Modeling the Sherman Tank in 1/72nd Scale
 
Israeli Shermans

After World War II, the Sherman tank quickly became obsolete (some may say that happened long before the end of the war). After serving a brief stint during the Korean War, its service life with the United States was pretty much over. Used Sherman tanks were sold to a number of countries post-war, and saw sporadic service in several conflicts around the world. There are even a few that are likely still in service today.

However, the twilight song of the Sherman tank must certainly have been with the Israeli army from 1948 to the late 1970s. The Sherman tank (and several derivatives) saw extensive service with the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) not only due to its ruggedness and reliability, but also because of its availability and relatively cheap prices on the surplus armaments market. The IDF breathed new life into this old design through a series of modifications and improvements that ultimately resulted in a new generation of Sherman tank, culminating with the M51.

As can be seen in the References section of this website, there have not been very many quality reference books available to us until recently. IDF Shermans had been mentioned in passing in some general Sherman tank references (such as Osprey, Concord, etc.), and there was a single photo-reference book from Verlinden in the '90s, but I think the majority of the limited information then available was contained in military history and modeling magazines. That changed in 2007 with the publication of Gannon's excellent book, and another photographic reference book for the M51 from WWP in 2010.

But the real breakthrough came with the series of books from Robert Manasherob, called Lioness & Lion of the Line, published from 2007 to 2015 (with more supposedly on the way). They simply cannot be beat for extremely thorough and accurate information on IDF Shermans. I highly recommend this series of books.

The Tanks

Although this is not an official breakdown of versions, I like to view the Sherman tank as having four 'generations' in IDF service. Notice that the terminology used by the IDF is very different than the original US designations:

Original 75mm or 105mm-armed Sherman tanks - These were standard, small-turret Sherman tanks of a number of variants (M4, M4A4, etc.) armed with either the 75mm M3 cannon or 105mm M4 howitzer. Examples of most variants of the Sherman were acquired and put to use in one form or another by the IDF. I have sometimes seen these referred to as either M3 or M4 Shermans based on their gun mounts, but that doesn't seem to be universal.

M1 Sherman - Named for the 76mm M1 gun mount. These were the later versions of the Sherman tank that had been upgraded late in WW II with the T23 turret and 76mm cannon. Again, the IDF obtained and used multiple variants, such as M4A1, M4A3, etc.

  • The M1 Sherman with the HVSS suspension was referred to by the IDF as the M1 Super Sherman. This was the only version of the tank called Super Sherman by the IDF, and not the following M50.

M50 - This version saw the introduction of the high-velocity, 75mm gun from France (CN-75-50) mounted in a modified Sherman 75mm turret. It was never referred to as Super Sherman by the IDF.

M51 - The ultimate version of the Sherman tank was the M-51, which mounted the French CN-105-F1 105mm cannon in a heavily modified T23 turret. It was never called "Isherman" by the IDF. That was a name created by the foreign press and adopted by the modeling community.

M50
Early M50s retained either the Sherman's original engine (very early), or was re-equipped with the Continental R-975 gasoline engine from the M4/M4A1 (early), regardless of the hull type. So it was possible to see an M4A3 or M4A4 Sherman with the engine deck of an M4. Later M50s switched to the Cummins diesel engine, and had a redesigned engine deck. Early versions also had the VVS suspension, and later versions had the HVSS. It was possible to see unusual combinations of these early and late features. Several Sherman versions were converted to M50s, such as M4s, M4A1s, M4A4s, and other welded hull versions.
Variant Manufacturer Kit # Medium Type Rating Comments Links
M50 (early) CPL Overby's Motorpool MP043 Resin Kit (old)
Conversion (new)
? The original MP043 kit was a complete kit based on the ESCI Sherman. That kit has been dropped from the catalog and revised. The new kit is a conversion set for the new Dragon Sherman.  
M50 (late) CPL Overby's Motorpool MP049 Resin Conversion *** The original MP049 kit was a conversion set for the old Hasegawa Sherman. This kit has been remastered as a conversion for the new Dragon Sherman kits. Preview of old kit
M50 Super Sherman Cromwell 72101 Resin Kit ? Quick-build kit.  
Israeli Sherman M50 Model Miniature R044 Resin Conversion ? Conversion for Dragon. Includes a crew figure.  
Lebanese M50 w/Instructor's Chair Model Miniature R046 Resin Conversion ? Conversion for Dragon. Includes a crew figure and decals.  
M50 HVSS Modell Trans 72202 Resin Kit *** All resin kit. Hull based on MR Models; turret based on ESCI. Suspension is underscale (1/76th). Preview
M50 HVSS - Chile Modell Trans   Resin Kit ? Chilean variant with high velocity cannon. All resin kit.  
M50 Turret Modell Trans 72201 Resin Conversion **** Conversion for Italeri/ESCI. Includes turret (based on ESCI) and diesel engine deck. Preview
M50 Mk.II IDF Modell Trans 72218 Resin Conversion **** New turret and upper hull conversion for Dragon HVSS Shermans. Preview

 

M51
All M51s mounted the HVS suspension. Some early tanks had the original engines, but most were re-engineered to take the Cummins diesel engine. Most M51s were converted from M4A1 (76)W HVSS, though some were also made from M4A3 (76)W HVSS. Patterns of stowage boxes and other equipment on both the M50 and M51 hulls were very specific, and not random, as depicted by many modelers.
Variant Manufacturer Kit # Medium Type Rating Comments Links
M51 Commander Series   Resin Conversion ? Hull was modified from ESCI M4A1. Turret was modified Hasegawa M4A3E8 turret. OOP  
M51 CPL Overby's Motorpool MP044 Resin Conversion *** The original MP044 was a conversion set designed for the Hasegawa Sherman. That set has been dropped and remastered. The new set is a conversion for the new Dragon Sherman. Preview (old)

Preview (new)

M51 Super Sherman Cromwell 72102 Resin Kit ? Quick-build kit.  
Sherman M51 Exokit/Retrokit-FR 7224 Resin Kit ** Modified from Revell M4A1. Closer to 1/76th in scale. OOP Preview
Sherman M51 Solfig   Resin Kit ** Same as Exokit.  
M51 Israeli Sherman Fine Scale Factory PW001 Resin Kit *** Modified from ESCI M4A1 (hull), Hasegawa (suspension), and Revell (turret). OOP Preview
M51 First Aire Model Factory   Resin Conversion ? Conversion for Hasegawa. Hull is modified from ESCI, turret modified from Hasegawa, wheels from 1/76th kit. OOP?  
M51 Modell Trans 72219 Resin Conversion ?    

 

Sherman w/AMX Turret
 
Variant Manufacturer Kit # Medium Type Rating Comments Links
Egyptian/IDF Sherman with AMX Turret Goffy   Resin Kit ? M4A2 hull and AMX-13 turret.  

 

IDF Sherman Ambulance
 
Variant Manufacturer Kit # Medium Type Rating Comments Links
IDF Sherman Ambulance HVSS ModellTrans 72221 Resin Kit ?    
IDF Sherman Ambulance Retrokit-GB 72004 Resin Conversion ? Conversion for ESCI/Italeri.  

 

M4A1 Personnel Carrier
 
Variant Manufacturer Kit # Medium Type Rating Comments Links
M4A1 HVSS Personnel Carrier ModellTrans 72220 Resin Kit ?    

 

Kilshon (Sherman Rocket Launcher)
 
Variant Manufacturer Kit # Medium Type Rating Comments Links
Kilshon Sherman Model Miniature R051 Resin Conversion ? Conversion for Trumpeter Sherman kits.  

 

 

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Modeling the Sherman Tank in 1/72nd Scale