Tamiya 1/48 M4A3E8 Sherman 'Easy Eight'
|PRICE:||1900 yen SRP|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Includes one torso figure|
WhilWhen the M4 tank went into combat in North Africa with the British Army at El Alamein in late 1942, it increased the advantage of Allied armor over Axis armor and was superior to the lighter German and Italian tank designs. For this reason, the US Army believed that the M4 would be adequate to win the war, and relatively little pressure was initially exerted for further tank development. Logistical and transport restrictions, such as limitations imposed by roads, ports, and bridges, also complicated the introduction of a more capable but heavier tank. Tank destroyer battalions using vehicles built on the M4 hull and chassis, but with open-topped turrets and more potent high-velocity guns, also entered widespread use in the Allied armies. Even by 1944, most M4 Shermans kept their dual purpose 75 mm gun. By then, the M4 was inferior in firepower and armor to increasing numbers of German heavy tanks, but was able to fight on with the help of numerical superiority, greater mechanical reliability, better logistical support, and support from growing numbers of fighter-bombers and artillery pieces.
The M4A3E8 is one of the most mass-produced modifications of the main U.S. armored vehicle of the World War II period. The tank featured the welded hull and Ford GAA carburetor engine. A total of 11,424 vehicles with the improved HVSS suspension were produced by Fisher Tank Arsenal and Detroit Tank Arsenal from June 1942 through March 1945. The vehicle is also known as M4A3(76)W or the Easy Eight. It took part in many after-war conflicts up to the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
Tamiya has put considerable effort into its 1/48 military vehicle line in the last decade. The kits are all very nicely molded and with Tamiya engineering. Many of them either have cast metal hulls or include weights. I'm not sure why Tamiya does this, but it does add some heft to a fairly small model. This kit uses cylindrical weights.
There is no single hull molding on this one, the lower hull being made up of a floor with suspension side pieces as well as a front and rear section. There is a brace on the inside to keep things fairly stiff. As you can imagine, there is a considerable number of pieces dedicated to the suspension. With a double road wheel/return roller suspension, you'll be spending some quality time painting the rubber unless you have masks. Tamiya likes to use length and link tracks in this scale and I prefer this method over pretty much any other.
For the upper hull there are the usual bevy of pioneer tools. Tamiya includes individual fender braces instead of molding those in place. The turret is in a left and right half with a separate back section, upper and lower pieces. It is the correct later turret with the bustle in the back. There is no interior to the turret or the tank itself. A well done gun barrel with brake is provided as is a 50 cal machine gun. You are provided with a torso figure to put in the hatch.
Instructions are well done with the usual Tamiya paint references. The decal sheet is fairly lame, providing only stars. I'm sure there are aftermarket sheets out there that can add a little more interest. This is a WWII era EZ8 so doing a Korean War one, for instance, will probably require a few mods.
Overall a very nice addition to the line. The box has a 2018 date on it so this is apparently a fairly new release. Well worth picking up and a nice addition to any WWII tank collection.
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