In terms of military vehicles, we often look at the devastating firepower of battleships or the courage of dog-fighting aircraft but ground based vehicles are also a critical part of any battle plan.
Tanks provide critical logistical support to troops, while sporting immense firepower of their own. They will commonly be at the forefront of any ground assault and how they are able to stand up to opposing tanks determines the outcome of the battle. Wars have been won on the engineering skill and knowledge that has created tanks.
These tanks resin model kits are more geared towards intermediate and advanced model makers as they have a lot of small parts and can take skill and patience to put together. That’s not to say that they aren’t an option for enthusiastic beginners though!
German Tiger II
The German Tiger II heavy tank was an upgraded version of the earlier Tiger I, adopting a sloped, thick armour which is used by tanks and battleships as the sloped facing makes it more difficult for armour piercing rounds to penetrate the hull. The Tiger II was introduced late into the Second World War, and first deployed during the Allied invasion of Normandy in 1944. While the Tiger tanks weren’t quite as reliable as other models, they were remarkably agile considering their size and weight. In addition, their heavy armour and longer-range gun meant they were formidable against Allied tanks, with the thicker front armour meaning opponents would need to flank the tank for the best opportunity to inflict critical damage.
This is a lovely little tank model and with 285 pieces, it’s pretty complex so better suited to intermediate and above model builders. Tank models tend to be smaller when complete (than ships for example), which means smaller, more intricate parts to assemble. But the final model has a lot of detail on it, which will look wonderful when painted.
French Renault FT Light Tank
Commonly considered by historians to be the first modern tank design, the Renault FT Light Tank was the first tank to feature a fully rotating turret. Over 3,000 models were produced from 1917 and were largely in service during the First World War (the US also built a tank based on the same design, the M1917 Light Tank, but they weren’t completed in time for use during the war). The turret was originally designed to mount an 8mm machine gun, but was later adapted to mount a small canon.
While a number of these tanks were deployed during the Second World War, they were all but obsolete. A popular myth surrounding the French’s capabilities during the Second World War suggested that they had no modern hardware – in fact, they had as many modern tanks as the Germans, but they were single turret models and didn’t hold up well against the German’s superior Panzers.
This is a wonderful little model of a unique and pivotal piece of history. The final model is small (it’s a small tank, so it should be), but comes with a choice of two weapons for the turret. With around 100 pieces to assemble, it’s more geared towards intermediate model builders, but an enthusiastic beginner could assemble it and be left with a beautifully detailed tank model ready for painting.
British Cromwell Tank
The British Cromwell Tank was a cruiser tank used by the British during the last couple of years of the Second World War. Tank design is understandably constrained by trade-offs between weight (and armour / firepower) and speed. Cruiser tanks were created as an alternative to infantry tanks (which were slower, but heavily armoured and would accompany infantry) – they were lighter and although they weren’t as heavily armoured, this gave them more agility and speed.
The Cromwell tank was the fastest to be deployed by the British during the Second World War, which gave them a notable advantage in skirmishes with the enemy. Indeed, in one occasion, three tank commanders were able to leap a 20ft wide canal when surprised by an enemy squadron. While this speed did give them the edge over enemy tanks, the rough terrain took it’s toll on the tank’s suspension which wasn’t up to the job. In later models, the top speed was lowered but was still fast for the era and one of the most successful British tanks of the war.
This is a simpler model, geared at beginner to early intermediate model builders. The final model is around 8cm in length, so will require a degree of patience to assemble, but the kit is made by Airfix who have a long and respected reputation for creating high quality kits.The low cost means this is a great gift!
The Russian T-90 was a general purpose battle tank which was first deployed in 1993. Battle tanks are designed to operate in a variety of different situations, from escorting and protecting infantry to hunting and destroying enemy tanks. While the model hasn’t been deployed in many combat situations, several were used during the Chechen War and reportedly survived several rocket attacks relatively unscathed, leading to the consensus that it is the best-protected Russian tank in use.
This is a wonderful example of a more modern tank and comes with the front-mounted dozer attachment. The kit is from Meng, and the final model is highly detailed and great for beginner to intermediate model builders.
German Tiger I
We talked a bit about the Tiger II earlier in this guide, but the Tiger I is worthy of note too. It was a German heavy tank used throughout the Second World War and while its successor adopted sloped armour, the Tiger I was characteristically box-like. What stands out about the Tiger I was that it was a superb feat of engineering – in fact, it was so technically superior at its time, it was considered to be over-engineered – too complex to build and maintain. But, it was mechanically robust and did perform well on the most part, but ultimately was let down when the terrain didn’t suit it (it didn’t work well in mud or snow due to its weight), and also had a high rate of fuel consumption.
This is another great little kit from Tamiya and one that can be enjoyed by enthusiastic beginners and more advanced model builders alike.