M4A1 Sherman (Late production)
Tasca 1:35 Scale Kit No. 35012

Review by Terry Ashley


As with the second version of the Firefly just released (kit #35011) Tasca have also followed the initial M4A1 Sherman (Mid Production) kit #35010 with this revised kit of the M4A1 Sherman (Late Production) which features the later M34A1 gun mounting as well as full compliment of appliqué armour panels.

While the kit is labeled "Late" it is more of a "Later" production type as while it includes the M34A1 gun mounting and appliqué armour is only has the early rounded cast transmission cover and not the later sharp nosed cover seen on many late production small hatch M4A1s. It also has the same riveted lower hull as the previous kit while the majority of later M4A1s were fitted with the welded lower hull which also has the curved rear lower plate fillet.

Examples do exist of the Late type M4A1 with the earlier rounded cast transmission cover and riveted hull as well as some with the three piece bolted transmission cover still included in the kit but these are more likely rebuilt vehicles with the most "common" late small hatch configuration being the welded hull with sharp nosed transmission cover, appliqué armour on the hull and turret as well as the M34A1 gun mounting.

The Kit:

This kit is basically the same as kit #35010 with the addition of one new sprue (L) and the new T48 tracks therefore much of the review below is also the same as for that kit with updated comments of the new parts and new decals provided.

The kit consists of 409 parts in dark olive drab plastic, 7 in clear plastic with a further 26 finely etched parts plus a set of vinyl T48 Rubber Chevron Block track, poly caps for the suspension and of course the decal and instruction sheets.


The level of detail on the parts is outstanding with subtle cast texturing and casting numbers on some parts plus nicely engraved and raised detail but there are a few pin marks here and there as a consequence and some of the parts are very fine requiring care when removing from the sprue and in fitting.

There are a number of options left over from the previous kit but some are not as applicable for this kit but as mentioned virtually any combination of features is possible as indicated by photos but I'll concentrate on the most common for the Late version in the kit. Some optional parts include alternate road wheels and drive sprockets, three piece bolted and single piece transmission housings, round and square air cleaners and two gun shields. The early M34 gun mount is still included but this is best consigned to the spares box.

Dimensionally the kit measures out perfectly in all areas against available plans including the scaled up 1:48 plans in Hunnicutt’s Sherman books with any discrepancies being well within acceptable limits.

The kit shares a number of sprues (A, B, C, D, E, H and J) from the previous Firefly and M4A1 Early kits which results in a number of excess parts not used with this kit that can be added to the spares box. Also included as before in one of the superb .50cal machine guns from set #35-L9 and the US Jerry cans from set #35-L14.


I will mention these first as some care is needed due to the full instruction sheet from kit #35010 being included which shows the turret assembly with the early M34 gun mounting as well as the alternative transmission covers which may cause some confusion? The separate decal making guide sheet for kit #35010 is also included for some reason as they have no baring on this kit and again may confuse matters.

There are four new individual sheets that reflect the amended hull and turret assembly as well as the approprate painting and decal placement guide for this kit.

The instructions are the usual exploded view drawings which are easy to follow even though some of the text is in Japanese only the images mostly speak for themselves as this is not an overly complicated kit bearing in mind some sequences don't apply to this kit as mentioned above.

Lower Hull:

This is the same riveted hull as in the previous kit and consists of individual panels for the floor, side and rear panels plus the sponson covers and an internal engine firewall bulkhead that has access panels included in case anyone wants to add and engine at any time.

As with any multi-part hull the fit here determines how the rest of the kit goes together and the fit of these parts is superb with the engine bulkhead ensuring everything lines up correctly. There were no gaps or panel movement anywhere and the assembled hull tub is perfectly square so forget any trimming or filling.

The instructions indicate the bolt heads that should be removed for the welded hull type but things are not as straightforward as that unfortunately as there is are very small indentations around the moulded on bolts that are exposed when you cut off the bolts heads. This leads to some additional sanding work to eliminate these indentations, but they are very fine and quite shallow and I found it wasn't necessary to use any filler only some additional sanding which can be a little tricky due to the detail close to some bolt heads.

You should also remove the raised strips either side of the suspension channels on the lower hull to be entirely correct for the welded version but this will take a lot more work and it may be easier to just cut off the bolt heads and leave the strips in place. Another alteration is to add the curved lower rear plate fillet as the kit has the angled fillet applicable to the riveted version and there are a number of weld seams to be added on the underside of the hull to really finish off the welded version.

I used the Archer Fine Details "Surface Detail Set #6" weld seams that are conventional water slide type decals with raised texture but as these are added to the bare plastic running a thin strip of white glue to lay the welds over will ensure they don't go anywhere.

The real hull panel is extensively detailed with separate engine inspection hatches, very detailed idler mountings in two parts plus the idler axles and the choice of round or square air cleaners made up of three main parts each with the attachment clips as etched and fine plastic parts as well as the lower towing shackles.

The sponson covers are also included with the small circular access cover on the rear undersides which is common to all Sherman based vehicles and the hull side panels include the mounting plates for the suspension bogies.

As mentioned you have a choice of three piece bolted or single piece cast transmission covers and as indicated in the revised instructions the single piece cast transmission cover should be used for this kit. This is the early rounded cast cover but there is not the later sharp nose transmission cover most commonly seen on later M4A1s unfortunately and the easiest way around this is to use the late single piece transmission cover from Formations (set #F053). There will be some trimming needed to fit this to the Tasca hull but it will depict the more common configuration.

If the work to convert the bolted hull to the welded type is a little daunting there is also the Formations set #F055 M4/M4A1 Welded Lower Hull that can be used in conjunction with the later sharp nose transmission cover (set #F053) but there will still be some trimming required to fit these to the Tasca upper hull.

Single piece cast transmission cover:

The cover provided is the early rounded style cover with the upper raised lip protecting the bolted strip which was seen on early Shermans along with the earlier rounded profile transmission cover.

The transmission cover again has subtle cast texturing with the top and bottom bolted strips as separate parts for good definition.

The side final drive housings are also separate parts hollowed out with bolt holes around the opening and hull mounting strip for as with the bolted cover and there is again subtle surface cast texture included.

The outer final drive covers are the same as for the bolted cover that feature the correctly detailed axle hubs with the fit being very good to the final drive housings.

There is again one small detail omission in that the two oil drain plugs are missing from the underside of the housing but these are easy to add from small plastic discs.

The fit of the assembled front transmission to the hull tub is again superb without any trimming or filler needed with a second lower strip added to the hull tub that acts as a locating tab for the housing ensuring perfect alignment.


The suspension which was previously released as set #35-007 and included in the previous kits has the early VVSS bogies with straight roller arm and raised roller supports and two sets of road wheels, open spoke and solid spoke pressed dish with rear inserts for complete wheels. There is also a choice of separate track skids with the early half skid (used for markings options 1 to 3) and final skid type (for marking option 4). Both are moulded quite thin and include the retaining bolts, well three of them as the inner front bolt is missing probably due to moulding constraints but is easily added.

There are three types of drive sprockets included with two styles of Fancy Smooth sprockets and the later Simple Plate sprocket with two types of idlers wheels, the open spoke and solid spoke pressed which also have rear inserts.

Also included is the final drive housing plates and drive sprocket axles as mentioned above with the drive sprockets attached by the poly caps trapped between the sprockets halves.

The detail on the road wheels, idlers and drive sprockets is excellent with fine crisp details that include the grease plug and relief valve on all the road wheels and idlers with fine bolt head details on the inside of the drive sprockets. The bogie units don’t have any noticeable cast texture but there are fine casting numbers included which can vary in position depending on manufacturer and period and they also include the three bolts on the bottom of both bogie units.

The actual solid spoke wheels feature twelve small rivets around the insides of the rims and these are provided moulded onto the sprues which you have to cut off and position around the wheel rims yourself. This is quite a delicate job that will need a very sharp blade to carefully slice off the rivets and then patience and care to position each with a small dab of liquid cement around the rims.

Only enough rivets are provided for the outside wheels of each bogie unit but it would be difficult to see them on the inside wheels anyway and given the amount of work to add them this will probably save you from going completely blind after doing the outside wheels.

Bogie Assembly:

The bogies fully articulate after assembly due to the separate lower suspension arms that trap the road wheels between them and are then in turn trapped between the inner and outer bogie halves. The upper suspension arm is in one piece as are the volute springs with three small sections of rubber sheet you cut from the larger sheet provided being added to the top of the volute springs that give the ‘spring’ when the suspension is depressed.

The separate track skids allow you to fully eliminate the join seam between the two bogie halves, but this was much smaller that on a lot of other kit bogies and won’t take much to deal with but you will have the drill the four bolt holes on the front of the bogie units as with all other kit bogies.

There were no traps while assembling the bogies but it did help to lightly glue the rubber pads to the insides of the inner bogie unit to keep them in place (I used white glue) while fitting the lower suspension arm/road assemblies and outer bogie half. The design on the bogies and suspension arms allows both wheels to be depressed at the same time and not just rock back and forth as with most other suspension sets included the separate AFV Club set.

The fit of the bogies to the hull is as you would expect very precise without any movement of the bogies for easy assembly.

As mentioned you should use the early half skids (parts B17) for marking options 1 to 3 and later skid for marking option 4 (parts B15), the instructions do show this but it's easy to miss if not paying attention.


This is the T48 Rubber Chevron Block track which is one of the most common seen on early Shermans and comes in 4 sections of a vinyl type material that has very good track pad details included with the end connectors in the correct place and even small gaps between the links. The track sections glue together with normal plastic cement and are quite flexible, easily conforming around the drive sprockets for perfectly adequate tracks for your Sherman with the only cleanup being three pour scars on the inside which are easy to cut off with a sharp blade.


Upper Hull:

The cast upper hull of the M4A1 is a single large moulding with openings for the crew hatches, turret ring which features attachment bolt detail around the ring, the full engine deck with separate grouser box covers plus separate fuel filler caps, ventilator and other smaller details, although the two periscopes in front of the crew hatches are moulded on in the closed position.

The contours of the cast hull are captured well from most angles and one thing to note on the cast M4A1 hull is the sides are not perfectly vertical (apart from the earliest models) but are angled in at slightly different degrees depending on the production foundry. Looking at the Tasca hull it appears to the eye they are vertical but in fact they are sloped inwards a couple of degrees to represent this feature nicely.

There is also extremely subtle cast texturing on the hull surfaces and looking at most photos of M4A1 hulls from a normal viewing distance shows it is difficult to see the cast texture and this is often overdone but for mine is represent well here for scale effect. Some may wish to use Mr.Surfacer (or similar) to add a more aesthetically appealing cast texture look but that is up to individual choice.

The engine deck is broken into two sections with the forward section having the covered intake and underside grills as etched screen to add should you wish to show this open. The fuel filler caps on this panel are also separate but there is no inner filler detail, just open holes so it’s best to glue the caps in place.

The other panel is quite plain with just the moulded on grab handles and fitting the panels to the hull is trouble free as the fit is again perfect without the need for any trimming.

The separate grouser covers are fully hollow with etched front mesh screens and looks very good when attached and the taillights feature the different configuration left and right so make sure you fit the lights on the correct side.

Also included are taillight bush guards only in plastic but are moulded commendable thin with a choice of two styles provided depending on the marking option chosen, so again check the instructions on which is applicable.

Moving to the front are the two nicely detailed small crew hatches that have separate parts for the periscopes which are in both normal green and clear plastic but there are a couple of pin marks to be removed plus separate periscope covers and there is also a very small hatch spring that requires care when fitting. On the inside of the hatch is a separate head pad that neatly covers the large pin mark present and the fit of the hatches to the hull is again spot on and very snug.

The hull .30cal MG is provided with the full receiver and handgrip with ball mounting that attaches to the outer ball mounting allowing the MG to move after assembly. The barrel cooling jacket has nicely rendered cooling holes and the muzzle has a small indentation but you may want to drill this out further for a better look.
There is also the option of using one of the metal .30cal barrels to add additional detail if you wish but the kit gun should be adequate for most.

Newly added for the kit is the barrel travel lock located in the centre of the glacis and this has separate attachment brackets and travel lock to allow you to position this raised or lowered. There are no locating points on the hull for the brackets and to ensure you position these correctly there is a small plastic jig (part L23) which you lay on the glacis (not glued of course) while positioning the brackets and this makes things really easy.

There are new front fender extensions as well as those from the previous kit with slightly different detail with both in finely moulded plastic with quite thin edges and the raised reinforcing strip is also indented on the underside for excellent detail. There are separate side mountings for the fenders as well as the long thin bolted strips added to the lower hull sides for fitting the side skirts to add a little additional detail.

Added to the hull front are the head lights with bush guards again only in plastic but these also moulded quite thin and should look okay and added to the left fender is the siren that just needs the wiring added. Also included is a small etched bracket sometimes fitted between the crew hatch castings if applicable?

All the tools are finely moulded with the tool brackets included but there are no locating holes on the hull to show their location but fitting these in the correct position shouldn’t be a problem as most references show the locations.

The hull side appliqué armour panels are provided as separate panels with the weld seams included but you may want to enhance these a little for better definition and the instructions have full sized side profile drawings showing the location of the panels as there are no locating marks on the hull itself.

The Turret:

The turret is the same early low bustle 75mm turret as in the previous M4A1 kit with single Commander’s hatch and has the upper shell and lower ring as separate parts with all other fittings also separate parts, this includes the periscope mountings and clear plastic periscopes as well as the separate pistol port door with inner support bracket.

Included on the turret shell is a very subtle cast texturing as with the hull but there is a very small moulding seam under the pistol port opening that will need to be eliminated and also note there is actually a raised weld seam where the join line is and this can be used to simulate the weld or can enhance this further with thin sprue or similar.

The kit still includes the earlier M34 mounting which is consigned to the spares box with the kit having the later M34A1 gun mounting that includes alternate early and late style gun shields, one has the bolted strip around all sides while the other has one side of the guard right to the edge without the bolted strip and refering to references will determine which is most applicable for the model you are building.

The gunshields have nice cast surface texturing as well as very fine casting numbers included on the right side of one while the later wide rotor shield also has subtle cast texturing and large screw heads included but no casting numbers seen on some rotor shields.

The co-axial cal.30 MG has very nice perforated jacket detail and slightly hollowed out muzzle is also is supplied as the full gun in the mounting which is attached to the side of the inner gun mounting allowing it to elevate with the main gun after assembly.

The 75mm gun tube is moulded in two pieces but the fit is very good resulting in just a very small moulding seam the be eliminated but there is no interior gun breech only the gun mounting held in place by small poly caps allowing elevation.

The Commander’s split hatch has a one piece ring with inner wall padding and the cal.50 MG mount plus the separate hatches. These have a separate periscope again in green or clear plastic plus separate latch and grab handles and head padding on one side that covers the pin mark present but there are a couple of small pin marks on the other hatch that are easy to remove.

The forward vane sight is in plastic and there is also a finely moulded cal.50 MG clip on the hatch ring with the excellent cal.50 MG from Tacsa’s set #35-L9 included and this would have to be the best cal.50 MG currently available in plastic (see full review here).

Other details include the aerial mounts and the three lifting eyes as well as the right side appliqué panel and to show the excellent attention to detail on this kit is the inclusion of the two small drain holes on the roof ventilator housing. They don’t go all the way through but are small indentations which you can fully drill out if wished.

A standing Commander figure is also included wearing the early war overalls and the detail is quite well defined for a plastic figure and should come up okay with careful painting.

Also included are four if the excellent US Style Jerry Cans from the Tasca set #35-L14 to use as required, see full review here.


The decal sheet is nicely printed with carrier film close to the printed image to help reduce silvering with markings for 3 Shermans included on the sheet.

There is a selection of white markings for the unit insignia, allied stars and vehicle names and the Yellow vehicle registration numbers applicbale to 1st decal option.

The makings included are:

  • 1. Tank No.32, D Company, 66 or 67th Armored Regiment, 2nd Armored Division, Normandy, June 1944.
    This has the large yellow numbers D-32 on three faces of the turret as well as the cartoon character on the right hull side, which is included on the decal sheet. Welded hull with solid road wheels, idlers and drive sprockets.
  • 2. 70th Armored Division, 2nd Armored Division, Normandy, June 1944.
    Welded hull with open spoke road wheels and idlers.
  • 3. 31st Tank Battalion, 7th Armored Division, France, August 1944.

As with the first M4A1 kit, this is an good representation of the later 'small hatch' M4A1 but lacks the later sharp nosed transmission cover and there is some work needed to depict the more common welded hull type with two of the decal options having photo evidence they are fitted with the welded hull.

Other than this the kit has well executed details and excellent fit of parts for overall trouble free assembly but as with any kit there is room for improvement and for adding the finer details.

The kit concentrates on the exterior apart for the co-ax machine gun and periscopes but is set up for either a partial interior in subsequent releases or to add any aftermarket interior that may come.

Highly recommended 8.5/10

The Sprues:

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Detail images
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See the Sherman Subject Page for additional reviews of Sherman related kits and accessories.

R.P.Hunnicutt. Presidio Books
ISBN 0-89141-080-5
Modeler's Guide to the Sherman
MMIR Special.
Ampersand Publishing
M4/M4A1 Sherman
Tankograd Technical Manual
Series - No 6002
Technical Manual CD-ROM
TM9-731A M4 & M4A1

Easy 1 Productions #T002
Easy 1
M4 Sherman
Wydawnictwo Militaria 13
ISBN 83-86209-09-7
Ground Power Magazine
#96 - 5/2002

GALILEO Publishing Co.,Ltd.

Thanks to Tasca Modellismo Co.,Ltd. for the review kits.

Page created April 13, 2008