The kit consist of 172 parts in olive drab plastic plus the lower hull in primed cast metal and some poly caps for the drive sprockets and gun elevation and of course the decal and instruction sheets.
The standard of the plastic parts is typical Tamiya with cleanly moulded parts with only a few shallow pin marks on the inside of the hatches and track links and all the parts scaled out precisely when compared to the 1:48 plans in the Hunnicutt Sherman bible.
The lower hull/Suspension:
This is the same primed cast metal from the M4/M10 kits and while providing a robust base for the model is a little lacking in details, for example there are no bolts on the hull suspension or idler wheel mounting plates and the underside has a couple of large ‘pits’ for the screws that hold the hull top in place but there are two plastic squares that fit over the ‘pits’ to fill these in after assembly.
At the front is a choice of two transmission covers, the initial 3 part bolted cover with separate joining flanges that have nice bolt head details and the top bolt retaining strip, there are a few shallow pin marks on one side of the bolt flanges but these are very small and should be easy to remedy, there is also locating pins on the flanges to ensure they are positioned correctly. The second is the cast cover from the recent M10 (kit #32519) and top bolted strip which has the same minor fit issue as on the M10 kit where there is a small gap at the bottom of the tranny cover/hull join as the cast lower tub is designed for the 3 piece bolted cover.
Both the transmission covers don’t have any cast texture but this would be very minor in this scale and you should drill holes in the towing shackles before proceeding. There are no drain plugs on the underside but these but will be easy to add with a small card disc while on the outside are the final drive covers and all fit together well apart from the small gap issue above.
At the rear is the plastic hull panel with separate engine bay doors for good definition as well as idler mountings, the lower towing pintle plus a choice of the M4 square air cleaners and the round air cleaners as an alternative.
The suspension bogies are the same with straight arm and raised roller support
which are fairly simple with just three parts plus the road wheels per bogie
but build into quite nice assemblies in this smaller scale. There are of course
additional details you can add such as the three bolts on the bottom of each
bogie unit, the small retaining bolts for the track skids and grease plugs
on the wheels if you really want to go that far.
You should note that the top section with the volute springs, track skid and return roller are moulded as one piece and you just reverse the direction for the left and right bogies and also the first bogie has a locating pin on the return roller for location of the track lengths and also has only one locating pin on the hull so you can’t really put it in the wrong place but take care when assembling these.
You get a choice of two styles of road wheels and idlers with the open spoke and pressed solid spoke wheels but these have hollow backs such is Tamiya’s want.
There are also three styles of drive sprockets provided with ‘fancy smooth’, ‘revised fancy smooth’ and solid ‘simple plate’ sprockets for good variety with poly caps trapped between the two halves for an easy fit to the front axles.
The solid spoke idler wheels have open backs and are glued to the idler axles and you could add the missing bolt heads on the bogie and idler mounting plates if you wish.
The T48 rubber chevron track are in link and length plastic and have very good details for this scale and don’t appear out of scale which can be a problem in smaller scales. There is a long length for the upper and lower track runs with shorter sections for between the drive sprocket/idler wheels and the lower run with separate links for around the drive sprocket and idlers wheels.
Fitting the track was straightforward with the upper run attaching to the pin on the front return roller to ensure they line up correctly but you may want to leave this till after painting but note the links should be glued to the return rollers, idler wheels and a couple of road wheels to ensure they stay in place. The small pin marks on the inside of the tracks are hardly noticeable once the tracks are in place.
The Upper Hull:
The upper hull is in one piece with separate crew hatches but perpetuates Tamiya’s infatuation with open sponson undersides which again give this model the see through look at the sides and rear hull overhang but should be fairly easy to fill in with strips of plastic card.
The details on the hull are quite good but there are a couple of profile issues with the upper side contour being too “square” more like on the later big hatch M4A1 and should be more rounded for the earlier hull but this should be easy to fix with some vigorous sanding. The other is the indentation in the middle of the upper rear hull which I have only seen on Canadian RAM tanks and is certainly not a standard feature of M4A1 hulls but again should be easy to fill with a small strip of card and some filler.
There are separate head and tail lights although the bush guards are way too thick and would be best replaced with etched items which I’m sure will come from one of the major etched set manufactures before long and front and back lifting eyes that are well within scale.
All the pioneer tools are now separate parts which are a big improvement over the moulded on tools of the M4 and while the tool brackets are moulded on the tools they look a lot better.
Additional parts include the add on appliqué armour for the hull sides which include subtle weld seams and can be used as required depending on the tank you a re modelling.
The crew hatches have basic detail on the insides and again you can add additional detail such as the hatch springs and periscopes if you wish.
This is the same as with the M4 kit and has the upper shell and lower ring separate in the usual manner with separate gun and rotor shield, pistol port, lifting eyes and Commander’s split hatch with separate hatches. There is again no cast texture on the turret but this would be very subtle in this scale
You have a choice of the M34A1 shield from the M4 kit but this has no cast texture and includes the .30cal co-ax MG as part of the shield and you should drill this out for better appearance. The early M34 gun mount with separate MG shield is also provided to allow a bit more variety with both having the internal gun mounting attached with two poly caps which allow gun elevation after assembly and also allows you to add the rotor shield and gun at any time.
The gun tube is in one piece with separate muzzle section and you will have to fill and sand the join between these parts and on comparing the barrel length to the excellent research feature by Kurt Laughlin on Track Link and the 1:48 plans in the Hunnicut Sherman book the length of the barrel outside of the turret is 67.625inches which equals 1717.672 millimetres or 35.785miilimeters in 1:48 scale. The kit barrel measures out about 0.05mm too long which is really nothing to get excited about and the diameter matches to within a fraction of a millimetre.
Appliqué armour is provided for the right cheek if required but the weld seam is indented and the .50cal MG included is quite nice for this scale and includes an ammo box for mounting on the hatch pintle.
The decal sheet is typical Tamiya with well printed markings but thickish carrier film and has markings for three M4A1s;
Click on thumbnail for larger view
Close new window to return to review
Overall another nice little model in this scale but the metal hull is lacking in detail and the open sponsons distract a little from the final appearance but can be fixed easily. The details are quite well done but the upper hull has some contour error which should be easy enough to fix with the kit offering plenty of scope for adding additional details.
Another welcomed addition for Allied modellers in this scale and we can no doubt look forward to more versions in the Sherman family.
|SHERMAN A History
American Medium Tank
R.P.Hunnicutt. Presidio Books ISBN 0-89141-080-5
to the Sherman
MMIR Special. Ampersand Publishing Company, Inc
Click Browsers BACK button to return to list
Page created January 2, 2006