105mm Gun Motor Carriage T95.
The first examples were not completed until the end of 1945, with the first arriving at Aberdeen Proving Ground on December 21. Somebody noticed that the war was over, so the order was reduced to two prototypes only. They were evaluated by the US Army at the Aberdeen Proving Ground and Ft Knox, until 1947. During the evaluation, in June 1946, the vehicle was again redesignated as the Super Heavy Tank T28.
The T28 was so heavy (95 short tons) that it required four tracks mounted side by side for adequate flotation. This resulted in an overall width of 14’ 11.5” which meant that the two outer sets of running gear had to be made removable, to allow the vehicle to be transported by rail. The outer suspension units could be bolted together and towed behind the vehicle.
One of the two prototypes suffered an engine fire at Yuma in 1947, after which it was broken up and sold for scrap. The other example was presumably mothballed, but was discovered at Ft Belvoir in 1974. It was subsequently handed over to the Patton Museum at Ft Knox, where it remained until 2011, when it was transferred to Ft Benning. It is planned that the vehicle will be part of the Patton Park Exhibit, which is due to open in 2020.
DML released a 1/35 scale kit of the T28 back in 2012, as kit #6750.
If you’ve read this far, you’re probably scrolling back up, looking at the box art picture at the top of the page, and asking yourself ‘Why does the gun barrel look so big?’ Again, fear not. Your question will be answered.
Somebody involved in the World of Tanks online game decided that the T28 was a very cool vehicle to include in the game, but that it was under-gunned. They therefore took the 155mm T7 gun that was originally intended for the Heavy Tank T30, and grafted it onto the T28.
There are people who like to complain about World of Tanks, citing that the game takes a bunch of liberties with historical accuracy, and that the vehicles in the game, which are based on CAD renderings, are often not strictly accurate either. There’s a lot of truth in that. However, the popularity of the game has given us kits of vehicles like the T28 and the Soviet Objekt 704, which we never thought we’d see released in styrene. If that means that people must also be permitted to play a historically inaccurate game, that’s ok with this reviewer.
DML has taken their T28 kit and rereleased it with parts to build the 155mm gun, as kit #6825 with the rather confused name T95 Super Heavy Tank, which mixes up the three official designations of the real vehicle.
The new kit includes everything that was in the original box, plus two new parts for the 155mm gun. This means that you can build a ‘real’ T28 as well as the World of Tanks version.
The kit includes a total of 1554 grey styre parts on 25 sprues, of which 398 are unused.
The upper and lower hull, while technically Sprue F, are actually separate parts. I included a (hopefully) familiar object for reference, so you can get an idea of just how big this model is.
Here are Sprues B and C . You get two of each of these sprues.
Also labeled B, but in blue, is another sprue from DML's 76mm Sherman kits, which supplies the cupolas for the roof of the superstructure. The rest of the parts will go into the spares box. The kit contains two of this sprue.
Sprue D contains a bunch of the larger hull parts, and also the new, two-part 155mm gun barrel. The kit contains one of this sprue.
Sprues G and E are supplied molded together. You get 4 of each. Sprue G contains suspension parts and the periscopes. The periscopes are (obviously) not molded clear but that doesn't particularly bother this reviewer since I usually paint them anyway. Sprue E contains the individual center guide teeth for the tracks - all 432 of them.
Sprue J contains a nicely rendered M2HB .50-caliber machine gun.
Sprue Q contains many of the suspension parts. You get 8 (yes, 8) of these sprues. Note that the sprue is cut into two sections and bagged separately in the box.
Also labeled 'Q' on the sprue layout diagram in the instructions, but actually bagged separately, are the separate tires for the road wheels. These include embossed 'U.S. Tire' labels.
There are two etched frets containing 70 parts.
You also get 32 metal coil springs, a 640mm length of metal tow cable and a turned brass aluminum barrel for the 105mm gun option.
The tracks are comprised of 8 lengths of Dragon Styrene track - two for each track run.
The 6-page instruction sheet is in the traditional exploded-view format.
The painting guide includes two (obvioiusly) fictional mutli-colored camo schemes. The decal sheet includes two white stars within circles, along with two 'USA's and a selection of numbers so you can make up your own registration numbers. The decals from the original T28 kit are not included.
DML’s original kit made a mistake with the dimensions of the tracks, assuming that the T28 used the standard 21” T80 tracks from the Heavy Tank M26, rather than the modified 19.5” T80E4 tracks that were actually fitted to the T28 prototypes. This throws the width of the entire vehicle off by about 11mm in 1/35 scale. On the upside, the model is so large that the discrepancy is not immediately noticeable, and it still looks like a T28.
As for the DS tracks, these seem to be the subject of almost religious fervor in the modeling world. Either you love them or you hate them. If you love them, you’ll be overjoyed with this kit because you get four whole track runs and eight segments of DS track. These particular tracks are even more special because you get 432 separate, individual center guide teeth to glue to the DS track runs.
If you hate DS tracks, or hate separate guide teeth, you’re probably going to stop reading here and start cussing rather a lot. However, DML’s mistake with the track width means that you can substitute your favorite aftermarket T80 tracks if you wish.
You’re going to spend a lot of time on the suspension. There are 16 bogies, and each one is comprised of 23 parts including two metal springs. Be aware though, since there are two sets of tracks on each side plus side skirts, that most of the suspension details are hidden if you choose to model the outer track/suspension units in place.
Compared to photos of the original, there is also a discrepancy with the positioning of the drive sprockets. They are mounted slightly too low, so the rear section of the top track runs slopes downward to the sprocket, rather than being level. The final drive fairings on the lower rear hull are consequently too low, also. There's not much you can do about that without major surgery, but thankfully due to the side skirts it's barely noticeable with the outer track/suspension units in place.
As noted above, the kit includes two etched brass frets. One fret provides links between the bogies, which are nicely represented but will be completely invisible if the outer track units are in place. The second fret is, frankly, puzzling and provides the two large stowage boxes on the sponson sides, and a number of other small brackets which would have been much easier to assemble if represented in styrene. The brass is also very thin, so you'll need to be careful that you get the bends right the first time, or you're likely to break the part on the second try.
In summary, this kit has its issues, but it will build into an impressive model and it certainly looks like a T28...or a T95, or whatever you want to call it.
A full build review will follow.
Highly Recommended for Advanced builders.
Thanks goes out to Dragon Models USA for this review kit.
Reviewed by Neil Stokes
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