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In-Box Review
135
M48 A2GA2
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by: Darren Baker [ CMOT ]

Introduction

The following introduction is as supplied by Revell of Germany;
the US M48 Main Battle Tank with a 90mm gun, initially in the A1 version then later in larger numbers as the A2, formed part of the initial battle equipment of the German Armed Forces. It formed the backbone of German armoured units, and therefore that of the army for many years, even when the newly developed Leopard 1 was introduced from 1965 onwards. Although technically outdated in the late 1970ís, significant numbers were still in service because the Leopard 2 Main Battle Tank, which was supposed to replace the M48, was still under development. It was therefore decided to upgrade the combat performance of 650 of these tanks.

This essentially meant changing the original 90mm gun for the 105mm gun, which was also to be found in the Leopard 1 MBT and many other armoured fighting vehicles within NATO, therefore assuring community of ammunitions. In the course of this upgrade the gun mantel was renewed and its night fighting capability improved by attaching brackets in preparation for the PZB 200. The other major shortcoming with the M48A2, its petrol engine and associated short radius of action were not rectified because the costs were seen to be too high when compared to its expected useful service life.

A further modification was the removal of the commanders gun turret with its .50 calibre MG. In its place it received a cupola over the hatch as on the Leopard 1. Other changes including the lighting system and the use of a search and targeting searchlight similar to the Leopard 1 had been carried out previously. The first M48A2GA2ís were delivered to the field army in 1978 and initially replaced the remaining M48A2ís with the 90mm gun, from 1980 onwards with continued delivery of the Leopard 2, the improved M48ís were mostly assigned to tank battalions and the 5 companies of the territorial armies armoured reconnaissance battalions. They remained there until these units were dissolved after the German reunification in 1990/91. Interestingly at this time, some Leopard 1ís which had been built after the M48ís had already been de-commissioned.


Contents

The model is supplied in the end opening card box often utilised by Revell of Germany. Inside there are four poly bags containing the kit parts, the kit contents breakdown as follows;
  • 6 green sprues
  • Vinyl rubber tracks
  • A vinyl rubber sprue
  • A length of wire
  • A decal sheet
  • An instruction booklet
  • An advisory sheet
  • A promotional flyer

Review

First Impressions
A look over the kit parts gave me a positive opinion of this brand new model from Revell of Germany, there are no cooling lines or flash present that I observed. There are of course ejector pin marks, but I believe this issue is restricted to the tracks when it comes to them being seen. The packaging the model is supplied looks to have done it job as regards protection, but I do wish Revell of Germany would use trays and lids as it would make keeping assemblies and the kit parts together and safe. There are some shrink marks on the heavier moulded features such as the mounts for the wheel swing arms, however these shrink marks are in areas that will not be seen

Lower Hull
Due to the boat like shape of the lower hull on the M48, Revell of Germany has supplied this area in four parts. You get the bottom and front, 2 side parts and the rear, these parts look to go together easily and should replicate the shape well. The mouldings have an interesting cast metal texture to them, this casting texture appears to be a tad over emphasized being more akin to an anti slip appearance. I am pleased to see Revell of Germany supply this texture as I feel it will be easier to tone down if desired rather than having the need to replicate it yourself. One thing to be aware of is that there are a number of holes that to be drilled throughout the construction process, most of which are 1mm holes. The Louvre detail on the rear panel has been nicely replicated and while I have not counted the vanes it looks right to my eye. You will be glad to hear that there are no motorization holes in the hull, instead you get some turret floor access panel detail, but I cannot comment on the accuracy of this aspect.

Suspension and Wheels
Starting with the road wheels, these all look very good and I believe accurate when compared to pictures, the bolt detail and shapes seems to match up with my reference. The drive wheel has the correct number of teeth and the teeth are the correct shape, the bolt detail on the face is correct but seems a little light to me. The bolt detail on the centre hub is there but the detail looks soft, with the definition lacking. The mud clearance slots on the drive wheels is not present on the model, that detail however should be easy to recreate if not left to late. The return rollers again have been well replicated having all of the relevant detail present.

The support arms are nicely detailed and again look to represent the details of the real vehicle well, the only downside for some is that the arms have not been supplied and attached in a way that allows articulation. This is due in part to flat sided studs that secure the arms to the brackets on the hull, that could of course be overcome with some work with the correct sized drill bit; however you will then come up against the shock absorbers which are single piece moulding. The only other accuracy issue I have found is that all of the top shock absorber mounts are straight on the vehicle and my reference shows that at least one on each side is angled.

Tracks
The tracks are very nicely detailed for vinyl rubber offerings with the only issue I detected being ejector pin marks on every 6th or 7th inner track pad, this will be a pain if the model is depicted clean, but if weathered should hide most of the marks. For those modellers that cannot tolerate this there are after market tracks available from several manufacturers and workable plastic tracks should be an affordable alternative. While these vinyl tracks are not perfect I do feel Revell of Germany has made a good stab at them.

Upper Hull
The upper hull has been given the cast metal look where appropriate, and as I mentioned with the lower hull it is again a little on the heavy side, this however should add some interest once paint has been applied. Moulded on detail is good overall, with fair to good detail when it comes to filler caps, bolt detail and so on. The cast metal look has not been replicated on the fairings and these have some very nice crisp mould details present. The vents on the engine deck are supplied as separate parts and again detail is good. The pipe that looks like an exhaust from the driversí area has been replicated, but this will need to be drilled to provide a better more realistic appearance. There are a few areas I would like to have seen Revell of Germany tackle differently, I would have liked to see some clear parts supplied with this model for the lights and the brush guards really need to be photo etched parts due to I believe the plastic part looking a little heavy; I know we have all been spoilt and have the glass is half empty way of thinking, but I do feel that simple inclusions of that nature would have lifted what is a good model and made it better with more appeal. The drivers hatch can be depicted open or closed, but a suitable figure will need to be found to fill the void.

The Turret
Yep you guessed the turret has the metal casting texture on it, and I should say that having looked at it over a couple of days it is really growing on me now and looks especially good on the turret. You are going to have to get the drill out again as there are some more holes to make. The details on the turret such as the commandersí cupola, aerial mounts, smoke grenade launchers and range finders all look good to me and noteworthy. The mantlet of the main gun will have limited movement to it, but I would set it in place when you apply the canvas cover to it, if you donít it may look a tad odd. The barrel is not something I am looking forward to tackling as it is two parts split lengthways, there is quite a lot of detail along its length which will make sanding difficult where filler is concerned. The searchlight again does not have a clear lens which is disappointing, but on the plus side a vinyl cable is supplied for plumbing in the electrics. The searchlight doors and hatches can be left open or closed, but again you will need figures to plug the holes and hide the hollow interior. The framing for the turret basket may be a little on the heavy side but is otherwise good. The commanders MG will need the muzzle drilled to improve appearance. The length of wire in the kit is actually shown being used on this model, that is the first time I can remember seeing that in the instructions and it is clearly pointed out what length it is to be cut to, nicely done Revell of Germany.

Finishing Options
You are provided with four finishing option on this model which are;
  • Heimatschutz Brigade 52, PzBtl 523 (tmob), Lingen, 1990
  • Heimatschutz Brigade 62, PzBtl 623, Wietmarschen-Lohne, 1988
  • 4 PzGrenDiv, PzAufklBtl 4, Roding, 1980
  • Heimatschutz Brigade 54, PzBtl 543 (tmob), Hermeskeil, 1989
The finishing options provided offer two tricolour camouflage finishes and 2 single colour finishes.

Instructions
The instruction booklet is the typical loose leafed offering from Revell of Germany, this guides you through construction using black and white line drawings. The position of some parts is not always perfectly clear from the instructions, but with a little care and attention, no insurmountable problems or issues should be encountered.

Decals
The decal sheet is fairly small but has a lot on it. The decals are reasonably thin and have good colour and sharp lines. There is a limited amount of carrier film present, but it is of an acceptable amount.

Conclusion

This being an all new offering from Revell of Germany allows you to see into how they have progressed. The textured finish is a nice touch which while a little heavy and some would say uniform, I would rather have it than not and it shows that Revell of Germany can do things that are a surprise. I am disappointed in there being no clear parts included with the model, in particular the searchlight is let down by this omission. The place where Revell of Germany always score highly is price and I have no doubt that this release will be keenly priced, plus this is to my knowledge the only M48 A2GA2 in 1/35th scale straight from the box.

Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For details visit www.revell.de/en, @RevellGermany or facebook.com/Revell
SUMMARY
Highs: The casting texture liberally applied to the model grows on you the more you look at it.
Lows: The lack of any clear mouldings for lights and especially the searchlight is a missed opportunity to further enhance the model.
Verdict: Definitely a model worth your consideration regardless of if it is build from the box or has all the bells and whistles thrown at it.
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 03236
  Suggested Retail: £26.99
  PUBLISHED: Sep 26, 2014
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 87.04%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 83.40%

Our Thanks to Revell of Germany!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Darren Baker (CMOT)
FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH WEST, UNITED KINGDOM

I have been building model kits since the early 70ís starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70ís, I have had lots of opportunitie...

Copyright ©2019 text by Darren Baker [ CMOT ]. All rights reserved.



Comments

Got it, seeing in person is always better than pics on the internet. The test shots just looked off to me. Has this kit hit US stores yet?
SEP 26, 2014 - 11:47 PM
It is a very recent release, but I would have thought it should be available now or very soon in the US.
SEP 27, 2014 - 12:06 AM
Finished mine after a two day quick build. If it goes for ejector marks, I found four on the inside if the front fenders, easily fixed by filling and sanding. After all a very pleasurable build that brings back some memories when two of these beast rolling thorugh my hometown, making a stop for checking the suspension and giving a salvo of blank 7,62 mm rounds for us children. Unforgettable!
SEP 27, 2014 - 02:51 AM
Nice Review, Darren. As for the shape of the hull nose, it may appear to be off because it is actually correct. We're used to seeing them with too shallow of a "point." I don't have anything to compare to at the moment but I suspect that is the case. Well, no more bashiing old Monogram kits with Tamiya kits. Although you'll still need to bash two kits together tot a nice IDF version, you're a lot farther along with this kit, not having to remove so many cast on details. (Tools, tow cables, spare track, etc.) The spotlight won't go to waste either - you can use it on an Egyptian T-55 from the mid '80's.
SEP 27, 2014 - 03:26 AM
It doesn't look bad at all and fills a missing niche long vacant. Something Stephen noticed and I have to concur is that they went a little overboard on the cast texture. I checked Prime Portal which has the M48 well represented. The back deck is a mix of cast and rolled plate welded together and the access hatches are not cast. Its a small nit pick and fixable with a little work. It does not detract from the kit. Now I haven't been under an M48 since 1989 so I don't recall if the belly plate was rolled or cast. I don't think the hull was cast in one piece. I never took a picture while doing maintaince under the hull. I saw some German M48A2s in Wildflichen back in the day doing tactics while we were there for gunnery. Tom
SEP 27, 2014 - 04:47 AM
Guys don't forget Revell is also putting out a standard A2C.
SEP 27, 2014 - 05:05 AM
Even better.
SEP 27, 2014 - 05:12 AM
Looking forward to it--no doubt it will show up on this side of the pond shortly. Be alert when placing your order, though--Revell USA has recently reissued the nostalgic (but dreadful) Monogram M48A2 Patton kit from 1957.
SEP 27, 2014 - 04:43 PM
T'anks for the announcement and link to the review. I will look for this one to add to my Cold War armor colection.
SEP 29, 2014 - 12:58 AM
   

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