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Out-of-the-box Hellcat

Academy's M18 Tank Destroyer Stands for a Good Deal of Modelling Pleasure

n model by Micke Arreborn 
n text and images by Martin Waligorski 



The M-18 Hellcat was born in the latter part of World War II out of the need to provide mobile tank destroyers capable of fighting German armour. Carrying a 76mm M1 gun, the Hellcat weighted only 18 ton and could travel up to 80 km per hour, which made it by a margin the fastest AFV of the period. A total of 2,507 Hellcats were built by Buick by the war's end. With its low silhouette and well slopped armour, the Hellcat proved to be a reliable combat vehicle. The guns, however, were still too weak to combat German Tiger tanks. A project to rearm the M-18 it a 90 mm calibre gun was initiated but dropped with the end of hostilities in Europe.

Aboout the model

This model is an Out-of-the-box rendition of the Academy kit. This kit has been issued in 1997, and Academy has since released other Allied tank destroyer kits, most notable the M10 and Achilles.

The kit still holds as one of Academy's better, featuring 378 parts in dark green plastic, flexible rubber tracks and tyres (no individual link tracks but the 5-piece length-and-link rubber ones look the part), separate suspension arms, interior detail including the front differential unit and gun breech, two mantlet and muzzle brake options plus the optional "skirts". A significant disadvantage for the static modeller is that the kit has been designed to allow the builder to motorize the model, with various slots and holes in the lower hull, "removable" rear plate plus "dummy" bulkheads inside the hull. 

The kit was well-fitting, fun to build and detailed - down to all visible crates, jerrycans and so on.

For the paint scheme, Micke used Tamiya Olive Drab, the first coat applied first directly out of the jar. Then, the larger flat panels and flat surfaces were shaded in the progressively lighter tones of the same colour.

Kit decals were used, representing a vehicle deployed in France, September 1944

A filter of Humbrol black followed by artist's oils in earth tones was then applied. Finally, MIG Productions pigment powder was used for a dusty appearance.

 

arreborn_m18_08.jpg (47305 bytes) arreborn_m18_03.jpg (54892 bytes) arreborn_m18_06.jpg (38898 bytes) 

Additional images, click to enlarge

arreborn_m18_07.jpg (40234 bytes) arreborn_m18_09.jpg (35725 bytes) arreborn_m18_01.jpg (44920 bytes)

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