Tamiya 1/35 M4A3E8 Sherman “European Theater”
Advantages: Brand new
E8, Great figure, Easy build up.
Disadvantages: Some details simplified, Markings Limited, Can be built as WW II tank only. P.S. Tamiya Allied Vehicle Accessories kit used.
A lot are/were said about the Shermans, good or bad to the point I’ll not reinvent the wheels here. Just refer to any of Tom Cleaver’s review on one of his many 1/48th scale kit to get some quick and dirty knowledge. Including why the Shermans are so ineffective against the late war German heavies due to the machinations of men like Leslie McNair. However, was the Sherman that bad? The short answer is nope! In fact, in many ways, the Shermans, especially the late marks with the 76mm was in many ways, far superior to the Russian T-34/85. This is born out in the Korean War where the Easy Eights practically dominated them. In fact, even the Russians in some ways admitted the Shermans was a good tank. Many of the Russians who crewed the M4A2 Shermans ended up loving them due to their reliability, good 76mm gun and especially wet storage of ammo as it prevented ammo fires that otherwise killed many a T-34 crew! So why do we consider the T-34 to be a war winning weapon but the Sherman a death trap? Simply put, the Russians could give a rat @$$ about the loss of lives….There is an infamous joke. “Comrade Stalin, we just lost 100,000 men!” Stalin, “What?!?!?!? We lost 100K?!?!?!? PFFT! FEH!!!! Give me another draft order! Draft another 300K to replace them!!!!” You get blown up in a T-34? Shot down in a Sturmovik? A tank dessant that got killed? Don’t worry! There are 5000 others behind you! In fact, like the great Russian ace Alexander Pokryshkin, who was ostracized twice after the war, 1. For refusing to fly Russian fighters, instead, most of his 65 kills was scored in the American made Bell P-39 Airacobra. And 2. For refusing to say American made stuff were junk, many Russian M4 crews also faced similar situations for refusing to say the same, that the Shermans were junks and said, in some ways, that it was better than the god like T-34!
This is the brand new Tamiya M4A3E8 kit. Back in the 70’s, Tamiya made the first Easy 8 kit seen here by Robert Myers.
Several years back, Tamiya released another E8 kit that’s basically a reboxing of the excellent Asuka kit. This one is an all new tooled Tamiya Easy 8 kit that’s much simpler to the Asuka kit. However, in a cash grab, this is “European Theater” only! The tracks especially are not the chevron type used in the Korean War. Tamiya recently released a “Korean War” Easy 8 that’s basically this kit with the correct details and the necessary chevron type tracks used in the Korean War.
Looking through the kit, the details are generally good, but you can tell where things were dumbed down. This is especially evident in the running gears. The HVSS is much simplified with most of the arms as one piece with two hydraulic suspensions….Something like the Dragon HVSS will beat the pants off of this! However, the problem with Dragon’s HVSS is that they are complicated to the extreme! Yes, the details are to the extreme also, but assembling them for my T28 Super Heavy Tank almost had me blew a fuse due to the complexity and the fact you need four hands to do it right! This one…Well, once the heavy weathering goes on, you can’t really tell!
The rest are just as easy. Tracks are prototypical Tamiya vinyl that can now be cemented…I used superglue anyways. And to really dress up the tank, I bought two sets of Tamiya’s “Allied Vehicle Accessories” sets and stole an accessory sprue from the M4A3 kit since most American vehicles in WW II, like their modern day counterparts, are usually festooned to the brim with all sorts of stuff.
Construction begins with the lower hull wall with the drive sprocket drive and rear walls. These are then assembled to the bottom hull plate with a support in the center. The front transmission cover and rear exhaust plate are done next before putting them onto their place on the lower hull. The exhaust deflector is assembled next and put on the rear. This is detailed assembly with multiple baffles and should rotate afterwards.
The running gears are next, again, the HVSS main arms and supports are very simplified. Some will go for aftermarket parts but for me? It’ll do! The wheels and drive sprockets are designed to rotate. Save the tracks for later.
The upper hull is assembled next. The side fenders, notice there are two long supports that go on here. Make sure they hit the right place or else there will be problems later on. I left the radio operator hatch open since I’m stealing a figure from my M4A3 kit. I also left the many pioneering tools off for later. The hard part of this are all the little fender supports that run the length of the hull. 11 of them are required per side so don’t feed the carpet monster! After that, the upper hull is put on the lower one.
Turret assembly starts with putting the commander figure support on the inside. The commander hatch is left on the sprue since the vision ports are clear. The main cannon consists of a single solid gun tube…Thank you slide mold technology! With a three piece muzzle break. I drilled out the tube even more once the muzzle break is dry on the front end. Notice there is a silver spot at the connection joint to the mantlet due to the recoil. I left the loader hatch also open since I’m again, stealing a “loader” from the M4A3 kit. All the clear parts and the .50 machine gun are left off for now. Time to hit the paint shop
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
Main paint scheme are olive drab for all of two markings….Which is BLEH considering how many of these things were in Europe during WW II! The kit was heavily washed with jet black acrylics and Tamiya Flat Black before the first coat was put on. Then the first coat was dulled with heavily diluted jet black and after that was dry, the first coat of cream acrylic, to symbolize dust was put on, followed by another coat of thin olive drab, which is Testor’s……Funny thing…..There were so many variations of American Olive Drab, there is a joke that after you stop playing just which German “Dark Yellow” is dark yellow, you can start playing which shade of Olive Drab is…Olive Drab. But for me, Testor’s fit the bills just right! And then the weathering can really begin. The bottom hull is heavily slobbered with cream and acrylics tan to symbolize mud. And these are heavily mixed with jet black to the running gears until they actually started to cake somewhat on the wheels! This slurry mix was also applied to the tracks, with the surface also dry brushed with silver to denote the fact these were pounded on by the ground and dust and thus, worn to their metal color. Again, no rust as operational track hardly rusts. Heavy tan color were also applied to the front and rear fenders to show off the buildup of mud. The cream and tan were also applied to the rest of the hull and turret, but just not as heavily since these area don’t get nearly as dirty as the lower hull after the decals were applied so they can be weathered also. Overall, I hope I achieved the look of a well-used and dirty Sherman in its element. The building of the kit was easy, the painting and weathering took most of the time!
The accessories came from two places. The first is Tamiya’s Allied Vehicle Accessories kit and the second came from my M4A3 Sherman kit that contained two sprue accessories including stuff such as oil cans, a wooden plank that can be placed in front of the tank to hold the various equipment there including spare tracks, oil cans, spare wheels, etc. I stole a sprue and saved one for that kit. I also should locate a few wooden logs to place here since the Shermans were well known to not stop the dreaded German 88mm and the 75mm fired from a Panther, American crews usually pile the front of their tanks with various ad hoc equipment to use as ad hoc armor. The tracks and spare wheels are obvious from earlier versions of the Sherman, but the crew didn’t care….They are obviously there to use as armor instead! These are painted and weathered the same as the tank.
The Allied Vehicle set contains more satchel/duffle bags, which I painted in dark yellow and weathered before putting onto the side fenders. These also contains several extra .50 and .30 cal ammo cans with some spare “pot” helmet. The rear is filled with four jerry cans worth of gas and water, and some sleeping and duffle bags. To complete the whole thing, a single box of K-Ration is held onto the top with tape. The whole entire escapade is held down with masking tape, cut to size as I haven’t located appropriate sized ropes for this.
The figures are all painted in Dark Yellow uniforms, with Olive Drab helmet and flesh faces. Rubber Black were used for gloves.
Last bits involved putting on all the pioneering tools, colored and weathered appropriately, the front and rear headlights and then the commander’s hatch. The last bit is the .50 cal, which is assembled, decaled and put onto its place. Overall, easy to make and fun to build…Just got delayed massively by the weathering and all the extras I put on this thing!
Overall, you can say this is me relaxing after than punishing 1/16th King Tiger…If you are looking for something that’s more complex and detailed, you can certainly track down the Dragon and Asuka kit. But for many, this one just fit the bill! Also, if you are interested in the Korean War version, Tamiya recently released that version also. Get a few accessories and you can build a very accurate Easy 8 that’s for sure!
24 April 2018
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