Academy 1/35 M4A2 Sherman

Kit # 13203

By Kent Kirkpatrick

The Sherman

What can you say about the Sherman tank that hasn't been said already? They made a lot of them, over 50,000 and are still in use today. The Sherman came in a lot of variants and the M4A2 is no exception. It is considered the third variant of this medium tank in the series. The welded-hull M4A2 was the first variant to be powered by twin General Motors diesel engines due a shortage of regular gas engines. Over 8,000 were built and put into service in the spring of 1942.

The Kit

The box has colorful artwork of an US Marine Sherman fording a river in the Pacific. It makes a good painting and decal reference. There is also some color photos of a finished model on the sides of the box. There are multiple sealed bags containing part sprues and one containing the decals. Included you will find a strand of poly-thread for making your tow cables.

The sprues are molded in a soft dark olive styrene. This is good for the small parts so they won't break when mishandled. There is very little flash to speak of on any of the parts. Injection pin markings are mostly hidden from view after assembly or need minimal sanding to remove.

You'll find a fourteen-page instruction manual in Korean, Chinese, German and English. The illustrations are very well done and in logical order of assembly. There are seventeen sub-assembly steps with accessory part assembly to complete this model. Kit instructions have a symbol legend for filing, gluing, cutting, etc. that guides you through assembly. If you have trouble finding a part there is a parts location diagram page. You will find listing of unused parts. This is due to the number of kits Academy produces using the basic Sherman hull (e.g., M12, M10, M36, etc.).

Assembly begins with the drive sprockets, road wheels and suspension assemblies. Of interest, there is a choice between early, mid and late road wheels. Early road wheels have open spokes; mid road wheels are solid but have a spoke indentation on them while the late road wheels are a solid smooth dish. You can even mix them together as shown in the instructions. Each of the six suspension assemblies requires nine parts to complete. Keep in mind on the Sherman there is a left and right side suspension. Be careful not to glue them to the lower hull backwards. Instructions continue with the lower hull assembly involving the suspension assemblies and transmission cover. Pretty much straightforward assembly at this point.

Next up is the lower rear hull assembly involving the exhaust, two types of tow lugs, fording intakes and other details parts. When this is done you proceed to the upper hull assembly with hatch, rear engine deck, glacis plate and other detail parts. Hatches can be opened for after-market figures or closed. Note that the rear engine deck and grates are separate. This would allow the modeler to go a step further and add an after-market engine. That is if there were a twin diesel engine option out there but time will tell.

The upper hull assembly gives you another option of add-on armor. You can choose between four steel appliqu» plates or two wooden plank units. Once the upper hull is assembled it is mated to the lower hull. This is where you mount the one-piece vinyl tracks.

The tracks are molded as rubber block chevrons with duckbills for added traction on softer ground. They are some of the best one-piece Sherman tracks I have seen. From my experience I would leave the rear idler off to assist in mounting these tracks. It will make the process easier. After that step, we begin to assemble the turret (nice casting texture) with hatches open or closed. There are separate periscopes in all accesses.

The 75mm gun is in one piece but has a cap for the muzzle. At this point, you have two options to choose from a straight or bent antenna base which allows you to show a flexed radio antenna. The other choice is an early or late commander's hatch. The late hatch contains multiple vision windows around the base. The .50 caliber machine gun is nicely detail and is an added touch to the turret.

Lastly, you assemble the fording intake and exhaust stacks for Marine amphibious operations. There are optional accessory parts, which is accustomed to Academy's armor kits, which include gas cans, MG ammo boxes, tow cables and track links.

Painting and decal placement give you the option between five different M4A2 Shermans. Unfortunately, they are from unknown units in the Pacific theatre but Iwo Jima and Tinian are represented. The thin decals are really nice and of high quality for using only two colors (white and yellow).

The only thing I can think of replacing on this kit is using MV lenses for the headlights. In my opinion you do not need a photo-etch set for this Sherman kit.

Conclusion

This is one of the better Sherman kits out of the box. Academy has done a really good job of parting this kit out and not Žover engineering' it into a mess of parts. I definitely give this kit two thumbs up for subject detail and accuracy. I highly recommend this to Sher-maniacs out there. Very little flash and no sink marks on the parts. I would like to thank MRC for the review kit.

 

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