When the British forces first used their new weapon, called "tank" for disinformative use, they started an era that changed the course of all future wars - the era of armoured warfare. German trenches were overwhelmed by the might of those "landships" which brought a hail of machine guns fire and artillery support for the advancing infantry.
But those forst tanks - named simply Mark I - weren't the perfect weapon. They were very slow, had relatively thin armour (could be penetrated by any artillery shell) and was used too early, before the mass produce could be launched. On 3 October 1916 William Tritton, who was one of the main Mark I designers, proposed a lighter tank that could support infantry with heavy machine gun fire while the Marks would attack the enemy's trenches and break through the obstacles. At first the Whippet was to be equipped with a revolving turret, but this idea was scrapped. The first unit to be armed with a new tanks was the 6th Royal Tank Regiment. The tanks were entirely "females", armed only with foru 0.303 in Hotchkiss Mk 1 machine guns.
Looking more like an armoured caterpillar tractor than tank, Whippet was lighter than Marks, but had an overcomplicated steering system. The twin engine (each powering one track) solution was so hard to operate that the driver had to halt the tank, then make a turn and finally start it again. The hard breaking could rupture the tracks and it was impossible to repair it under the German fire. Later two engines were replaced with one of bigger power, allowing the Whippet to achieve enormous for its time speed of 48 km/h.
Some of the Whippets took part in the world's second tank vs. tank battle. The first was over just minutes before, when the Mk IV commanded by Frank Mitchell drove off the German A7V commanded by Wilhelm Blitz. The A7V was later damaged by British shells and the crew escaped. Soon after that two more A7Vs appeared, but fortunatly for Mitchell, who had lost two other tanks ("females", which couldn't fight with armoured vehicles), more Marks and seven Whippets approached the combat scene. Whippets attack with enormous fury, rather rolling over the German soldiers than firing at them (you can imagine what happens with human body when it fells under the track). Three Whippets were destroyed (one by A7V, the rest by artillery), the rest escaped. Mitchell's Mark was hit with mortar and the crew escaped, leaving the vehicle with broken track.
Some Whippets were captured by Germans and with new camo and markings, now known as Beutepanzer A (Beute - trophy, panzer - tank) were used against their former owners. Some (along with Marks) were send to Russia to support the Tsar's forces against bolsheviks - many of them later were used by Red Army in the first years of its existance. Some might have been used in Polish-bolshevik war in 1920, but there are no sources about the Whippets. Six or more vehicles were sold to Japanese Empire and used for their studies and tank designing.
God Bless the Emhar's company. I don't know if anyone else makes the WWI tanks in the 1/72 scale (there's a Polish company, RPM, but it makes only the variants of FT-17, not to mention a fragile plastic parts). Others are usualy paper models, and I'm not skilled enough to make them. Several months ago I bought the Mark IV Female from this company and decided to buy more if aviable (they, however, rarely appear on the auctions).
Unlike the Mark IV Female (seen here next to the Whippet) tracks are not of rubber, but made as a single segment. Easier to paint and looks better than the Female's tracks.
There's an annoying goof in the model, a weak connection of the upper hull (crew compartment) and the cover of engine compartment. At first I thought it's ment to be one piece, but then it turned out it should be two of them (disconnected).
Besides that, the MkA Whippet is a well-made model, with parts fitting each other and with good plastic quality. Also there are decals for versions: British (two versions), German, Russian and Japanese. I've chosen the British ones, leaving the others for different projects. It would be cool to make the Mark IV or V in the Russian markings, but not by sacrificing a good model. Maybe if I'll buy a decal-less set in the future... maybe.
Paints: Pactra, some Humbrol Metalizer for damages
Time: 3 hours, except paint drying time.