M-47 Patton

Published on
February 3, 2020
Review Author(s)
Product / Stock #
Company: Revell, Inc. - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Revell, Inc. - Website: Visit Site

The Vehicle

The American response to the German Tiger tank was the M-26 Pershing. It had good armor and its 90mm gun finally gave the Allies a weapon that could handle the Tiger. However, its engine was too weak and the vehicle suffered in mobility, so after the war a start was made on a replacement, designated the M-42 (not to be confused with the M-42 light tank design). But that vehicle would not be available for years, so the engine problem in the M-36 was addressed by fitting a new engine, which resulted in the M-46. It was better, but not really "new". Work continued on the M-42, which would have a similar hull and engine, but a new turret with a better ballistic shape and heavier armor in the front.

The dominance of the Soviet armor in the Korean War convinced the U.S. that it was going to need a new tank sooner than expected. There was no time to wait for the new M-42 to be ready, so a plan was made to mate the M-42's new turret with the already existing M-46 hull to produce the M-47. It was a stopgap measure, but would have to do.

The resulting vehicle was a surprising success. It could meet the T-34 on closely even terms and had a reliable engine and suspension. It was also an export super-star being used by almost all the countries of NATO and SEATO as well as Jordan, Pakistan and even communist Yugoslavia as well as a host of other nations that got them second and third hand. It was also adaptable, having different weapons and engines fitted by different countries. While it never saw action in U.S. hands, it did in the many Arab-Israeli Wars as well as the Indo-Pakistani conflicts. It was also a success as a movie star serving as a stand in for German Tiger tanks in the movie "The Battle of the Bulge" and several other films. One final trivia note is that the M-47 was the last American tank designed with a bow machine gun.

The Kit

This is not a kit the serious modeler should choose to do a detailed replica of this vehicle. It is a Revell Select Special Subjects release of the 1960's era Renwall kit. They even used the original Renwal packaging. While the general shape looks good, it seems a bit "chunky". Perhaps that is the result of the 1/32 scale's appearance vs. the "normal" 1/35. All detail, such as tools and brush guards for the periscopes, is molded on. As was typical in 1950's kits, a lot of working parts were built in for added play value. (Come on. We all know that in the 50's we were building toys, not replicas.) The tank commander and gunner are attached to a mechanism that raises them out of their hatches if the gun is depressed, all the engine deck grills are removable and/or hinged so you can see the "detailed" engine and transmission compartments that are all molded as one piece, and the driver's and co-driver's hatches are operable, although there's nothing inside to see. But the biggest operating feature of all is the suspension, comprised of 74 pieces out of a total of 176. All road wheels are fully articulated and move freely. Only problem is the tank had a torsion bar suspension, so the road wheels move in a way impossible for the real vehicle. They also move in axes that they shouldn't, making alignment problematic. In addition, the drive sprocket was made to actually drive the model. It looks like it was meant to be motorized at some point and the compromise on the sprocket isn't good.

Fit is ok, making allowances for all the working parts, but due to the age of the molds, there is flash everywhere and mold seams on almost every part and a sink mark or two here and there. One quirk that takes some attention is that the main gun is molded in five parts. Not in the left and right barrel halves with a separate mantlet that we usually see, but in a mantlet/base of the gun part, two separate pieces of barrel and then a two-piece muzzle brake. Care is needed to make sure your main weapon isn't able to shoot around corners.

A box art note here. Revell is releasing both the Renwal M-47 and M-41 in their original packaging in which both vehicles are picture firing their main weapons over the back deck of the tank as opposed to the usual menacing front views normally shown. It would be interesting to know Renwal's logic behind this choice.

The Decals

Markings are supplied for one vehicle. The only option is to replace on the large turret stars with a tiger head. These were common in Korea, however, the M-47 never made it there. Of course, it did serve as a tiger in many war movies. The decals are well printed and went on nicely.


Five crew figures are included, although there are locations on the tank for only the two already mentioned. The other three include a fellow looking at a map, one in a casual helmet off pose and another with a mine detector. These are some of the strangest looking figures I've ever seen. The body proportions are out of a Modigliani painting crossed with Edvard Munch's "The Scream". They look, shall we say, interesting when painted.


As I said, this is not a kit for a serious modeler. I can't even recommend it as a kit for a father-son/daughter project as it's a bit involved with all its operating features. However, if you're looking for a trip down memory lane for not a lot of money, it fills the bill just fine. Alternately, when done it does generally look like an M-47 and might make a good gift for that son or daughter.


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