T-28 Super Heavy Tank

Published: January 18th, 2013     
Box Art
Box Art
Reviewed by: Robert Folden - IPMS# 45545
Scale: 1/35
Company: Dragon Models
Price: $69.95
Product / Stock #: 6750
Product provided by: Dragon Models USA

When I first heard this was coming out, I just couldn't wait. It is such a unique and interesting piece of US military history, and personally one of my favorite tanks ever built. When it was announced that IPMS had received one for review, I was certain it would be requested instantly. Now, whether it was overlooked, or whether everyone simply wasn't as eager as me to build this beast of a kit (or didn't have the space to display it), it hadn't been claimed. So I jumped at the chance to review it. Oh, what a build I was in for...

The T-28 Super Heavy Tank is officially designated as 105mm Gun Motor Carriage T95, and was a US prototype tank designed and built during WWII to be used to break through the Germans' Siegfried Line. Weighing in at nearly 90 metric tons and sporting 12-inch thick armor, the T-28 was most revolutionary in its use of four tracks. Because of the extreme weight, the vehicle needed a beefed-up suspension. Each track section featured four bogies taken from the M4 Sherman. Since the additional tracks added to the width of the vehicle, the T-28 was designed to have the outer fenders/tracks removed for transport. The extra tracks could then be bolted together and towed behind the tank. The other unique feature of the T-28 was that it was a turret-less design similar to the German StuG's. The main gun had a ball mount in the front of the hull, and only had about 10 degrees of travel in any direction. But, with a top speed of only 8mph and the difficulties in transporting the tank due to its size, the US ultimately abandoned the project after only two prototypes were built. In 1974, the only surviving T-28 was discovered in a back field at Fort Belvoir, VA. It now resides at the Fort Knox Patton Museum; however, it will soon be moved to its future home at Fort Benning, GA.

Dragon's new T-28 kit is a work of art. When you first open the box, you are bombarded by the amount of plastic in the kit. With over 1700 parts, this is NOT a kit for beginners. Thanks to the T-28's use of Sherman parts, most of the kit's suspension components come from Dragon's excellent Sherman kits. Now, as I stated, this kit is not for beginners, and even some seasoned modelers may find it a challenge. Of the 1700+ parts, over 1000 of them are used just for the suspension. Step 1 is the assembly of the bogies, return rollers, and various other suspension components. Each of the sixteen bogies contains 23 parts, including two metal springs. Yes, the suspension is workable. Now, there are two versions of the bogies, for left and right tracks. They use all of the same parts; however, you flip the spring housings for half of them. Also, the return rollers have various lengths of mounts for use on the hull or outer fenders. So, it's a good idea to use an organizer or trays to keep the sub-assemblies separate and labeled. Now, when Step 1 is complete, you will have used about 650 parts. So, where is the other 350 parts for the suspension? Guide horns!!! That's right, while the tracks are DS and nicely done, they do have individual guide horns. About 360 of them, if my math was correct. I managed to get them all glued in about 2 hours. I used a curved blade scalpel to remove them from the sprue. The benefit to the curved blade? You can start at one end of the row and run the blade down the sprue and remove the horns in one pass versus individually. Then I put some Tamiya super thin glue in a small shot glass and used a brush to apply it to about 5-6 tracks at a time. Then, using tweezers, I touched the horn to the glue in the glass, then put it on the track. It's tedious, but I find it gives the strongest bond. Since the road wheel tires are separate, I painted the hull, fenders, and suspension parts, then added the tires and attached everything to the hull. With the suspension complete, the rest of the model went quickly.

Now, while the majority of the model went together great, I did make note of a few issues. First, anyone who has built the Sherman bogie with springs will likely know about this already, but there is some fit issue with the springs/housings. I found using some CA glue to attach the spring to the mount before it goes into the housing helps. Additionally, I used a Dremel to sand the inside of the housing a little. The next issue is in Step 3, part B13. Do NOT attach the B13 parts to the hull fenders until you have the outer fenders in place. The corresponding parts [B12] on the outer fenders have mounting locations marked, but B13's mount is not. So for proper alignment, put the outer fenders in place first. The same goes for the fender mounts in Step 8. They will stick out about 1mm past the edge of the hull. When the outer tracks are put in place, this will cause a gap. I recommend taping the outer fenders in place, then cutting the mounting tabs off of the bottom of B1, B14, B2, C9[C8] and then dry fitting them in place to interlock with their counterparts on the outer fenders. Then use Tamiya Super thin or Proweld to glue them in place on the hull. In Step 7, you will need to use CA glue when putting C18 into D9. Regular glue will not be strong enough to hold the joint with the weight of the LARGE metal barrel. In Step 10, if you decide to mount the outer fenders permanently, I suggest using some Tamiya tape along the top edge where it meets the hull, and then use a longer piece to run under the tracks to the bottom of the hull. This ensures a tight fit and straight alignment. Last up, in Step 11, Part D22 will need to be modified in order to do the towed tracks option. Also, this step has you make the tow cables, but the instructions do not give you any suggestions on where to put them. I ended up hooking them to the front tow shackles and then just running them in a way that made sense. Also, if you want to add a little detail, the cranes should have some cable added.

Now, being that this is a prototype and never actually saw combat, there are a couple ways to go with the paint. You can do the standard factory fresh, or you can add a little weathering to be either the test vehicle or the museum piece, or you can go what-if and add stowage and battle weathering. I decided to use the T-28 as a practice on filters and shading. The base color is Gunze Sangyo RLM Violet Brown. I find it's a good OD color. I then mixed up two shades of the base color, first adding 10% Buff and then 30% Buff (give or take). I used the lighter shade on the angled sections, and the lightest on the top sections. The tracks were painted with Vallejo Track Primer, 3 rust colors, and Dark Rubber. The Track primer color was also used on the sides of the outer fenders. After a light pin wash of raw umber, I did some light dry-brushing with oils. The decals are very basic and went on without any problems. I did decide to tone them down with an overspray of the lightest OD color mixed with about 90% thinner. Some dry-brushed silver here and there, and I was very pleased with the outcome. Oh, in case you were wondering, I did use the included metal tow cables. They are not painted, but instead I ran a butane torch along the cable several times, allowing it to glow orange and then cool down. Not only does it make the cable pliable and easy to work with, it also turns it a black and sometimes rusty color.

Overall, I am very happy with how this kit turned out. Aside from a slow and tedious start that made me almost want to give up, it was a fun kit to build and it looks great beside my other US armor. I do recommend the kit; however, I would advise caution for any beginning modelers.

My thanks to Dragon Models USA for providing the review kit and to IPMS for allowing me to review it.

  • Assembled bogie units
    Assembled bogie units
  • Bogies and suspension
    Bogies and suspension
  • Fitting the fenders
    Fitting the fenders
  • Fenders taped for gluing
    Fenders taped for gluing
  • Fenders and tracks finalized
    Fenders and tracks finalized
  • Painted and awaiting detailing
    Painted and awaiting detailing
  • Right front
    Right front
  • Left front
    Left front
  • Left rear
    Left rear
  • Cupola detail
    Cupola detail
  • Front
    Front
  • With little brother Sherman
    With little brother Sherman

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