Recently, I have been reading quite a bit about the early months of the Korean war (particularly the Marines) and I've been building the great Cyber-Hobby M4A3 HVSS POA-CWS-H5 flamethrower (not the original Dragon offering). I now want to build more representatives of 1st Tank Battalion tanks and hope that I could impose to ask for recommendations on which kits to select.
First, I would like to build a Marine M26. I am almost certain that A Co. 1st Tank Bn used the same tanks for Inchon-Seoul that they had when part of the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade at Pussan; is this correct? During Inchon-Seoul, did the other companies from 1st Tank Bn use identically fitted Pershings as those from A Co, or were there easily identifable differences? If there is a single "style" of M26 that would be appropriate for any company from 1st Tanks, I would really appreciate it if someone could help me identify which of the many 1/35 scale M26 kits would be most suitable for a 1950 Marine Pershing. I am probably most interested in the kit that most closely represents one of these tanks right out of the box. However, if there is a kit that is markedly better in terms of detail and accuracy that can be altered (preferably with aftermarket, as my scratch-building-foo is weak) to be correct for the Marines in 1950, then I would be happy to hear about it.
Second, I would like to build one of the Headquarters Co M4A3E8 dozer tanks from 1st Tank Bn (again, during Inchon-Seoul). I think that I need one of the last production M4A3; is this right? I am not sure, were these dozer tanks equipped with 105mm or 76mm guns? (I know that the Marines had a decided preference at the end of WWII for 105mm armed tanks.) Which kit would be the best starting point to model one of these tanks? Is there an aftermarket dozer blade that would be correct for 1st Tanks in 1950 (I'm way out of my element here with dozer blades)?
Third, since I'm already imposing, maybe I'll ask a question about the flame tank that I'm currently working on. I recently grabbed a copy of "Flame Dragons" and am really enjoying reading it. As I've thumbed through the photos, it seems that some of the flame tanks had "external plumbing" on the port side, just abaft the turret, but not all. Can this be correct? If the "external plumbing" isn't visible on the port side, is it possible that it is present on the starboard side? It's my understanding that most of the ammunition racks were removed to accomodate the napalm and compressed air tanks; if there's no "external plumbing," then does anyone know how the tanks might have been filled?
Anyway, sorry to ask so many questions. I really would appreciate any help with picking kits to do more early Korean war Marine tanks (the "porcupine" questions will come later, after finishing these builds ).
The oooold Dragon kit and the nice Tamiya kit really represent the WW2 T26. Not that there are a lot of differences. They do have the WW2 style tracks. The Tamiya kit does have the late War/Post War field phone box. Hobby Boss provides the later type tracks used a lot in Korea.
I built the Dragon kit when it first came out, and, while good for the time (was one of the first really good Dragon kits) to me it has not aged well. The parts take a lot of clean up, and the multi part hull is hard to assemble. I think the turret shape is off too, and the engine deck detail is very simple (just raised bars or the grillwork. It's not a horrid kit, but I prefer the Tamiya one. Tamiya's kit is a pleasure to build, and has positonable suspension. You can build the kit OOTB in a weekend. I have the Hobby Boss kit, and it seems rather nice too. I haven't built it, so I can't comment on construction. Nothing stands out as bad to me.
If you are going to replace the rubber band kit tracks anyway, I would go with Tamiya and make any appropriate detail mods. If you want to go more OOTB I would say Hobby Boss.