|PRICE:||$12.95 from www.scale-model-kits.com|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Includes two photo etch frets|
The first Mark E was built in 1928 by a design team that included the famed tank designers John Valentine Carden and Vivian Loyd. The hull was made of riveted steel plates, 1 inch (25 mm) thick at the front and over most of the turrets, and about 3/4 inch (19 mm) thick on the rear of the hull. The power was provided by an Armstrong Siddeley Puma engine of 80–95 horsepower (60–70 kW) (depending on the version), which gave it a top speed of 22 mph (35 km/h) on roads.
The suspension used two axles, each of which carried a two-wheel bogie to which a second set of bogies was connected with a leaf spring. Upward movement of either set of bogies would force the other down through the spring. This was considered to be a fairly good system and offered better than normal cross-country performance although it could not compare with the contemporary Christie suspension. High strength steel tracks gave over 3000 miles (5000 km) of life which was considerably better than most designs of the era.
The tank was built in two versions:
The Type B proved to be a real innovation, it was found that the two-man turret dramatically increased the rate of fire of either weapon, while still allowing both to be fired at the same time. This design, which they referred to as a duplex mounting, became common on almost all tanks designed after the Mark E.
The British Army evaluated the Mark E, but rejected it, apparently due to questions about the reliability of the suspension. Vickers then started advertising the design to all buyers, and soon received a trickle of orders eventually including USSR, Greece, Poland, Bolivia, Siam, Finland, Portugal, China and Bulgaria. A Thai order was placed, but taken over by the British when the war started. Vickers built a total of 153 (the most common figure) Mark E's.
The Soviets were also happy with the design and licensed it for production. However in their case local production started as the T-26, and eventually over 12,000 were built in various versions. The Soviet early twin-turret T-26s had 7.62 mm DT machine guns in each turret, or a mix of one machine gun turret and one 37 mm gun turret. Later, more common versions mounted a 45 mm gun and two DT machine guns. The final versions of the T-26 had welded construction and, eventually, sloped armor on the hull and turret. Because the T-26 was in such wide use and was a reliable platform, a variety of engineer vehicles were built on the chassis, including flamethrowers and bridgelayers. A novel radio-controlled demolition tank was built on the T-26 chassis also. During the Spanish Civil War the Soviet Union sent the T-26 to the Republican Army. The Italians, after suffering losses from Republican's T-26 during the battle of Guadalajara (1937), captured some of these tanks which served as a model for their M11/39 and M13/40 light/medium tanks.
The best way to get the most bang for the buck when it comes to molding kits is to pick a subject that can be done as a multiple of variants. So it is with UM and its various boxings of the Vickers 6 ton light tank. To date, they have produced over a dozen different kits with the same basic hull. This allows them to produce different upper hull items/turrets for the wide number of variants that were done and there are yet more than can be produced, so this really was a smart choice.
Typical of UM kits, the mostly green sprues are very well molded with minimal or no molding glitches. With 188 parts on both injected plastic and photo-etch sprues, there are a number of quite small bits. For this reason, the builder will have to be quite careful about removing the bits from the sprues and keeping them together. I'm sure the 'carpet monster' has quite a taste for these small morsels! Of course, some parts are not used for this version.
Many builders will appreciate that the photo-etch is really not as intensive as I've seen on some 1/72 armor kits and is appropriate for the tank. The major p.e. bits are the 'armor' for the turrets and wraps around them. The tracks are the link and run variety with the separate tracks only used where they curve over the idler and sprocket gears.
The instructions are really very well done. The construction drawings are clear and sharp with all notes regarding what goes where and any modifications needed clearly shown. Despite what is a large number of parts, it seems that construction will go rather quickly as long as the builder pays attention to what is being done. Color information is with Humbrol paints, but basically, the unmarked vehicle will be a dark green. Those with left over markings for a similar tank should be able to use them on this vehicle if so desired.
A big model this will not be and due to all the small parts, one should have some experience with UM kits before tackling this one. The end result will be a very neat representation of one of the more common pre-WWII tanks.
Thanks to www.scale-model-kits.com for the review sample. Get yours from the link at a considerable discount.
If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.
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