Sherman M32

Kit #: Retrokit 72231 Preview by Stephen Brezinski - SBrez1(at)comcast(dot)net
Edited by Rob Haelterman

Preliminary notes:
- This kit represents a Sherman M32B1.
- The history of "Retrokit" is quite confusing, but after having checked with the current owner of Retrokit, it seems that this kit is no longer part of the Retrokit line. Instead it can be found under the Solfig label. To confuse matters even further, it was previously sold under the Exokit label.


For Sherman fans this kit should be on your to-do list: an armored recovery vehicle based on the M4 Medium tank of WW2 and the Korean War. The subject of this model and review is the M32B1 based on the cast hull M4A1 Sherman. This is a full all-resin model kit, not a conversion.


History for the Modeler
In 1943, the T5 armored recovery vehicle (ARV) based on the M4 series of medium tanks was put into production to replace the M31 ARV which was based on the M3 Lee and grant medium tanks. Between 1943 and June 1945 the M4 Sherman conversion became the M32, the M4A1 the M32B1, the M4A2 became the M32B2, and the M4A3 conversion became the M32B3. I have also seen this referred to as a TRV, for Tank Recovery Vehicle.
The M32 lacked the rotating turret and main gun of the Sherman tank which was replaced by a fixed turret, an A-frame crane, 50-calibre AA machine gun (MG) and an 81-mm mortar mounted on the glacis for launching smoke bombs.

  1. Retrokit’s M32, like their other model kits, come in Ziploc plastic bags within a sturdy cardboard box. The box top above shows a small photo of an M32B1 in travel mode, with the crane folded back.
  2. I cannot see a lot of detail but we can make out the VVSS suspension and a spare dish-style roadwheel mounted on the rear corner.
  3. The vehicle appears finished in a monotone color that I think we can safely presume to be olive drab, and there is a single white star on the turret and something which looks like white markings on the hull side. The tracks appear to be the all steel T-54E1 type with chevrons.

The Parts
I counted about 80 pale green, cast resin, parts. Molding and detail quality appears very good and typical of Retrokit models. Separating the parts from the pour plugs does not look too hard with a sharp blade, file and saw. There is a little thin flash around some parts but only a few small airbubbles.

  1. Above is a photo of the hull parts at left with hulls from the old ESCI (now Italeri) M4A1 kit in the center and the Dragon late M4A1 kit in gray plastic at far right. Based on my knowledge of the ESCI and Dragon kit, the model is pretty close to 1/72 in scale.
  2. To me it’s obvious that Retrokit based their M32 on the venerable ESCI M4A1 hull which means it comes with many of the problems, or issues, of the ESCI kit. Some of these issues are: fuel caps too small, right-rear roof vent too small, the hood-like bulges in front of the driver’s hatches appear a little over-exaggerated to me, and the tear-drop shaped grouser-compartment covers at the rear corners are too small. Also, since this vehicle does not use the storage shelf at the rear top edge, the three small notches there should be filled with putty and sanded level.
  3. All but one of the WW2 and Korea reference photos for the M32B1 I have show this ARV based on the small hatch M4A1 tank, but we can see that this model kit is based on the big-hatch M4A1 meaning that it is a late WW2 version. Therefore we should not portray it in a diorama before June 1944 perhaps.
  4. At the bottom of the photo are the vehicle hull and turret hatches and some short runs of T-54E1 all-steel track.

  5. This scan displays many of the parts associated with the ARV. At upper left is the fixed, hollow turret with two hatches on top, one of which has a split hatch cover common of early and mid-production Sherman turrets. The forward, larger opening has no hatch cover and is the hatch where a 50-cal. MG could be mounted.
  6. Below the turret is the pour plug with the turret floor with what appear to me to be crew seats and parts associated with the crane. On the same pour block are four spare sprocket wheels that mount on the turret side.
  7. In the upper center are parts for the crane, the 81-mm mortar, what looks like a 50-cal. MG. At upper right are the storage boxes and spare roadwheels that mount on the engine deck area.
  8. At the very bottom are the long crane arms that will need some straitening in hot water. Considering how fragile these could be on the finished model, it may be wise to replace them with brass tubing.

  9. This last scan of the kit parts show the track lengths which look to me to represent T-54E1 all steel track. (Not all of the kit parts are included in these scans.)
  10. Below are the pour plugs with the one-piece vertical volute spring suspension bogies and various kit parts. The bogies have the solid six spoke roadwheels from the ESCI (Italeri) M4A1 kit. The area under the track skid at the top of the bogie is solid, which is too bad; for a contest model we could saw this off and replace it with etched brass skids from a UM kit or from a number of etched brass frets available.
  11. The sprocket and read idler wheel have the track links molded onto them, which I appreciate.

  12. Retrokit’s assembly instruction for their M32 is a black & white, exploded-view type with instructions and vehicle history in French on the other side. The level of detail shown in the instructions is very good, better than most resin kit manufacturers.
  13. The instructions come on a 46 x 32-cm sheet of paper but considering the complexity of assembly I find the instructions too small. The drawings are a bit faint as well, perhaps from being photocopied too often? They should be enlarged to cover two sides of paper.
  14. There is no parts diagram and parts are not numbered on the pour plugs or on the instructions so some smaller parts may be hard to identify. This is a common problem with small-scale resin models. Study your references well! Studying models of the M32 in that other larger and less challenging scale may also be helpful.


  • I feel this is a great kit, because it’s a unique vehicle that I’ve not seen done in 1/72 by others, and because it is very well done.
  • The ARV parts like the crane and storage boxes, etc. should be easy to build on another manufacturer’s Sherman (UM, Dragon, Trumpeter, MR etc.) to create other M32 versions.


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Preview Last Updated: 15 December 2012