Modeling the Sherman Tank in 1/72nd Scale

Modell Trans
M50 Super Sherman HVSS
Kit #72202

Article by Doug Chaltry; last updated 28 April 2008.

This is one of ModellTrans' older kits. It was released shortly after MR Models began their series of resin Sherman kits, and it was meant to fill a hole in the availability of Israeli variants of the Sherman tank (a hole that is still very big). Note that ModellTrans has recently released a couple of new versions of Israeli Shermans that are based on the newer Dragon Sherman kits, and are therefore a bit higher quality than these older versions. I'm not even sure if this currently reviewed kit is still available.

The hull was actually based on the MR Models Sherman Firefly VC hull, which is a much better choice of source kit than the old ESCI Shermans. The hull has been shortened so that this M50 (which was never called a "Super Sherman", by the way) was apparently based on a short, welded-hull version of the Sherman, likely an M4A2. The front hull retains the weld seams from the multi-part assembly of the hull, which I'm not sure is appropriate for a short-hull Sherman. The engine deck has been suitably modified for the Cummins diesel engine, which the Israelis used to upgrade all of their M50s (though many early M50s first went into action with their original engines). The widened fenders have also been added to accomodate the HVS suspension.

Speaking of which, the wheel and track parts for this kit have been copied from a 1/76th scale HVSS kit, probably Fujimi or Matchbox. This makes them too small for this conversion, though they were closer in size than the contemporary competing kit from Fine Scale Factory, which used Hasegawa parts for their kit. Given that I'm not very impressed with the wheels to begin with, I think it's no great loss that both of my wheel/track parts were almost completely destroyed in shipping this kit across the Atlantic.

The turret is a conversion of the ESCI turret. A commander's cupola was added, and the rear bustle has been modified to represent the enlarged bustle characteristic of the M50. Two gun barrels are included: the 75mm high-velocity gun of the Israeli M50, as well as the 60mm hyper-velocity gun that was added to M50s exported to Chile (ModellTrans released a separate kit of that version; I'm not sure of what differences there are between these two kits). Several smaller parts are included here, such as several gas cans for stowage, tool storage boxes, spare track links and spare wheels. You can also see the smoke launchers and modified travel lock for the main gun. Oddly enough, no machineguns are included. As a side note, the turret part in my kit suffered from an extreme mold shift so that the bottom of the turret is greatly deformed. If I want to use this turret for some other project, I'll have to do some serious putty-work to fix the turret base.

So ultimately, this kit was kind of a let-down for me. I was happy to see the MR-Models base hull, which has great detail, but the wheels and tracks simply cannot be used, and because of the poor condition of many of the other parts in this kit (a great many broken pieces), this kit is best to be scavenged for other projects, the best part being the hull.

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Modeling the Sherman Tank in 1/72nd Scale