So, an idea for a project has been brewing in my mind the last few days and I thought I'd put it here as a way to solidify a direction. Basically, the idea is to build a collection of model tanks based on a list of what I'd consider my top favorites. The major rule here is that each subject has to be pretty readily available in model kit form and preferably in 1/35 scale. Ideally, each model should be constructed with minimal amounts of aftermarket conversion pieces or major kitbashing. Several of these I already have in my stash and none of them are hard to obtain as of this writing. In more-or-less chronological order, they are:
French Char B1 bis
US M4A3E8 Sherman 76mm
US M41A3 Walker Bulldog
UK Centurion Mk. 5/2- Mk.6
US M48A3 (or possibly 'A5) Patton
Israeli Magach 6 (modified US M60A1 or 'A3)
German Leopard 1A5
*German Leopard 2A6- see UPDATE below.
The question is, which of the modern "big growlers" should I consider? It would basically be between some version of the US M1A2 Abrams and the German Leopard 2A6. I like both and each vehicle has its pros and cons. I might also skip the Magach 6 and build an Israeli version of the M48, modified to more-or-less 'A5 standards in the early '70s. Then there's the question of whether to go for a purely aesthetic "odd man out" choice and build something like the Japanese Type 90 or the current version of France's Leclerc.
*UPDATE- After giving it some more thought, I've decided to go with a Leopard 2A6 as my "modern big growler". The version I have coming to me is the Spanish 2E from Hobby Boss, although I understand that it's not a fully accurate 2E but based on the 2A6EX demonstrator. That's fine with me since I plan to build and paint it as a vehicle from the army of my fictional Republic or Aventine. Since Aventine uses the M240 GPMG (General Purpose Machine Gun- aka MAG 58), I'll need to replace the kit's MG3.
This is by no means an exhaustive list and there are many more favorites and side projects to consider. (Tamiya's up-coming M4A1 76mm Sherman as an Israeli M1 is a definite buy for me.) There's also the sci fi tank project that would include kits of Miyazaki's "Bad Guy Tank #1", Kow Yokoyama's Nutcracker hover tank, the two tanks from the obscure anime feature Technopolis 21 and a Rhino APC from Warhammer 40,000 built from the current kit but painted and marked as a Rogue Trader-era Imperial Guard version (I usually remove all Imperial insignia anyway but that'll certainly piss off the die-hard fanboys who live and breath the current rules).
You will notice, of course, an absence of many of the usual "awesome" tanks that post-war revisionist historians would insist must be included. Most notable are the Soviet T-34 series and the German Panther and Tiger series tanks. In the post-war category, the Soviet T55 and T72 are also missing. To be honest, while these are all worthy subjects, none of them fall in to my "favorites". Sorry if that bothers you, gentle reader, but feel free to post your own list of "Awesome Panzers" on your own blog and start building your own collection. These are the vehicles that I have come to like over the years for various, often aesthetic reasons, and they are the ones I would like to build.