Bolt Action – M26 Pershing and T26E4 Super Pershing

A while ago I started converting a M26 Pershing resin tank kit by Warlord Games into a T26E4 Super Pershing.

Bolt Action - T26 Super Pershing

There are a few articles on the T26E4, among others on Tank Encyclopedia or Wikipedia, explaining what this Super Pershing is. Because it is not a paper tank like many E-series German tanks, but a real (field) conversion to further up-armour the M26 Pershing. The M26 was deployed rather late in January 1945 to Europa via the Port of Antwerp, and these 20 tanks would be the only Pershings to see combat in World War too, with the famous duel taking place later in March in Cologne. And while this heavy tank was a much-needed upgrade to the American armoured units, it made fighting Panthers and Tigers easier - compared to the Shermans, but it would still struggle against the Tiger II, while the units moved further into Germany. For that reason the M26 was uparmoured with a more powerful cannon, the T15E1. Yet a small batch of tanks were produced and further upgraded with a T15E2 gun, but only a single one of these made it to Germany in the very last moments of world war 2. I am huge fan of these rarities and field conversions, so I began building it, by using plastic card to recreate the salvaged Panther front plate on the chassis and added the "ears" and additional armour for the gun mount.

While I was at LARDwerp, I picked up one of the Rubicon M26 Pershing kits (very fitting picking that up in Antwerp, considering that the initial tanks landed in Antwerp as well). I didn't plan to replace the conversion I began, just to build a regular one and salvage some bits and pieces. The rubicon kit covers the regular M26, M26A1, Super Pershing T26E4 (without any armour etc. just the longer gun) and a M45 with 105mm Howitzer. They were asked multiple times about the ear-conversion, but they declined as it was only a single vehicle that looked like this. Anyhow, I build a regular M26 from the kit and only need to add lead to the hull.

Rubicon Models - M26 Pershing Rubicon Models - M26 Pershing Rubicon Models - M26 Pershing

As for my Super Pershing, I initially scratch built a prolonged barrel, using plastic card, green stuff and the metal tip of the regular  90mm gun. Unfortunately the muzzle was so heavy, that it bend the barrel downwards and for that reason I replaced it with the long plastic  barrel from the rubicon kit. The counterweight was already recreated with a crate on the rear of the turret, but I would still need to scratch build the springs on top of the mantlet to stabilize the main gun. For the 25 serial produced T26E4s, an internal hydropneumatic equilibrator was installed inside the turret and the external springs were deleted, but the T26E4 in service in Germany (later in its final resting place at a tank dump in Kassel) still had the external ones. This really works with my project, as I intend to have a late war Allied army of US American and British in North West Europe.

Bolt Action - T26 Super Pershing Bolt Action - T26 Super Pershing Bolt Action - T26 Super Pershing

And a side by side of the two tanks. The resin kit does a pretty well job next to the plastic kit. Usually there is a stronger difference in the amount of detail. This duo would enable some very heavy late war combat, against my rather vast German motor pool. A few details will have to be added, along stowage, I might add some smaller racks on the kits, similar to what Mex Scale Modeler has done here on this 1:35 scale kit of the SuperPershing.

M26 Pershing T26E4 Super Pershing M26 Pershing T26E4 Super Pershing

A bit of action using the tank crews sculpted by Paul Hicks. Release love these, he has done some tank crew and disembarged tankers for Germans, Americans and British, that I got myself for this project.

Bolt Action - T26 Super Pershing

While my German motor pool for this army project has autumn / winter camouflage, I didn't go into that much detail on the Allied vehicles so far, beyond the point of weathered olive drab. But Maschinenkrueger did a great job on a simple dark stripe camo, which fits the late war setting quite well without going over the top, so I might make the regular M26 "just" olive drab with the T26E4 in a more elaborate camouflage.

Posted by Dennis B.

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