Mark IV "Male" WW I Heavy Battle Tank

Manufacturer: Emhar (Kit #5001)

I finally got my camera fixed so that I can post this review. I built this model a couple of years ago, and I have absolutely no references on World War I tanks, so I cannot comment on the scale or detail accuracy of this kit. According to the dimensions included in the instruction sheet, it scales out exactly to 1/72nd. Emhar produces only two 1/72nd scale armor kits, this one, and the closely related Mark IV "Female" tank. The "Male" is armed with a pair of 6-pounder cannons in the side sponsons, and three Lewis water-cooled, or Hotchkiss air-cooled machineguns, while the "Female" is armed only with machineguns.

This kit was exceedingly simple to build. It only has about 30 parts, including the soft plastic tracks. The tracks are claimed to be a special type of plastic which is easy to paint and glue. Indeed, I had no problems working these tracks while building my kit, and there has been no degradation of the plastic since I completed the model years ago. I do believe that the tracks would have looked nicer had they been molded in hard plastic link and length segments, but they also look very good as they are.

The surface detail on the tank is abundant and very well molded. When first opening the box, I was underwhelmed with the small number of parts, none of which were very small, but after the hull goes together, the high level of detail becomes apparent.

There could have been more options included, such as open hatches, and additional details and stowage on the hull, such as the unditching beams and chains which were apparently common with these vehicles. Figures would have also been nice. The cannon sponsons are positionable from side to side and up and down. The Lewis machineguns were simple rods of plastic that jutted straight out from their mounts, which looked very lifeless, so I replaced mine with Hotchkiss air-cooled guns, by using brass rods of varying diameters.

The decals were very good, but had a little trouble snugging down around the rivets. Had I paid more attention, I should have given them more applications of Solvaset, which would have likely fixed the problem. As they are now, the carrier film disappeared after a couple coats of clear flat, with only a little silvering. Markings are included for four vehicles, including two captured by the Germans. I painted the tank in Polly Scale Faded Olive Drab, and weathered it heavily with washes, drybrushing and chalks. All the heavy rivet detail on this model just begs for a good drybrushing. I highly recommend this model to all modelers, and it is especially suited for beginners, since it was so simple to construct. Emhar also produces a Mk. A Whippet in 1/35th scale, and I sure wish that they would scale it down to 1/72nd. If it had the same quality as this Mark IV, then it would be a welcome addition to my collection.

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