Modeling the Sherman Tank in 1/72nd Scale

Sherman Hull Bottoms
Article by Doug Chaltry; last updated 22 February 2017.


Who could possibly care what the bottom of a tank model's hull looks like? Well, I guess diorama builders who want to show an upside-down vehicle, perhaps. And maybe those who simply like to know that all aspects of their models are accurate, whether or not you can even see them.

Dragos Popescu, a regular contributor to the Braille Scale discussion group, brought it to my attention that the bottom hulls of the [then] new series of Trumpeter Sherman kits were not correct for the versions they were trying to represent. In fact, the ESCI kits were incorrect as well. So I thought, "What a great idea for a comparison article".

While scanning my kit parts, I saw that the Dragon kits all had distinct hull bottoms. Since past experience has shown that Dragon tends to put more effort into their research than other companies, I compared their kits with the drawings in The Sherman - Design and Development. The results showed that the Dragon kit hulls perfectly matched the drawings, and therefore, the hull bottoms for the Dragon kits are shown at the left in the table below to use as a reference for the other available Sherman kits. Apologies for the width of the table. I know that it can be viewed in its entirety only on widescreen monitors, but this formatting was necessary to show all hulls in a row for easy comparison.

  Dragon ESCI (Italeri) Extratech Heller Revell Trumpeter UniModel


Firefly Ic

  Dragon Extratech Heller Italeri      



  Dragon Eduard ESCI (Italeri) Extratech Italeri Trumpeter UniModel


  Dragon MR Models UniModel        

Firefly Vc


The above scans indicate the following:

Dragon: Perfect representations of the appropriate versions.

Eduard/ExtraTech: These kits all have the bottom hull arrangement of the M4A2 (except for the tank version, where the escape hatch is on the wrong side). This layout is correct only for the M10, the Achilles, and the M36B2 variants in the M36 Extrapack kit. It is incorrect for all of their other kits, such as the M36, the Firefly IC, the M4, the M4A3 (105)W, the M4A3 (76)W and the M4A3E2 Jumbo.

ESCI (Italeri): Neither their M4A1 nor the M4A3 are correct for their versions as they most closely represent the M4A2.

Heller: Generic, and therefore incorrect, hull bottom for both of their kits.

Italeri: The Italeri quickbuild M4A2 kit is perfect. But the M4A3 hull is actually for an M4A1.

Revell: Very over simplified again, and the escape hatch is on the wrong side.

Trumpeter: M4/M4A1 kits are basically correct, the M4A3 is incorrect.

UniModel: Their piece for the short-hull Shermans most closely resembles the M4/M4A1, though it is over-simplified. It is therefore incorrect for their M4A2, M4A3 and all their tank destroyers. Their piece for the long-hull Shermans is much more accurate, though a little simplified.

Resin Kits: Most older resin kits are conversion sets based on the old ESCI (now Italeri) Sherman, which as we saw above has a bottom hull of an M4A2. Consequently, any resin conversions for the M4A2 or M10 would be correct, all others are likely not. Newer resin kits are meant to convert a Dragon kit, so if they include the hull bottoms, they are most likely correct. The only hull bottom I've seen in a resin kit is the MR Models M4A4/Firefly VC, and they got it correct with those kits.

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Modeling the Sherman Tank in 1/72nd Scale