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The Rare M48 Desert Patton tank

Sunday, October 30, 2016

There was a lot of speculation for years as to whether this rare gem even existed. Most collectors didn't seem to think so. And here's why. In 1990, Processed Plastic Co. decided to delete the clip-on wheels of the classic M48 TimMee Patton tank to (a) cut manufacturing costs and to (b) eliminate the possible choking hazards that the wheels may present to children who played with them. However, most productions runs during the late 80s used plastic so stiff that pulling the clip-on wheels off can be a bit of a chore - even for an adult. So the concerns over child safety seem overly cautious, especially given the cost and production delay to modify the tooling. For many, the classic tank lost some of it's appeal when the clip-on wheels got the axe. The following year Processed Plastic introduced the Desert Command Series to coincide with and commemorate Desert Storm. The M48 Patton tank would be released in tan as part of this series. The 1991 catalog photos of the new series showed the Patton tank without wheels. However, the initial run of the desert tank was, in fact, produced by the pre-modified tooling. And, it's also possible there were actually two productions runs as there are both stiff and pliable plastic versions. But it wasn't until Ebay came along in the mid 90s before an example of this rare tank would prove its own existence. And even then, only a few would pop up every once in a great while and were often incorrectly identified by the seller. Add to that the influx of Chinese clones into the toy soldier market and the odds of  actually snagging one was slim at best. Those odds remain the same to this day. Only a daily methodical OCD driven search will slightly increase those odds.

But the results are well worth it...

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1 comment:

Lorrie Causey said...

...I'll check my pile and see if I have any of these.....