IPMS Gent modelbouwclub

M-47 Patton

Juli 2006

Kit:M-47 Patton
Manufacturer:Italeri
Scale:1/35
Type:Injection moulded
Accessories:scratch
DocumentationKoninklijk Leger Museum Brussel en Internet.

History:

M-47 Patton tank The M-47 ”Patton” tank was the successor of the M-26 Pershing tank and the forerunner of the M-48 and M-60 series.
It went into service with the Belgian Army at the beginning of the 50’s and stayed in service until its replacement by the Leopard 1 tanks.

Being a 1/72 scale modeller, it will be the first time ever building a 1/35 scale kit. The model is build as a gift for my father-in-law who was a Patton driver when performing his service time in 1953 in the Belgian Army.
The best reference ever is the real thing and my model will be based upon the Brussels Army Museum Patton tank and on 3 pictures of the tank taken during service time. These pictures will prove to be very useful because a lot of differences can be seen between his tank and later versions
It will show that his tank belonged to the first batch of M-47 tanks delivered to the Belgian Army and this makes a difference in construction and decoration.

The kit:

The Italeri kit is a re-edition of their original model and I have to admit that, despite its age, it still looks good and that it is provided with a lot of smaller parts.
These parts can be found on 3 sprues and vinyl tracks. Construction plan is good and detailed and decals are provided for a US, French, Italian and German tank but unfortunately not for a Belgian one.

Construction:

Construction starts as usual with the chassis. One important item to look after are the three different types of axles. Parts 3 and 19 need a little correction with putty. Suspension is finely detailed with bogies, shock absorbers, movable idlers, rails and wheels.
When you want to build a tank to be put on a diorama than now is the moment to apply mud to the chassis.

M-47 Patton tankThe tank’s hull was made of cast iron and so there are no smooth surfaces around. I coated the tank hull with “Mr Surfacer”, especially the nose section and the turret sides.
No interior detail is provided except for the engine compartment but the turret, driver and radio operator hatches can be positioned in open or closed. I wanted to build a static model and decided to keep all hatches closed.
The hull receives four metal cases, two on each side, as well as their handrails and latches. Two exhausts and their respective covers are provided but they can use some adjusting so that there is a real seal with the exhaust pipes lying on top of the engine compartment.
Hiding an engine compartment is always a shame and I therefore decided to paint this compartment in white, gunmetal and oily silver. I didn’t cement the engine hatches but simply places them on top of the engine deck so that I would be able to put them in an open position when needed.
Chassis and wheels are painted khaki green with black rubber parts. Wheel bolts are painted either white or red as was usual in those days on Belgian tanks. The vinyl tracks receive a coat of black followed by track colour. The rubber patches are painted matt black followed by a burnt sienna wash.
The rest is build as per instructions but all parts are cleaned-up before fixing. The only parts that are replaced by finer metal ones are the two rear supports between engine compartment and the rear fenders and the gun protection ring around the bow machine gun.
Belgian Army Patton’s always carried two fire extinguishers at the rear of the engine compartment and those need to be scratch build. They also receive metal straps and are positioned on the rear panel to the right of the telephone box.

Turret:

M-47 Patton tankThe turret was made of cast iron and so receives a coat of “Mr Surfacer”.
The gun barrel is the weak part of the kit because it is made up of two barrel halves. Filling and sanding is top priority and a replacement metal barrel would have been most welcome.
3 types of muzzle brakes are provided but our Belgian tank needs the simplest one, the one without T-end.
This tank was one of the first batches delivered and has no big side rails which mean that the locating holes need to be filled.
Two US type jerry cans are provided and should find their place at the end of the turret. They need to be replaced by British or German type jerry cans and their supports and attachments need to be scratch build.
Belgian Patton tanks also carried a canvas protection cover running from the last part of the gun barrel over the gun mantle. This canvas is made from the tissue of a green paper napkin soaked in Klir (Future). The lifting eyes on the gun mantle are also covered but a hole is provided for the machine gun. It is finished with a small piece of aluminium foil so to represent the leather band that ties the canvas to the turret.
The .50 machine gun on the roof is omitted, it’s stand is glued to the turret in a folded position.

Painting:

M-47 Patton tankThe tank is painted in H155, matt olive green, followed by a light black wash in the in the seams and a light yellow wash on the centre parts of the panels. This provides a colour effect that is not very distinctive but you still can see that something has changed. Don’t forget that this is supposed to be a brand new tank, not one that has known the wear and tear of a battlefield or training ground.
The black wash is also applied on the engine deck louvers and provides a good depth effect. Exhausts and their covering plates are treated with MIG rust powder. Pictures of brand new Patton tanks show that these exhaust covers lost their paint due to the extreme heath of the underlying exhausts and, that way, got that rusty effect. The exhaust pipes also receive a treatment with black graphite powder.
Details are enhanced by a gun metal and silver dry-brush and the use of a graphite pencil.
Periscope glasses receive a mix of dark blue and gloss varnish. According to the pictures of the real tank, 2 out of the 3 round panels at the rear plate of the tank are painted white.
Both fire extinguishers and both jerry cans receive another type of green colour than the H155 so that they give a little contrast to the rest of the tank. Petrol tank covers are painted mat red.
Headlights are drilled, painted silver and closed with a drop of Kristal Klear. Infra red lights in dark red, rear lights brick red.

Decals:

The kit does not provide any decals for a Belgian tank but with the help of a fellow modeller I could obtain some Belgian Army license plates and markings. This tank carried the license plate number 53338, two shield markings with the lion’s head symbol of the 1st Division and the black square markings with the number 91 on the fenders.
The biggest problem was posed by the unit’s markings of the 4th Lancers regiment being the original tanks unit. It was hard to find and some search on the Internet followed by a download was needed so we were able to recreate this shield using the home computer. The marking consists of a Centaur (half man, half horse) ready to throw a spear, white colour on a (probably) light blue background and posed in a shield with white lining

As usual these decals are poses on a gloss varnished surface after which the complete tank receives a coat of matt varnish.

Base:

A piece of wood, sanded and varnished with satin varnish is used as a base. A small plaque mentions : M 47 Patton, Belgian Army, 4 Lanciers, Leopoldsburg 1953

Conclusion:

Club members looked at it and concluded that it was not bad at all for a first attempt at 1/35 scale modelling and that was more than good enough for me. It was started as a “straight-from-the-box” but it ended up with a few differences. I did enjoy the build and I do hope that this tank will receive some reactions at events because there is not much information available about the 4th Lancer Regiment and their vehicles.

Keep ‘m building

Erwin Bovyn
IPMS Gent


 

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