DML M46 Patton
The M46 is one of the most famous tanks of its time: Mainly because of the very colorful markings used by the 6th Tank Bn, used during the Han River fighting in 1951. Like so many other modelers I was intrigued by this very special look and bought my kit on ebay as it is OOP at the time of writing this article.
Originally I wanted to build my M46 using late style T84E1 tracks. AFV Club makes these and I purchased a set. I also decided to replace the kit’s .50cal with the new set offered by ACADEMY and add a canvas
covered mantlet produced by TRAKZ. Other than that the kit is assambeld mainly OOTB.
As per instructions you start with the lower full. It has a separate gear section to allow the same moulds to be used for the
M26 versions of the kit. The assembly of these sections isn’t a problem at all.
At this stage of construction I decided to make good use of the moveable suspension parts and the AFV Club tracks. My M46 is
sitting in an ambush position, behind a ridge, partly covered. Thus I could build the running gear “in action”. I had to decide the major outline of the terrain to make sure the running gear is glued into the
correct positions. After I did that, I decided to start assembly of the T84E1 tracks by AFV Club: I have had some experience with the M48/ M60 tracks of the AFV Club, so I was expecting similar ease of assembly.
This was expecting too much. Each track subassembly consists of four pieces, the trackpad, the center guide and the two brackets. Basically this should be not a problem as the sheer number of pieces is not more than
to be expected. However the parts are cast in a brownish plastic and require painting prior to assembly. The newer track sets by AFV Club are cast in a black, metallized color that requires only shading after
assembly. O.K., after I did the painting of the parts I started to assemble them, rather I tried to: The center guides do not fit to the trackpads without drilling out each and every notch. The trackpad pins are
extremely fragile and you cannot apply any pressure on them, combining this you have a large number of damaged parts and very, very slow progress if you want to keep the track moveable. Finally I ended up gluing the
tracks links more or less like the kit’s original single link tracks. After two weekends I gave this up as a bad job and use the kit’s T80E1 tracks instead. Sad to say that I am not the only one who made such an
experience with this specific offering.
The DML tracks went together pretty fast, but beware: you do not have a single link more than you need! I was lucky enough to own a second set of tracks I could use for
The next step was the upper hull assembly. Naturally there are a few things one can add: I added turnbuckles to the front fenders. These are parts from an ITALERI M47 and are a common sight on 6th tank Bn. M46 tanks. Of course you don’t need to scavenge a M47, but they come in handy. I reduced the strength of the headlight guards using the slow setting of my mini drill. The hatches for the driver and bow machinegunner are a little edgy, so I gave them a few strokes with a nail file. Most M46 carry a tow cable attached to the bow so I added this, too. The hooks of the parts C34/ C35 were not always attached so I decided to replace those by plasticard. If you decide to add the fenders prior to step 7 to the upper hull, you have to make sure the tracks are properly aligned. You won’t have access to them later without having to break the return rollers … like I had to.
The final step is the construction of the turret. I wanted to have the mantlet covered by canvas. A nice set is supplied by TRAKZ. I thought it might be a good idea to have grab handles added to the turret
rear area as most 6th Bn. M46 had them added. I moved the spare track holder A13 further backwards as my refs indicate that. The rack A2 and the track tensioning tools B15 were not used. Finally I detailed the hatches by adding handles made from wire to them.. The commanders’ hatch also received an additional handle ring on the inside and a latch to the back of the CWS. Finally I replaced the cal .50 with a better-detailed version from ACADEMY. A couple of accessory parts were added from the TAMIYA Sherman 105mm kit and spread loosely onto the kit.
I placed the kit on a small wintry dio to show off the suspension and added a soldier from DRAGON’s Korean War marines. The snow is baking soda, glued with white glue.
After I had the base paint applied I
started painting the Tiger face. The kit’s decals are only a very far cry of the actual painting so I had to hand paint it. Same goes for the claws on the fenders. EDDING fine liners were a big help in that. I used
ARCHER’s dry transfers and finished the assembly with a layer of matt clear cote and added numerous washes in black, dark and light brown.
I must say the kit was a pleasure to build, sadly the famous Tiger face
markings are not really useable, but they give you good inspiration.
SQUADRON/ SIGNAL PUBLICATIONS: Pershing/ Patton in action ISBN 0-89747-442-2
SCHIFFER MILITARY HISTORY: The M26 Pershing and variants ISBN 0-780764-315442
OSPREY, NEW VANGUARD: M26/ M46 Pershing tank ISBN 1-84176-202-4