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AFV Club 1/35 scale M36 Jackson tank destroyer

Kit: No. 35058
Scale: 1/35
Manufacturer: AFV Club, from Merit International, 626-912-2212,
Price: $41.98
Comments: Injection-molded, 543 parts (8 vinyl, 1 metal, 1 string), decals
Pros: Good turret detail, articulated suspension
Cons: Inaccurate rear deck, gun barrel is not a typical M36 unit
The long-promised AFV Club M36 tank destroyer has finally arrived, ending a streak of German subjects issued by this company.

The box announces all-new tooling for the turret and the hull/chassis, but the hull and chassis parts are the same as in AFV's previous M10 tank destroyer kits. The kit is nicely molded in medium-olive plastic. The only outstanding accessory provided is a beautifully machined metal barrel. No figures are given.

Having built the M10 kit, I encountered no surprises building the bogie units. Each is made from 12 parts and is fully articulated. The wheels have nice detail on the front, but the backs are hollow.

The M10 hull and chassis introduce a number of accuracy problems. The M36 was based on the gasoline-engined M10A1, which had a different engine deck, upper back, and lower hull plates from the diesel-engined M10. The kit changes only the exhaust system.

Builders are instructed to sand off the location marks for the bolts on the hull sides as these where present only on early production vehicles. The hull bolts are provided if you need them. The symbol for eliminating the marks is not on the illustration key, so it can be confusing.

The turret exterior consists of three main components and the metal gun barrel. A wealth of interior detail is provided. The breech assembly and gun controls are well-done. Spare ammo rounds are given and the turret ready-round racks are partially open to take the rounds if you desire.

The metal gun tube is a beautiful creation. It even has rifling in the barrel, but its accuracy is questionable. It has a strange step about an inch from the barrel end, the overall side profile doesn't match the World War II M3 90mm gun, and AFV Club portrays the least-common muzzle-brake thread protector. As in AFV's other U.S. tank destroyer kits, the gun construction includes the gimmicky spring-action recoiling barrel.

I moved the .50-cal. machine gun to the turret front, as the vehicle I was modeling, "Pork Chop," and many other WWII vehicles had this feature. It gave the crew better access to the weapon since the M36 had no hull or co-axial gun.

The kit features one-piece vinyl tracks of the T-51 rubber-block style. They are nicely molded but have a tight fit. I recommend considering replacing the kit tracks with one of AFV Club's plastic-link Sherman track sets.

I painted my kit with variety of Tamiya olive drab and khaki acrylic paints. Decals are provided for four vehicles. They where fragile and tended to break apart.

My primary reference was AF Visual - The M36 by David Doyle. I also found Allied-Axis No. 12 useful as it has a good photo of "Pork Chop." I completed my kit in 19 hours.

You can't build a World War II M36 out of the box, and I was surprised AFV Club didn't catch the detail differences. The kit is closer to the post-war M36B2, but even this requires some work. Advanced modelers who have the skill and desire might be able correct the problems and create a true M10.

- Jim Zeske


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