|"That which I cannot crush with words alone, I shall crush with the tanks of the Imperial Guard!"|
Earlier this year I started to explore the possibility of using scale tank models in Warhammer 40k. I discovered that both 1/35 and 1/48 scale models work alongside 40k ones, with 1/48 being best if the tank is a medium or heavy one (such as a Russian T-34 or German Tiger respectively), or 1/35 if it is a light tank (such as a USA M5 Stuart). With this in mind, coupled with Adam’s work at creating some Imperial Guard for the Thorn Moon Crusade, I thought that it would be fun to build a tank for them. I have always loved the T-26, a Russian light tank, that despite being largely obsolete at the outset of World War II, still saw widespread use (including use in the Spanish Civil War and the Winter War). Therefore, I decided to get a 1/35 scale T-26 and try to convert it into something for the beleaguered defenders of the Thorn Moons.
|I replaced the plastic machine guns that came with the model with an autocannon and a light machine gun from an Infinity model.|
After a little research, I discovered that the company Hobby Boss has a whole line of T-26 tanks, with all manner of different turrets and other modifications. I ended up selecting a 1931 model, due primarily because I thought its two turret design looked quite interesting. Overall, the build was pretty straightforward, however, it was significantly more challenging and time-consuming than a typical Games Workshop vehicle. This was primarily due to the kit containing substantially more pieces than a GW one (around 1000), including both plastic and photo-etched pieces. The most difficult and certainly most time-intensive part was assembling the tracks, containing over 600 pieces. Each track link was held to the next with two tiny bolts, each the size of a pinhead. While mind-numbing and requiring more dexterity than I am accustomed to for model kits, it resulted in tracks that were fully articulated at each joint. I think they look better than other track designs such as rubberband types, but I am not sure it was quite worth the time invested to assemble when a simpler solution was available.
|Each track has 107 links, with 2 tiny bolts holding each to the next; the assembly process was a nightmare.|
|The tank came with quite a few photo-etched pieces which needed to be bent into shape before gluing down.|
I ended up deciding not to convert the tank a lot, not wanting to lose the T-26 look. I resolved to focus on modifying the weapons mounted to the twin turrets. I decided to mimic one variant of the T-26 that had a small cannon on the one and a light machine gun on the other. For the cannon I used one of the barrels from a Cataphractii autocannon, while for the machine gun I used a light machine gun from Infinity. In addition to the turrets, I made a few other modifications, such as adding a few Imperial eagles and replaced the horn with a small vox grill from a Skitarii Ranger.
|A T-34 (1/35) vs. Space Marine Rhino MkIIc vs. T-26 (1/35).|
|View from the top, Space Marine Rhino MkIIc vs. T-26 (1/35) vs. T-34 (1/35).|
Building the T-26 was a time-consuming but enjoyable process. I think the 1/35 scale works well alongside Warhammer 40,000, and even when not converted extensively; the ramshackle look of the tank fits with the 40k aesthetic. Although the prospect assembling more T-26 tracks does not excite me, I am tempted to build another variant for our Thorn Moon Guard, likely one with a single turret mounted gun. Regardless, I am looking forward to start painting the tank when we determine a scheme for it, likely doing a lot of weathering on it. Any thoughts or feedback would be appreciated!
- Eric Wier