Sunday, 1 April 2012

Mk.IV - Archfather of all tanks

Time for a new blogentry after a while (it was very busy at work). This time the blog is about a real classic - The Mk. IV 'male' tank from WWI. This tank is often seen as the first real tank.

Introduced in August 1916 as a weapon to break the stallmate of trenches, machine guns and rough terrain the Mk.I 'tank' was employed by the british army in WWI. The purpose of this 'landship' was to help infantry cross over trenches, provide protection against (machine) guns and enforce breaktrough's against fortifications. The codename under which this machine was developed was 'tank' and this is the name for vehicles used for the purposes described as above untill today. The Mk.I tank truly is the 'archfather' of all tanks and the model has seen several improvement leading up to 7 different versions known as Mk.I to Mk.VII. The weapon can be considered quite a succes although it didn't bring the swift victory hoped for by the british. Two 'genders' of Mk.I to Mk.VII can be distinguihed; The 'male' and the 'female' models. The difference is that the male models are equiped with 2 6-pdr cannons where the female models are armed with machine guns only. The female models where the most numerous since the main opponent was enemy infantry. The main difference between the Mk. I and Mk.IV where fundamental mechanical improvements, thicker armor and an externally fitted fuel tank to improve crew safety.
The Mk. VI tank in the Bovinton tank museum. A replica of this very tank will be used in the movie 'Warhorse'. the Bovington tank museum also aquired this replica.

On to the plastic kit, the Mk.IV variant 'male' by Emhar (no. EM 5001).

This kit consists out of 37 parts and is suitable for the very beginner. The fit of the parts is simpley good and the instructions are most of the time clear. There are three small issues, the first is that it is unclear what the upside of the 'box' on the rear of the tank is. I wasn't able to find photo's of the real tank to help me here. The second issue is that partnumbers 29 and 30 (front parts of the 'rails' over the top of the tank) are mixed up in the drawing, note of this when building the moel. The last issue are the backs of the sponses (turrets on the side of the tank) These are a little to high and must be cut or sanded off slightely.

These are, however, all minor issues and the model build into a real classic. The countless rivets make this model ideal to practise washes and react well to weathering. Other unique features are the fact that the model has no wheels (they are completely hidden under the tracks) but two turrets (or sponses) in the side of the tank. The tracks are made of gluable plastic which is a real must since the must fit tightly to the hull.

I painted my example as this Mk.V in the bovington tank museum. I'm pretty sure there where Mk.IV's in this color as well:
The Mk. V in the Bovington tank museum, the main difference between the Mk.IV and mk.V on the outside was the second or rear 'box' on top of the tank. On the Mk.V it is a large thing while on the Mk.IV it was no more then a hatch.

On to the pictures of the build model:




On to and of a large pile:


This model has some unique features and is easy to build. I can recommend it every tank and/or history enthousiast with or without experiance in model building. The only diffecult part is the rails on top which can also be left off. Emher also produces 3 other WWI era tanks:
  • EM 5002 Mk.IV 'Female tank'
  • EM 5003 A7V Sturm panzer
  • EM 5004 Whipped Medium tank

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