M4A2 Sherman III

Kit #: 7511
Preview by Stephen Brezinski - SBrez1(at)comcast(dot)net
Edited by Rob Haelterman

The M4A2, or Sherman III to the UK forces, was a diesel engine variant of the M4 Medium tank, and actually the first welded hull variant of the M4 to be produced.

This kit is intended for the wargaming market, not for display modelers, so cannot necessarily be judged with the same criteria. Still we should expect some degree of historical accuracy despite simplification of construction and assembly.

In the box are two identical sprues for two M4A2 tanks. This is a wargaming kit of 15 injection molded, styrene plastic parts per vehicle; no etched brass or resin.

Above, on Italeri’s box is a very nice photo of the actual assembled M4A2 tanks in the kit in a desert setting. We can see that the tanks have side skirts and turret storage boxes common to M4s used by UK and Polish forces. The turrets are the early low-bustle turrets and with the narrow M34 mantlet and 75-mm gun. On the bow is a three part, bolted differential cover. The glacis is the 57-degree, small-hatch style. There are no appliqué armor plates on the turret and hull sides, or over the driver hoods.

The tanks are finished in a three-color camouflage seen on UK British and Polish M4A2s in North Africa and Italy. There are no markings visible.

Here is what Italeri gives us to build their M4A2, there are two of these sprues in the box for two identical tanks. The parts look accurate for an M4A2 and are well molded though simplified as is expected of a gaming kit. Each part has visible part numbers.

At top is the upper hull with molded on tools and an accurate engine deck for a diesel engine M4A2. At the bow are the two cast steel driver hoods with the small hatches and ventilation domes on either side. At the nose is depicted a three-piece bolted differential cover but lacking bolt detail due to the molding and assembly simplification. The side skirts are molded onto the upper hull.

At upper right is the low bustle turret; along with on the hull, all crew hatches are molded shut. The rotor shield (gun mantlet) is the narrow M34 style. At lower right is the lower rear plate with a reasonably accurate pair of muffler and exhaust pipes for the diesel engines. At lower right is the optional storage box for the turret rear; this box is a British addition also used on M4s they supplied to Polish armored forces.

At lower left are the two sets of one-piece tracks with VVSS bogies and 5-spoke open roadwheels. This suspension and tracks is where this Italeri models fails where it did not have to. The tracks have no guide teeth which Italeri could have rectified by molding the suspension and tracks like Zvezda and Plastic Soldier Company does. The face of the track look like narrow bars similar to Panzer III and Panzer IV tank tracks; I think it would have been just as easy reproduce a flat rubber block T41 or T51 style Sherman track.

The rear face of the M4A2 sprue.

Here are the simple but adequate exploded-view assembly instructions. At bottom right are the water-slide decal markings for nine or more Shermans: two Polish, two French, three British, and two US Army M4A2 tanks in 1942. The diesel engine M4A2 only served in the US Army for training in the United States so these markings here are interesting. The M4A2 did serve with US Marine units in the Pacific theatre so some US Marine Corps markings would have been nice.

The kit looks to me to be a good solid and accurately portrayed M4A2, Sherman III tank. The assortment of decal markings is just great (I say this with the caveat that I have not researched their accuracy). With some etched brass details, parts borrowed from some UM and Dragon M4 kits, and strategically placed mud over the tracks this could even be made into a passable display model. The tracks are the weak spot in the kit; just because the kit is simplified for quick assembly does not mean historical accuracy needs to be sacrificed in this.


SHERMAN MEDIUM TANK 1942-1945, by Steve Zaloga & Peter Sarson, Osprey New Vanguard 3 (1993). ISBN 185532 296 X. A nice concise historical reference on the 75-mm gun armed M4 Medium tank.



Back to Italeri Kit List Back to Home Page

Preview Last Updated: 02 April 2012