1950 Marine 1st Tank Bn: Kits & Questions

The Modern AFV discussion group is hosted by Erik Gustavsson and covers the variety of AFVs used by all nations in the post WWII era.

1950 Marine 1st Tank Bn: Kits & Questions

Joined: May 6th, 2005, 3:26 pm

June 23rd, 2015, 3:51 pm #1

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 ).


Dave
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: August 12th, 2004, 3:14 pm

June 23rd, 2015, 6:42 pm #2

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.
DAVID NICKELS
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: February 16th, 2008, 4:10 am

June 23rd, 2015, 7:21 pm #3

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 ).


Dave
The Marines did not use the 76mm in Korea. Their M4A3E8 Shermans were all equipped with the 105mm (both flame tanks and dozers), and they also used M32A1B3 recovery vehicles (HVSS as well).

As for early or late M4A3E8, they had both. Photo references are best. Most have the later exhaust deflector, but some have earlier. Keep in mind that some photos of tanks with the same tactical number are actually of different vehicles. IIRC flame tank F33 was actually three different Shermans, of which two had the late deflector and one had the early deflector.

I have not had hands on for the Hobby Boss T26E3/M26 kit, so I cannot comment on it.

I have no real preference for the Tamiya M26 vs the DML T25E3/M26 kit. Each kit has its own pluses and minuses for shape and details, but frankly I consider them to be about the same. The main issue is the tracks.

The Tamiya M26 only has rubber band single pin tracks. It only has the single pin sprocket. The sprocket can be kitbashed for double pin if you have replacement sprocket faces from another kit. You can also glue the suspension in place for non-moving replacement tracks.

The DML kit has been offered in several versions.

The T26E3 has the single pin tracks only, and lacks fender turnbuckles and the phone box.

The M26A1 has the double pin tracks, turnbuckles, phone box, and later gun. Swapping an earlier gun will make a double pin M26.

The Orange Hobby M26/M26A1 has the double pin tracks, turnbuckles, phone box and both guns.

Also take a close look at the rear fenders on any M26/M26A1 you are planning to model for Korea. Most have the rear fender shortened and the rear side track covers trimmed to match or replaced. Check photo references. If you cannot see the rear fenders from behind, take note of how much of the sprocket is covered by the side cover.

The Tamiya kit has decals for B41. Note that the right rear side dust cover was removed on this tank (at least in all the photos I have). Most modellers overlook this.



Quote
Like
Share

Joined: May 6th, 2005, 3:26 pm

June 24th, 2015, 4:44 pm #4

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 ).


Dave
Thanks for the generous supply of information. I was just reaching the point of not being a complete idiot on WWII armor, and then I've gone and gotten interested in the Korean War (and have to start all over again). Thank you for helping me along.


Dave
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: April 18th, 2005, 1:15 pm

June 26th, 2015, 3:53 pm #5

What you are seeing is actually just a filler pipe and hose attached to one of the fuel caps on the rear hull. The rest of the "external plumbing" is actually the track tensioning tool, attached to the side of the hull. The photos fooled me too for awhile.

If you can find the movie "Halls of Montezuma" with Richard Whitmark, there are scenes with a close up of the filler pipe and hose. The film was shot at Camp Pendleton in summer 1950, (using Marines destined for Korea as extras) and used several POA-CWS-H5 tanks, including (IIRC)one sequence with a rifleman riding on the back of the tank. These same tanks had also been used in the movie "Battle Cry" but without the close-up.
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: May 6th, 2005, 3:26 pm

June 28th, 2015, 11:44 am #6

John:

I found a thread here at Missing-Lynx that has screen captures from the movie that you mentioned, "Halls of Montezuma:"

http://www.network54.com/Forum/47208/th ... with+HVSS-

So, certainly you are right about the pipe/hose attaching to the port side fuel cap. As the photo in "Flame Dragons" that shows napalm being pumped in clearly shows the starboard side fuel cap being used for napalm, can we assume that the (optional) "external plumbing" has nothing to do with the flame gun? Is it just some sort of fuel overflow or vent for fumes? I wonder why it is only seen on some tanks?

An interesting aspect of the thread above is the flame tank that is marked "S11" (maybe the "S" being for headquarters and "S"ervice company?). If I recall correctly, all the 1st Tank Bn flame tanks in Korea are marked using "F." So, maybe some sort of repainting was done before the tanks were shipped for Inchon?

Anyway, thank you very much. This is a question that has bothered me for a while, so I am really thankful for the nudge in the right direction.


Dave
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: May 6th, 2005, 3:26 pm

June 29th, 2015, 2:24 pm #7

Spent some time searching the "Allied WWII" forum and found some very useful information from Ed Gilbert. (Though the flame tanks were built during WWII, because they weren't used until the Korean war it never really occurred to me search the other forum.) It certainly seems that this "external plumbing" had nothing to do with the napalm (though maybe something to do with venting CO2 from the pressure tanks(?)).



Dave
Last edited by djohannsen on July 1st, 2015, 1:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
Quote
Like
Share