Modeling the Sherman Tank in 1/72nd Scale

M4 Sherman early
Kit #72 566

Article by Doug Chaltry; last updated 6 August 2008.

This is one of the better ARMO Sherman conversion sets that I've seen, with only a couple of accuracy errors that I can see. As with all of the ARMO conversions, this one was made be modifying and combining the old ESCI M4A3 and M4A1 kits, because this set was released long before the Dragon, Trumpeter and Eduard kits hit the shelves. It is meant to be paired with a plastic donor kit from Italeri (the old ESCI M4A1).

This set is very simple with only the five resin parts shown above, and a pair of nice frets of etched brass parts shown below. I'm not sure why ARMO didn't include the lower half of the turret as they usually do, but I guess the better question is why do they include it in their other kits? It's really no big deal to take it from the donor plastic kit. Similarly, I don't know why the two hull hatches are included here. To my eyes, they look the same as the plastic hatches in the Italeri kit. The turret has been modified with a commander's cupola, but unfortunately, the cupola hatch is molded closed. The additional ventilator for the 105mm cannon has been added, but there have been no other improvements made to the turret details. The gun mount is very nice. The rotor shield looks to have been copied from the MR Models piece, and consequently looks very good with excellent texture and details.

The hull shares the same mistake as do most conversion sets made with the ESCI kits, that being it is still a little short in length. ARMO also failed to change the rear overhanging armor plate from the M4A3 pattern to the M4 pattern, which is also a very common error with resin conversions. The M4A3 engine deck has been swapped out with the M4A1 deck. Some of the pioneer tools have been removed from the hull, which is nice, and the huge recessed panel lines between the welded armor plates have also been filled, which is a great improvement. But the hull ventilators still look poor, as do the fluid filler caps.

We do have a couple of alternatives. In plastic, there is a fairly decent kit of the HVSS version of this tank from UM. But honestly, that kit may take almost as much effort to make look good as will this kit. There is also a gorgeous resin version from MR Models, which as typical, is almost perfect, but also very expensive and hard to find. Another alternative is to get the resin conversion hull from Iron Division, and do a conversion of the Dragon M4A3 (105).

Although I usually criticize ARMO's conversions, it is only because they tend to have been done fairly sloppily. But the fact remains that for a long time, these were the only options we had for building a large number of Sherman variants, and I think that ARMO should be recognized for making the effort. Their sets have been rendered mostly superfluous now, due to the large selection of Sherman variants released by Dragon, but that wouldn't stop me from buying some of ARMO's sets if I can find them on sale somewhere. Sometimes it can be very rewarding to take a rough kit and turn it into a masterpiece with a bit of effort. The fine brass parts included in this kit help make it worth the effort.

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Modeling the Sherman Tank in 1/72nd Scale