Blast Models
Sherman M4A3Update Set
1/35 #BL35037K

Review by Terry Ashley

Following on from their excellent Sherman Jumbo Conversion (BL35017K) Blast Models have now released a comprehensive update set for the M4A3 Sherman.
The set is designed for any the three Tamiya M4A3 kits (35122, 35250, 35251).

The set consists of 115 finely cast pieces in light cream resin with many of these very small and delicate with intricate details included as well as larger parts such as the rear exhaust and turret and hull hatches.

The quality of the casting is excellent with the casting blocks having a small ‘pin’ connecting the part leaving just a small ‘footprint’ on the parts to be cleaned up, this helps with the many smaller parts and results in less chance of damaging the parts but care is still needed while cleaning up the parts. There were a few very minor air holes and some others that didn’t break the surface so check before attempting to fill as they will disappear with a coat of paint.
Due to the very small parts there is also some additional thin resin film to be removed but this is no problem and a small price for the detail on the parts.

Some of the parts are from the Jumbo set such as the Commander’s vision cupola and two part hatch and the barrel travel lock, ventilator covers, periscope bush guards, hull crew hatches and the M2 .50cal Machine Gun, while some others are reworked to correct/enhance the detail such as the rear exhaust deflector and the inside of the oval Loader’s hatch with the padding added while the rest of the parts are new for this set.

The hull:
BlastAt the front of the hull are a new barrel travel lock and mountings plus head lights, hull MG and ball mounting and lifting shackles all of which have enhanced details over the kit items.

On the hull top are new raised periscopes that require you to cut out the closed kit items first as well as a new central ventilator which again requires the removal of the kit item, this minor surgery is quite easy to deal with.
The two hull crew hatches are well detailed on both sides with the inside having empty periscope housings and casting numbers included as well as the nice resin bush guards.

On the rear hull is large storage rack and new spare track brackets while on the underside is a new exhaust deflector and hull side panels.
Other hull details include taillights, lifting shackles, ventilator and engine door latches as well as a full set of finely detailed pioneer tools which include their supports and tie downs eliminating the need for etched parts.

About the only addition needed for the hull would be etched head and tail light guards from one of the many sets available.

The Turret:
Some minor surgery is required on the turret depending on how many of the details you which to add, on the original Tamiya kit (35122) the loader’s hatch was moulded closed and you need to cut out the hatch opening to accept the new resin hatch sill and well detailed hatch. On the other two Tamiya kits the new hatch and hinge simple replaces the kit items with the resin hatch having nice details on both sides.

The periscope in front of the loader’s hatch is included as a new resin part which requires the kit item be removed as does the pistol port to accept the new resin parts which has the door separate that can be positioned open with the support arm included.

For the Commander there is a choice of early split hatch or the later vision cupola with two part hatch.
The split hatch ring has padding and other details on the inside rim and casting numbers on the outer ring while the two hatches have nice internal details included, all that is needed is the addition on wire grab handles.

The vision cupola has nice vision block details and the hatch is in two parts, the outer rim and centre section with details on both sides including casting numbers and empty periscope housing. The hinge bolt is also separate allowing the hatch to move after assembly and provides very well defined details. This centre section can rotate on the real hatch and this two part arrangement allows you to position this at any angle you wish?

Other turret details include a new searchlight which is nicely cast in one piece with the front hollowed out, finely cast front sight vane and rear turret MG storage mountings and top MG mounting post plus a new antenna base.

The M2 .50cal MG is the same as with the Jumbo set and is very well cast with separate breech and barrel as well as a very detailed ammo box with a short belt of .50cal rounds.

The Instructions:
These are in the form of photos of the parts attached to the Tamiya kit and called out by number corresponding to the parts layout photos all of which makes for clear and easy to follow construction sequences.

A very well detailed update set that provides many finely rendered parts to add finesse to the Tamiya M4A3 kits, as there is only minor surgery required to fit some parts the fitting of the detail parts should not present any problems.

Highly Recommended.
M2 MG parts
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Thanks to Gilles from Blast Models for the review kit.
The kit can be purchased direct from Blast Models or from AFV Modeller Shop in the UK.

Page created 29 February 2003

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