From the box
This is a war games model which is designed as a quick build model, with few and simplified parts, similar to the HAT/Armorfast range.
On opening the box you find two kits, decals, instructions, and painting guide. The breakdown of the parts is simple, with a lower hull, upper hull, track units,
turret and stowage box.
The kit represents an early mid-production M4A2 and not an early DV (Direct Vision) one, so it may not be suitable for the Operation Swallow or the El Alamein battle.
This is due to the hull not having the Direct Vision hoods for the driver and co-driver nor the early M3 style suspension bogies. However I am not 100% certain that
the version fielded by Italeri didn't see service at the battle, due to losses from enemy sinking supply ships and a rush of replacement vehicles from the USA.
Further research needs done on this question, though this version did see service in North Africa. However this is a review of what's in the box, not what I want
to be in it.
The moulding is very good with no sink marks, or other casting flaws. There are hardly any mould lines. The only fault I can find with the moulding is the size of
the injection gates for the hull top, these are on the thick side, and care needs to be exercised while removing the parts.
The level of detail moulded onto this kit is fantastic, and a lot better and more accurate than the HäT kits.
The main draw back to this kit is that all the hatches are moulded shut, and you only get the choice of the second style of gun mantlet with the barrel check pieces.
Tools are moulded on and well defined on the engine deck but poor on the rear hull plate. The front and rear lights are represented with solid pieces which may be
fine for war gamers but lacks detail for scale modellers. The engine deck is well detailed. The weld seams on the hull top are very well done.
The three piece bolted nose is pretty basic, lacking bolt details. The rear hull plate lacks the wheel mountings and the tow hook mounting bracket and tie down
brackets are simplified.
Construction of the kit is very fast. I can't recall the last time I built a Sherman while the TV adverts where on. The first one I built I did with out using
glue and the parts have a very good and tight fit with only the joint at the transmission cover between the upper and lower hull wanting gluing and smoothing off.
While there are questions as to the accuracy of the parts supplied for an El Alamein version, to be fair Italeri do not state it's suitable for this battle but
simply mention it's for the Mediterranean theatre 1942-43 for which it is highly suitable.
The more I have looked at this model the more I like it. This is an excellent model, well thought out and with a very good price point for the small scale Sherman
modeller. Scale Modellers may not like the way a lot of the details are moulded in situ and the closed hatches and would want to carry out at least the basic
detailing I have done. To me the major problem with this kit are the fantasy details on the tracks. It would have been better if Italeri had just left the faces
of the track pads plain like HAT/Armorfast provide. While again not 100% accurate they do look better.
This kit is seems to be based on the Dragon M4A2 Sherman III kit. If this is correct then this is an excellent way to get an expensive DML kit knockoff for super
detailing. War gamers will be happy being able to get two quick build models for roughly half the price of a Dragon kit, which are also quick too build and robust
enough for the war games table.
I have no problems recommending this kit to both experienced and novice modellers, and take this chance to congratulate Italeri on this model.
My intention is too build one quickly and use the other one to build a super detail M4A2 Sherman III Direct Vision tank.
The paint scheme, as I suspected, is pure fantasy, and for which there is no excuse on Italeri's part. There is more than enough information out in books and on
the internet which would have given them more options. Also the very poor and inaccurate box artwork, may have cost Italeri sales. Add to this the fact that the
DML kit has the correct colour schemes, one has to wonder what Italeri was thinking. It is a real shame that Italeri didn't correct this major fault which only
really needs a new corrected sheet for the colour schemes and a new box artwork to be produced, in the same style just showing better painted models. One thing
that is totally surprising is that one of my favourite Sherman's is the Scots Greys "SHIEK", for which this kit is an ideal starting point. As this particular
vehicle is very well researched on the internet, and also the fact that this tank served in Italy, it would have made a perfect option for the decals, and one of
the colour schemes.
The colour scheme options for the British / Polish versions are ones I am not familiar with. Does this mean they are wrong, or just ones I have not seen before?
The small sheet of decals is very good looking but again I am not 100% sure if these are correct without more research.
Mike Stammer and Dick Taylor have both done extensive research over the past decade or so and have written modelling articles, and both have published books on
British Shermans and colour schemes which will be invaluable to anyone modelling a British Army Sherman using this kit as a starting point.