Master Box 1/72 Mk.I 'Male' British tank
KIT #: 72003
PRICE: $ 22.95 SRP
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Gaza Strip modifications


The British Mark I was a tracked vehicle developed by theBritish Army during the First World War, and the world's first combattank. Born of the need to break the domination of trenches and machine guns over the battlefields of theWestern Front, it was the first vehicle to be named "tank", a name chosen as an expedient to maintain secrecy and to disguise its true purpose. It was developed to be able to cross trenches, resist small-arms fire, travel over difficult terrain, carry supplies, and to capture fortified enemy positions. It is regarded as successful in many respects, but suffered from many problems owing to its primitive nature.

The Mark I entered service in August 1916, and was first used in action on the morning of 15 September 1916 during theBattle of Flers-Courcelette, part of theSomme Offensive. With the exception of the few interim Mark II and Mark III tanks, it was followed by the largely similar Mark IV, which first saw combat in June 1917. The Mark IV was used en masse (about 460 tanks) at theBattle of Cambrai in November 1917. The Mark V, with its much improved transmission, entered service in mid-1918.

The unusual rhomboidal shape was to give as long atrack run as possible to allow for crossing the widetrenches prevalent on WW I battlefields. Due to the height necessary for this shape, a turreted armament would have made the vehicle too high. Instead, the main armament was arranged insponsons at the side of the vehicle.

Those tanks sent to Palestine were modified and without the peaked roof on top and without the steering wheels in the rear (as it had been determined that they were not necessary). Despite supposing to get Mk III tanks, the folks in Gaza instead received Mk I versions that had been used at the Tank School. Since the Turks had already been told about these tanks by their German allies, they were not frightened of them when they first were seen and were able to use artillery to take care of some of them. As a result, the British had to use different tactics than originally planned. These tanks did not make much difference in the war in the Near East, but once tactics were improved, they were able to be used effectively. 


 This is not the first WWI tank kit produced as Emhar has done the subject in this scale before. However, that kit, while meeting a need, is rather light on detail. This new one from Master Box is not like that at all with very nicely detailed parts and properly done rivet detail that looks very much the part.

This is the male version which means that it has cannon as the main armament.  The differences between this and the previous female kit are that there are different one-piece sponsons for the cannon armament. There is also no rear steering required. The upper roof racks are also different. Now I should mention that since there are several common sprues between these two kits, many of these unnecessary bits are still there, but are not required for the build.

Instructions are a book form with 24 well drawn construction steps that include detailed drawings of the completed kit to ensure that you have gotten all the pieces in the right place. You'll find that the tracks included in the kit are the vinyl type which one assembles at the end of the build. The gun mounts are designed to turn. Since the sponsons are extra pieces, you could probably do a training tank which often had these items removed since they were not needed. There is a full color four view of the box art tank on the back of the box. Paint info is also provided in generic, Vallejo, and Lifecolor references. These tanks were brush painted for the most part and in some rather interesting camo designs.


WWI does not get a lot of 'press' when it comes to model kits. What are produced are few and far between. Perhaps as WWII get truly glutted, the market will move in this direction. This is a very nice looking kit of this important military vehicle and if you like the idea of doing WWI arms, then this should be on your 'must have' list.


April 2014

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