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T23 Sherman Turret
Late Pattern T23 Turret with Oval Loader's Hatch and Canvas Mantelet Cover

Chesapeake Model Designs

 

S u m m a r y

Stock No. & Description: Chesapeake Model Designs 1/35 Scale Kit No. CMD 38, Late Pattern T23 Sherman Turret with Oval Loader's Hatch and Canvas Mantelet Cover
Contents and Media: 33 parts (32 in tan resin, 1 turned aluminum barrel)
Price: USD$20
Scale: 1/35
Review Type: First Look
Advantages: Great quality and finish plus "plastic kit" assembly simplicity
Disadvantages: "Not German"
Recommendation: Highly Recommended for all very late WWII and Postwar 76mm Sherman models and conversions

 


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Reviewed by Cookie Sewell

 

F i r s t   L o o k

 

Pity the poor tanker.

He works in a nasty, noisy machine which is too hot in the winter and too cold in the summer, and to top it off, since much of what it does has to move and flex, there are openings and gaps in it everywhere. Today's tanker has it pretty good due to the side effect of sealing the tank to prevent chemical, biological, or radiological contamination from leaking in but his predecessors were not so fortunate. Most of the "great" tanks from WWII weren't really so hot, as they tended to leak in either water or air and be quite uncomfortable to use for the crew. Dust also came in through all openings, and cordite smoke when in combat.

The British seem to have caught on to this problem sooner than most, and many of their tanks post-D-Day wore a British-designed canvas mantelet cover to stop the biggest gaps those around the gun shield and opening to the turret for the main armament assembly earlier than most. Surprisingly, it wasn't until quite late in the war that the US finally began to make and issue canvas covers for the 76mm and 105mm mantelets for the M4 medium tanks. Late production tanks were fitted for them at the factory, but most of them didn't get to the forward area as they were not needed by that time.

Postwar, however, all of the US tank fleet was fitted for a canvas mantelet cover to both protect the crew from the elements as well as help seal the tank from dust and moisture during short-term storage. These were standard fittings on all US tanks through the M-1 series, which used different arrangements of filters and masks inside the mantelet to prevent air or moisture entry, plus overpressure when the NBC system was activated.

Modeling a canvas mantelet can be a chore, as they are hard to get to look right or get the right "drape" to the canvas, no matter what material is used. CMD has now done one up using their outstanding T23 series turret as a basis, and the results are very, very good. All of the fittings for the mantelet are present in scale, and the drape and flexing of the simulated canvas look realistic.

The only minor gripe one could have and which cannot be helped due to the material involved is that the canvas is too smooth. This is easily fixed with the use of a "stippling" technique using putty and a short-bristled brush (the one inside a Testors Liquid Cement bottle cut down to 1/8" long bristles is about right). Using a putty which is soluble in Testors Liquid Cement (Squadron White Putty and Dr. Microtools are two that do nicely) paint it on the model and then, before the mixture dries, dabble it with the brush. If you work with small areas, the result is a rough-out finish which will look very good with painting and drybrushing. (Gunze Sangyo Mr. Surfacer 500 and the same technique work equally as well.)

If you are doing a Korean War Sherman, this is a super upgrade and will make a nice addition to your kit. It's reasonably priced (it includes an M1A2 gun with muzzle brake as well) and very nicely done.

Thanks to Bill Miley of CMD for the review sample.

Cookie Sewell
AMPS


Review Copyright 2001 by Cookie Sewell
Images Copyright 2001 by Academy Website
Page Created 22 November, 2001
Last updated 22 July, 2003

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