The M36 Jackson gun motor carriage (GMC) was introduced into the European theater in late 1944 to answer one of the main limitations of the M10 - armor piercing firepower. While the M10 had been relatively effective against the earlier Panzers, its 76mm gun was limited against the heavier armor of the newer Panther and Tiger tanks. The M36 addressed this limitation with a combination of a longer range 90mm main gun and the introduction of armor-piercing rounds. In fact, during the Battle of the Bulge, the M36 was one of the few armored vehicles that could hold its own against the Tiger and Panther.
The M36 would go on to serve in the Korean War, the Indo-Pakistan wars and even in the Balkans conflicts. Two other versions of the M36 were fielded, the M36B1 that was really an M36 turret on an M4A3 chassis, and the M36B2 which was an M36 turret mounted on a reconditioned diesel-powered M10A1 (M4A2) chassis.
Academy has reissued their 1/35 M36 Jackson kit after a long absence and remains one of the best M36 kits to be released to date. One new addition to this kit is a small fret of photo-etched details which provide the front and rear light guards. The kit consists of over 600 parts molded in green styrene and presented on ten parts trees plus the aforementioned photo-etch fret.
The turret is beautifully detailed with the 90mm main gun, secondary armament, and turret stowage. The suspension and road wheels are very nicely executed.
Among the features and options:
Choice of drive sprocket styles
Choice of return roller styles
Positionable crew hatches
Nice external stowage including pioneering tools
Choice of styrene and photo-etched light guards
Nice turret interior details including stowage and gun breech
Choice of two muzzle brake types on gun barrel
Choice of .30 or .50 caliber machine guns on turret rear pintle
Positionable barrel lock on engine deck
Markings are provided for two examples from early 1945.
Academy continues to raise the bar in what the modeler should expect in terms of detail and quality for the price. This kit is highly recommended!