The kit consists of 669 parts in dark green plastic plus a small decal sheet and length of twine for the tow rope, three sprues are from the earlier M10/M12/M36 kits for the suspension and accessory parts while the majority of the kit is new although some of the parts are not used and can be consigned to the spares box.
The quality of the mouldings is good as we know from the previous M10/M36 kits with only a minimum of pin ejector marks on parts with detail on both sides but other than that just the normal cleanup needed for plastic parts.
The lower hull:
The lower hull tub is also the same as the previous kits and includes the sponson bottoms and there is a new Type 2D 3-piece differential housing for the front although without any casting numbers and you will have to add the drain plugs underneath the final drive housings.
The VVSS suspension bogies are still the Type 2C-2 Intermediate raised roller with a choice of open spoked or solid spoked wheels and idler wheels with rear detail inserts as well as the grease plug and relief valve details while there is a choice of Type 2 revised or Type 3 Simple Plate drive sprockets but the bogie type most commonly seen on late M4A2s in Russian service was the Type 2D with raised roller arm.
There is no interior in this kit but you could obviously use and interior parts from the M10/M36 kits if you wish?
The rear hull has the new M4A2 type panels and exhausts plus the upper intake ducting as well as alternate style towing shackles.
The Upper Hull:
This is a new one piece moulding with separate rear engine deck which in turn has separate engine compartment doors with grill work on both sides and thankfully there is no pin ejector marks on the grills while at the front are separate crew hatches and periscopes.
The hull features nice surface details with weld seams plus casting numbers and foundry marks on the area around the front hatches although this area is also rather flat and lacks the subtle contours as seen on the Tamiya M4A3 47° hull. All the fuel filler caps are separate parts as are the rear and front ventilator covers and fire extinguisher handles. The front and rear lights are also separate with the front head lights having separate lenses in the same green plastic but the light bush guards are way over scale and will need considerable thinning or replacement with etched guards.
There is unfortunately a few errors on the hull with the rear plate angle being too upright, while the angle of the rear plate on the M4A2 is less than on the M4A3 this has gone a little too far to the vertical here while at the front the mounts for the barrel travel lock are located too low on the glacis and should be slightly higher.
The hull crew hatches have separate periscopes housings and periscopes as well as separate bush guards and handles but there are some small pin marks on the inside to be removed. The hull .30cal is a full gun which is good if you choose to use the interior from the other kits and it also has the ball mounting and outside cover plate.
There is the rear hull storage rack and a selection of pioneer tools which while nicely moulded lack any definition on the attachment points and you could improve these with the excellent tools from Formations (Set F018) if you don’t want to use etched parts.
This represents an early T23 turret with the commander’s cupola with vision blocks and the oval loader’s hatch and features some nice subtle surface texturing both on the turret and mantlet which also has casting numbers included.
The turret is moulded in upper and lower sections and some of the surface texturing may be lost when eliminating the join line but this should be able to be restored afterwards.
The commander’s hatch has a separate periscope and handle but there are some minor pin marks on the inside of the hatch as does the loader’s hatch but this also has separate retaining springs for very good detail definition.
The 76mm gun is in the usual two halves and includes either the cast muzzle brake or end thread protector but unfortunately replicates the same error of the Italeri T23 turret and 76mm gun with a small step near the base of the barrel, this can either be sanded smooth or your could use an aftermarket metal barrel.
The mantlet and forward turret also have separate finely moulded attachment
ribs for the canvas dust cover as seen on some later turrets, the inclusion
of these as separate parts is very welcomed as they are not all that common
till later in the war.
Also included on the sprue runners are the numerous square bolt attachments welded to the turret and mantlet when the dust cover is fitted and these simply need to be cut from the sprues with a fine blade and glued in place, again the inclusion of these as separate parts allows a good choice of fittings.
The side pistol port is also a separate part as are the three lifting eyes and the turret top loader’s periscope which also has a separate bush guard and periscope cover. The .50cal MG included is quite basic when compared to that in the Academy MG set but you do get the rear turret brackets for storing the MG as well as the top pedestal mount and front barrel support all of which are nicely moulded.
There are quite a few additional items of equipment such as ammo boxes and jerry cans included on the sprues from the previous kits which can be used as desired.
The instructions are as with previous kits well laid out and easy to follow and should make construction fairly easy.
The decals are well printed with thin carrier film and provide markings for three vehicles although they are fairly generic overall with the instructions indicating two vehicles from Berlin 1945 and another Germany 1945.
There are quite a few good photos of M4A2s in Russian service in the Wydawnictwo Militaria book listed below.
Another nice kit for allied fans with good details with a number of options included and although there are some errors to be addressed there are other areas with good details and the inclusion of the many multiple parts allows for good detail definition.
As with any kit there is scope for additional detailing but overall the kit should be welcomed. It will be interesting to see what other Sherman versions are to come form Academy now they have started the ball rolling and of course there is the Dragon M4A2 to come shortly.
|SHERMAN A History of the
American Medium Tank
R.P.Hunnicutt. Presidio Books ISBN 0-89141-080-5
|Modeler's Guide to the Sherman
MMIR Special. Ampersand Publishing Company, Inc
|Lend Lease vol.II
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Page created 21 January 2004
Updated 23 January 2004