Tamiya 1/35 British Army 6 Pounder Anti-Tank Gun (35005) Build Review

I start by gluing together the two halves of the gun, as the instructions suggest. You’d think that would be pretty easy, wouldn’t you? That’s what I thought too… Fit between the two halves is, well, indifferent would probably be a kind way to put it. There are locating pins on one half and corresponding holes in the other, but the pins are smaller than the holes which gives you a lot of leeway to get it wrong. It took a fair bit of fiddling and securing the two halves together with pegs and tape until I got something that looked just about right.

Although everything lines up on top, the underside looks like this…

Even then, the join between the two halves is very apparent, especially on top – the seam there took a great deal of sanding. I also notice even though the various sections of the gun line up perfectly on top, they are out of alignment by about 1mm underneath. I suppose you won’t really see the join on the underside of the finished model, but still, that’s not right. Then I noticed that the end of the muzzle brake isn’t circular. I mean, it’s a long way from circular and the central opening is far from central.

Peg on top of muzzle-brake

Then I noticed that the two halves of the muzzle brake are different. On the left side, the muzzle brake is a fairly smooth cone, which looks pretty much like photographs of the 6-Pdr. On the right side, there is a distinct lip at the muzzle end. There is also a strange peg on the top rear of the muzzle brake. It doesn’t seem to be a moulding defect and it’s present on both halves, but it isn’t shown on the instructions or the box-top art and I can’t see anything like it on any wartime photograph of this weapon. Sheesh – I have only glued two parts together and already it’s clear that a fair amount of sanding and filling will be required to get something that looks even close to correct.

Fortunately, the remainder of construction is easier, though there are still lots of moulding seams and defects that need to be sanded. I also added filler to hide the very large mounting holes in the front of the main gun shield. Fit is generally OK though it’s just not as good as later Taimya kits. The Panzer II I built, for example, was released in 1971, just one year later than this one, but it’s much, much better in terms of fit and overall sharpness of mouldings.

Finally, after a great deal of sanding, construction is complete. I don’t fix the forward shield in place to make life easier when I’m painting. One thing that’s notable is that the main gun shield really does look much too thick…

Anyway, on to painting. I start with a coat of Vallejo Russian Green, which (IMHO) isn’t a bad match for the Khaki Green used on British tanks and vehicles before they switched to Olive Drab in 1944. The tyres are finished in several shades of dark grey.

Then, I add highlights in a lightened version of the base colour and paint chipping and scratching using Vallejo German Grey in areas that would be likely to wear. I’m not going OTT here: I just want to suggest some general wear and tear.

Then, it gets a coat of clear matte varnish followed by an oil wash using Abteilung 502  Dark Mud (a dark grey) to emphasize shadows. As I’m doing this, I also notice that I have managed to assemble the main axle upside-down! No excuses – the instructions clearly show what’s needed, but I somehow still managed to get it wrong. Oh well, at least it’s easy to fix…

And at that point, the gun itself is pretty much done. This is a quick and straightforward build (assuming that you actually follow the instructions!) and painting really doesn’t take long at all. That is pretty satisfying but now it’s time to take a look at the figures.

Detail isn’t particularly good and is not well-defined, which will make painting more difficult. Trousers look OK, but the battledress blouses look much too tight and close fitting – in reality, these were made of thick material and often fitted rather loosely and looked quite bulky. These guys look as though they’re wearing skin-tight shirts! At least these figures are simple to assemble, though a little filler is needed here and there to cover minor gaps. There’s no doubt about it, they just aren’t up to current standards. And look at how those helmets are attached to the sprue – getting them off without damage is going to be a challenge.

I don’t plan to build a diorama here, but I will paint the figures – my figure-painting skills need as much practise as I can get and I want to see how they look when they’re done. I do a simple colour scheme for all three – Russian Uniform for blouse and trousers, khaki for belts, webbing and gaiters, grey for helmets and dark grey for boots. Once they’re painted, they get an oil wash in dark grey to bring out the shadows.

And here they are – the officer won’t stand unaided, so that’s why he is attached to a base and, I think I have assembled it correctly, but the loader’s pose does look kind of odd… And what they are wearing only approximately looks like the British Army uniform of World War Two.

And here is the crew with the gun:

After Action Report

You’ll know if you read the reviews on this site that I like older kits and that I have thoroughly enjoyed the other early Tamiya kits that I built (Panzer II, Walker Bulldog, etc.). This one, not so much. Look: this isn’t a terrible kit by any means – it’s a simple and undemanding build and the end result kinda, sorta looks like a 6-Pounder anti-tank gun with a British Army crew. But it is easily the least impressive Tamiya kit that I have ever come across. Honestly, it’s a bit crap in terms of detail and fit even when compared to other Tamiya kits from the early 70s.

When I bought this, I knew it was an early Tamiya kit, though I didn’t realise it was one of the very first of the Military Miniatures series. I guess that this kit represents Tamiya beginning to learn the business of making 1/35 kits so it probably isn’t surprising if quality doesn’t match their later efforts. That also makes it interesting if you know its history, but if you purchased this without knowing how old it was and simply on the basis of the Tamiya name on the box as an assurance of quality, I think you’d be understandably rather disappointed.

So, come on Tamiya, after more than 50 years, you must have made a handsome return on the original moulds for this kit. Isn’t it time that this was sent into honourable retirement and you gave us an improved version of this British anti-tank gun? At the moment, all I can say is that this  is probably one old Tamiya kit that’s best avoided.

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