HobbyBoss' newest offering is the M26 Pershing. It's not the only one in this scale, but this one offers a workable suspension, detailed engine bay, positional hatches for crew, engine, and stowage, with markings for two vehicles.
Building the hull bottom and interior panels posed no issues other than filling in some ejector-pin marks. The workable suspension's torsion bars were only keyed on one end, making alignment and pre-loading tricky. The good news is that if you want to display the model in a diorama, it is easy to show wheel deflection. For the rest, just glue the axles at their normal height.
The upper hull has separate front and rear fender ends. This makes it easier to show the model without them. Storage boxes have separate lids so the interior can be shown, and the cleanly molded pieces of the separate engine-bay hatches makes it easy to display them open.
I built up the motor and drivetrain, and applied a wash before installing these parts in the bay. The final drives needed a little sanding to fit. Due to the overhead armor, you only get to see the engine from the sides. (I got to hear the M26's Ford GAF motor at a museum a few years ago; it sounded like a big truck with open headers!) You'll find the engine fire wall interferes with installing the turret.
Building the turret, don't cut holes as deeply as the instructions indicate to mount the .50-caliber in the back of the turret; measure the parts' mounting tabs first, then cut. The gun barrel and muzzle brake are two-piece moldings.
I painted the model with Gunze olive drab for U.S. tanks, then weathered with Star Dust pastels (from CMK). For the national marking on the engine deck, I used Verlinden's stencil over the uneven surface. You can choose between the 73rd Tank Battalion's Margaret and an unknown unit. Looking at reference books for Margaret, I noticed that the front side storage box markings and the names for the driver and assistant drive were missing form the kit's sheet. The decals went down fine over a gloss coat. My reference for this review was M26 Pershing, by David Doyle, from Squadron's Walk Around color series.
I spent 25 hours on my Pershing. In spite of the instruction sheet and torsion bars, it was a fun build, but because of the suspension, I can recommend this kit only to intermediate and advanced modelers. I've heard rumors of a "Super Pershing" being in the works at HobbyBoss. I hope so!
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