M26 Pershing
1:35 Scale - Kit No.35254
First Look by Terry Ashley

The Kit:
This kit has raised a fair bit of interest not just for the subject matter but with the announcement by Tamiya it will feature “workable” suspension, more on that shortly.

The kit has 267 parts moulded in olive drab plastic and has the usual excellent details and finesse we have come to expect from Tamiya.
Along with this are two continuous T81 track lengths, a decal sheet and numerous nuts, bolts, screws, poly caps and small spring steel lengths for the suspension. Also included are two long bolts which fit through holes in the lower hull to allow you to attach the model to a diorama base if you want to take advantage of the suspension. You have to open up these holes yourself so if you don’t wish the use the bolts the hull bottom is still intact.

The surface casting detail on the hull, turret, hatches and other parts is also nicely done with the inclusion of casting numbers on the turret and hull, although the large casting marks on the lower bow, mantlet and hull hatches are not there.

The lower hull/suspension:
Torsion Springs
Yes the suspension is workable; this is done by having the axles separate (obviously) and held in place with poly caps. The front idler and rearmost axle have notches in the end of the axle into which is fitted the spring steel ‘springs’ and these are then screwed into the lower hull to give a torsion bar effect to keep the axles in place and tension the track correctly. It is a simple yet well engineered assembly, the only minus is that the connecting arm between the idler axle and first axle is held together by small screws (as it needs to be movable also), but these should be hidden by the first road wheel so really shouldn’t be a problem.

This connecting arm will also ensure the first road wheel takes advantage of the spring on the idler axle to be held in place.
The road wheels themselves have very well defined hub and bolt detail while the drive sprocket has the lightening holes in the outer rim section and the two guide rings in the centre of the sprocket, all wheels are also held in place by poly caps as is normal for Tamiya.

Shock absorbers are on the two front and rear axles as well as the travel stops on the lower hull, in all a very comprehensive suspension assembly.
The rear final drive housings have nice bolt detail as well as the large support flanges between the bottom hull and the drive housings.
The rear hull plate has nice weld seems and a hollow exhaust outlet for good definition plus the lights, telephone box and tow cable fitted.

Hull Top:
As mentioned the cast effect on the hull is very nicely done and the hull has separate hull hatches and engine bay doors, I think the doors aren’t separate with adding an engine in mind but more to achieve good definition for the louvers on the doors, but of course it makes adding an engine easy (do I hear resin makers working on this right now?).
The hinge detail on the driver’s and co-driver’s hatches is well defined with separate outer sections and hinge mechanism and the hatches feature interior detail. The hull machine gun is also a separate part that fits into the hull opening from the inside.

The upper hull also has the full fenders included which make for a large moulding. It should be noted that the kit doesn’t include the fender bracing turnbuckles on the front and rear fenders as seen on many M26s. This is correct for the initial series T26E3s shipped to the ETO in early 1945 (notable those taking part in Operation Zebra didn’t have these turnbuckles fitted), but were fitted to later vehicles along with designation change to M26.
If modelling a later WWII M26 or one from Korea these turnbuckles would have to be added from scratch. It would have been nice to see these included especially as one of the marking options is for a Korean vehicle.

The fender storage boxes and supports are all separate as are the lights and guards as you would expect. The periscope guards on the hatches are also separate pieces which is nice to see.

The Turret:
This again features nice cast texture with casting numbers on the rear bustle; all hatches are separate with interior detail while the gun mount is held in place with large poly caps to allow movement. The large mantlet also has good cast texture but no casting numbers as there should be, with the barrel being the usual two halves with a separate large muzzle brake also in two pieces.
Many small fittings are provided for the turret exterior including the spare track mounts and large storage box on the right side.
The width of the turret bustle from just behind the crew hatches arrears to be slightly too narrow but I don’t think it’s something that most would notice or probably even worry about?

Two crew members are included, a three quarter figure tank commander and half figure loader designed to fit into the open turret hatches, the uniform detail is quite good on these and a huge improvement on kit figure from the past.

The Tracks:
These are the T81 type supplied as continuos lengths but are quite flexible and feature adequate details inside and out, although the guide pins are solid instead of having the centre cut-out, something that would almost be impossible to include in this medium.


The decals feature a good selection of vehicle markings, data stencils and a few data stencils for 2 ‘K’ ration packs. The decals themselves have the usual Tamiya thick carrier film we have come to know and love?
Markings provided are for four vehicles:
A: Company B, 1st Tank Battalion, USMC, Inchon Korea, September 1950
B: No.9, Tank Company A, 18th Tank Battalion, 8th Armored Div, Czech Slovakia, 1945
C: No.10, Tank Company E, 76th Armor Rgt, 2nd Armored Div, Germany 1945
D: No.5, 2nd Platoon, Tank Company F, 33 nd Armored Reg, 3rd Armored Div, Elsdorf Germany, February 1945

The Sprues

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Another nice kit from Tamiya, the workable suspension will be a talking point but is it worth the effort? As most modellers will not be playing with the finished kit but end up putting it in a static setting, either a diorama, sitting on a small base or just the table I’m not sure? The same result could be achieved just be giving the axles separate as Dragon did, but on the positive it will allow you to position the vehicle on uneven ground without having to work out the axles positions and glue in place before the kit is finished, so I guess it’s up to the individual to decide.
Overall it is another excellent offering from Tamiya with many fine details and the usual ease of assembly and adds to the ever growing ranks of allied vehicles.

Dragon v Tamiya:
It is inevitable that comparisons will be made between the two kits as they are both of the same T26E3, I have added here a brief comparison with pics of the two kits parts side by side.
But I can say that both kits are very good with pluses and minuses in both and it certainly is not a case of offloading the older kit just because Tamiya have released one as with some other kits.

Pershing: A History of the Medium Tank T20 Series
Presidio Press
Richard P. Hunnicutt
The M26 Pershing and Variants
T26E3/M26, M26A1, M45, M46/M46A1
Schiffer Military History Book
Troy D. Thiel ISBN 0-7643-1544-7
M26 Pershing Medium Tank
Museum Ordnance Special Number 3
G.Ronald Lehman
Darlington Productions, Inc.
M26/M46 Pershing Tank 1943-1953
Osprey New Vanguard 35
Steven J. Zaloga
ISBN 1 84176 202 4
The Photo Journal of the Second World War No.7

Ampersand Publishing.
Allied & Axis
Pershing/Patton in Action
Squadron/Signal books #2040
Jim Mesko and Don Greer.
ISBN 0-89747-442-2

On the Web:
AFV Interiors (excellent details in the Archives)
IPMS London
(A nice walkaround in the Reference section)
TM 9-735 (M26 Manual on-line) (A new site worth watching, includes a section on the M26)

Page created 3 July 2002

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