by: Brent Sauer [ ]
Until the M26 Pershing was introduced into battle in 1945, Germany’s Tiger and Panther tanks ruled the battlefield. They hunted Allied tanks without mercy and Allied tank losses skyrocketed. The Allies primary battle tank prior to the M26 had been the M4 Sherman. The standard M4 Sherman with its 75mm main gun was only on equal terms with the German Panzer IV. It could only defeat the Tiger and Panthers with side or rear shots. It wasn’t uncommon for 3 to 5 Shermans to be required to defeat one Panther or Tiger tank. The Allies made modifications to the Sherman hull and added larger main guns to open top turrets to produce “Tank Destroyers”. These “Tank Destroyers” were stop-gap measures only, as they did not have the necessary armor protection to truly duke it out with the current German tanks. The hunted Allied tanks became the hunter with the introduction of the M26.
After a controversial development, the T26E3 was chosen for production and began deployment to Europe. Operation Zebra resulted in the first 20 T26E3s arriving in Antwerp, Belgium in January 1945. The T26E3 was armed with a 90mm main gun, a M1919A4 MG on the front right hull, a M1919A4 MG in the turret and a M2HB machine gun on the turret roof. It’s combat weight was 92,355 pounds. It was significantly better armed and armored than any Allied tank before it. This tank was truly able to fight face to face with any German tank and had a reasonable chance of winning. The T26E3 became the M26 heavy tank in March of 1945. It was later reclassified as the M26 medium tank and nicknamed the Pershing, keeping with army tradition of naming their tanks after famous US generals.
I was inspired to build this kit after seeing a documentary on TV which showed a T26E3 engaging a Panther in Cologne, Germany. I was in awe as I watched the 90mm gun of the T26 slice through the Panther with no problem. When Tamiya released their M26/T26E3 in August 2002, I knew it was a “must have” kit.
WHAT IS IN THE BOX
The Tamiya kit consists of 273 parts (not including the bag of hardware) molded in dark olive green styrene. The instuction booklet is 16 pages/22 steps and laid out in typical Tamiya fashion. The instructions are easy to understand and include marking options for 4 different vehicles. The markings are: 1) 3rd Armored Div. Febuary 1945 Germany 2) 8th Armored Div. 1945 Czech Slovakia 3) 2nd Armored Div. April 1945 Germany 4) US Marines September 1950 Inchon, Korea. I wish there were more vehicle options than those provided but I suppose I shouldn't be greedy.
Upon opening the box, I was greeted with 7 trees of parts, 1 lower hull section, 2 “rubber band” type tracks, the instruction booklet, and a bag of hardware. The bag of hardware consists of screws, nuts and various spring assemblies for the functioning suspension. You read correctly, this thing builds up with a functioning suspension.
Main Kit Details
The turret and hull molding is first rate. The hull and turret has raised production markings and exquisite surface texture. I was disappointed with the “rubber band” type tracks. The tracks represented in the kit are the early production 24 in. T81 track. The tracks have good detail on both sides but there is something about them that I just don’t like. I would have rated this kit higher if it would have had better tracks or individual track links. The .50 cal assembly is the same one that we have been seeing in Tamiya’s M8 Greyhound, M20 Armored Utility Car, and the US 2 ½ ton truck accessory set. I will probably replace this with a Verlinden .50 caliber set. The main gun is molded in two pieces, as is the muzzle brake. The inside of the turret hatches are detailed but there is no turret interior. The tow cable is molded in 3 pieces. The cable is one piece with each shackle molded seperately. This makes it much easier to replace the molded cable with picture wire or an after market cable.
Kit Accessories and Figures
The kit comes with several extra accessories. These include several .50 and .30 cal ammunition cans, M1919A4 tripod, K-ration boxes. There are four spare track links that mount on the turret. Also included are two crew figures. The first one is a tank commander figure(3/4 figure) that is looking through binoculars in a upper torso exposed position. The commander is dressed in a jacket, pants, scarf, gloved hands and helmet. The second figure is a loader figure(1/2 figure) that is standing out of the loaders hatch with his arms resting on both sides of his hatch opening. The loader is wearing a jacket, scarf, gloved hands and a tankers helmet.
Overall this kit looks like a real winner and I am anxious to get it assembled. After reviewing the kit instructions, none of the assembly looks complicated. The size of this thing will be impressive.
Stay tuned for my assembly review that will follow in the coming month or two.
References for this review included the following:
Tamiya 1/35th scale M26/T26E3 Pershing item #35254
Squadron/Signal Publications Armor Number 40 Pershing/Patton in action
Allied-Axis The photo Journal of the Second World War issue #7
Click here for additional images for this review.
Copyright ©2021 text by Brent Sauer [ ]. All rights reserved.