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In-Box Review
135
44M Tas
Hungarian 44M Tas
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by: Adam Berhidi [ JIMBOHUN ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction

Before and during WW2 the Hungarian military industry designed a number of tanks, armored cars, assault and air defense guns and luckily some of these are available now in mass production in 1/35th scale (Toldi light tank series and Nimrod AA gun from Hobby Boss, two versions of the Zrínyi assault gun from Bronco) making many hobby fans more than happy – especially in Hungary and Europe. One of the latest additions is a paper panzer – the 44M Tas from Hobby Boss.

In 1943 the Hungarian military saw the need for a heavy tank and finally a decision was made to design and build one based on the country’s own military industry. The task was appointed to the Manfréd Weiss Steel and Metal Works, but under the war’s pressure a final version was never released. On 27 July 1944 an allied bomb raid hit the factory and the approximately 80% completed iron prototype was destroyed (just like internal subassemblies of the armored prototype that was in an early phase).

Calling the Tas paper panzer is a bit of a stretch as unfortunately the factory original plans and documentation of the tank were lost in the chaos of the late war. In the 50's and 60's even speaking of it was not advisable during the hardest communist terror. In the early 80’s photos were found of a 1/10th scale factory kit. The best known but unfortunately not too accurate drawings are based on these. In 2005 copies of the original drawings were found in a heritage. It contained a lot of partial drawings of subassemblies (except for the turret, and the glacis plate), notes and other documents and a construction diary. With the help of these a pretty accurate picture can be obtained of the Tas, involving a level of guesstimation as there are some details in the sources that are conflicting with each other. There are absolutely no drawings of the turret and the front plate of the hull. The main weapon is still debated, as both a 75 and an 80mm main gun was a possible option. And as it happens normally with prototypes, many changes are implemented during the construction, so the final version can be a little different compared to the original plans. The most detailed reconstruction of the Tas was made by Dr. Ernő Kovácsházy, and Miklós Kovácsházy (son, and grandson of the late Ernő Kovácsházy, who was the chief designer of the Zrínyi assault gun family, the Hunor amphibious armored car and the Tas heavy tank): Páncél Vadász.hu. Some original drawings also can be found here.

Contents

The kit arrives in small and sturdy box that offers a good level of protection, and the sprues are also packed in plastic bags. Everything fits perfectly into the box and we do not need to worry as the kit does not really contain extremely fragile or delicate parts.

The kit consists of 166 sand yellow plastic parts (excluding the individual track links) which suggests a fairly easy build, compared to today’s multimedia kits that sometimes might have 600 parts. We receive 189 additional track links also in plastic, these seem to be of good quality (and luckily has no knock-out pin marks), however all the details of the original are still not known.

The parts quality is excellent as usual with the latest Hobby Boss kits with no flash or any other imperfections present at all. The knock-out pin marks are on the hidden sides of the parts (if there are any) except for the fenders – these have a couple to fill or cover with some mud.

The PE sheet contains some fine mesh and 5 tiny bits and is covered by protective plastic.

The instructions booklet is very short, 8 pages only, as this is not a very complicated build, except for the running gear that is a bit busier due to the bogies (plus the track links). The 12 steps are really easy to overview and follow.

The marking and painting instructions are in color with all the codes provided for Mr. Hobby paints, and some for Vallejo, Model Master, Tamiya and Humbrol. The camouflage pictured is entirely fictional, as factory original Hungarian-made tanks would have been painted dark/olive green. On the field these might have been overprinted with a three-tone camouflage. The decal is also highly unlikely in this format as it suggests that the tank belongs to the 6th company which would be too many for a battalion of the Royal Hungarian Army during WW2.

Construction

Construction starts with the bogies, unfortunately these are quite simplified and the leaf springs are very vague (three thick strips only). The layout of the armored cover of the sprockets is incorrect and the wheels are also missing some details (mostly bolts). The idlers look good to me.

The individual tracks need glue and we have plenty of spares in case some would get lost or broken.

The mesh screens are nicely detailed, however not too much is known on how the originals looked like exactly. The layout of the engine deck is also incorrect as the bigger air intake should be made up of four panels (instead of two), the two middle ones would open towards the rear with hinges. Another prominent issue is the missing exhaust pipe, as the original drawings have three of them. The rest of the features of the upper hull seem basically OK to me, although I have not too much information on these details. The tools are nicely made with fine attachment points, some of these are PE parts.

The turret is a very simple one with a movable gun and its features seem basically correct, however the hinge of the commander’s hatch is a bit too chunky.

Conclusions

For those who wish to build the original prototype of the Tas, this kit won’t be entirely satisfactory since it has some issues, and is not based on full, factory original plans (furthermore the prototype was not finished at all) thus it cannot be 100% accurate. Those who like “what if” scenarios will find this a fun and easy build of a tank that might have been mass produced as pictured by Hobby Boss in 1945-46, should the events of WW2 took a different course.


My sincere thanks goes out to Miklós Kovácsházy for his help with this review.
SUMMARY
Highs: Quality parts; simple build; interesting subject.
Lows: Several inaccuracies that could have been checked even against online references and more detailed books as well.
Verdict: A welcome addition to the Hobby Boss range, however some extra work is required to make it accurate.
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 83850
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Aug 30, 2015
  NATIONALITY: Hungary
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 87.20%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 83.94%

Our Thanks to Creative Models!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Adam Berhidi (JimboHUN)
FROM: BUDAPEST, HUNGARY

I have been into modelling for at least ten years, mainly modern AFVs and softskins in 1/35.

Copyright ©2019 text by Adam Berhidi [ JIMBOHUN ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.



Comments

The Dnepro kit is based on the new set of plans, HB used the old ones. I could describe it as the HB Tas is off by 20% in length and 10-15% in width. The engine compartment is totally off plans.
AUG 31, 2015 - 12:19 AM
Hi Tim, it was pretty obvious by only looking at it, but just double checked for you - glue is still needed. Cheers, Adam
AUG 31, 2015 - 01:37 AM
I wish that were the case, but I don't think so. First the Denepro kit was available several years before the new plans and measurements and the turrets are the same size. The HB hull is slightly bigger but primarily because the glacis is longer.
AUG 31, 2015 - 06:42 AM
AUG 31, 2015 - 06:46 AM
If I remember correctly, the Dnepro kit was based on the new plans, so this is weird (without holding any of these kits in my hands). The plans were published in 2008, the Dnepro kit around 2011.
SEP 01, 2015 - 12:29 AM
Hello Jimbo!
SEP 01, 2015 - 12:30 AM
Based on your photo, there is a very noticeable difference in the upper deck layout visible around the driver/ro hatches.
SEP 01, 2015 - 12:32 AM
I have build this kit. It is a very good and straight forward build. The look of it is like a bastard child of a T-34/85 and a Panther. I took some artistic license and added a kugelblende from a Panther and hung some tracks on the turret. Otherwise it is pretty much straight from the box. The tracks requires A LOT of sanding to fit perfectly. Not a big problem for me as I wanted to show it with eastern front mud on the tracks and suspension. However, if you want to show a clean example prepare for a lot of work on the tracks. Overall a great little kit I can recommend, but beware of the tracks.
SEP 03, 2015 - 03:17 PM
i want
SEP 06, 2015 - 03:28 PM
   

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