UM 1/72 M4A2 Sherman with M1 dozer blade
KIT #: 214
PRICE: $10.95 from
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Includes photo etch frets


The U.S. Army Ordnance Department designed the Medium Tank M4 as a replacement for the M3 Lee and Grant Medium Tanks. The M3 was an up-gunned development of the M2 Medium Tank of 1939, itself derived from the M2 Light Tank of 1935. The M3 was developed as a stopgap measure until a new turret mounting a 75 mm gun could be devised. While it was a big improvement when tried by the British in Africa against early German panzers, the placement of a 37 mm gun turret on top gave it a very high profile, and the unusual inflexible side-sponson mounted main gun could not be aimed across the other side of the tank.

Detailed design characteristics for the M4 were submitted by the Ordnance Department on 31 August 1940, but development of a prototype had to be delayed while the final production designs of the M3 were finished and the M3 entered full-scale production. On 18 April 1941, the U.S. Armored Force Board chose the simplest of five designs. Known as the T6, the design was a modified M3 hull and chassis, carrying a newly designed turret mounting the Lee's main gun. This became the Sherman.

The Sherman's reliability benefited from many features first developed in U.S. light tanks during the 1930s, including vertical volute spring suspension, rubber-bushed tracks, and rear-mounted radial engine with drive sprockets in front. The designated goals were to produce a fast, dependable medium tank able to support infantry, provide breakthrough striking capacity, and defeat any tank then in use by the Axis nations, though it would later fall short against the much larger tanks eventually deployed by Germany.

The T6 prototype was completed 2 September 1941. Unlike later M4s, the hull was cast and had a side hatch, which was eliminated from production models. The T6 was standardized as the M4 and production began in October1941.

The M4A2 version as in this kit was basically the same as the M4A1 version except that it was powered by a pair of GMC 6-71 straight six engines that used diesel fuel instead of the gasoline powered radials of the earlier versions. Some Shermans were fitted with bulldozer blades designed to help clear out obstacles in the way of advancing troops. These were highly successful and always in short supply.


This is basically a reissue of UM's very nice M4A2 Sherman, or Sherman III as used by the allies. The bulldozer blade is a separate sprue that contains the blade and mounting sections.

Typical of UM's kits, this one is well molded with a lot of surface detail and a number of small parts that will fit on the hull. The set includes two etched frets; one for the base Sherman and another very small one with some small rectangles on it. The major etched parts are for the light guards as well as the metal 'springs' that are atop the bogies next to the return rollers. These will need to be bent and a forming tool is included with the kit. Same with the light guards and a tool is also provided for these. The other major etched parts are for the front fenders.

For tracks, UM provides link and length items. Some of the link sections will need to be slightly bent to fit properly. Which ones need this treatment and where they are placed are shown in the very well drawn instruction sheet. This also shows that the hatches can be displayed open, however, there isn't anything inside to see.

The new sprue is, of course, for the bulldozer blade. This set includes the hull attachment parts as well as the blade itself. This is not a small construct, but looks to be very well done. The second, tiny etched fret (not shown) is for reinforcement plates on the blade attachment points. The parts themselves are very nicely detailed and will require only minimal clean up for use.

Markings are provided for two tanks. One is very generic and shown in color on the box art. The other is one with the 764th tank battalion as operated in Normandy during the D-day operation in 1944. This one has a white stripe through the turret insignia.

I only know of one other Sherman Dozer in this scale or at least close, and that is the very old Airfix kit. Now you can give that to someone else as this one very much supersedes it in terms of detail and fidelity.


March 2011

Thanks to for the preview kit. Get yours at the link and at a discount.

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Previews Index Page