Mk V "Hermaphrodite"
WWI Heavy Battle Tank

Emhar Kit No. 4005
1:35th Scale
First Look Review by Peter Brown

When Emhar released their Mk IV kit a few years back, it did not attract great attention from modellers and some of the comments on it were, well, not complementary. It is best described as not being to the same standard as current kits from the major manufacturers, being more like some of the older style production of Russian kits.

Some reviews pointed out faults, including the lack of unditching beam rails but few brought up the main mistake with the Male version in that the rear face of the sponsons meets the hull at right angles on the kit when on the real vehicle it is angled forward to allow the sponsons to be pushed inwards to reduce the width for rail transport. Overall the kits make up into something which looks like a Mk IV out of the box, with extra work it can be made into a very nice model and some very well converted examples have appeared at model shows.

Emhar also released the lengthened Tadpole version of the IV but have waited until now to produce a V. This tank was a logical development of the IV. While retaining the classic rhomboid shape, external changes included a narrower driver's cab, a second cab or fixed cupola in the middle of the hull top and slatted cooling louvres on each side behind the sponsons, but the most important differences were internal. A more powerful engine and a new epicyclic transmission system which made it possible for one man control the tank, steering and changing gear without the need for help from other crew members. These improved tanks were used in the last year of the Great War in British and American hands, some also sent to Russia where they served for many years post-war and others served in various armies in the 1920s.

This kit is not a new tool, as it uses parts of the older Mk IV kits. These were released as separate kits EM4001 Male and EM4002 Female with the appropriate sponsons, but for the V both sponsons are included which gives the option of Male, Female or the composite or Hermaphrodite with one sponson of each type. Instructions warn that some parts from the IV sprues are not included in this kit, and as well as a new roof there is a complete sprue with the new rear sides and detail parts.

New rear hull parts have to be fitted to the older parts after cutting down, a groove is provided as a guide but take care here. Better to cut off too little and have to trim than cut too much and have to extend! The instructions are a mix of old and new, take care when selecting the parts - for example, use the machine gun barrels from the new sprue which are far better than the old stick-like objects - and access to a few reference photos might help. Here, best guides would be David Fletcher's old Landships or Smithers' A New Excalibur.

Several details need to be added, not least the frame for the unditching beam and the beam itself which will need careful work, and the tracks let this kit down as they did with the Mk IV. They do not capture the thin appearance of the original, and I hope some aftermarket producers will help here. Plastic link-by-link tracks were available but now seem to be no longer in production, there is Accurate Armour's resin T36 WW-I Mk-IV Plate track which is good for the 20.5" style used on IV and V but as far as I know the wider 26.5" track is not available. (Note that the Interus "Mk V Composite" kit 3501 has tracks with are wrong as they are mid-way in width between the two styles).


There is a large decal sheet - oddly, in two parts - which includes several sets of markings. Four are British covering two Males, one Female and a Hermaphrodite which include the white-red-white recognition stripes on the front horns. These will need a lot of care to fit over and around the various details, it may be easier to just paint them on. The sheet includes a bonus of separate numbers which will allow other combinations of serial number to be depicted. Three options are provided for Russian Hermaphrodite tanks, their white-blue-red bands may also be better painted on but there are markings for early styles of Red star with different badges, names and other signs. Final option is for the Hermaphrodite on display in the Kubinka collection, this is finished in German-style markings which I believe are not historically accurate.

Unfortunately for this review, the backing sheet offers no contrast for the white items so most cannot be seen!


Overall, well, this is a kit which maybe has more reservations than recommendations. It will need a fair amount of work to produce a good replica but with little else available - the Interus kit mentioned briefly above is not easy to find and is neither cheap nor without its own faults - this is the most readily available choice for someone wanting a Mk V. If you want one and are prepared for some work then your efforts will be rewarded with something very different from WW2 or Modern AFVs.

The Sprues:

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Page created 26 December 2004

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