Following the invasion of Normandy when the armies of the western Allies began to encounter the Panther tank in large numbers and the U.S. Army realized the 75 mm armed Sherman was completely outgunned by the heavily armored Panther, the U.S. Army accelerated the development of the tank that ultimately would be called the Pershing. Twenty prototypes, the T26E3, were rushed to Europe in the closing stages of the war and saw minimal combat. The M26 and M26A1 (the main difference being the 90mm gun used) also served in the Korean War where it proved more than a match for the North Korean T34/85s (as did the M4A3E8 equipped with the 76mm gun using HVAP ammunition).
This is the seventh kit in Cyberhobby’s line of Orange Box Super Value Packs. It combines Dragon’s older T26E3 and M26A1 Pershing kits into a single 2-in-1 kit, adds a small number of new parts, throws in a bonus figure set and Cyberhobby sells it for a relatively low price.
The new kit comes in a large, sturdy box with very nice box art showing a profile view of an M26A1 wearing one set of the markings provided in the kit.
In the box you will find Dragon’s U.S. Army Anti-tank Team figure set, 25 sprues of parts, a separate lower hull tub, one set of DS T80E1 tracks, a small sheet of decals, and a small, glossy set of instructions. All sprues are in Dragon’s normal light gray plastic and come wrapped in plastic. The box indicates the kit contains over 500 parts a strong clue you will find a set of single length tracks somewhere in the box. There is no photo-etch or metal cable provided. Because of the fact that all of my reference photos show Pershings were equipped with tow cables prominently stowed on the rear of the tank, Cyberhobby’s decision not to include a cable of some sort is a big minus in my eye.
The instructions come in the now standard Orange Box reduced size, which I happen to personally like. Despite the smaller size, the line drawing instructions are still easy to read. The instructions indicate very few of the included kit parts are not used, however, this will change depending on which Pershing version the modeler chooses to build. Because this is a 2-in-1 kit, the instructions divide assembly into 19 steps and they are slightly busier than the instructions that came with the M4A4 Orange Box kit I previously reviewed. Therefore, it is recommended the modeler decide at the start which version they will build and go through the instructions to avoid mistakes later on. The instruction sheet also has a color painting and marking guide for eight different tanks, all in solid Olive Drab. Finally the instructions have the assembly and color painting guide for the figures. The painting guide is given for Gunze Aqueous Hobby Color, Gunze Mr. Color, and Model Master paints.
The kit comes with a small decal sheet crammed full with markings (all white) for 8 tanks. This is possible due to the minimalist approach U.S. Armor used at the end of World War II as well as in Korea. The markings are for 2 World War II vehicles and 6 from the Korean War. The decal quality is first rate, however it would have been nice if Cyberhobby had included some yellow markings used by the U.S. Marines early in the Korean War.
Included in the kit are two different sets of tracks. There are T81 individual link tracks for the T26E3 and DS T80E1 tracks for the M26A1 version. The DS tracks are very good with superb detail and absolutely no blemishes from the molding or packing processes. As with the original M26A1 kit the modeler will have to add separate guide horns. These come in four Sprue Es that appear to have been broken off the original individual link sprues. Having assembled these before when I built the original M26A1 kit (while the links were still attached to the sprue) I found the process a bit tedious but not overly difficult. This should not be much different with the rubberband tracks. There is also a single sprue of individual link T80E1 tracks (labeled Sprue E in the instructions) to be used on the turret sides. There are two mold extraction marks on one side of each link, but these will not be visible as they are on the side facing the turret.
There are four more Sprue Es for the T26E3 tracks. Each link again has two mold extraction points, some deeper than others and thus more noticeable. They are on the inner surface and thus may be visible on the finished kit if not removed.
The lower hull comes as single tub with the suspension attachments molded in (no articulating tracks with this kit). There are four Sprue Bs, two with more parts than the remaining two, containing the suspension parts. There are separate drive sprockets for the M26A1 and the T26E3.
Sprue F contains the turret parts. These have good detail with no flash. There is also noticeable casting texture which, based on viewing several Pershings at the Texas National Guard Museum at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas, does not appear overdone. The turret comes with two parts and a test fit revealed a less than perfect fit, a problem I encountered previously when building the Dragon M26A1 used in my Chosin Reservoir diorama which can be viewed Here on Armorama
. I also encountered serious fit issues with the mantlet during that build, the modeler is advised to proceed with great caution here.
Sprue D contains the M3A1 90mm gun for the M26A1 in two parts. This sprue also holds the rear mudguards and they are overly thick. Also, the instructions indicate the modeler will have to remove a small portion if he chooses not to use the sideskirts. A second Sprue D has the M3 90mm gun barrel, again in two parts. Since both barrels come in two parts, there will be a seam to deal with.
Sprue A has the upper hull parts as well as parts for the turret. There is some casting texture with some molded in location points having to be removed if building the T26E3. The commander’s cupola has good detail including nicely molded screw heads. It does not have separate vision blocks. The hatch has no interior detail. The loader’s hatch has detail on both sides but there are three deep sinkholes that will have to be addressed if the modeler wants to keep this hatch open. The hull hatches have no real interior detail and have both raised and sunken mold extraction points. The .50 caliber machine gun is from the original kits and while nicely detailed for its day, it is somewhat of a disappointment after seeing what Cyberhobby/Dragon is capable of with the new .50 caliber sprue included in the Orange Box M4A4 kit. Because I had issues with the fit of the upper and lower hull when building the M26A1, I did a test fit and once again, the fit is not perfect. While this will be relatively easy to deal with using lots of glue and some clamps, it is still a disappointment.
Sprue C contains the fenders, stowage boxes and other hull parts. There is a small amount of flash that should prove easy to remove. The detail is good, but as one would expect, the fenders are overly thick and this might be a fruitful area to investigate the available aftermarket items if the modeler is so inclined. The instructions show a vertical extension rising up from one of the dividers on each fender, although in my sample both were broken off. Sprues H and I have the sideskirts used for four of the tanks shown in the instructions.
The bonus figure set is 6149, U.S. Army Anti-tank Team. The sprues are showing their age as there is a small amount of flash on some of the smaller parts. Along with the figures, you get four weapons sprues: (1) from kit 6021, U.S. Rangers in Normandy, 1944, with a BAR, Thompson, M1, and M1with grenade launcher; (2) 6038, U.S. Marines, Iwo Jima, 1945, Shotgun, BAR, M1 with bayonet, a flamethrower and a two-part bazooka; 6010, U.S. Army Airborne, Normandy, two Airborne carbines, Thompson, bazooka, M1 with Bayonet; and strangely, (4) a weapons sprue from 6020, German Volkssturm (Berlin 1945). What’s up with that?
Even though you get the option to build two different versions of the Pershing in the box and the kit includes fantastic DS tracks, this kit comes across as a bit of a disappointment. This results from (1) the carryover of most, if not all, of the original parts; (2) few, if any, new parts, not even the new .50 caliber machine gun sprue that was included in the Orange Box M4A4 kit; and (3) the fact that some quick test fitting of a few strategic parts revealed fit issues.