Modeling the Sherman Tank in 1/72nd Scale

CPL Overby's Motorpool
M-51 Sherman
Kit #MP044

Article by Doug Chaltry; last updated 18 November 2007.

This M51 Sherman conversion from CPL Overby was recently updated. The original kit was meant to convert Hasegawa's M4A3E8 into the 105mm-armed M51 Sherman. The HVS suspension from the plastic Hasegawa kit was required to complete the conversion. This newly revised kit is intended for use with one of Dragon's new HVSS Sherman kits, and the suspension from that kit is required to complete the model.

The hull is based on a Dragon M4A1 Sherman hull, but it is modified to accomodate one of three different engine decks. You can use the original M4A1 engine deck to model an early M51, or you can use either the early or late Cummings diesel engine deck. All of the pioneer tools are molded onto the hull, with fairly decent relief, and the shovel in particular looks very nice. The modeler is required to add lift rings, and all of the crew hatches are molded open, an improvement over the previous version. Some stowage items (spare wheels, tool boxes, fuel cans) are provided as separate parts, with three different choices of luggage rack for the hull rear, each one with a different selection of stowage items, most of which are apparently from a Goffy accessory set. Headlights and tail lights are required to be added from the donor plastic kit. The stowage on these tanks was standardized, and the photos I have seen of the M51 show there to be two smaller boxes mounted on each hull side, instead of one longer box on each side, as provided with this kit. But as in all cases, the best way to build these Israeli Shermans is to use any photo of your choice as your reference.

The turret is a modified T23 turret and has been greatly improved over the original turret that came with this set. The gun mount has been modified for the new cannon, and the rear bustle has been enlarged. Spare track links are molded onto the turret sides and smoke grenade launchers are provided as separate parts. The hand-hold around the bustle is molded on, though it's a little heavy. Unlike the original set, no .50cal machinegun is included, instead needing one from the Dragon kit (which would have been difficult to improve upon anyway). Both turret hatches are molded open. The large spotlight for the top of the gun barrel is provided as a separate part. This was the first M51 on the market that included the custom-made travel lock for the huge 105mm gun barrel.

This kit is designed as a conversion for a Dragon HVSS Sherman, and needs the wheels and tracks from that plastic kit. Although I dislike the tracks in the Dragon kit, cast metal tracks have been marketed by Fine Scale Factory which could be used instead. (UM has also release an HVSS Sherman recently, and its tracks are far nicer than the Dragon tracks. But be warned, the wheel spacing and attachment points on the CPL Overby conversion hull are designed specifically for the Dragon parts, so surgery may be required if you choose to use a different donor kit.)

The casting of this kit is very well done, with very few blemishes in the resin. This is a nice addition to CPL Overby's ever-expanding line of Sherman kits.

Thank you to CPL Overby for providing the review sample.

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Modeling the Sherman Tank in 1/72nd Scale