Allied M4A1 Sherman Tank

Kit #: WW2V20004
Preview by Stephen Brezinski - SBrez1(at)comcast(dot)net
Edited by Rob Haelterman

At this time this is a new 1/72-scale kit from a company from which I have only seen some small scale figures, and 15-mm (1/87) scale AFVs. Keep in mind that it 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 historical accuracy despite simplification of construction.

There are three individual and identical kits in the box, of 30-parts each. The plastic is molded thick but well, with no flash and few sinkholes; only one part arrived broken.

The kit box art being the first thing we see on the shelf and is supposed to tell us what we are buying within the box. Above we see a cast steel hull M4A1 Medium (Sherman II) tank. Atop the turret is a commander figure in a British or Commonwealth (Australia, New Zealand, Canada, etc.) tanker uniform (based on the beret). A tow cable is visible running front to back.
The tank appears to be a mid-production M4A1(75) based on the single split-hatch commander’s hatch, the 75-mm M3 gun, M34A1 rotor shield (gun mantlet), the 57-degree glacis and small driver hatch. On the bow are ammunition boxes and other stowage.
There are British or Commonwealth unit markings on the bow. The tank color looks to be olive drab. At the bottom right the box tells us the scale and that there are three vehicles and “some assembly required”.

Here is the kit sprue containing all we need, well, all they give us, to make The Plastic Company M4A1. There are three such sprues in the box. None of the parts have numbers.

At the top is the hull which to me appears well detailed and molded for a gaming kit. It does have some significant accuracy problems though, some problems that cannot be fixed. The hull appears to be a mix of early small-hatch hull and big-hatch M4A1 hull features. The angle of the glacis is 47 degrees like a big-hatch Sherman but the shape and orientation of the driver hatches are for the earlier 57-degree small-hatch hull. If it were a small-hatch M4A1 it should have a direct vision visor or a periscope in front of the hatch, but it does not; if it were a big hatch M4A1 it should have a periscope in front of each hatch. The rear of the upper cast hull has a straight-across bottom where it should have a U-shaped cutout.

The glacis has a gun travel lock between the hatches that is normal for the long 76-mm gun, not the 75-mm gun. The two ventilation domes on the right side are typical for the late wet ammunition stowage hull; the small-hatch M4A1 should have domes like that on the turret roof. The differential cover in the kit is the one-piece sharp nose model. The tools are molded on and the lifting rings are solid which is acceptable for a gaming kit and too common for too many display models. The bow machine gun at upper right is a little thick.

At upper left on the sprue is a commander half-figure which looks to be a British crew figure. At center are the lower and upper halves of the low-bustle turret with single split-hatch cupola; no loader’s hatch. Next to the cupola is a small hole for the 50-cal. MG mount. This machine gun was typically mounted on the rotating cupola; in the location PSC has it, it interferes with the opening of the split hatch.
The gun mantlet at far left is the M34A1 type for the direct vision sight, unfortunately the hole for the gunsight was left off the mantlet; this will be easy to drill out.

At upper right are the four upper and lower track runs which look like a good rendition of the all-steel T54E1 track block. This track is done very well and done the same way as Zvezda kits, and looks much better than kits with the track and suspension molded all together like Italeri and others. The lower hull has the suspension bogies molded into the hull side which is typical of a wargaming Sherman. Sand skirts are included but were rarely fitted onto M4’s used by the US Army in Europe.

Here is the reverse side of the parts sprue.

Here are the Plastic Model Company M4A1 instructions, one exploded view picture; unfortunately it is not quite the instructions for the model kit included in the box! The gun mantlet here is for the early Sherman narrow, M34 rotor shield (mantlet), and the differential cover is the rounder, 3-piece bolted type. Fortunately the rest of the kit parts shown are correct.

There are no decal markings included in the box.

Here is the back of the kit box which I would not normally bother discussing but I think it is important for a modeler in this case. Notice at the top where it says “This pack contains: 3 M4A1 Sherman tanks. Each sprue has options to build either 75mm of 76mm gun variants and include both US and British commander figures. At left are displayed an M4A1(75) and an M4A1(76) painting (from an Osprey Vanguard book on the Sherman). Please be aware (buyer beware): this statement and information is wrong! There is only the option of three M4A1(75) kits in the box; no 76-mm gun and T23 turrets are included! I suspect these statements apply to one of Plastic Company’s earlier 15-mm kits?

Overall this is a nice gaming model and with some etched brass and scratchbuilt details can even be made to a passable display model. Fit of the parts is surprisingly good. The design of the kit: incorporating features from different variants keeps this from being a great gaming piece. As I stated above, simplification is expected for a gaming kit but inaccuracy is not. It should not cost more to create an accurately detailed M4A1 than an inaccurate one?


  • 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.
  • Sherman In Action, by Culver & Greer, Squadron/Signal Publications ARMOR No. 16 [1977]. A good, inexpensive softcover book in the noted book series geared to the modeler. Highly recommended, but unfortunately completely leaves out coverage of the M4A2 and M4A4.


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Preview Last Updated: 04 May 2012