login   |    register
Master Box Ltd. [ MORE REVIEWS ] [ WEBSITE ] [ NEW STORIES ]

In-Box Review
172
Mark I "Female"
Mark I "Female" British Tank, Somme Battle period, 1916
  • move

by: Jan Etal [ TREAD_GEEK ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction

By December 1914 the manoeuvre part of World War I had ended. The battlefields became covered by continuous lines of entrenchments and barbed wire entanglements. The killing fields of fire produced by the machine guns nullified any infantry attacks and would lead to huge losses with little to no measurable gains. Many countries were trying to develop something to break the stalemate of trench warfare. The British were the first to field the tank, the Mark I.

Due to a shortage of 6 pounder guns for the Mark I and in order to speed up production of the number of tanks, it was suggested that some tanks be armed with only machine guns. It was reasoned that these tanks would be useful in protecting the cannon armed tanks from infantry attacks. This led to there being two types of Mark I’s being produced. ”Males” (armed with cannon and machine guns) and “Females” (armed only with machine guns).

The first successful use of tanks occurred on September 15, 1916 north of the Somme River. Thirty-two Mark I’s were employed and the tanks penetrated the German lines along a 5 km wide front to a depth of 5 km in five hours. The day of the tank had arrived. The Mark I “Female” had a combat weight of 27 tons (one ton less than the “Male”). It was armed with four .303” Vickers, one 8 mm Hotchkiss machine guns and crewed by eight men. The subject of this review is the 1/72nd scale Master Box. Mk I “Female” British Tank (Somme Battle period, 1916), kit #MB72002.

Contents

The kit contents are contained in a colourful side opening box. Inside will be found a single re-sealable plastic bag that contains all the kit parts. Inside the this bag one will find the instructions, what appears to be three sprues moulded in a medium grey styrene and a medium sized photo etch fret. It should be noted that the largest sprue is two sprues in one as it contains the ‘B’ and ‘D’ pieces. The parts breakdown is as follows:

  • Sprue ‘B’ - 10 (Mark I “Female” specific parts)
  • Sprue ‘C’ - 7 (Mark I Generic body and hull parts)
  • Sprue ‘D’ - 28 (Mark I Generic parts)
  • Sprue ‘E’ - 2 (flexible plastic tracks)
  • Sprue ‘F’ - 8 (Mark I “Male” and “Female” turret parts)
  • PE ‘H’ - 5 (anti grenade screen and framing gussets)

Of the 60 parts provided, only two are marked as unused (a pair of 6 pounder gun barrels). The final content of the bag is a small addendum sheet that contains instructions for the photo etched parts assembly. There are no decals provided with this kit.

The instructions are provided in a four page, two sided booklet. The first page contains a historical account of the Mark I’s development and general overview of the tank. The second page has a drawing of the sprues and the parts numbering. The six remaining pages show 24 construction steps. These are in the form of exploded view line drawings with arrows for some parts placement. The builder will be most likely annoyed by the fact that while parts are referenced in the instructions by their sprue letter and a number, there are no numbers moulded on the sprues. It will be the modellers responsibility to constantly reference the parts diagram for guidance. In this reviewer’s opinion, the instructions are rather ambiguous in areas and lack consistency. The painting guide is located on the back of the box and is for one tank in a multicoloured camouflage scheme. Colour references are provided for the Vallejo and Lifecolor ranges of paints.

Review

On examining the sprues the first thing that will impress you is the level of fine detail on even the smallest parts. Be it panel lines, bolt or rivet heads; they are beautifully rendered. Ejector pin marks are minimal and where they do appear they are on internal surfaces that will not show after construction or be otherwise hidden after the addition of extra parts.

Flash is present on a number of parts but was extremely light and should prove no problem with easily removing it. Mould seam lines were very light and can most likely be removed with a light scraping with a sharp hobby knife. Parts attachment points (gates) vary with the size of the piece as does the number and placement on the part. Some gates as with the roof framing and the rear wheels overlap two surfaces and will require care with cleaning them up.

The first three steps deal construction the top and lower hull of the tank. Only seven parts are involved but mating features (pins into holes, alignment tabs etc.) are limited with the exception of the hull rear plate (D15) which also does not have a reference number present by its part image in Step 3.

In Steps 4 through 6 the rear, wheeled carriage is to be constructed. This assembly is made up of 11 parts and again, the mating features do not appear to be the most positive on some of the parts. In Steps 7 through 9 the track run sponsons are constructed and attached to the hull along with the wheeled carriage.

Steps 10 and 11 are quite busy with adding numerous small detail pieces to the upper hull. A better word to describe a few parts is that they are tiny. One very welcome feature is that Master Box has provided the modeller with the option of having the drivers compartment armoured visors either open or closed.

Steps 12 through 17 has the four machine gun casements constructed and they should be capable of elevation and rotation. Unfortunately the machine gun barrels are not hollowed out during moulding and though not impossible for a skilled builder, it may prove difficult to do for many. Later in these steps the sponsons are assembled and the casements mounted in them. It should be noted that parts C6 and C7, the main sponsons pieces, have large and awkwardly placed sprue attachment points that will require careful clean-up. The last step will be mounting the sponsons to the tank.

In step 18 and 19 the framing for the anti-grenade screening is constructed and Step 20 sees it mounted on the tank. The final steps in the instructions (22, 23, 24) are not exactly steps but three views of the completed model that one can assume is to provide the modeller with references as to final parts positioning.

The small photo etched assembly addendum then must be taken into account. From looking at it, one will see that certain parts should be attached at some prior point during the assembly process and not at its end. The modeller will have to decide for themselves at which point it is appropriate. Another issue that will arise is that the PE fret itself appears very thin and the anti grenade screening has no less than 20 places where it attaches to the fret. One can foresee the screen removal being a slow and delicate process with plenty of opportunity to bend or damage this screening.

Conclusions

While an extremely welcome and appreciated addition to Braille scale, as with many other kits, it is not perfect. Having stated that, I must reiterate my earlier observation that this is a beautifully detailed kit. From the numerous rivet detailed panels to spring details on the rear carriage, there is something to delight the majority of modellers. Earlier attempts at Great War tanks in this scale pale by comparison.

This kit also possesses a great base for those prepared to spend some extra time on it (add a full interior?). The best of all is that the company has four more versions in the works including a Mark II “Male” and “Female”.
SUMMARY
Highs: Excellent detail, position-able drivers visors, photo-etch included, good detail on tracks.
Lows: Somewhat confusing instructions.
Verdict: A great addition to any Braille scale or Great War modeller's collection. Recommended.
Percentage Rating
85%
  Scale: 1:72
  Mfg. ID: MB72002
  Suggested Retail: US$24.99
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Feb 24, 2014
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 84.51%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 84.05%

Our Thanks to Master Box Ltd.!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

View Vendor Homepage  |  More Reviews  

About Jan Etal (tread_geek)
FROM: ONTARIO, CANADA

I've been building models since about age 10 with the occasional hiatus due to real life events. First armour model was a 1/76 Airfix Tiger I and was followed by a 1/72 Revell F4U Corsair. I've built primarily 1/76 and 1/72 armour and aircraft but occasionally have tinkered in other larger scales....

Copyright ©2019 text by Jan Etal [ TREAD_GEEK ]. All rights reserved.



Comments

For those who build in 1/72 scale this will be a welcome addition. I am hoping that between now and 2016 we do see a new 1/35 scale kit, up to to-days standards c/w and interior. MB to their credit have in process a set of 1/35 scale British/German figures so their is light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks for the review. Al
FEB 23, 2014 - 09:13 PM
Great review thanks! I normally don't build 1/72 scale but I might have to make an exception for that kit, I think my local shop has a couple, depending on the price I may get one. Cheers, Christophe
FEB 23, 2014 - 10:35 PM
I might add that, even though I am impressed with the overall detail and quality, I am not impressed with the tracks, nor with the fit of the sponson gun rooftops (not very positive positioning). MB could also have included some decals. But certainly the best 1/72 styrene WWl tanks so far. Hope they also release a better A7V!
FEB 24, 2014 - 03:58 AM
My thanks to you all for having a look at the review and commenting. Much appreciated. @AllanL -Allan, According to the "rumour mills" that I have been following, there will be WWI subjects released in the larger scale later this year. One suggests that Master Box is even looking at wheeled armoured cars in both scales. Nothing definite other than the six 1/72 tanks announced so far. @C_JACQUEMONT -Christtophe, I think that you might be surprised if you give 1/72 a try. At the very least they use less paint, glue and take up far less room than the larger scales. Check around for pricing as the one in the review ($24.99) was the manufacturers suggested retail. I have seen it for US$12.49 on the Internet. @Biggles2 - Leo, There are a few problem area as with the sponson roof and I have noted them in the review. The anti-grenade screen frame is another example area where you find not the best location for sprue gates. They will cost the builder time and patience to clean up. As for the tracks, they are far superior to both the Airfix and Emhar versions. However, after some experimenting with parts of the track sprue, it appears the material they use does not like numerous glues that I've tried. Check out Google for "images of WW I tanks tracks" as I did and you can see that these tracks are a good representation compared to other company's. Also please note that the colour of the vinyl made getting a good picture of them extremely difficult. Cheers, Jan
FEB 24, 2014 - 04:43 AM
When I mentioned I wasn't impressed with the tracks I meant the material they're made of - too much like the old rubber-band tracks, and not glueable with styrene glue. Detailing is, however, well done. Different modellers find different problems. The only real problem I found in building was, as I mentioned, was fitting the sponson turret roofs - mainly on the right hand side. I don't like the bevelled edges to line up. But I think the 'problems' are minor, and it's a nice little kit.
FEB 24, 2014 - 05:29 AM
Thanks for the review Jan, nice and detailed as usual, although I'm looking forward greatly to you building it and will be reserving final judgement until we get to see the overall look. Certainly the old Airfix inaccuracies look to have been addressed: the round roof hatch, pointy exhaust covers, correctly spaced rivet pattern, rounded track adjustment cut-outs, headlamps, double plate towing pintle, rivets on the sponson roof. The grenade screen is a nice touch, though personally I prefer the look of it without this feature, which is I suppose optional in any case, if you can't face building it (or it all goes horribly wrong, something which as you seem to suggest would be quite easy to achieve...) Still, the tracks... what have they done? Considering how the tracks wrap around and are completely in contact, with no portion needing to be suspended in space as it were, you would have thought that properly detailed injection moulded plates would have been the way to go, either individual or in sections. Anyway - I will wait to see how it looks when complete, but I just have this feeling that the appearance, especially around the front of the track "horns" where they are most prominent, won't really be a great improvement over the Airfix items. Someone is going to have to start producing individual track links... Edit: OK, I think I found a photo of the completed Male version, unpainted: the tracks aren't so enormously thick as the Airfix tracks, but they still look like rubber bands, and worse still, the ones curving around at the front of the horns look bent. Just like they're made of rubber.
FEB 24, 2014 - 12:09 PM
@firstcircle - Matthew, Thank you Matthew and I have the intention of starting the Blog for this vehicle shortly. As for the corrections over the Airfix kit, I have read that MB worked closely with the Landships site people. On that site is an excellent Blog on building the MB Mark I "Male" and they go on ad nauseam about correcting minor possible "errors" with these MB kits. However, this rather lengthy article also compares the MB kit to the Airfix, Emhar and Mr. X (resin) kits to the Master Box version and are generally quite pleased with it. It also seems to me that the tracks could have been easily made of styrene as you suggest. Looking over the tracks further in anticipation of the build, there may be a problem in areas where the track attaches to the sprue. A few of the gates show a distortion best explained by a picture as : Here is a link to some colour pictures of the one finished version at MB Mark I Male. The finished images are near the bottom of the page. Click on the images to enlarge them and you will see the tracks don't look too bad! Granted, not perfect but the only other option would be to have a friend cast you 180+ links. Cheers, Jan
FEB 25, 2014 - 05:26 AM
Why couldn't they have at least done the tracks as link and length styrene? I hate those rubber band type tracks.
FEB 25, 2014 - 06:10 AM
   

What's Your Opinion?


Photos
Click image to enlarge
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move