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US Marines M4 Sherman



S u m m a r y

Stock No. Italeri Kit 1/35 Scale Kit No. 6389
Contents and Media: US Marines M4 Sherman; 289 parts (286 in olive drab styrene, 2 vinyl tracks, 1 piece of nylon mesh)
Price: USD$20-$32
Scale: 1/35
Review Type: First Look
Advantages: includes two new sprues of parts including a spare engine deck and all of the wading trunking for an M4A2 or M4A3 Sherman
Disadvantages: Not quite what it seems (see text); ejection pin marks all over the inside of the tracks; "working suspension" is obsolete and should be replaced/new molds
Recommendation: Recommended for all USMC and Sherman fans


Italeri's 1/35 scale Marines' M4 Sherman is available online from Squadron.com

Reviewed by Cookie Sewell


F i r s t   L o o k


Another kit which has been out for a few months that I just picked up is the long-awaited USMC Sherman. Several years ago, Italeri goofed by declaring they had produced an "M4A2 Jumbo" which turned out to be an early production M4A3 76mm Wet Stowage tank when one opened the box. This tank is the same way, for while it declares itself to be an M4 on the box art in reality it is their M4A3 Wet Stowage hull with the turret from Italeri's M4A3 with T34 Calliope launcher, the T54E2 tracks from the Calliope kit, and two completely new sprues of parts.

Italeri shows on the T34 kit sprue that unlike AFV Club and Tamiya, they DO understand the pressed steel wheels for the M4 series tanks have a front AND a back side. Given that the Italeri welded ("spoke") wheels are not too bad, the modeler now has a choice of parts and both are usable. The "working" suspension, alas, is still with us, and as such the modeler must be careful on either cementing it in fixed positions or watching out for "rocking horse" syndrome if the tracks are too tight.

The oddest thing about this kit is that it includes an M4A2 engine deck (which was a tank also used by the USMC) but only has sketchy information as to what to do with it. They show the deck being cut out of the A3 hull (which in the new mold of this hull is now scored to make it easy) and the new deck cementing in. What they DON'T show is how to correct the rear plate from the 22 degree angle of the A3 to the 12 degree angle of the A2, deepening it, and exchanging the rear of the hull for an A2 rear with twin muffler assemblies (see the Academy/AFV Club M10 kits or a Tamiya M3 Lee kit for what it should look like). If some care is used, and the A3 exhaust deflector is installed, it may be possible to cover over this with the wading trunks.

The wading trunks are a nice bit of work, and while they need a bit of TLC are really well thought through. Italeri left provisions for only the mounts to be installed, as in the way many tanks looked after coming ashore and dumping the stack portions. For this purpose, sufficient nylon mesh screen is included to cut four sections of screening two for the stacks, and two more for the bases. An engine deck base for both the A2 and A3 is included.

The tank which comes with the kit is both a nice touch and a mistake. The tank (parts 118-121E) is apparently a USMC fuel container converted to a water tank and welded to the engine deck of M4A2 tanks. BUT the kit builds into a tank from 2nd Tank Battalion, and according to the photos in Steve Zaloga's "Tank Battles of the Pacific War" only 4th Tank Battalion used them like this. The one shot of the tank in this kit "Nitemare II" from 2nd Tanks shows it with their welded on extra track links, the wading stacks dropped and no container. (As is all too common with Italeri, they don't identify the unit of the vehicle they modeled.) At least Italeri does give you all of the extra T54E2 track links shown in the photo.

Overall this is actually not a bad kit, and the worst spots I see to it are the "rocking horse" suspension and the splitting of the gun barrel in the horizontal plane.

Cookie Sewell AMPS

Review Copyright 2002 by Cookie Sewell
Page Created 27 April, 2002
Last updated 22 July, 2003

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