1/35 IRON DIVISION M1 CUPOLA W/TWO STYLES OF HATCHES FOR THE TAMIYA M48A3 #35001

US retail price $5.95.

THE KIT

This resin conversion kit consists of three parts: M1 cupola, an early production, shallow hatch with vision ports and a late production deep hatch w/out vision ports. No instructions are included.

The first in a new line of 1/35 scale armor items from Iron Division, this set consists of three clean castings of the M1 cupola and its two hatch variations. It is a very nice addition for the venerable Tamiya M48A3 kit and it picks up on a few areas that Tamiya left out.

Crisply molded in white resin, my review sample had no air bubbles to speak of. There was a slight bit of resin flash on the cupola itself while the hatches needed to be removed from a thin resin pour block.

Starting with the cupola, Iron Division has chosen to cast it with a canvas mantle cover. While it does restrict the options of the modeler for positioning the .50 caliber barrel, it is nicely detailed with the appropriate attachment points and wrinkles. The opening for the barrel will need to be drilled out to accept your preferred barrel type. The vision blocks have the correct number of bolt heads added to them while attachment points have been added to the cupola for three lifting eyes(lifting eyes not included). The cupola roof has a small, rectangular plate on it. Iím guessing that this would be for the Vietnam era external .50 caliber machine gun mounting. If you want to use the M28 periscope included with the Tamiya kit, youíll need to scrape it off and add a small circle of thin styrene sheet in its place before adding the periscope. The interior of the cupola has some detail including three vision blocks. There is no detail for the machine gun mount.

The two hatches are well detailed. The early, shallow pattern hatch features two vision blocks inside and out along with interior securing latches and a head pad. The later deeper hatch also has interior detail including a head pad and securing latches. Upon test fitting the hatches to the resin cupola I found that there were some gaps in the fit at the tops of both hatches. Very thin styrene or a bit of putty that can be scribed when dry should take care of this. Ironically, I obtained a near perfect fit using both hatch covers on the original Tamiya cupola!

After quickly cleaning up a small bit of excess resin on the ring of the cupola, I obtained an excellent fit when using the Tamiya vision block spacer ring. If you plan on mounting the cupola directly to the turret, youíll need to widen the opening in the turret and fill in the spaces for the locking tabs.


CONCLUSION

In the past, Iron Division has produced some very high quality conversions in 1/72 and 1/48 scales. With the M1 Cupola set, I think that they are off to a real good start with their 1/35 scale armor range. With just a minor nitpick about the fixed machine gun mantle and the fit of hatches, I think this set will be very useful for builders of the Tamiya M48A3. Who knows, you may even want to try it on the old Monogram M48A2! Highly recommended.

REFERENCES

Hunnicutt, R.P., Patton, 1984, Presidio Press: Novato, CA

Mesko, James, M48 Patton in Action, Armor No. 22, 1984, Squadron/Signal Publications: Carrollton, TX

Zaloga, Steven, The M47 and M48 Patton Tanks, New Vanguard 31, Revised edition 1999, Osprey Publishing: UK

My own personal photo collection


Thanks to Bob at Iron Division for the review sample.


HOME ALLIED PHOTO GALLERY AXIS PHOTO GALLERY

NATO PHOTO GALLERY FORMER WARSAW PACT PHOTO GALLERY NON-ALIGNED NATIONS PHOTO GALLERY REVIEWS

NAME THAT AFV QUIZ FUTURE CD RELEASES LINKS ARCHIVES COMMENTARY ABOUT ME