by: Kevin Brant [ ]
Originally published on:
During the years between World War 1 and World War 2 limited budgets reduced the development and number of tanks held by the United States. At the outbreak of World War 2 it was recommended that tank development pick up, and at the request of the Chief of Infantry, the US Army Ordnance Corp began work on a 50-ton heavy tank. The first design featured a multi-turreted tank, but based on observations in Europe, it was decided a large gun in a single turret was the best design. Based on the initial T1 one design, the T1E2, or M6, was designed with a 3 inch gun and coaxial 37mm with a cast hull. Eight of the prototypes were build, but none ever saw combat.
After a previous release of the M6A1 with the welded hull, Dragon Models has not brought us the early cast hull variant of the prototype American Heavy Tank as part of the Black Label Series.
9 x plastic sprues
4 X lengths of Dragon DS Track
1 x length of braided wire
1 x small sheet of decals
The M6 Heavy Tank kit from Dragon Models is the second Black Label series kit covering the M6, the first being the M6A1 with the welded hull. Based on what I have seen in the previous release, this kit shares many of the same parts as the first release. With that said, in my opinion, most of the parts do look to be well molded. The surface detail in terms of rivets, hinges and so on look good, but for what is supposed to be a cast hull and turret, there is no casting texture.
For fine detail I was a bit impressed with the headlight guards and some of the grab handles, they are molded quite finely, and should look good on the model. Also impressive is that all of the side armor bolts have the flat head line cut across the top of the bolt. Unfortunately there is no photo-etch included in this kit, which is a shame, as some of the detail could use a little extra fine detail help, for example the intake behind the turret and the missing cage over the exhaust area.
Also missing the mark a bit, is the two .50 cal receivers for the front bow guns which will not be seen anyway and fortunately the turret .50 cal looks a little better, but not much, but all the barrels are slide molded with hollow ends, a nice touch. These could easily be replaced with an aftermarket part if desired.
The kit does include the Dragon Models DS track, in two pieces per side. While I know it is not everybody’s cup of tea, it does look well done, and the track pattern does look very close to the original. Being a tension control system, there would be no sag, thus in my opinion the DS track would work well here if they are a good fit.
As for assembly, from the instructions, it looks very straight forward, starting with 16 bogies, 8 per side. The running gear and lower hull being probably the most busy area of the assembly, and will also provide a bit of a painting challenge. I would more than likely assemble the lower hull and paint, including the inside of the side armor, bogies and wheels, then finish assembly. This would allow me to mask off the area for the final paint.
There is not a lot for the upper hull or turret detail, being a prototype vehicle there was not a lot of stowage on the vehicle, thus very little external stowage of tools, etc. The vehicle also lacks interior detail with the exception of the poor looking .50 cals for the bow guns, and the breech assemblies for the main and coaxial guns. I should note both the 37mm and 3in main gun barrels are single piece and slide molded for a hollow end.
From the looks of it, this could be put together in a single session or two. There is not a lot to the vehicle, but it looks like it should build a rather decent M6. As for accuracy, a little research on the “inter-webs” show it looks pretty good, with the exception there should be two access panels on the side armor, as opposed to the single one provided by Dragon Models.
The kit provides two sets of markings, both for Fort Know, 1942. The decals look well done, and within register.
Overall this M6 Heavy Tank kit from Dragon Models looks like a decent kit, over all molding is well done, including nice looking slotted bolt details on the side armor. The slide molding for all of the barrels is a nice touch, too bad the same detail did not carry forward to the receiver end. The kit does include DS track, so that will be a hit or miss for some, but they do look well done. Unfortunately the kit contains no photo-etch or clear parts. As for a kit, it should be a relatively straight forward and quick build, and I would recommend the kit.