|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||New Tool Kit|
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.
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 female version which means that it has full machine gun armament. The male, which is being kitted as well, has two cannon for its armament. As the sponsons are different, it does not appear that you can do a male with this kit. These machine guns were jacketed to prevent enemy fire from hitting the barrel and putting the gun out of action. It may have also provided some cooling. To help with steering, these tanks had a trailing wheel set. It was later discovered that this was not needed and future tanks did away with this feature. The tank also had a cover atop it to keep hand grenades from landing atop it. This was screen covered and this kit comes with a photo etch screen. To use it, the X brace on the roof piece will need to be cut away. P.e. is also used for some other small external detail bits. Those who are not comfortable with the material do not have to use it on the kit, but it really does help out.
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 four gun mounts are designed to turn. There are separate instructions for the placement of the photo etch parts. Since the sponsons are extra pieces, you could probably do a training tank which often had these items removed since they were not needed. No decals are included, though 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.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_heavy_tanks_of_World_War_I January 2014
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