Kit: No. EM 5001
Manufacturer: Emhar, c/o Pocketbond Ltd., P.O. Box 80, Welwyn, Herts AL6 0ND, England, fax 44-1707-327466
Comments: Injection molded, 32 parts (4 vinyl).
Carrying a crew of eight, Britain's Mark IV heavy tank appeared on the trench-filled battlefields of World War I in June 1917. Powered by a Daimler six-cylinder gas engine, the Mk. IV had a top speed of only 3.7 mph and a range of 35 miles.
Despite its shortcomings, the Mk. IV was popular with armies on both sides - a number were captured and operated by the Germans, who called them Beutepanzer (booty tanks).
Like Emhar's 1/35 scale kits, the 1/72 scale Mk. IV is available in two versions: "Male" (armed with two six-pounder guns and four machine guns) and "Female" (armed with six machine guns).
Molded in dark gray plastic, Emhar's Male Mk. IV features raised and recessed panel lines. All of the hatches are molded shut, and no interior detail is included. Seven exploded-view drawings lead the builder through construction.
The hull is made up of several thin, flat pieces. Many of those parts were slightly warped, and aligning and assembling them was tricky. I used gap-filling super glue for assembly.
The sponson-mounted turrets have large, difficult-to-correct gaps at the top and bottom. I glued a large piece of sheet plastic inside the hull to keep light from shining through.
You'll need to drill out the barrels of the two six-pounder guns. The three Lewis machine guns are too heavy for this scale; new ones would be easy to scratchbuild, though.
The unditching rails on the top of the hull were the most difficult (and time-consuming) part of the kit - each rail is assembled from three separate pieces. Their attachment points are vague, and like the hull parts, they were slightly warped. One of my references had a photo of an in-service Mk. IV without unditching rails - if I built this kit again I'd be tempted to leave them off. The well-detailed vinyl tracks are too long and required trimming before they fit properly.
According to Emhar's instructions, several Mk. IVs were painted "battleship gray," so I airbrushed mine Testor Model Master gunship gray (FS 36118).
The three-color decals are nicely printed, and markings for two British and two German tanks are included. They snuggled down over the hull's pronounced rivet detail after repeated applications of Solvaset, and the white portions are sufficiently opaque.
The model is a few scale inches too small for 1/72 scale, nothing to fret about. Useful references include Christopher F. Foss' The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Tanks and Fighting Vehicles and George Forty's A Photo History of Tanks in Two World Wars.
Despite its problems, Emhar's kit captures the look of the Mk. IV, and it's a quick build - six hours in my case. Beginners shouldn't find it difficult to handle, and more experienced modelers will enjoy adding detail.