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Mk. IV Male Tank
in 1/72 Scale

by Glen Porter


Mk. IV Male Tank

images by Brett Green

Emhar's 1/72 scale Mk. IV Male Tank is available online from Squadron




A few months ago, the Editor, Brett Green, showed me a model of the German WWI A7V tank by Emhar in 1/72 scale that he had built. I was very impressed.

A couple of days later I came across one of these kits in a hobby shop and decided to buy it. The model did not impress me much in the box, as I considered that they could have put more effort into the tracks and suspension, and less into the armour shields.

However, the end result was quite good with no modifications required for a nice representation of this very rare tank.



Emhar's 1/72 Scale Mk. IV Male Tank


Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Emhar's Mk. IV Male and Female tanks in the same scale.



The Mk. IV Male goes together reasonably well and the surface detail is excellent. Even the rubber-band tracks can be made to look okay. There are, however, a couple of problem areas.

The open box that goes on the rear deck appears to have been moulded upside down. Rather than try to fix the kit part I decided to scratch build one out of appropriately-sized plastic strip. This was not a terribly difficult job and the result was far superior to that supplied by Emhar.

The next problem area concerns the unditching rails mounted on top of the vehicle. These appear to be made from angle iron and all the photos that I have seen suggest that the angle is facing inwards. The whole assembly seems to be sitting on top of the Commander's cabin and the aforementioned box on the rear of the tank. The Emhar rails are angled outward and sit beside the cabin and box. I did not try to fix the kit rails. I believe that they are too short anyway. As I had already bought some plastic angle in the right size to build equipment boxes for an Australian Leopard AS1, I decided to scratchbuild these also.



There are several bends along each rail so I cut a vee segmment out of the lower side of the angle at the appropriate place. After the railw as fitted, I applied Tamiya Liquid Glue to the now-closed gap.

A small post was added from angle midway along the rail, and small bits of plastic card were cut to shape to attach the front and rear of the rail to the inside of the track sponsons.

As I had decided to model "Paul", one of the Mk. IVs captured by the German Army and used against its former masters, these tanks had their armament replaced with German items. After scratch building three Maxim machine guns, I learnt that most captured vehicles simply had their Lewis guns rechambered! Oh well... that's modelling for you. As we do not know exactly which guns were fitted to "Paul", I decided to leave it as is.

Emhar do not supply an unditching beam in either kit so I bought a short length of 5mm square balsa wood and some fine model railway chain to use for these items. The balsa was sprayed with grey primer from an aerosol can, then rubbed back with wet and dry to get rid of the furriness but leave the woodgrain. The metal straps at either end of the beam (to prevent the real thing from splitting) was attached to the beam with "U" shaped pieces of wire then simply pushed into the balsa at the appropriate place. The beam was destined to be attached to the model upon completion of painting and weathering.



The rubber band tracks were attached using super glue, starting from the underside centre, to the front, over the top then back to the centre again. There was one problem here. Although the track material is fairly hard, the tracks still seemed to bend around the tight curves at the drive sprocket and idler wheel, so I only placed glue either side of the bends. If there is the slightest crack at one of these tight curves, the entire track can split and come apart in a matter of days. I advise gluing the track for the entire length to avoid this problem.



Painting and Markings


With construction finished it was time to start painting.



Emhar supply F.S. numbers for the three colours and I found these to be a fairly close match for Tamiya XF-22 RLM Grey as the base colour, XF-59 Desert Yellow and TXF-64 Red Brown , all in enamel. I use enamels only because I have a big range and I am used to them, not because I necessarily think that they are better. I thin them with Turpentine because it is inexpensive and easy to get.

RLM Grey was sprayed over the model first using the fine tip on my trusty Aztek airbrush. I then sprayed the light and dark browns freehand (without masks), working from the box art on the back to determine the pattern.


Wash and Detail Painting

Next, I applied a thin wash of black acrylic paint thinned with Methylated Spirits (don't use this mix over acrylic paints though!) with a soft brush. This needs some caution - if the wash is too thick it can leave unwanted stains, so keep the wash thin! When the wash is dry after a half an hour, I scrub most of it off using a soft brush and clean Metho. This leaves the wash in the crevices, highlighting features such as rivets panels, vision slots etc.



The tracks were hand painted in light grey, with the sides painted black to simulate the gap that would be there. Small items such as the Maxims were coated with a very dark grey, and exhaust mufflers in rust. Rust and oil streaks were added with a very fine brush using the box art as a guide. The model was now ready for gloss coat and decals.



The decals were not the best I have ever used. In fact, they were terrible.

They had some register problems with the red, and did not want to come loose from their backing sheet. After soaking the decals in room-temperature water for 3-5 minutes I had to place each decal between thumb and forefinger, flexing sideways.

Once the decals were free they performed normally, and I did not have this same problem with the A7V decals.



And now it is time to get dirty - no Harriet, not that way!

I took a 50/50 mix of Tamiya Desert Yellow and Buff, blobbed it here and there on the tracks to simulate where damp earth has clung to them, and added streaks to the belly and lower corners of the gun sponsons. The tracks were also sprayed with a thin coat of dust after the rest of the model was masked off. Not too heavy though - the grey of the tracks should still show through.

This dusty coat was also sprayed on the underside and a short distance up the sides. I then touched up the black strip between the track plates and the sponsons.





The painting and decal method I have described here is used on my WWII model aircraft, which is my usual area.



I don't usually build tanks but I must admit that I am becoming more and more interested in them, along with ships. In fact, I am about to start a WWI biplane.

Damn - I think I feel another article coming on!



Additional Images


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Model and Text Copyright 2003 by Glen Porter
Images Copyright 2003 by Brett Green
Page Created 06 March, 2003
Last Updated 17 March, 2004

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