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TESTORS 80th Anniversary Edition: 1/35 M4A3 Sherman Tank
Testors Sherman
 
$44.00 Free Shipping with order of 2 or more items.

The M4 Sherman, officially the Medium Tank, M4, was the primary battle tank used by the United States and the other Western Allies in World War II, and proved to be a reliable and highly mobile workhorse, despite being outmatched by heavier German tanks late in the war. Thousands were distributed to the Allies, including the British Commonwealth and the Soviet Union, in the lend-lease program. The M4 was the second most produced tank of the World War II era, after the Soviet T-34, and its role in its parent nation's victory was comparable to that of the T-34. The tank took its name from the American Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman.

The M4 Sherman evolved from the M3 Medium Tank (a.k.a. Grant and Lee), which had an unusual side-sponson mounted 75 mm gun. It retained much of the previous mechanical design, but added the first American main 75 mm gun mounted on a fully traversing turret, with a gyrostabilizer enabling the crew to fire with reasonable accuracy while the tank was on the move. The designers stressed mechanical reliability, ease of production and maintenance, durability, standardization of parts and ammunition in a limited number of variants, and moderate size and weight. These factors made the M4 superior in some regards to the earlier German light and medium tanks of 1939–41. The M4 went on to be produced in very large numbers. It formed the backbone of most offensives by the Western Allies, starting in late 1942.

When the M4 tank arrived in North Africa in 1942, it was clearly superior to both the German Panzer III medium tank, with its 50 mm gun, and the older versions of the Panzer IV armed with the short barreled 75 mm gun. For this reason, the US Army believed the M4 would be adequate to win the war, and no pressure was exerted for further tank development. Logistical and transport restrictions (roads, ports, bridges, etc.) also would complicate the introduction of a more capable, but heavier tank.

Independent tank destroyer (TD) battalions, including the M36 tank destroyer using vehicles built on the M4 hull and chassis, but with open-topped turrets and more lethal, high-velocity guns, also entered widespread use among American army corps. By 1944, the M4 Sherman and the TD units proved to be outmatched by the 45 ton Panther tank, and wholly inadequate against the 56 ton Tiger I and later 70 ton Tiger II heavy tanks, suffering high casualties against their heavier armor and more powerful 88 mm L/56 and L/71 cannons. Mobility, mechanical reliability and sheer numbers, supported by growing superiority in supporting fighter-bombers and artillery, helped offset these disadvantages strategically.

The relative ease of production allowed huge numbers of the M4 to be produced, and significant investment in tank recovery and repair units paid off with more disabled vehicles being repaired and returned to service. These factors combined to give the Americans numerical superiority in most battles, and allowed many infantry divisions their own M4 and TD assets. By 1944 a typical U.S. infantry division had as semi-permanently attached units an M4 Sherman battalion, a TD battalion, or both. By this stage of the war, German panzer divisions were rarely at full strength, and some U.S. infantry divisions had more fully tracked armored fighting vehicles than the depleted German panzer divisions did, providing a great advantage for the Americans. The Americans also started to introduce the M4A3E8 variant, with horizontal volute spring suspension and an improved high-velocity 76 mm gun previously used only by TDs.

Production of the M4 Sherman was favored by the commander of the armored ground forces, albeit controversially, over the heavier M26 Pershing, which resulted in the latter being deployed too late to play any significant role in the war. In the Pacific Theater, the M4 was used chiefly against Japanese infantry and fortifications; in its rare encounters with much lighter Japanese tanks with weaker armor and guns, the Sherman's superiority was overwhelming. Almost 50,000 vehicles were produced, and its chassis also served as the basis for numerous other armored vehicles such as tank destroyers, tank retrievers, and self-propelled artillery.

The Sherman would finally give way to post-war tanks developed from the M26. Various original and updated versions of the Sherman, with improved weapons and other equipment, would continue to see combat effectively in many later conflicts, including the Korean War, Arab-Israeli Wars, and the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 (where it was used by both sides) into the late 20th century.

 

TESTORS 80th Anniversary Edition: 1/35 Jagdpanzer IV L/70 Tank
Testors Jagdpanzer
$44.00 Free Shipping with order of 2 or more items.

The Jagdpanzer IV, Sd.Kfz. 162, was a tank destroyer based on the Panzer IV chassis built in three main variants. As one of the casemate-style turretless Jagdpanzer (tank destroyer, literally "hunting tank") designs, it was developed against the wishes of Heinz Guderian, the inspector general of the Panzertruppen, as a replacement for the Sturmgeschütz III (StuG III). Guderian objected against the needless, in his eyes, diversion of resources from Panzer IV tank production, as the Stug III and Sturmgeschütz IV were still more than adequate for their role. Officially, only the L/48-armed vehicle was named Jagdpanzer IV. The L/70-armed vehicle was named Panzer IV/70. In this article, both versions are referred to in general as Jagdpanzer IV, except in the variants and surviving vehicles section.

After the Battle of Stalingrad, in September 1942 the Wehrmacht's arms bureau, the Waffenamt, called for a new standard for assault weapons: 100 mm of armor to the front, 40–50 mm on the sides, wider tracks, ground clearance of 50 cm, top speed of 26 km/h and the lowest possible firing positions. The new Panzerjäger ("tank hunter") design would be armed with the same 7.5 cm gun as fitted to the Panther: the Pak 42 L/70. Initially a new chassis was planned, but that of the Panzer IV had to be used.

Previous efforts to mount bigger guns on smaller chassis resulted in the Marder series as well as StuG IIIs. The Marder series were tall and had open crew compartments. The new design had a low silhouette and completely enclosed fighting compartment.

The Jagdpanzer IV used Panzer IV chassis 7 (known as BW7), but the almost-vertical front hull plate was replaced by sloped armor plates. Internally, the layout was changed to accommodate the new superstructure, moving the fuel tanks and ammunition racks. Since the Jagdpanzer lacked a turret, the engine which originally powered the Panzer IV's turret could be eliminated.

The new superstructure had 80 mm thick sloped armour, which gives a much greater armor protection than a vertical armor of 100 mm. To make the manufacturing process as simple as possible, the superstructure was made out of large, interlocking plates which were welded together.

Armament consisted of a 7.5 cm main gun, originally intended to be the Pak 42 L/70, but due to shortages older guns were initially used, the 7.5 cm Pak 39 L/43 for pre-production, and the 7.5 cm Pak 39 L/48 for initial production variant. These were shorter and less powerful than the Pak 42.

Installing the much heavier Pak 42 meant that the Jagdpanzer IV was nose heavy, especially with the heavy frontal armor. This made them less mobile and more difficult to operate in rough terrain, leading their crews to nickname them Guderian-Ente ("Guderian's duck"). To prevent the rubber rims of the roadwheels being dislocated by the weight of the vehicle, some later versions had steel roadwheels installed on the front.

The final prototype of the Jagdpanzer IV was presented in December 1943 and production started in January 1944, with the Pak 39 L/48 armed variant staying in production until November. Production of the Pak 42 L/70 armed variants started in August and continued until March/April 1945.

On August 19–22, 1943, after the Battle of Kursk, Hitler received reports that StuG IIIs performed better than Panzer IV within certain restraints of how they were deployed. It was thus intended to stop production of the Panzer IV itself at the end of 1944 to concentrate solely on production of the Jagdpanzer IV, but the Panzer IV was in production all the way until the end of the conflict along with Jagdpanzer IV.

 

Lindberg Panzer Kampfwagen V Panther G 1/72 Tank
Lindberg Panther G
$17.00 Free Shipping with 2 or more items.

Panther is the common name of a medium tank deployed by Nazi Germany in World War II from mid-1943 to the end of the European war in 1945. It was intended as a counter to the Soviet T-34, and as a replacement for the Panzer III and Panzer IV. While never replacing the latter, it served alongside it and the heavier Tiger tanks until the end of the war. The Panther's excellent combination of firepower, mobility, and protection served as a benchmark for other nations' late war and post-war tank designs, and it is regarded as one of the best tanks of World War II. Until 1944, it was designated as the Panzerkampfwagen V Panther and had the ordnance inventory designation of Sd.Kfz. 171. On 27 February 1944, Hitler ordered that the Roman numeral V be deleted from the designation.

The Panther tank was a compromise of various requirements. While having essentially the same engine as the Tiger I tank, it had better frontal armor (including the benefit of a sloped armor, increasing effective armor depth), better gun penetration, was lighter and thus faster, and could traverse rough terrain better than the Tigers. The tradeoff was weaker side armor. The Panther proved to be deadly in open country and long range engagements, but vulnerable in close-quarters combat. Also, the 75 mm gun fired a slightly smaller shell than the Tiger's 88 mm gun, providing less high explosive firepower against infantry.

The Panther was also far cheaper to produce than the Tiger tanks, and only slightly more expensive than the Panzer IV, as its design came to fruition when the Reich Ministry of Armament and War Production was making great efforts to increase war production. Key elements of the Panther design, such as its armor, transmission, and final drive, were compromises made specifically to improve production rates and address Germany's war shortages, whereas other over-engineered elements such as its highly compact engine and its complex suspension system remained. The result was that Panther tank production was far higher than what was possible for the Tiger tanks, but not much higher than what had been accomplished with the Panzer IV. At the same time, the simplified final drive became the single major cause of breakdowns of the Panther tank, and was a problem that was never corrected.

The Panther tank arrived in 1943 at a crucial phase in World War II for Germany. Rushed into combat at the Battle of Kursk with un-corrected teething problems, which resulted in breakdowns and other equipment failures, the Panther tank would thereafter only be fighting outnumbered in Germany's steady retreat against the Allies for the remainder of World War II. Its success as a battlefield weapon was thus hampered by Germany's generally declining position in the war, with the loss of airpower protection by the Luftwaffe, the loss of fuel and training space, and the declining quality of tank crews. Nevertheless, the Panther tank commanded respect from the Allies, and its combat capabilities led directly to the introduction of heavier Allied tanks such as the Soviet IS-2 and the American M26 Pershing into the war and the development of the formidable British Centurion Tank, even though it appeared too late to participate in World War II.

 

Lindberg Tiger I Heavy German Tank 1/48

lindberg tiger I
$17.00 Free Shipping with 2 or more items.

Tiger I is the common name of a German heavy tank developed in 1942 and used in World War II. The final official German designation was Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger Ausf.E, often shortened to Tiger. It was an answer to the unexpectedly impressive Soviet armour encountered in the initial months of the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union, particularly the T-34 and the KV-1. The Tiger I gave the Wehrmacht its first tank mounting the 88 mm gun in its first armoured fighting vehicle-dedicated version: the KwK 36. During the course of the war, the Tiger I saw combat on all German battlefronts. It was usually deployed in independent tank battalions, which proved to be quite formidable.

While the Tiger I was feared by many of its opponents, it was over-engineered, using expensive materials and labour intensive production methods. Only 1,347 were built between August 1942 and August 1944. The Tiger was prone to certain types of track failures and immobilizations, and limited in range by its high fuel consumption. It was expensive to maintain, but generally mechanically reliable. It was also difficult to transport, and vulnerable to immobilization when mud, ice and snow froze between its overlapping and interleaved road wheels in winter weather conditions, often jamming them solid. In 1944, production was phased out in favour of the Tiger II.

The tank was given its nickname "Tiger" by Ferdinand Porsche, and the Roman numeral was added after the later Tiger II entered production. The initial official German designation was Panzerkampfwagen VI Ausführung H (‘Panzer VI version H’, abbreviated PzKpfw VI Ausf. H), with ordnance inventory designation SdKfz 182, but the tank was redesignated as PzKpfw VI Ausf. E in March 1943, with ordnance inventory designation SdKfz 181.

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