Modeling the Sherman Tank in 1/72nd Scale

Modell Trans
M4A1 early Sherman Mk. I
Kit #72331

Article by Doug Chaltry; last updated 29 May 2008.

Another confusing name. Do they mean Sherman I? I hope not, because the M4 was called Sherman I in British nomenclature. The M4A1 was called Sherman II.

For this set, ModellTrans took the hull from Dragon's M4A1 Normandy kit, removed the periscopes and added the direct-vision slots to the front of the crew's armored hoods. This is the first, and so far only, direct-vision hull available in any medium in this scale. The only other change I've been able to identify is the addition of the two holes in the glacis for the forward fixed machineguns just to the left of the ball-mounted MG. This was a feature of extremely early Shermans and was rarely seen in action. It's nice that ModellTrans gave us the option of building one of these early tanks, but I think that most people will want to fill these holes for their projects, which should be very easy to do.

The resin casting is very good, with no air bubbles or blemishes present on this sample.

My only complaint, and it's not really a complaint, but more of a suggestion really, is that this is not a complete conversion set. The intent of this piece is to allow the modeler to build a very early M4A1, but in order to do that, one will likely also need to use a bolted 3-piece nose, which is not a feature of the Dragon Normandy kit (I think I've seen photos of direct-vision M4A1s with the rounded nose, but certainly not the hulls with the fixed MGs in the bow). From what I understand from modelers who have tried to simply swap nose pieces between different Dragon Shermans, it's not an easy project. Apparently Dragon completely retooled the entire lower hull between all their versions and they are not compatible with each other. Surgery is required to do this swap. It would have been really nice if ModellTrans had done that work for us, and included it in this kit, making it a more complete conversion set for an early M4A1. Along those same lines, if one wants to build the very early version with the two MGs fixed in the front hull, you will also need to use the early M3 suspension, which ModellTrans markets separately. It would have been great if ModellTrans had released a complete conversion set for early M4A1s (such as at El Alamein) with this hull, the early suspension, and a nose piece guaranteed to fit. Perhaps they will think about this for a the future project?

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Modeling the Sherman Tank in 1/72nd Scale