Takom- T29 Heavy Tank
Introduction: I posted the first look review of this kit in September 2021. In that review, I pointed out that Takom did not include track assembly jigs like those included in the T29E3 and T30/34 kits. I saved the ones from my T29E3 project so I utilized them in this build; however, I will provide some tips on assembling the track without the jigs. Also, as I assembled this kit, I found some flash on several of the parts which are common to the T29E3 and T30/T34 kits. This may be the result of the masters for these common parts being a bit older.
That said, this is a great kit with very clear instructions (if you follow them). I’m biased toward the U.S. heavy series of tanks and TAKOM did their homework on designing and producing this kit. This kit can be straight out of the box; however, my AMS did kick in just a little because I added lead foil straps and photoetched (PE) buckles for the pioneer tools, lenses for the headlights, and .010 lead wire for leads to the head lights. I also used .010 plastic round to enhance the welding in several areas. Sometimes you just can’t help yourself.
I want to thank Dave Hobbs for providing me with pictures and technical data from the T29 in the US Army Armor and Cavalry collection at Fort Benning, GA. There is nothing like having the real thing as a reference to build a model.
Let’s build this kit:
Steps 1-9, Suspension, track and hull detail: In steps 1-2, assemble the rear plate of the lower hull and add all the suspension parts (road wheel arms, shock absorbers, idler arms and snubbers) to the lower hull. I utilized the TAKOM jigs to help align the road wheel arms. However, if you don’t have that luxury then you should take some time to carefully align the road wheel arms so they are in a straight line. Taking this extra time will pay dividends in assembling the track and road wheels.
In step 3, you assemble the drive sprockets, road wheels and support rollers. I recommend you assemble the drive sprockets and two road wheels and not assemble the remainder until your ready to finally add the track to the model. I show you why in the next section.
In step 4, you assemble the track. The track is link and length and if you follow the instructions CAREFULLY easy to assemble. The entire set of tracks is contained on the L sprue. The track links and lengths are numbered and correspond to the numbers listed in step 4 of the instructions. You do need to do a little mold seam clean up. While I used the TAKOM jig to assemble the track, the following provides you a guide to assemble the track without the jig.
Add the drive sprockets and idler wheels to the lower hull (don’t glue). Also, add the inside of the road wheels (part C6) to the #1 and #8 road wheel arm positions. Then follow the instructions in step 4 for assembling the track. I recommend gluing the individual links together into separate runs. When the glue has set-up some, you can bend the runs around the idler and drive sprocket. The key to this process is to keep an even spacing between the track blocks and pay attention to any track alignment issues. Keep the track assembly on the model until the cement is completely dry. You can then slip the track assembly with drive sprocket and idlers off the model in one piece. The pictures below will help explain this process.
I did not add the track assemblies to the model until after painting and weathering of the suspension, hull and track.
In steps 5-9, you add the detail parts to the lower and upper hull. The upper hull is in two pieces (i.e., glacis and engine deck). In step 6, detail parts to the rear hull plate. The taillight brush guards in my kit were broken beyond repair, so I utilized the ones from one of my T30/34 kits. These are very delicate parts and you might be able to scratch build the legs with .030 plastic strip if the circle portions of the light guards are in tack. Also, there was no right taillight assembly (part D23) in my kit, so I substituted it with part C42. The remainder detail work went without a hitch. I did have to add a bit of putty to the seam between the lower hull and glacis assembly. Also, make sure you get a good alignment between the glacis assembly and engine deck as this will enhance smooth rotation of the turret.
Steps 10-15, Fender assemblies: I elected to add the sand shields to the fenders to replicate the T29 at Fort Benning. This added a bit of difficulty to the build as I had to paint and weather the hull, suspension, track and the insides of the fenders before I could add them to this model. This required a bit of pre-planning, but nothing too difficult to figure out.
In steps 10-12 you build the right fender assembly. The kit provides individual handles for the sponson boxes. These are very cool, but quite prone to tweezer launch and no extras are provided so be careful with clean-up and assembly. Yes, I drilled out the hole for the pad lock in each handle.
I assembled the sponson boxes to the fender along with the front fender support (H28), siren and guard and the clips which hold the tow cable in place. I decided to leave the tow cables off this model, but they are easy to assemble if you like. The mufflers have predominant weld lines which I added with .010 plastic round. This is not a necessary step but does add a bit of realism.
Finally, I added the sand shield to the right fender assemble and set everything aside to dry.
In steps 13-15 you build the left fender assembly. I followed the same assembly steps as I outlined for steps 10-12 but added the pioneer tools. I also added some lead foil straps with PE buckles for the tie downs for the pioneer tools. NOTE: In steps 15-16, you assemble the headlights and their brush guards. I skipped this step until I’d painted and added the fender assemblies to the hull.
Steps 17-24, Turret: NOTE: The instructions show you adding the turret details to the upper turret shell before you assemble the rear plate and lower turret shell. My recommendation is to build the turret shell first and then add the detail parts. This will save you a lot of heart ache because there is much less chance of breaking the detail parts off the turret.
On my kit, assembly of the upper and lower turret shells and rear plate needed some assistance in obtaining a good glue joint.
I then needed to add some putty to make a good joint between the rear plate and turret shell and improve the joints on the turret sides.
The outcome worked out well and was ready to add some texturing to bring back the casting effects.
At this point I back tracked to steps 17-19 to add the details to the turret. Most of the detailing is very straight forward. I added copper wire handles to the loaders hatches and enhanced the welding around many of the details with .010 plastic round. I assembled the .50 Cal MG but did not glue it in place until final assembly. Once I’d completed the turret detailing, I used some Mr. Surfacer 1000 to enhance the cast texture and blend in areas where I’d sanded down the texture due to filling.
In steps 21 and 23 you are provided with the option to build the main gun assembly with or without the mantlet dust cover. I elected to use the dust cover. The dust cover is a five-piece assembly which fits directly to the turret front. Because of the simulated texture of the dust cover it was difficult to fill the seams to obtain a realistic fabric look.
The main gun tube is approximately 6 inches (150mm) long not including the muzzle break. I utilized a 70mm long length of 1/8” plastic tube and 70mm length of 3/32” plastic tube to add stability to the gun tube assembly. This picture is from my T29E3 project but provides the idea of how I inserted these tubes into the gun tube.
The muzzle break is a five-piece assembly. It took a bit of filling to cover the glue seams. NOTE: Those contest judges will look for seams inside the muzzle break.
I glued the dust cover to the turret shell and filled a couple of open seams with Mr. Dissolved Putty. When everything was dry, I glued the gun tube to the dust cover and dressed up the seam between the two with a little Mr. Dissolved Putty.
Painting, weathering and final assembly: Once I completed all the construction, I washed the various sub-assemblies in hot soapy water to remove all the grime. I then primed everything with Tamiya Grey primer.
I decided to paint the entire model with Mission Models paints. I used Worn Black Grey Tires (MMP-105) as a base coat for the track, road and support roller wheels and outlining the various panels and recessed areas on the hull and turret.
Next, I painted the entire hull, turret and the centers of the road and support roller wheels with US Army OD (MMP-025) and painted the mantlet dust cover with U.S. Army OD Faded 2 (MMP-021). I applied this paint in thin coats so you could faintly see the panel outlines and recessed areas.
I used various Vallejo Model Color paints to accomplish detail painting for the pioneer tools, spare track and hull and turret MGs. I utilized a process for painting and weathering the mufflers which I got from Glen Martin. This process is an article unto itself, so I won’t cover it here.
At this point it was time to weather the hull, track and fenders and start the final assembly. I made a mixture of AK earth effects wash, AK European Earth pigments and white spirits and liberally applied this mixture to the lower hull, track and fenders. When the weathering was dry, I applied a light coat of pigment fixer as added insurance. Next, I added the inside road wheels (part C6) and inside support roller (part C1) and the track assemblies to the hull. I carefully attached the fenders to the hull and made sure they remained as square as possible.
When things were dry, I added the headlight brush guards and did a bit of touchup painting on a few spots. I applied a light wash of AK dark brown wash and white spirits to the turret, upper hull and fenders and when dry, applied AK dark steel pigments to high wear area on the hull, fender and turret to add some patina.
Finally, I added a tank commander figure from a Miniart set and mounted the model on a base with some simple groundwork.
Firepower A History of the American Heavy Tank, R.P. Hunnicutt, Presidio Press, 1988.
Pictures and technical date from the T29 in the U.S. Army Armor and Cavalry collection at Fort Benning, GA provided by Dave Hobbs.
Conclusion: As mentioned up front, Takom did not include the track assembly jigs like those included in the T29E3 and T30/34 kits. As I assembled this kit, I found some flash on several of the parts which are common to the T29E3 and T30/T34 kits. This may be the result of the masters for these common parts being a bit older.
That said, this is a great kit with very clear instructions. I’m biased toward the U.S. heavy series of tanks and TAKOM did their homework on designing and producing this kit. TAKOM provided a great decal sheet, which gives the modeler four marking options. Two are for production vehicles #1 and #2 and two are for hypothetical vehicles in service in Europe in the late 1940s. The modeler can build a great tank straight out of the box or add a few minor details to enhance the built.
Highly Recommended for Intermediate to Advanced skill level builders.
Thanks goes out to TAKOM for this review kit.
Reviewed by Mike Petty
AMPS Central Virginia
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