T28 Super Heavy Tank - Smart Kit
|Stock Number and Description||Dragon Models Limited 1/35 scale ‘39-‘45 Series Kit No. 6750; T28 Super Heavy Tank - Smart Kit|
|Media and Contents:||1,720 parts (1,573 in grey styrene, 69 etched brass, 36 clear styrene, 32 steel springs, 8 DS Plastic track runs, 1 twisted steel wire, 1 turned aluminum barrel)|
|Price:||pre-order price US$69.95 via Dragon USA Online|
|Review Type:||First Look|
|Advantages:||First kit of this vehicle in styrene; nice attention to detail|
|Disadvantages:||Use of wrong tracks causes a 15" error in overall width|
|Recommendation:||Recommended with Reservations to US Army and “Super Heavy” fans|
As the German army began to adopt heavier and heavier tanks and tank guns, the US Army soon felt it would need a heavy assault gun or tank destroyer to both deal with them and German fortifications. The gun decided upon was a high-powered 105mm weapon dubbed the T5E1, but while trialed on a T1E1 (“M6A2") tank chassis it was found to be not sufficiently mobile or armored to serve the purpose. As a result, a new super-heavy tank chassis was designed and five prototypes were ordered in March 1944.
The new tank was actually an assault gun with the new gun in a ball mount at the front of the hull. Parts were borrowed from other US tanks to speed development, such as a modified version of the HVSS suspension from the M4 series tanks and T80E4 track from the M26 tank as well as other components. Dubbed the T28 heavy tank, it was soon redesignated as the T95 150mm GMC due to the lack of a turret. But in the end only two pilots were built; even Pacific Car and Foundry had trouble producing a vehicle this large and heavy. But due to all of the problems with its construction the first prototype did not reach AGP until 21 December 1945 – three and a half months after the end of WWII.
Massively armored (12" frontal armor at 0 degrees) but also massively underpowered by a 500 HP Ford GAF engine, even with an automatic transmission and low gearing its best top speed was 7 mph. Weighing at a whopping 190,000 pounds – 95 short tons or 86.1 metric tons – a full fueling of 400 gallons gave it a road range of 100 miles (which would take over 12 hours to reach!)
The T95 ended its life as a test mule at the Yuma Engineer Proving Ground but one did survive and is now part of the Armor Museum Collection at Fort Benning, Georgia.
For many years this beast has been a popular subject for scratchbuilders, usually in 1/72 or 1/76 due to its huge size. But now, on the heels of the Meng A39 Tortoise, DML has released a new kit of this monster in 1/35 scale. It has more parts than any other DML kit other than the K5(e) Leopold gun, which is a lot for a vehicle 37 scale feet long.
But sadly DML muffed the dimensions of the vehicle as they apparently assumed it used standard T80 type tracks with a 23" width; it does not, as the tracks used for this tank were narrowed to only 19.5" each. The result is that the basic vehicle has a scale width of 131" (95mm) and the auxiliary tracks each have a width of 31.6" (23mm). That results in a total width of 194" (141mm); the actual vehicle dimensions were 124" and 27.75" or 179.5" (130.2mm) overall. The only good news is that, like the Commander Models M6 heavy tank, the vehicle is so big that many modelers probably won’t notice or care.
There are a number of anomalies with the kit. For one, DML DID get the modified HVSS bogies (no shock absorbers) right but they use a metal spring inside each of the HVSS spring units for reasons best known to themselves. Each bogie (and there are 16 of them) consists of 23 parts with separate tires and wheels to each one.
There is a lot of work in the inner mounts for the auxiliary track runs – each has an etched brass operating lever that needs to be installed during assembly, and they are handed with 12 unique ones included. But as someone noted on the CAD drawings, DML apparently missed the fact that there are facing inside the auxiliary track runs and as a result the modeler will have to chase down photos of the runs off the vehicle to get them right if he wants to show the tracks being towed or attached.
The aforementioned tracks are neatly done, but they are the usual DML HVSS style track which requires the guide teeth - here the later style T80E4 style with “fork” center guide and not the T80E1 “box” style. There are 408 shoes per tank (four runs of 102 each) and DML provides every one of them.
The rest of the kit is pretty straightforward. The muzzle brake is slide moulded and suitably massive, and two Sherman sprue sets are provided for the commander’s and driver’s cupolas. The nicely done DML M2HB machine gun from their late M4 kits is also included.
The last two steps cover towing the tracks with the various tow connections or fitting them to the main vehicle and also the optional track fitting winches (two are provided with a choice of four possible locations on each side).
No credits for technical assistance are provided for this kit.
Only one finishing option is provide – olive drab with “T95.1" and registration number 40226809. A number jungle is included on the Cartograf sheet to opt for the second vehicle (40226810) or “Panzer ‘46" what-if finishes.
Overall, it is disappointing that DML would go to this much trouble for a new kit and make such a bad mistake on the width and tracks used by the vehicle.
A 57 M4 47 degree hull - hatches, hull details, OVM
B 37x2 M4 T23 style turret - commander’s cupola, vision mounts, details
B 51x2 Hull details, brackets, mounts
C 34x2 Outer track run mounting brackets, hull details, muzzle brake
C 18x2 Clear styrene
D 23 Outside track covers, gun mount, engine louvers, hull details
E 108x4 T80E1 style guide teeth
F 2 Upper and lower main hull
G 14x4 Brackets, tow cable heads
J 11 M2HB machine gun and mount
Q 46x8 HVSS suspension components\
Q 31x8 Drivers and idlers, return rollers
Q 64 Q33 - rubber road wheel tires
Y 1 Twisted steel wire
Z 8 DS Plastic Track runs
? 14x2 Hand rails, sight head mounts, first aid bin
MA 27 Etched brass
MB 42 Etched brass
MC1 1 Turned aluminum gun barrel
MC2 32 Steel springs
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.