Tamiya 1/35 M41 Walker Bulldog Light Tank

KIT #:



$15.00 MSRP


Three options


Rick Reinbott


146 parts on 4 sprues



The M41 Walker Bulldog was a U.S. light tank developed to replace the M24 Chaffee.  Although the M24 Chaffee was a successful design, its main gun was not effective enough against well armored opponents. The primary mission of a light tank was scouting, but the U.S. Army wanted one with more powerful armament. The development of the new tank, T37, began in 1947. The vehicle was designed to be air transportable, and the desired anti-tank capabilities were provided by installing a long 76-mm  gun with an advanced rangefinder. In 1949, with the adoption of a less ambitious rangefinder, the project's designation was changed to T41. Production started in 1951 at Cadillac's Cleveland Tank Plant, and by 1953 the new tank completely replaced the M24 in the United States Army. Initially it was nicknamed "Little Bulldog" and then renamed "Walker Bulldog" after General Walton Walker, who was killed in a Jeep accident in Korea in 1950.

The M41 was an agile and well-armed vehicle. On the other hand, it was noisy, fuel hungry, and heavy enough to cause problems with air transport. In 1952 work began on lighter designs (T71, T92), but those projects came to naught and were eventually abandoned.  The M41 has been been exported to more than two dozen countries including Brazil, Spain, Chile, The Dominican Republic, Guatemala, New Zealand, The Philippines, Somalia, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, Lebanon, Portugal, and Denmark. Many of these tanks were upgraded to prolong their life.  The M41 saw combat during the Bay of Pigs Invasion, with Ethiopia during fighting in the Ogden Desert, and with South Vietnam’s Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) during the Vietnam War.  More than 5,500 M41s were built. 



Upon opening the box, you’re presented with two bags, each containing two sprues of parts. One bag contains the tank parts, while the other contains the figures and the polyethylene caps.  The sprue for the figures contains 26 parts for three figures, one of which is the tank commander.  All parts are molded in olive drab.   Though the kit contains some flash, it is kept to a minimum.  There are also the usual ejector pin marks on some parts.  The overall detail of the parts is good.  The year “1973” is indicated on the sprues, so this kit has been around for awhile. 

The kit features the early version of the M41 with the squared front fenders.  The idler wheels do not have the eight holes that were present on each wheel half to reduce their weight.  The gun barrel is in two halves and features the standardized double baffle.  The gun mantlet contains the hole for the coaxially mounted 7.62-mm machine gun, however, there is no part for the machine gun itself, so that would have to be scratch-built or purchased via the aftermarket route.  The driver periscope slots are just holes in the plastic, whereas the periscopes for the commander, gunner, and loader in the turret are faired-over plastic.  The tracks are the single-length, flexible plastic type with no interior detail.  The hull bottom has holes in it because it was designed for a motorized kit.   

 There are two sets of instructions, one in English and one in Japanese.  The instructions are well laid out, with the construction being broken down into seven steps for the tank, each containing various sub-parts for the lower hull, turret, and upper hull.  There is also a step for assembling the three figures.  There are some nice photos included on the M41 for reference, including one showing the gun mantlet  cover to assist with the instructions on scratch-building a mantlet cover using a polyethylene bag.  There is a nice picture of a finished model as well.  There is a comprehensive painting guide containing generic descriptions for the colors. The decals include markings for three tanks, two from the Japan Ground Self-Defense Forces (#s 106 and 424) and one from the U.S. Army (#532).  There is no individual unit information (Division, Battalion, Regiment, etc.) provided.



Although surpassed in quality by the AFV Club and Skybow kits, the inexpensive Tamiya kit can be made into a nice model of an M41.  It looks to be a fun kit to build straight out of the box, and the detail is enough so that, by adding some scratch-built and/or aftermarket details, it can be made into an impressive-looking model. 



Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M41_Walker_Bulldog

M41 Walker Bulldog in action by Jim Mesko, Armor Number 29, squadron/signal publications (1991)  

Rick Reinbott