With some leftover Christmas money I bought a new tank model in early January. The kit was my first large scale tank model, and I was very nervous about spending too much money on a tank that might have been too much of a challenge. The kit was relatively expensive, but I had no idea what a blast it would be to build it!
For some background information, the M41 Walker Bulldog was a light tank developed during the 1950’s. It was small and compact, but wielded a decent gun, and could travel at breakneck speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. The M41 seemed like an obvious choice for a good first-time model kit, as it had a small size, but a good historical reputation, as well as some very interesting specifications. I think that the kit cost me around $25.
After opening the box, I was very happy to see that all of the pieces came in olive drab, meaning that I didn’t have to paint every piece. Instead of painting it, I immediately applied a brown wash to the whole model to create a worn effect. It also helped to make the pieces look like they were painted. The wash settled into the details of the model, and they stood out instantly. One of the best parts of the model kit is the incredibly detailed tank commander figure. My brown wash looked great on him, and brought out the fine details of his uniform very well. The headlights, taillights, and machine gun, and periscopes all look great, but the amount of time I spent on them was next to nothing. My last thing to paint was the wheels. The small tires were painted black, and the bolts were painted yellow. Even though there were many bolts and wheels, the whole painting process only took about an hour.
Now I had to assemble the model. This is when I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of Tamiya kits. I never felt that I was being cheated out of my money, and the pieces fit together perfectly with no filler. After buying some other brands, I think Tamiya has the best vehicles. However, because the pieces fit so well, the building process was very fast. I spent about 3 days working on it for several hours a day, and quickly finished.
Lastly I applied the decals. They were ordinary water-slide decals, and were unremarkable. Finally, the kit came with 2 US Infantry figures that look well made, but I never painted them because their clothing is historically inaccurate. The figures appear to be wearing WWII-era uniforms, which could be overlooked, however the firearms that they were using were completely wrong. One figure uses an M1A1 Thompson sub-machine gun, while the other uses an M-1 Garand. While these weapons were in use during the Korean War, the M41 was only tested there, and it would make almost no sense for the M41 to be with these figures. When the M41 was in service, the uniform and weapons had changed greatly.
Overall, the M41 is one of my favorite models, as well as a great tank. It is entirely perfect, except for the useless figures, and the short time it took to assemble. The tank gets a 9/10.