Blast Models
Sherman M4A3E2 JUMBO Conversion
Blast Models 1/35 #BL35017K

Review by Terry Ashley

This set from Blast Models is a comprehensive and highly detailed conversion of the M4A3E2 Assault Tank “Jumbo".
The conversion is designed to be used with the Tamiya M4 Sherman (kit No.35190) but could also be used with the M4A3 Sherman 75mm Late Production (kit No.35250). The reason the M4 kit is nominated is because the most common configuration for the Jumbo is with the open spoked wheels and the M4 is the only Sherman from Tamiya to include these wheels.
You could of course use the open spoked wheels from the Academy M12 kit or any Dragon Sherman kit with these wheels, but the Dragon wheels will need the centre hub drilled out to accommodate the Tamiya axles.

The Blast Models kit consists of 97 resin pieces cast in light cream resin with another 200 duckbill extensions for the track and an aluminium 76mm gun barrel.

The quality of the resin pieces is outstanding with crisply cast details and extremely fine details included on many parts. There are the usual casting blocks to be removed and care is needed with some of the smaller parts as they are very fine and can be easily damaged if not handled carefully.
There are what appear to be minor air bubbles on some parts but these are actually under the surface so if you don’t disturb them they will disappear with the first coat of paint.
Due to the fine castings there is some thin flash to be cleaned up but this is a small price to pay for the finesse of the parts.

The hull:
This is a single large hollow casting which is perfectly cast without any warping or other defects and many separate detail parts. BlastThe large weld seams on the added side armour is well done but the weld seams on the main hull are recessed as per the Tamiya kits while the side armour also has the vertical weld seam in the centre.
The hull has separate front hatches, open front periscope housings, separate ventilator cover between the hatches with grillwork on the hull section as well as separate fuel filler caps and armoured covers plus separate engine bay doors while the hull MG has a ball mounting allowing you to position the barrel at any angle.
The attention to detail extends to the drainage holes in the turret and fuel filler splashguards and a superb barrel travel lock for the hull front.
The front hatches have excellent details on both sides including casting numbers on the inside faces as well as the periscope housings moulded on and separate periscope guards.
The undersides of the hull overhang will need to be filled with plastic card but nothing that can’t be done easily.
The rear hull has a nice looking exhaust deflector with correct centre bracing and nice thin louvers, the side supports also look to be the correct curved shape.


The Type 3 1-piece transmission castings is provided for the front hull and requires you to cut off the front section of the Tamiya kit, a task that shouldn’t trouble most modellers.

The Turret:
This is again a single hollow casting although if you wanted to add an interior it would require some extra resin to be ground out with a dremil tool.
The cast texture is subtle but effective and you get casting numbers on the top and both lower sides as well as the weld seams around the turret roof.
The large mantlet also has nice weld seam detail as well as a turned aluminium barrel; this is the early M1 76mm gun without the muzzle break tread protector collar.
The commander’s cupola is a separate piece with nice periscope detail and includes casting numbers on the rim while the hatch is in two parts, the outer rim and centre section with details on both sides. This centre section can rotate on the real hatch and this two part arrangement allows you to position this at any angle you wish, a very nice addition by Blast Models.
There are many very fine details to be added to the turret such as the rear .50cal MG mount, the brackets and clips are especially fine castings and extreme care is needed not only in removing the parts from their casting blocks but in handling and fitting to the model but the end result is excellent.
The .50cal MG itself is again a suburb casting which is in two parts, the breech and separate barrel section as it would be when broken down for storage on the turret rack. If you wish to mount this in the turret roof pedestal you simply assembly the gun as normal and add the superbly detailed ammo box. You also get an extra small section of .50cal barrel to add as the co-ax MG as this was often fitted to 76mm armed Jumbos.

The Tracks:
As the Jumbo track were always fitted with the end connector ‘duckbill’ extensions to accommodate the extra weight of the Jumbo you are provided with 200 resin duckbills to be added to the Tamiya kit track. While this may be tedious it is a simple matter of cutting off the detail on the end of the Tamiya track and attaching the duckbills with superglue.

The Instructions:
These are in the form of two double sided A4 pages with photos of the kit under construction with the parts called out by number to show their location plus some additional text notes. Some of the photos are a little washed out making it difficult to see the detail but with careful study you can see where the parts go.

In all a superb conversion set for the Jumbo with details everywhere, the quality of the resin casting is of special note allowing the incorporation of many fine details and fittings. As mentioned special care will be needed when handling these fine pieces but the end result will be a stunning looking Jumbo.
Any shermaholic should be happy with this conversion set and it would be nice to see Blast Models release part of this set such as the hatches, .50cal MG and other small details as a general update set for other Sherman Kits.


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Thanks to Gilles from Blast Models for the review kit.
The Jumbo kit can be purchased direct from Blast Models or from Mission Models in the US.

Page created 27 February 2003

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