British Army Sherman V

Tasca 1:35 Scale Kit No. 35016

Review by Terry Ashley


Following on from the first two Firefly kits (#35009 British Sherman VC Firefly and #35011 British Sherman VC Firefly w/Cast Cheek-armour Turret) Tasca have now released this kit of the “standard” M4A4 gun tank. The M4A4 was used by British and Commonwealth forces as well as with the Free French and Polish Divisions after D-Day but was not used operationally by the U.S. Army or U.S.M.C during WWII although some were used for training Stateside.

This new kit has most of the sprues from the Firefly kits as well as the low bustle 75mm turret from the M4A1 Sherman (Late Production) (kit #35012), plus the excellent M2 cal.50 MG from the set #35-L9. As a consequence there is a number of alternate parts in the kit such as the early three piece bolted or single cast transmission cover, M34 or M34A1 gun mounting, open spoke or solid dish road wheels plus the separate appliqué armour panels for the hull and turret. You also get a spare 17pdr barrel and mantlet left over on the Firefly sprues to add quite a bit to the spares box.

The Kit:

The kit consists of 480 parts in dark olive drab plastic, 16 in clear plastic with a further 34 finely etched parts plus a set of vinyl T62 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 many 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.

Dimensionally the kit measures out perfectly in most areas against the 1:35 plans in the

Armor Photogallery Sherman VC Firefly book and scaled up 1:48 plans in Hunnicutt’s Sherman book with any discrepancies being well within acceptable limits.

Lower Hull:

This 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 real hull panel is extensively detailed with separate engine inspection hatches, very detailed idler mountings in two parts plus the idler axles, the smoke generators made up of two plastic and three etched parts plus the large leaf spring mounted towing hook with separate mounting brackets that match photos exactly. The leaf springs are cleanly moulded with the seam along the edges so you don’t have to worry about the usual centre mould seam which can compromise the detail.

The lower towing shackles are included plus other smaller fittings as well as the upper mesh intake screen being provided as an etched part which is quite outstanding seeing as this is very difficult to see after assembly but does show the attention to detail in the kit.

The early bolted transmission cover has the bolted flanges in two pairs of two part flanges which allows for excellent bolt head details to be included as well as the distinct join seam between the two flanges as seen on the real thing. Ensure you do not fill this seam with excess glue during assembly as it should be there and adds to the level of detail in the kit.

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

The side final drive housings are separate parts with the front hull side extensions included and these are hollowed out with bolt holes around the opening and hull mounting strip for any one wanting to depict the final drive covers separate in a diorama but you will have the scratch the drive gears yourself.

The outer final drive covers feature the correctly detailed axle hubs with the fit being very good to the final drive housings. The fit of the housings to the transmission cover is also very good but there is a small join seam around the housing that may need attention depending what is visible after gluing and care will be needed not to damage the casting numbers and cast texture while doing this.

There is one small detail omission in that the three 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 and don’t be concerned with what looks like a bit of a gap at the side join of the top bolted strip and the hull as this will be fully covered when the hull top is added later.

The sponson covers also include the small circular access cover on the rear undersides which is common to all Sherman based vehicles and the side panels include the mounting plates for the suspension bogies while the hull undersides has the correct engine panels for the multi-bank A57 engine M4A4 and suspension cross members.

The later single piece cast transmission cover is also included as it is on the same sprue as the M3 75mm gun parts but the M4A4 was only fitted with the three piece bolted transmission cover so the cast cover can be added to the spares box. This instructions correctly only show to fit the bolted cover as it should.


The suspension which was previously released as set #35-007 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 (not applicable here) with the early revised skid and final skid type which 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 the Revised Fancy Smooth, Fancy Smooth variation, and 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.

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


This is the T62 type track the same as included in the Firefly kits 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 in this medium.


Upper Hull:

The M4A4 hull has solid cast driver’s hoods with the periscopes moulded in the closed position and has the correct weld seam locations but some are a little understated in places such as the front of the side panels and a little enhancement may be needed here and there. The weld seams around the ventilator guards and rear fuel fillers could also be enhanced and the small drain holes drilled out with the locations of these included so you know where to drill the holes if you wish.

The raised weld seams on the hull top better represent the flowing texture of the actual Sherman welds than on other kits but could be a little wider for best effect, but that is getting picky. You should also add weld seams at the angled joins either side of the turret ring as these are not present.


The hull has openings for the crew hatches, turret ring which features attachment bolt detail around the ring, the full engine deck and open grouser box covers plus separate fuel filler caps, ventilator and other smaller details.

The rear hull panel is also a separate part that fits perfectly to the hull and under the hull overhang is the air outlet grill and two exhaust outlets that again nicely detail this hard to see area with the typical storage box added but the box mountings could be detailed a little for a better look.

The engine deck is broken into three sections with the forward section having the radiator grills and distinctive radiator bulge with a separate radiator cap as well as fine casting numbers on the bulge which are all nicely represented. The other two panels are fairly plain but you have to open up some locating holes depending if you are mounting the barrel travel lock in the early central position or the later left offset position as well as for the sledge hammer located on the rear panel. The travel lock itself is a very finely moulded part with the clip in the open position and really does look the part.

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.

The two fuel filler guards either side of the engine deck correctly meet up with the turret splash guard, something most other Sherman kits get wrong and there is also the additional small armour panel welded to the rear side of the turret splash guard.

Also included are plastic or etched bush guards for both the front and rear lights to give you a choice but the etched guards do look better. To help bend them to shape there is an unidentified jig included on sprue C that you can use, it’s the funny looking part located between parts C5 and C8 on the sprue.

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. One small omission with the hatches are the two outer grab handles, there are small locating holes on the hatches but the handles themselves are not included although it is very easy to make these from thin wire and attach to the locating holes.

On the glacis is the small central bracket in etched metal and fine plastic parts for the spare track brackets plus head lights with separate clear plastic lenses and the plastic or etched bush guards as mentioned as well as alternate appliqué armour panels for in front of the driver’s hoods.

The 75mm gun travel lock is also included and there is a plastic jig (part L23) provided to ensure you fit the two lock mounting brackets in the correct position on the glacis, another nice touch from Tasca.

The hull cal.30 MG is provided with the full receiver and handgrip with ball mounting that attaches to the outer ball mounting cover 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.

Also included for the cal.30 MG mounting are alternate sealing cover brackets, one with small pins and other plain with the instructions indicating which marking option each style applies to?

All the tools are finely moulded with the tool brackets included with very small locating holes on the hull to show their location as well as the two rear mounted fire extinguishers and first aid box. There is also an over head plan view in the instructions showing the tool location on the rear right hull to ensure these are placed correctly.

The three hull appliqué armour panels are provided as required and the instructions have full sized illustration templates to aid in fitting these in to correct positions on hull sides.

There are also the boathouse fittings that consist of two large brackets at the front and three smaller brackets along the hull sides for the purpose of attaching a large cover to disguise the tank as a lorry but this was rarely fitted in service. Some vehicles landed at D-Day with these fittings still in place as is the case with one of the marking options provided in the kit.

And finally there is a full sand shield suite included made up of three sections per side but again these are rarely fitted on active service and there is also etched fender attachments brackets to use without the fenders attached as well as small front fenders which have bevelled edges for a nice thin appearance to use for the most common arrangement.

The Turret:

The turret is the same early low bustle 75mm turret as in the previous M4A1 kits 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 includes the earlier M34 mounting with early style rotor shield used on the first marking option with the later M34A1 gun mounting used for all other options. The M34A1 mount 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 referring to references will determine which is most applicable for the model you are building.

The gun shields 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.

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.

An addition for this kit are the two British style smoke dischargers fitted to the right side of the turret and these have separate hollow tubes, firing breech and mounting plate, the instructions have a nice diagram to ensure these are mounted at the correct angle on the turret side.

The rear British style turret bustle storage box is in 6 parts to allow nice detail on all panels plus a standing Commander figure from the Firefly kits wearing the early war overalls and the detail is quite well defined for a plastic figure and should come up okay with careful painting.

The decal sheet is nicely printed with carrier film close to the printed image to help reduce silvering with markings for 5 M4A4s included on the separate markings sheet that includes three or five view illustrations showing the decal locations for the 5 options.
  1. No.2 Squadron, 2nd Irish Guards, Guards Armoured Division, August 1944, Normandy.
    This Vehicle carries the boathouse fittings.
  2. 29th Armoured Brigade HQ, 11th Armoured Division, July 1944, Normandy.
    This Vehicle not fitted with appliqué armour panels.
  3. No.2 Squadron, 2nd Irish Guards, Guards Armoured Division, September 1944, Netherlands.
    This Vehicle carries the boathouse fittings.
  4. No.2 Squadron, 2nd Armoured Regiment, 10th Armoured Cavalry Brigade, 1st Polish Armoured Division, Spring 1944, UK.
  5. Unit Unknown, July 1944, Cean

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.

I didn’t find any miss-numbered parts or other traps in the parts assembled for the review which takes a lot of pain out of the assembly sequences.


As with the previous Sherman kits from Tasca these would have to rate as some of the best out of the box Sherman kits with well researched and executed details and a nice selection of options to allow different vehicles to be built.

As with any kits there is room for improvement and for adding finer details as well as a little work needed here and there but from a starting point this kit is simply outstanding in its engineering, details including and the superb fit of the parts.

This kit combines parts from previous kit apart from the new smoke discharges and is an excellent inclusion to the Sherman ranks especially for British/Commonwealth modellers.

Very Highly recommended

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

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

Page created March 8, 2009