Scale M4 Sherman Tracks T54E1
Reviewed by Al Bowie
RHPS have previously released two styles of Sherman track , these being the T51 Rubber Block track and the T49 Three-Bar Cleat track.
RHPS now follow this up with the T54E1 “Steel Cuff/Chevron (US)” track which was extremely common on US Shermans and their derivatives. This is the same pattern that Tamiya supplied on the M4A3 (however they included Extended end connectors) and Italeri included on the M4A3 w/Calliope. I have seen photos of these tracks fitted to M4A1, A2, A3, M32, M7, M10 and Priest SPG’s so finding a host should prove no problem. Enough links are supplied for an M4A4 with leftovers for breakage or added stowage.
The set is supplied in the same high-grade grey styrene as previous releases. Thirty sprues enclose six track blocks each, and another thirty sprues contain twelve end connectors each. Each link is made up of one track block with two end connectors. A small instruction sheet is packed in the clear plastic bag.
As with their previous releases the moulding is excellent with no flash present on the review sample. Detail on the end connectors is extremely sharp and the securing wedge and its nut is clearly defined unlike other manufacturers products. No trace of sink marks were present which was a pleasant surprise. The detail of the cuff (or chevron) was even and well defined (unlike a certain metal set of this type) as was the small notch on each end of the link. If I had one criticism it is the omission of a small raised square from the leading and trailing edge of each link. This is where the links are joined to the sprue and can be remedied by careful cutting from the sprue. I should mention that in this scale they are almost unnoticeable. For those of you with AMS they are easily remedied.
I followed Brett’s review method due to time constraint and only assembled a dozen links to test their fit. I recommend a new scalpel or knife blade for removal from the sprue. Cleanup was minimal and mainly done with said scalpel. I made a raised edge with a piece of L channel and place the blocks face down on clear perspex (this allows the checking of the chevron alignment with minimal fuss) and added the end connectors to one side. I then carefully turned the assembly around and added the other set of end connectors. This results in a fully workable section of track which seemed fairly robust. I did not add any glue at this stage preferring to position the links first.
I tried the length for fit on an Italeri M4A1 sprocket after carefully filing the inside face of the sprocket. They fitted with no fuss and, more importantly, they stayed connected. If I was building the full track I would assmeble one length and join it on the lower run. I would then apply liquid glue with a triple 0 brush.
The finished product looks great and is easily the most detailed of any Sherman track in this scale that I have seen.
When building your Sherman, remember that their tracks were "live" and therefore did not display the same slack as tracks on German tanks.
Some patience will be required to assemble the eighty-odd links per side, but the effect will be well worth the effort.
I cannot recommend this product highly enough and cannot wait for the extended end connectors and other track types. RHPS have done for Sherman modellers what Anvil did for German and Russian modelers; they provided a high quality non complicated product at a realistic price. I had a set of Fruil T54 tracks partially assembled for a Sherman project which will now remain where they are.
RHPS Models can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or at
PO Box 906
Thanks to Robert at RHPS for the review sample.
Review Text and Images Copyright © 2000 by Al Bowie