Tasca 1/35 M4A1 Sherman (mid-production)
|KIT:||Tasca 1/35 M4A1 Sherman (mid-production)|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Sherman is like the P-51, Spitfire and HMS Hood. There is probably more written about this tank than any other. Needless to say, the Sherman was not the most powerful tank of WWII, nor was it able to withstand much from the German heavy tanks, especially those using the 88mm or larger gun. However, the Sherman was reliable and built in large numbers. Since there were so many more Shermans built than all German tanks combined, it was pretty much a case of overwhelming the German armor by numbers and letting the anti-tank guns take care of knocking them out.
So successful a design was the Sherman that they continued to be used in a variety of role decades after the end of the war by a number of countries. The chassis was also developed into a multitude of other designs like wreckers, SPGs and command vehicles..
Amongst the aircraft modeling set, we frequently refer to armor builders as 'Shermans and Germans'. This kit fits into the first category. Now non-armor modelers are probably wondering why another Sherman. "Aren't there already a zillion kits of this tank?" Well the Sherman fits into the same basic category as Bf-109s is that the subject is a sure seller, regardless of how many other kits of it there are.
Tasca is a Japanese company that has dedicated itself to producing the highest quality and most accurate kit of a subject that they can. Judging from the praise lauded on this company by the LHS owner, an armor fiend, the kit is well worth the premium you pay for it. I can echo his comments on the quality of the parts as they are superbly molded and free from any flash. I did spot a few sink areas, but they were on the reverse side of bits and won't be seen once the tank is built.
One thing for sure, Tasca doesn't scrimp on the detail or the options. While I was expecting the usual one-piece lower hull, Tasca has made it from multiple pieces. There is even a firewall section in the hull, hinting at possible aftermarket engine and interior bits. The options are quite considerable consisting of different road wheels, idlers, three different design drive sprockets, and springs atop the bogies. There is even a bit of rubber sheet that you cut to fit into the upper bogie area for shock absorbing!
Let's see, optional exhaust, the ability to have the engine compartment doors open, different differential covers and fenders as well. Optional gun mantlet covers and inner hatch detail as well as a fully detailed 75mm gun and two different mounts for the .50 cal machine gun. The tank comes with a tank commander figure to put into the open hatch. I was somewhat surprised that an aluminum barrel wasn't included and that the tracks are two piece 'rubber band' type, but was assured that the tracks will look great once painted and weathered. These have the block style tread on them. A small photo etch fret is included, mostly for screens.
Instructions are in Japanese with some English sub-titles. The various construction drawings are superbly done and should provide little trouble to those used to doing armor kits. Naturally, paint references are Gunze. Markings are for four tanks and the instructions will tell you if any of the options are specific for a certain tank. They are all from Tunisia or Italy in 1943/45 and either in overall OD or with sand splotches. Decals look very good and should provide no problems. The serial number sections are in the proper blue shade should you wish to use them as no specific serials are shown on the decal placement guide for the blue ones.
I think that you will be very pleased with this one once you get it and see how nicely done it is. Those Tasca tank kits I've seen built at shows have been real stunners and I see no reason why this one wouldn't join those ranks.
My thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the review kit. Get yours at your favorite shop or ask them to order it for you.
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