M4 Composite Hull Sherman

Manufacturer: Fine Scale Factory (Kit #TL 019)

Superb kit. Basically a kit-bash between the ESCI M4A1 and M4A3, with several improvements and additions. The hull is a simple cut-and-paste between the two ESCI hulls, with the addition of welded seams and applique armor. The ventilator covers have been improved. The pioneer tools are cast onto the hull, but are also included as separately molded parts. I don't know if this was an unintentional error, or if it was done to purposely give the modeler some options.

The turret has been converted to an earlier style with the removal of the loader's hatch, and the addition of some applique armor plate. All of the hull hatches are molded open, including the engine access hatch, but the engine is not included, as it is with the ESCI kit. Periscope details have been added to the hatches, both inside and out. Some minimal interior detail has been provided, with the transmission molded onto the hull floor, and the addition of driver's seats, and a radio on the hull sponson (not visible in this scan). The part immediately to the left of the turret in the above scan is the inside face of the transmission housing which is molded as a single, solid piece.

The bogie wheel suspension units have been highly improved over the ESCI parts with much finer detail. The track return springs are molded as separate parts, and are very thin. The tracks have been altered to represent the style with the steel bar cleats, and look quite good. No markings are included, and the instructions are minimal, but should prove adequate to do the job.

All in all, this is a very nice kit. I had plans to use the hull as a base for a Firefly conversion using a Firefly turret I had received from Al.By. But Fine Scale Factory has now released a complete Firefly kit using this composite hull and their own Firefly turret, so I will likely keep the Al.By turret for some later project.

Thank you to Fine Scale Factory for providing this review sample.

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