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Takom Mk.A Whippet

RELATED TOPICS: REVIEW | ARMOR | MILITARY
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As the recent interest in modeling World War I tanks blossomed, it seemed only a matter of time before a new 1/35 scale Mk.A Whippet hit hobby stores. Takom answered the call, and the kit’s a beaut.

Looking to complement the heavy and slow Mark IV and exploit openings in the lines, the British army ordered the faster Whippet; it could make 8 mph versus the Mark IV’s 4 mph! Armed with machine guns, the Whippet entered combat in March 1918.

The full-size vehicle comprised flat armor panels bolted and riveted together, and the kit looks pretty much the same. Molded in gray plastic, Takom’s Whippet shows gorgeous surface detail with crisp rivets and bolt heads.

The instructions start with the road wheels — all 32 pairs. That means clipping and cleaning up 32 axles and 64 wheels. To keep the working tracks moving, the wheels are not glued to the axles. But that means keeping track of a lot of loose pieces that are subtly different. I placed the sets in ziplock bags marked with subassembly numbers. And about the time you think you are ready to make a major step forward, you have to build 10 return rollers. The idlers and drive sprockets were a piece of cake.

Next came the sponsons. First I installed the road wheels, limiting how much glue I used to ensure the wheels would move.

Now for the tricky part: installing the braces and plates for the mud chutes. It’s not difficult to do, but you need to make sure the wheels don’t go walkabout until everything is in place, lined up, and secured with the outer sponson plate. I could have used a couple of extra hands. Keep pointed tweezers handy to reach into tight spaces and finagle the dozens of parts into position when mating the outer wall.

I left off the tiny photo-etched hooks as well as the track spuds until after painting; the former because I knew I’d knock them into the ether the first chance I got, the latter because the hull numbers need to be applied under them.

Sponsons done, the model progressed quickly.

The machine-gun swivel mounts work well. Use slow-setting cement to assemble the fighting compartment. A lot of panels attach along odd angles, and their final resting places may not be obvious until all of the parts are in place.

The individual-link tracks came as a breath of fresh air after feeling like I didn’t have enough hands to built the sponsons and fighting compartment. Each link snapped into the next. I recommend placing one pin in the corresponding hole in the next link, then twisting the link until the other pin clicks into place.

Eight marking options are provided, including three British Whippets in France in 1918, another British tank in Dublin in 1919, and two German vehicles, one in three-color wartime camo, the other with the Freikorps during the German Revolution in 1919. The remaining options are two of the Whippets sent to Russia during the civil war, one in White army service, the other with the Red army.

I painted mine with Ammo of Mig Jimenez acrylics and marked it as one of the British army tanks. Breaking from the instructions, I painted the machine-gun mounts black and the track spuds wood with dark iron fittings to match information in David Fletcher’s Medium Mark A Whippet (Osprey, ISBN 978-1-78200-398-4).

The decals responded to Microscale Micro Sol.

I added the tracks and spuds to finish the build.

There’s a lot to like about Takom’s Whippet. Although challenging in the way origami can be, it’s not difficult — and the result looks terrific.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the May 2016 issue.

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