T29 Heavy Tank
Takom, 1/35 scale
Reviewed by Cookie Sewell
At the end of the Second World War the US Army was coming to the realization they did actually need a heavy tanks to defeat massive enemy tanks like the Tiger II and its proposed successors; this was brought home at the 1945 Berlin Victory Parade when the Soviets paraded their new IS-3 heavy tank. As a result research began on creating a new series of heavy tank designs.
Two options were pursued and both used similar designs. The T29 was developed using a lengthened M26 Pershing chassis and similar turret design with the main gun being a very high velocity 105mm gun. The companion T30 used the same hull and turret designs, but then used a 155mm main gun instead. One avenue was defeating enemy armor with high power and the other with massive weight of shot. Another difference was the engine; the T29 used a derated ground forces version of the Allison V-1710 aircraft engine and the T30 used the ancestor of the Continental V-1790 which became the standard US engine family beginning with the M46 medium tank.
Both tanks were trialed in the late 1940s and eight T29s were built with three different modifications. The last one, the T29E3, added a cross turret coincidence rangefinder which was massive in size and shape. But neither this tank nor the T30 filled the bill; as a result they developed first the T34 with a high power 120mm gun and later the T43; this prototype became the M103 which did get into production.
To their credit Takom has now produced three kits: the T29, the T29E3, and the T30/T34. This makes sense from the point of view that all three share a common hull and turret basis so “mix and match” sprues yield three different kits (the T29E3 has a different turret shell for reason of its rangefinder assembly). This kit, the T29, comes with two different gun barrels and mantlets (one with a canvas cover, and the other as initially built). All of the hatches are separate and permit opening them up, but the engine deck is one piece.
Assembly starts with the suspension and will be familiar to anyone who has built kits of postwar US tanks with the exception you now have eight road wheels per side and seven return rollers. A nice touch is the T80E3 tracks also include the correct “duck bill” edge extenders. No guides for either alignment of the road wheels arms nor the tracks are included, but as the tank has seven return rollers and “live” tracks that is pretty much irrelevant. Some details are molded in place such as the handles for the stowage bins but others are not like the tie-downs for the twin tow cables.
At the front of the hull the lights are quite different from any other modern tank and are assembled from three to seven parts each including the lenses. Clear view blocks and a clear cupola ring are also included.
On the turret there is a two-piece turret ventilator and also a 12-piece .50 caliber machine gun. The canvas mantlet consists of four parts plus a gun barrel with the canvas shroud molded in place; the clean one comes in eight parts with the gun barrel being smooth. The muzzle brake comes in four parts with the two deflector rings as separate parts.
Four options for finishing are included: as built with no markings at all (olive drab); test markings from APG with serials and data applied (olive drab with white markings); “what if” for B Company, 70th Tank Battalion, Germany 1948 (black over OD scheme with partially subdued markings); and C Company 191stTank Battalion, Germany, December 1948 (winter whitewash over OD with white markings). A full decal sheet is supplied.
Overall my experience with Takom kits is that they are easier to assemble than many others and the fit is excellent; their SMK was the nicest kit I have done in five years and the first to need NO putty at all to finish. This looks to be cut from the same cloth.
C 102x2 Wheels, suspension, details
E 9 Engine deck, mufflers, hull rear
G 10 Fenders, final drives, stowage bins
H 60 Hull front, hull details
I 6 Clear styrene
J 55 Turret base, turret details, mantlets
L 54 Link-and-length tracks
M 16 Gun barrels, mantlet sections
- 1 Turret shell
- 1 Hull pan
- 1 Length of steel wire