Modeling the Sherman Tank in 1/72nd Scale

Commander Series
Sherman M4 (105)
Kit #3010

Article by Doug Chaltry; last updated 26 July 2008.

This is a conversion set that includes only the three parts seen below. The modeler is required to provide an ESCI (now Italeri) M4A1 to provide all the other parts. Commander Series has been out of production for a long time. Many of it's kits were available from CPL Overby's Motorpool, but I'm not certain if this specific set ever was, or if it had been improved.

This kit represents the 105mm version of the late model M4. Commander Series made this happen by grafting the engine deck access plates from the ESCI M4A1 into the rear deck of the ESCI M4A3, theoretically making a standard M4 hull (late version with the 47 degree glacis). There are some limitations to this approach, however. Specifically, the rear hull plate is angled differently on the M4 as the M4A3, and also has a different shape, which Commanders did not correct. Nor were any changes made to the exhaust parts.

The turret has been altered by adding an additional ventilator, changing the commander's hatch to the late style cupola with periscopes, and also changed the gun mount. This conversion kit doesn't include the commander's hatch. The gunner's hatch can be obtained from the ESCI donor kit which is needed to complete the conversion, but the commander's hatch will have to be scavenged from somewhere else. The gun barrel is far too short, and the rotor shield is not correctly shaped, and instead is for a 17pdr Firefly. If it had not been molded directly onto the turret face, the turret may have been salvageable for other projects, but now it would take a lot of work to remove the incorrect shield.

All in all, this was a pretty bad conversion.

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Modeling the Sherman Tank in 1/72nd Scale