Emhar 1:35 MkIV "Male" WW1 Heavy Battle Tank
The Mark IV was a more heavily armoured version of the Mark I, and went into production in May 1917. Fundamental mechanical improvements had originally been intended, but had to be postponed. The main change was the introduction of shorter-barrelled 6-pounder guns. It had all its fuel stored in a single external tank (located between the rear track horns) in an attempt to improve crew safety. The sponsons could be pushed in to reduce the width of the tank for rail transportation. Rails on the roof carried an unditching beam. A total of 1,220 were built: 420 males, 595 females and 205 tank tenders, which were supply tanks.
British heavy tanks were distinguished by an unusual rhomboidal shape with a high climbing face of the track, designed to cross the wide and deep trenches prevalent on the battlefields of the Western Front. Due to the height necessary for this shape, an armed turret would have made the vehicle too tall and unstable. Instead, the main armament was arranged in sponsons at the side of the vehicle. The prototype, named "Mother", mounted a 6-pounder (57 mm) cannon and a Hotchkiss machine gun at each side. Later, subtypes were produced with machine guns only, which were designated "Female", while the original version with the protruding 6-pounder was called "Male".
The Mark IVs were used successfully at the Messines Ridge in June 1917, where they outpaced the infantry on dry ground, but in the Third Ypres of July and August they found the swampy ground difficult and were of little use. About 432 Mark IV tanks were used during the Battle of Cambrai in November 1917.The first tank-to-tank battle was between Mk IV tanks and German A7Vs in the Second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux in April 1918.
On 18 September I wrote a review on Emhar's 18 pounder gun with crew. I wasn't particularly enamoured with the quality of the model and so was more than a little apprehensive when the Mk IV "Male" Heavy Battle Tank arrived. First off, this is a proper kit, reminiscent of the early days of Tamiya/Italeri/Esci etc. A decent sized box, 12" x 9" x 2" with a good front-three-quarter side-view box art picture showing the tank in British colours. The front side shows a picture of the tank in German camouflage with associated markings.
Inside the box, there are four sprues of dark grey plastic parts, numbering some 69 pieces altogether. This plastic seems to be a lot harder and slightly brittle than most kits, so I would advise caution when trimming pieces or removing them from the sprues. There are also two identical black sprues, with five pieces on each; containing the model's tracks. These appear to have been made from a more flexible plastic than the other tank parts and can apparently, be glued with poly-cement. There are very few mould lines on the model pieces but the inevitable mould release pin marks appear on all internal surfaces. There do not appear to be any sink holes on the model parts. There are also no warped pieces.
Instructions are line-drawn pictograms with no written instructions. Parts are indicated by number and located by arrows. They are very easy to understand with no chance of misunderstanding. Other than the box art, there are no colour charts. There are, however, four black and white line drawings giving decal locations and painting instructions. Captured tanks used by the Germans were always painted grey with green and brown daubs added. British tanks of the period were universally painted a dark Olive-Green. Camouflage was not used by 1917.
Kit decals are excellent, giving options for two British and two German captured tanks.
Kit prices range from £19.99 to £25.99
This is a very nice entry-level model which will suit modeller's of all skill-levels. No real gripes with it, you get what you pay for. I think turned MG Barrels and 6 pdr cannon barrels would be a good after-market accessory, plus a crew figure or two.
Has potential for a good diorama, especially for this year's Remembrance Day service.
Rating: A solid 3.5 out of 5