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janwerner's picture
janwerner
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DTCA MemberNetherlands

-151a Medium Tank (1937-52)

This Medium Tank is the leading model in the No. 151 Royal Tank Corps Medium Tank Set, which was initially available from 1937 to 1941. In addition, it was also sold individually, delivered from the A2190 trade box of half a dozen models. After World War II, it was exported to the United States only, until about 1952. The triangular white RTC symbols were discontinued post-war. The dates of availability are confusing. Richardson, GBofDT (p. 94) indicates ‘1945-1953’, but also ‘in set 5 Military Vehicles’. This set existed much shorter than the specified time span, according to Harvie in The Binns Road Gazette: 1949-1950, while also mentioning ‘1947-1952’ for the individual model. It can be concluded that it was last presented in the USA catalog in 1952, both pictured and included in the separate price list. This is no longer the case in 1953.

With the Light Tank and the associated sets 151 and 152, this military vehicle opened the Dinky Toys arms race in 1937. In December 1937 Meccano Magazine published an extensive article on the occasion of the release of the Royal Tank Corps models.

Compared to the Light Tank, one would rather consider this considerably larger model as a ‘heavy’ tank. Still, it was only 22% more expensive than the Light Tank, no. 152a, but with its 136 grams almost twice as heavy as the 72 gram Light Tank!

It is an impressive, detailed model, with realistic metal chain tracks and studded with rivets and similar details. Nowadays tracks can be missing, a turret can be loose, an antenna missing and - certainly on models affected by metal fatigue - broken headlights and other protruding parts. The base plate is green before the war, commonly black post-war. The tracks were blank before the war, mostly black post-war. The triangular RTC decals were applied to the turret and aft before the war only.

The set box describes the prototype of this model as follows: ‘The Medium Tank Mark II is a 12-ton vehicle of 90hp, capable of a speed of 22mph, and carrying a crew of five. In front of the turret are a two-pounder quick-firing gun and a machine gun, and a further machine gun is placed on each side of the tank. The turret of the model swivels completely round. The engine was an air-cooled 90 hp Armstrong Siddeley V8'.

In Meccano Magazine June 1939 and July 1940 images of the real vehicle are included, of the Mark II and Mark IA respectively. We also see the Medium Tank depicted in the February 1939 issue (p. 99), albeit somewhat dismantled in the workshop, with the tracks changed and the turret dismantled.

Chris1
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AustraliaDTCA Member

Some more photos of the Medium tank in action.

Chris.