Emhar Mk. V "Hermaphrodite"
WW I Heavy Battle Tank (4005)
by Cookie Sewell
1/35 Scale Kit; 124 parts (116 in dark grey styrene, 8 in black vinyl-like
plastic); price US $29.95
Advantages: will build into a model of a Mark V as used by the USA,
Russia, and Britain
Disadvantages: some shape problems, too many parts carried over from Mark
IV kits, same poor quality track
Rating: Recommended with Reservations
Recommendation: for British, American and Russian WWI fans
When Dale Wilson's great book "Treat ‘Em Rough" on the
history of the creation of the US Tank Corps in WWI came out a number
of years ago, I was really excited over the fact that he covered the histories
of the 301st and 304th Tank Brigades and their various combat episodes
in France. Alas, there were no styrene kits of either the Renault FT or
British Mark V at the time. There were resin versions of both tanks, and
a white metal FT in 1/32 scale, but the only plastic kits at the time
were the two Emhar Mark IV variants. Both were somewhat rough (as many
first kits from small companies tend to be) and suffered from the worst
set of tracks provided with any recent kit – a black vinyl-like
material that would at least accept liquid modeling cement, but had its
joints in the wrong places – right in the middle of the large plate-type
Several years ago a Russian company released a Mark V kit with interior,
which sounded great until you saw it up close. It also sold for a usurious
$60 in the US and was no bargain.
Some time ago Emhar released a new kit of the Mark V, the definitive
World War I heavy British "lozenge" tank type. Reviews were
not very kind to it, and as they are finally readily available in the
US I can now understand the disappointment of the other reviews such as
Colin Knapp of the UK over this kit.
First off, Emhar (which according to the sole new sprue in the kit is
now owned by Pocketbond) pulled a "Tamiya" and simply added
a new sprue to an older kit and raised the price. This wouldn't have been
too bad if the older kit was of high quality, but the new sprue shows
far better skill at mold cutting than the originals. (It's not as bad
as putting $800 worth of rims on a 1984 Yugo, but close.)
Second, many of the shapes used by the Mark V were modified based on
field experience from the Mark IV, and the kit did not catch them. The
Mark V used different "Male" sponsons with a slant inward at
the back and different details; the Mark IV (from what references I have)
did not and is closer to the kit's sponsons.
Some of the details are also carried over, such as the jacketed machine
guns on the "Male" tanks. Most of the photos of Mark Vs I could
find showed unjacketed Hotchkiss machine guns and not the heavier ones.
The kit provides only three of them, whereas it would need four to fill
in all of the basic sites for machine guns on the "Male" (the
"Female" ones are from the Mark IV and while much cruder are
designed for use in the drum mounts.)
As noted, the new parts are far cleaner and neater moldings than the
base Mark IV, and that includes the new upper observation tower and even
the signaling semaphore.
Worst feature of all is that the original kit tracks are included, and
there has been no improvement in them that I can see. (When the original
kits came out, at least one US model company – The Model Cellar
from Pennsylvania – came out with a brilliant set of working single-link
tracks for the Mark IV, which would also fit perfectly on the Mark V;
alas, I have not seen either The Model Cellar or their tracks for at least
six years now.) It's too bad that Emhar produce a set of single-link track
for this kit, as it would go far to fix its one toylike feature.
Given all that, the kit does permit the modeler to build either a "Female"
(two twin machine gun sponsons), a "Male" (two sponsons with
one machine gun and one 6-lber gun each), or a "Hermaphrodite"
(also called "Composite") type with one of each.
Markings are included for six generic tanks: two British "Males"
and one "Female", one from the Kubinka Museum in Moscow painted
up as captured German, and two Russian ones (one captured "White"
vehicle and one "Red" vehicle from the time of the Russian Civil
Overall, this is a really disappointing kit and one that could have been
much better with some more forethought and less attempt to reuse an obsolete