Modeling the Sherman Tank in 1/72nd Scale

M4 Tank Mid-Production
Kit #07223

Article by Doug Chaltry; last updated 28 February 2008.

I believe that there are only two kits on this website that I have given only one star (*) for their kit rating: the Hasegawa M4A3E8 and this one. That means something. Either that I'm a jerk for giving poor reviews, or that this is a really bad kit. I tend to lean towards the second explanation.

The following sprue shows the main parts of the kit. Most of my comments are the same as they would be for any of the other Trumpeter kits: the detail is overall pretty decent, though a little sparse. Shortcuts were taken with the hull by molding the hatches closed, tools onto the hull, the lift rings molded solid, etc. That's not great, but nothing that's insurmountable.

The problem is the shape of the main hull. The angle of the front armored plate is far too shallow, resulting in the front plate being much too long, and the turret opening too far back on the hull. In fact, it makes everything on the upper hull a bit compressed in an effort to make it all fit on a surface that's too short. The following scan shows the hull side, with a red line depicting approximately what the front hull should look like.

The bottom line is that I think this kit is unbuildable because of this flaw. In fact, I haven't gone into any great depth researching other aspects of the kit accuracy, since any other errors would be pretty much redundant.

But that's not to say that this kit is completely worthless, and I'm actually glad that I have it. The spare parts that you'll get by purchasing this kit makes it worth a small investment, if you can find it on sale. I've already scavenged a pair of the sprocket wheels for my current project, and I'm likely to swipe other parts as well.

The following sprue shows the wheels, two types of which are included with this kit: the stamped six-spoke version, and the cast, open-spoke version. The cast wheels in particular will come in handy for other projects.

Like the other Trumpeter Shermans, this kit also comes with a sprue of quick-build bogies, with all the wheels completely assembled. While not adequate for a competition piece, they certainly are better than the wheels on other wargame-quality kits, like those from HäT.

Notice how the detail on the quick-build bogies is actually superior to that on the "assembly required" piece.

The highlight of the kit is the turret. I like it a lot. It represents an early version turret with a low bustle, the pistol port, and no loader's hatch. Detail is pretty sharp, better than Trumpeter's T23 turret. The hatch opening is molded open, though the hatch itself needs to be cut in half to pose open. Unfortunately, this turret does share with the T23 the same problem of too-large hatch opening, but if you have any spare split hatch rings (such as from an Eduard M4A3), it's easily replaced.

T-48 rubber chevron tracks are included. They are very highly detailed, but the vinyl that Trumpeter uses is VERY soft and flexible, unlike the stiffer DS tracks in the Dragon kits, and I am not optimistic about how well they may look on a built model. If the model shown on the box top is any indication, I think they'll look fairly poor.

Markings are included for I think four vehicles. Like other Trumpeter kits, none of these are identified, and the placement of only one set of markings is depicted in the instructions. I've been able to identify three of the sets of markings:

  • the "13Jr" and white triangles go to an M4 with the 15th Tank Battalion, 6th Armored Division, Lanensalz Airbase, Germany, 1945
  • the dashed white lines (#7) and serial codes (#9) are for an M4 in the 3rd Platoon, 'B' Company, 8th Tank Battalion, 4th Armored Division in Avranches, France, 1944
  • the markings in the upper right (#4) go with Dragon Lady, and were seen on an M4 with Company C, 754th Tank Battalion in the Philippines during the spring of 1945.

So again, this kit is unbuildable in my eyes, though not completely without value, if you can find it for only a couple of bucks at a swap meet or model show.

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Modeling the Sherman Tank in 1/72nd Scale