Modeling the Sherman Tank in 1/72nd Scale

M4 Sherman early
Kit #72 539

Article by Doug Chaltry; last updated 25 November 2007.

The title of this kit is "M4 early", meaning that it includes a bolted, 3-piece nose and an early M34 gun mantlet. ARMO markets a similar kit called "M4 late", which is essentially the same kit as shown here, but with a single-piece, rounded nose and the later M34A1 gun mantlet. So it's not really a "late" version, in the sense that it still has the early, 56° hull.

This is the second of ARMO's Sherman conversion sets that I've reviewed, after my highly critical review of their M4A1 early kit. In that review, I scored their conversion attempt fairly low, amongst several reasons, due partly to poor surface finishing. I theorized that perhaps their conversions that are based on welded hull Shermans may be higher quality, because it's easier to sand smooth the flat surfaces of the welded hull. So I bought this kit to test that theory.

My guess was generally correct. The surface of this kit is certainly a bit better finished than the M4A1 kit, however, this kit still shares several other deficiencies with that earlier kit, and I still am unsure if I would recommend this kit to others. This model appears to have been created by splicing together parts from the two ESCI kits (M4A1 and M4A3) with new hull hatches from I think the HäT early M4 kit. The final result really isn't bad by any means, and probably better than I could have done myself, but it isn't really up to the standards set by other resin companies.

The surface of the armor plating isn't exactly smooth, and will need some additional polishing, and the hull (and turret) parts are so thin that they have warped considerably during the resin curing process. Hull crew hatches are closed. The turret is a modified ESCI turret, but again, the modeler will need to use some putty and sandpaper to re-fill the loader's hatch area, as it was done fairly sloppily in the kit.

Some benefits to the kit: The turned metal gun barrel is excellent. There is a very nice bolted 3-part nose piece included, and the etched brass parts (done by PART) are of course, done extremely well.

Alternatives? In plastic, there is really only one good one: the kit from Extratech. There are no other choices in resin. So... unless you want to scratchbuild your own conversion (which certainly is possible considering the wide array of plastic kits we now have available to choose from), you may want to consider buying this set. Although it has some weaknesses, it's really not as bad as ARMO's M4A1 kits.

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Modeling the Sherman Tank in 1/72nd Scale