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Takom 1/35 Mk.A Whippet

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1/35 Mk.A Whippet Medium tank
Takom   

# 03.02.2025
Available from Pocketbond for £ 39,99

 

whippet1.jpg

 

Introduction

What we have here is one of the first operational tanks. With the sudden sprouting of WWI kits in large scale, this is a very welcome but also logical release. It’s one of the first tanks that actually started to look a little bit like the tank we know today. A first hint of a turret and the tracks not running at the height of upper body of the tank. After the MK.I and MK.IV the need rose for a smaller and faster tank. William Tritton (designer of the Mother tank) came up with the idea to develop a smaller and faster tank that could use the gaps in the enemy defences made by the bigger tanks. Since the machine gun was one of the most feared and loved weapons of WWI, this fast tank was to have an armoured machine gun nest firing in all directions. Tests were done with a rotating turret, but time pressure (deadline: July 1917) obstructed this. William Tritton named his tank Whippet for it’s speed: powered by two Tylor 45hp engines. The same engines that powered the double decker busses! The difficulty in the  setup was that each engine powered one track. This called for serious driving skills in a time where training time was scarce. All in all this tank was developed over a one year period. The deadline was not made, but in October they were ready to go to France. The first missions consisted of covering retreating troops but later on they finally got the role they were designed for! Fighting alongside the heavier tanks and penetrating enemy lines where they would reap havoc. Despite their lack of thick armour (8 – 14 mm) they proved to be successful.

One story stand out: That of one Whippet called ‘The Musical Box’. It got separated from it’s unit behind enemy lines. There it fought like a beast wiping out an entire camp, a motorized column, machine gun nests, an artillery unit and an observation post. Eventually it was stopped by a direct hit, but it had already made it’s point…

The Whippet had some downsides. It’s thin armour. The four machine guns crowded the fixated turret with their butt stocks. And the steering engineering proved way to complex. Even for a trained driver. In the end all 200 orders for the Whippet were built. After the war some went to units in Ireland and some went to Russia. They even upgraded a few with a French 37mm gun. Six were sold to Japan where it was carefully studied and used as a starting point for Japanese tank design.

The Whippet in Japanese service (not the towing cable carried on the side):

Mk.A_Whippets_in_Japanese_service.jpg


Survivors for reference
As far as I could find there are X surviving Whippets around today. Which means we are lucky to have various walkarounds available on the net.

Here is one from the Brussels Army museum:

http://svsm.org/gallery/whippet_bru

And here is one from the Worthington Tank Park in Canada:

http://svsm.org/gallery/whippet_wor

 

The surviving Whippet in the Brussels Army museum:

 

Whippet.jpg

 

The kit

whippet2.jpg

The first thing I noticed is the small box it comes in which doesn’t really reflect the size of the tank, which is substantial (for a medium tank). Contents: 7 grey sprues hold all the parts, a bag of separate and movable track links, one small photo etch sheet and decals for no less than 7 schemes. On the first page of the instruction booklet and additional sprue (F) is mentioned, along with a resin commander figure and decals are mentioned. These are only included in an exclusive limited edition and will let you build the Japanese version. By the looks of it sprue F holds 2 japanese machine guns.

114806.jpg

 

Lets walk through the instruction steps

whippet25.jpg

One thing I simply hate about building armour kits is the laborious work of cleaning up the wheels, sprockets and return rollers. When a kit has a lot of flash this means hours of cleaning up the mould lines with a sharp blade. Luckily sprues A and E show little to none of this moulding imperfection, causing steps 1 to 3 to be pretty do-able. The Whippet had ingenious mud chutes that made sure the mud that was transported to the top of the track did not land on the lower road wheels. At the same time this system (and the outer armour plating) causes the road wheels and return rollers to be almost invisible. I find it curious that you are to place all the wheels before assembling the hull. Usually this is done the other way around. On the other hand it might make assembling easier, since there are so many of them and you want to assemble them vertically (so they don’t fall out) before you button them up with the armour plate that holds them in place.

Sprue A (x2):

whippet3.jpg

 

Close up of Sprue A:

whippet4.jpg

 

Sprue E (x2):

whippet17.jpg

 

Close ups of Sprue E:

whippet18.jpg

whippet19.jpg

These side plates take 10 small photo etch hooks. I checked a lot of reference photo’s and found some that show these hooks to be used for carrying towing cables.

whippet24.jpg

The exhaust pipes on the sides of the hull are placed pretty early in the construction phase (if you ask me). I would advise to keep these parts aside and spray the armour body first. The ends of the  exhaust pipe have a hint of being hollow. A small dimple is present but this makes it easier to drill them out yourself. No big deal.

When both track units are done construction moves to the main hull. No interior is offered in this kit, so this is a speedy procedure! The armour plates that make up the hull show light traces of ejector pin marks on the inside. Only if you wish to scratch (or after market) the interior should you get rid of these, but they are so light this will be a simple task.

Sprue B:

whippet5.jpg

 

Close up of Sprue B:

whippet6.jpg

whippet7.jpg

 

Close up of Sprue B (note the ejection pin marks. Not very prominent):

whippet8.jpg

 

Sprue C:

whippet9.jpg

 

Close ups of Sprue C:

whippet10.jpg

whippet11.jpg

whippet12.jpg

 

Sprue D:

whippet13.jpg

 

Close ups of Sprue D:

whippet14.jpg

whippet15.jpg

whippet16.jpg

When the hull is almost completely closed the Hotchkiss guns are added. One firing to the front (and yes, the long nose is the front, which holds the two huge Tyler engines), two firing to the sides and one firing to the rear, located in the door. Once you have added all four guns, you’ll see that the space inside is pretty cramped. That’s why during battle often the side firing guns were left out. When firing to the sides during battle was necessary the forward and rear firing guns could be switched to side firing positions in short time. The Hotchkiss guns themselves are pretty well detailed.

Check out the detail on the Hotchkiss gun:

whippet28_1.jpg

 

Note the cramped space inside the Whippet, mainly caused by the 4 Hotchkiss guns:

whippet.jpg

 

The movable / workable track links are great…. I test fitted a small piece. 69 links make up one side and to help you keep ‘track’ Takom has numbered every single one of them! The plastic is soft enough to bend just enough to squeeze the two pins and slide them in the two holes of the next link. Don’t use too much force, or one pin will definitely break!

whippet20.jpg

whippet22.jpg

Not too fond of the numbers on the inside of each link though:

whippet21.jpg

whippet23.jpg

 

Painting and Markings

As I said in the intro no less than 7 colouring options are included! 4 British options, two german and 1 russian:

whippet26.jpg

whippet27.jpg

 

• Option 1:

British Mark. A Whippet

Near Achiet-le-Petit

France, August 1918

whippetscheme1.jpg

 

• Option 2:

British Mark. A Whippet

Biefvillers (France)

August 1918

whippetscheme2.jpg

 

• Option 3:

British Mark. A Tank 347

Of 6th battalion Tank Corps.B Company

Amiens (France)

August 1918

whippetscheme3.jpg

 

• Option 4:

British Mark. A Whippet

Irish Civil War

Dublin, January 1919

whippetscheme4.jpg

 

• Option 5:

Repair number 111

At Lieu-Saint-Armand

Training ground of the 17th Army in September 1918

whippetscheme5.jpg

 

• Option 6:

German Whippet

In Freikorps Service

Berlin, January 1919

whippetscheme6.jpg

 

• Option 7:

Russian Whippet

In Red Army service, 1920

whippetscheme7.jpg

 

The decal sheet:

whippet_decals.jpg

 

Aftermarket?

This is a fairly new kit, but the subject has already been done by Emhar. Not as nice as the new Takom kit by far. Accurate Armour also released the Whippet some time ago, but that is the most expensive road to take.

And as we are used to in the model production world, two companies jump up at the same time and produce the same subject at the exact same time. Yes.. Meng models recently also brought their take on the Whippet to the market J

This does mean that there is already some aftermarket available that might just fit the Takom release too. Like the Panzershop resin stowage and tracks. I don’t think the resin tracks are something you’ll use, but the stowage bins and other extra stuff in this set could prove useful.

Panzershop resin:

panzershop.jpg

 

Also available (and again not 100% sure whether they fit the Takom release) are the Friulmodel white metal tracks. I’m usually a huge fan of these, but with the Whippet the return rollers are obscured. Since I usually add Friulmodel to the mix to show how the track sacks over them, I might think about this purchase pretty hard.  

 

Friulmodel ATL-146

ATL-146.jpg

 

Masterclub also makes resin tracks and yes, they ARE designed for the Takom release. This Russian company focuses on figures and tank tracks. Pretty new to me, but great products by the simple look of it.

Masterclub resin tracks:

masterclub%20tracks.jpg

 

DN Models does a nice set of paint masks for the insignia and crosses.

Verdict

One simple but effective (and affordable) release of the Whippet Mk.A.  With the old Emhar Whippet costing around 22 pounds and this new Takom Whippet going for just under 40 pounds, I’d say this is a pretty good deal. Not much aftermarket is needed since the crude exterior is very well rendered and doesn’t need much. You’d better invest in a good set of weathering agents! What is not included is any hint of an interior. No engine. No drivers compartment. This is where’s there room for the aftermarket companies. When the rear door is posed open a good part of the inside is visible. Technically this is a very well made, thought out, basic kit with plenty of options for extra detailing. I would have loved to see some extra’s added though. Like the towing cable. Or the fenders that are not an option in this kit. Ah well… you can’t have it all!

Takom is definitely on a roll, releasing one exotic kit after another. Keep m coming!

From 1 to 10 I’d rate this kit as an 8.

Highly recommended

Our sincere thanks to Pocketbond for the review sample. To purchase directly, click HERE.

Jeroen Peters

 

takom_270x70_5f3514c7-548e-4529-83e6-f20371b46f92.jpg

 

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Its a great little kit. I picked one up at Telford.. Looking forward to building it soon!

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Have held the temptation for the WWI subjects. Though I do have a Takom Mk. IV Female. Great price, couldn't pass it up. Anyway. Love the German camo on the Whippet.

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