M26 (T26E3) Pershing Heavy Tank
Little Bit Of History For The Modeler
This in the box preview will cover Trumpeter’s smallscale M26, as well as their M26A1 and M46 kits which share many of the same kit parts. The M26A1 was an upgrade with the M3A1 gun. The M46 had a new more powerful engine. All three tanks went on to serve in Korea and Cold War Europe.
On the bow is a bulging ventilator housing between the driver and bow gunner’s (Bog’s) hatches. The fender support and the headlight brush guards look too thick and would be good replaced by brass.
The track is an all metal type, no rubber blocks. Unique for an American tank of 1945 is the rear transmission and sprocket wheel. The torsion bar suspension had been used on the M24 Chaffee and the M18 Hellcat. My assessment is that some mold seams could use scraping off and the turret lifting rings be replaced by copper wire. Unfortunately, all the periscopes are molded closed so this tank would be near blind if depicted in service. The markings are sparse, the M26 would often have vehicle serial, shipping and unit numbers in addition to the white stars.
Trumpeter M46 kit 7288 sports some drastic changes to the M26 series. Besides being referred to as a “Patton” rather than as a “Pershing” the vehicle has a track tensioning idler wheel, a new engine and new longer engine deck. Notice that on the box, the tank is now referred to as a “medium” tank, no longer as a heavy tank. The turret appears largely the same as the M26A1. The suspension now has a track tension idler arm and wheel, a small return roller located between the last roadwheel and the sprocket wheel. On the glacis is a small open box for a shovel and pick but this model appears to be missing these tools. On the rear of each fender is an exhaust muffler with a raised sheet metal guard. The track appears to be the same all metal track as in the M26A1 model kit.
With the release of this Trumpeter M46 model years ago I anticipated that Trumpeter would release an M47 Patton soon after. The M47 Patton was the next progression and the M47 hull is very similar to the M46. The M47 turret was radically different from the M26 and M46 turret. Alas, at the time I write this there is no M47 Patton tank available in small scale styrene plastic, just in cast resin.
This M26 model kit looks like it can be easily modified into an M45 support tank with the short 105-mm howitzer barrel.
These two pages from Trumpeter’s M26 kit 7264 show the black & white drawings for painting and the water slide decal markings. The decals are on such light paper that we cannot really see what they look like; they should have used a darker decal paper. These instructions on the decal placement could be better. From the Peddinghaus Decal sheet for the Pershing these markings with the black panther head are identified as for an M26 that served with the 18th Tank Battalion of the US 8th Armored Division, Germany in 1945.
These two pages for M26 kit 7264 show the parts tree and assembly of the wheels and torsion bar suspension. I think it is great that we have separate torsion bar arms so we could potentially articulate the arms (parts A10 & A11) and roadwheels (parts A1, A12) over rough ground. The lower hull here is identical for M26A1 kit 7286.
is a set of aftermarket decals for the M26 Pershing from Peddinghaus-Decals
I plan on using. Like the Trumpeter decal paper, the background
is too light to make out the markings, so I found a photo of a re-release
of these decals on darker paper. I suspect other users had the same
complaint about the decal paper? No instruction sheet came with
the decals, so placement of the markings is not clear.
found a photo online of one of the Marine 1st Tank Battalion M26’s
at Inchon, Korea, that is included in Peddinghaus-Decals sheet 72
1041. Note that this M26 (likely an M26A1?) has the additional periscope
next to the vent dome. All four periscopes have wire brush guards.
At left we have the final turret assembly for the M46, kit 7288 which is the same as in the M26A1 model kit. The M26 kit has a different 90-mm gun barrel but otherwise the same turret. At right is the painting and marking diagram and the water slide decals for this kit in the center of this scan. The instructions do not identify this M46 but references state it is from the 1st Marine Division in Korea during 1952. The decal paper is too pale to examine the kit markings adequately.
Two more pages for the M46, kit 7288 show the parts diagram and initial assembly of the turret parts. The commander’s cupola hatch is the only hatch that can be posed open on these three model kits.
The kit parts are well molded with no significant sinkholes or flash. A few parts like the brush guards are too thick. I think some filler putty and sanding along seams will help. There are no etched brass parts, no cast resin parts, nor crew figures included. For a good display model, I would replace the turret lifting rings with copper wire.
driver and co-driver have rotatable periscopes in the hatch and
a second rotatable periscope midships, one each side of the ventilation
dome. An M26A1 in a museum I saw had the second set of periscopes
removed and blanked over with round plates. This is not an expert
survey but in the WW2 period M26 photos I have examined there are
two periscopes per position as portrayed in this model kit. The
Korean period M26A1 and M46 tanks, but not all, appear to have the
extra periscope next to the vent dome gone and blanked off by a
Sprue-B1 at right and B3 at left, are in the M26 and in the M26A1 kit and hold the turret and some suspension parts. Sprue B3 at far left holds the rear engine plate (part-B38), the gun barrel for the M26 with double-baffle muzzle brake (part-B37), and the gun barrel with the single-baffle muzzle brake and bore evacuator (part-B39) for the M26A1 and the M46. Sprue-B3 is not included in the M46 Model kit 7288.
I am pleased that at least the commander’s hatch can be posed open though the loader’s hatch is closed. The lifting rings on the top-front and rear-sides of the turret are solid nubs; for a better display model, we may want to replace these with copper wire.
Sprue-A is common to the M26, M26A1 and the M46 tank kits, and holds the roadwheels (parts A1 & A12), torsion bar suspension arms and some sprocket parts. The separate suspension arms (parts A6, 7, 10 & 11) allow us to articulate the wheels and track over irregular ground if we wish. Remember when modeling the tracks that this is “live” track so would not have any sag like we see in WW2 German and Soviet tank tracks.
Below is a close-up of the track showing good detail for both types. Both appear to be all metal track. The band track used on the M26 I believe to be the T-82 type. The link and length track used on the M26A1 and the M46 are the T-80 type. On the inside face of the hard plastic link & length track are many ejector pin marks that we should fill in as some will surely be visible after assembly.
These kits were purchased by the modeler.