M4A3 Sherman with 105mm Howitzer
u m m a r y
||Tamiya 1/35 Scale Military Miniature Series No.
|Contents and Media:
||385 parts (379 in olive drab styrene, 4 black
vinyl caps, 2 steel colored glueable vinyl tracks)
||Nice upgrades for an older kit; loads of extra
||Still has some drawbacks from original kit
||Recommended for all Sherman fans
scale M4A3 with 105mm is available online from Squadron.com
Better late than never, I picked this kit up at AMPS 2002.
Compared to the other warmed-over versions of the Sherman, I have to say that
this time Tamiya has made a concerted effort to give the modeler his money's
worth on the upgrade.
The original Tamiya Sherman kit came out in 1981, and while a great model for
its time, had a number of disappointments. First, off, it came with a "hollow"
hull and no sponsons, something its running mate, the five-year-old Italeri M4A1
kit, had done from the beginning. Second, it used the "cast" (a misnomer –
actually welded pressed steel) solid road wheels and idlers, but lacking detail
on the back. Its T54 with extender tracks were one link too long, presumably to
make them easier to install. Finally, some people had questions of its turret,
being a late model "high-bustle" turret without the loader's hatch. It came with
one full and one half figure, but alas, they were the 5'2" "dwarves" of the
In 1988, Tamiya re-released the kit, albeit this time with a new turret and
add-on bits to turn it into an M4A3E2 "Jumbo." The price went up nearly 250%
(from around $16 from MRC Tamiya at the time) to $40 but none of the original
flaws in the kit were fixed, and this kit added new ones, such as a poorly
In the mid 1990s, they did finally release a major revision to the kit – an
early model M4 with a new hull, new turret and new crew figures. But it still
had the same suspension – the very late model one with "upswept" roller mounts –
no sponsons and some hull details which were not quite accurate. This kit added
T48 rubber chevron tracks, but they were still about one link too long.
In 2001, Tamiya finally released this kit and its stable mate, an M4A3 75mm with
a late model turret that was correct. Taking cues from Academy and DML, both of
which had been running rings around Tamiya with variants of standard kits (DML
having no less than 10 Sherman variants on the market, and Academy having begun
a new series of M3 and M4 based vehicles) Tamiya proved it could do at least as
When I was a kid, one of the Mattel commercials on TV had a jingle which ran,
"Mix and match/It's fun to do/What Ken and Barbie wear/Is up to you!" DML and
Academy have used that with "pick a sprue" kit provisioning for some time, and
now Tamiya has picked up on that as well.
This kit includes the upper and lower hull, A and B sprues from the old M4A3 kit
of 1981, but adds to it two D sprues from the M4 Early kit, a new G sprue with
the turret assembly, and W, two X, Y, and Z sprues loaded with figures and
accessories. This kit does not hurt for figures – counting the original figures
(which are included) the kit comes with six full and three half figures, five
full standing figures being brand new and state of the art. It also comes with a
good deal of "kit" to stow on the engine deck and luggage rack, including .30
caliber ammo cans, boxes, jerry cans, and spare tank parts.
The new turret is very well done, includes both hatches as separate parts, and
is of the correct design and shape. The five new figures are much taller than
the older efforts, and copy the DML style layout of separate heads with necks,
bodies in sections, and separate lower arms.
Unfortunately, Tamiya still provides the same hull without sponsons and the same
pressed steel road wheels without backs. Even Italeri provides those in their
M4A2 USMC kit, so it is surprising that with all of the other nice touches to
this kit that Tamiya did not see fit to fix those problems. Their tools are
still better than Italeri's, at least.
A nice new sheet of markings is included for three vehicles, but only two are
full and complete (one appears to have been a machine being delivered, as it has
no bumper codes).
Overall this is a nice kit, and as it is now past its first run and showing up
at cheaper prices, a bargain if you can find one for under $30.
Cookie Sewell AMPS
Review Copyright © 2002 by Cookie
Page Created 27 April, 2002
Last updated 22 July, 2003
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