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Built Review
172
T29 Heavy Tank model
T29 Heavy Tank model
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by: Andras [ SPONGYA ]

Introduction

I have a confession to make: in the past I did not know much about post-war US armor. (I hope my sins can be forgiven.) I thought it was all Pattons, and they did not look particularly interesting, and the designations were confusing. Little did I know. The number of experimental, light, medium and heavy tanks produced before, during and after the war by the US is a largely untapped source of amazing-looking models. World of Tanks has helped to popularize these vehicles, which, I suspect, is the reason for recent plastic releases of the M6 and T54E1 (I know they are not perfect, but they are steps in the right direction). Most of these tanks are still only available by small resin manufacturers working in Braille scale, if available at all. Once Ive realized that the T29 actually exists, and that Cromwell Models is producing a model of it, I had to get one... Considering the size of the tank Id probably not buy a 1/35th scale offering even if there was one available apart from a really expensive resin version.

History

The T29 project was started in response to the appearance of the German heavy tank, the Tiger II. US planners wanted something that could be used against these gigantic, heavily armored and armed tanks, as nobody knew back then exactly how big of a threat theyd pose once the US engaged the German armed forces in the Continent. As it turned out not much, since they were never produced in sufficient numbers.

The T29 was based on the T26E3: the hull was lengthened; it was given a thicker armor (279mm at the thickest points), an upgraded engine, and a new turret with a 105mm main gun. The turret featured a very prominent coincidence rangefinder, which protrudes from both sides, giving the tank a very unique look. The weight of the new tank was 60 tons.

After the war ended, the T29 (and its brother the T30) development and production was put on hold, and it never entered regular service. Even though the tank was not really a successful design, it wins in my opinion just based on looks alone: it is one of the best looking tanks ever made.

Review

The T29 came in a simple Ziploc bag; despite of this, nothing was broken. The moulding quality is fine, even though the details are incredibly delicate. (I'm really impressed with how the suspension, road wheels and tracks are molded as one unit with the hull.) There is some flash to trim, but this is to be expected in every resin model, and easy to deal with. The moulding quality is good; no bubbles or imperfections were apparent on my model. (Only on the bottom of the hull. These can be easily removed, but since they wont be seen I did not bother.)

The model does not come with instructions, which makes the identification of most of the smaller bits quite difficult. (I admit since I dont have proper references -books-, I have given up after a while. I looked up walk around photos and as a last resort I used World of Tanks, but I still have a lot of parts left over I could not place.

As mentioned the hull comes as one piece, with the suspension and the tracks already mounted. The tracks are very delicate, and really detailed; be sure not to break the extremely thin cleats handling the model. There is some clean-up necessary under the tracks, between the road wheels, as the complex mould means there will be imperfections in the hidden areas. I'm not even sure how you can prepare so complex assemblies in one piece.

You also get a lot of spare track sections; should you break one or two of those cleats, you can always replace them using the extras. I've managed to break some as I handled the model. I did leave them like that when I took the photos of the finished kit but I'll fix them up later before the model is placed into a display box.

The model looks accurate, and measures up against the dimensions I have found online (this is where proper references would be indispensable). It also measured it up to a 1/72 scaled picture printed out from Blueprints.com very well. In short the basic size and proportions seem to be fine.

Building

The building is simple; after gluing the main parts together, you add the small bits (that you can identify), and you're done. The fit is perfect, so I did not have to perform major surgeries. I decided to glue the turret in place almost in the beginning, as it is a heavy piece of resin, and managed to drop it a couple of times. (The blue tac I used to fix it onto a paint jar kept giving way)

All the hatches can be positioned open, but since there is nothing underneath, I elected to close them. (It would be too much to ask for an interior in this scale.) Ive suffered a minor accident during the build, and one of the covers of the rangefinder optics has disappeared; this is somewhat embarrassing in a review... the carpet monster has gotten its share in sacrifice.

When you look at the reference photos available online from the Patton Museum, the tank looks brown and faded from standing in the open for decades; however I wanted to show a newer tank that has been in heavy use in the field.

I used a pale yellow color (dunkelgelb, but the color is really not important) over the initial grey primer coat, and then misted several coats of lightened Tamiya olive drab over it to give a faded, used look. This has given it a more greenish color. ("Olive drab" is really a generic term, as there were a lot of variations depending on the manufacturer, the conditions of the vehicle was operating in, the age of the paint, etc. There's a great article about this issue http://www.militarymodelling.com/news/article/olive-drab/4536/)

The kit does not come with decals (as usual with resin kits), and lacking US decals/dry transfers I left the tank unmarked. I added chips using a sponge and dark brown paint, and pin washes using burned umber oil paint. I applied a black wash to the engine deck grilles to give them depth. The mufflers were painted using different rust colors and a sponge over a black base.

The lower part of the chassis was treated with different shades of earth colored pigments using white spirit. Once they dried, I used a brush dampened with white spirit to remove some of the pigments. As a final I added some dust on the top part of the turret as well using Tamiya's "make-up" set, and I used a graphite pencil to rub around the edges and the tracks to give the model a metallic shine.
SUMMARY
Highs: great detail, rare subject, and an easy build; good starting kit for beginners.
Lows: lack of instructions make assembly a bit difficult; I have a couple of small parts left over after the build.
Verdict: Recommended
Percentage Rating
85%
  Scale: 1:72
  Suggested Retail: 21
  PUBLISHED: Jun 20, 2016
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 84.98%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 85.20%

About Andras (spongya)
FROM: BUDAPEST, HUNGARY

I am a biologist by trade, and as a hobby I've been building scale models for the last twenty years. Recently I started to write reviews of the models I bought. These reviews are written from the point of view of an average model builder; hence the focus is on quality of the model, how easy it is to...

Copyright 2019 text by Andras [ SPONGYA ]. All rights reserved.



Comments

cromwell-models started to desing 1/72 models.
JUN 20, 2016 - 02:20 AM
They've been designing 1/72 models for a long time.
JUN 20, 2016 - 02:46 AM
Nice one Andras. These kits are quite amazing in terms of the detail that's incorporated into the hull and turret mouldings; impressive master and mould making. Know what you mean about the delicacy of some parts. On the Centurion I managed to snap the end of one of the side skirts, and I have certainly been very careful with it since then, nothing else broken, fingers crossed. For holding the turret, hull and skirts while painting I drilled small holes on the undersides just big enough to wedge and super glue cocktail sticks in, then have some blocks of that spongy foam packaging which the sticks can be popped into and out again. So do you have some more of these kits in preparation?
JUN 20, 2016 - 03:40 AM
Ulises we had this conversation with the ARL-44 They do 1/72; not sure how long they've been offering models in this scale, though. Matt, thank you for your kind words. The cocktail stick method is really good idea; it beats painting the whole thing once assembled... although remarkable how resilient the turret is; it bounced a couple of times on the floor. I have a pak44 SPG, but I'm not sure it'll be written up- I have a lot of things to do in my "other" life. Busy as heck.
JUN 20, 2016 - 12:29 PM
   

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