I don't know, you wait years for a decent Sherman then 4 show up together and more surprisingly they are all different versions !. Although Trumpeter have released two Shermans the other the M4 Mid Production, has some issues with the frontal armour, mainly with the frontal armour being at the wrong angle. As I build all the vehicles I review ( well providing I live to be 99) I am not going to buy it, so if anyone who already has it wants to do a review please go ahead!
The Trumpeter vehicle is the M4A1 late hull mounting the 76mm gun in the enlarged turret, oddly Trumpeter have put it in Israeli use with the decals providing two Israeli options and only one US although the Instructions show placement for the Israeli vehicles and the one US I am not sure if it for this vehicle or not. The kit is not as detailed as the Dragon kits and will need some extra care and attention to bring out the best in the kit. I will not be commenting too much on the accuracy of the kit as I am no Sherman expert, my references are limited to the Squadron Signal book.
The break down of the kit is very similar to the Dragon Kits with the lower tub and upper hull as separate pieces, the difference is that the cast transmission housing is moulded with the lower hull instead of being separate as in the Dragon kits.
The upper hull is nicely detailed in parts but the hatches are closed, the tools are moulded in place, the lift rings are moulded to the hull and are solid, they will need to be at least drilled out or the better option be replaced. This kit has all the filler caps ! The rear stowage bracket is supplied for the rear as are the air filter that fit on the rear plate two crates and two jerry cans are provided as stowage. This kit would benefit from a PE set as there are no periscope guards or light guards provided, although you could always use the spare ones from the Dragon kits
The Turret is a simple affair and although the hatches are designed to be shut, it shouldn't be too much trouble to open them up. a nice touch is that Trumpeter have included both a 0.5 cal and a 0.3 cal Machine guns.
The wheels in the suspension are provided as separate pieces instead of being moulded as part of the suspension as in the Dragon kits, two sets of wheels are provided, one being the open spoked type and the other the closed solid type, the suspension looks to be correct with the exception of the return roller, which is slightly too large and could do with replacing for the fanatics.
The tracks are the rubber band type and look to be of the rubber chevron type, I am sure that there are people out there that know the correct designation, but the Squadron book has only "rubber block" "rubber chevron" "steel cleat" and the "steel chevron" mentioned. The tracks are without the extended "duckbill" connectors, with the tracks being the rubber band type I presume it wont be easy to add these, I say presume as I don't know how these tracks react with glue, the Dragon DS tracks fit together nicely with normal cement, I have so far hat mixed results with trumpeter tracks with the 3 Japanese tank tracks not accepting even super glue, the S-tank tracks went together better and the IS-3 and the AS-90 had hard plastic.
Trumpeter provide a set of quick build suspension units, which look pretty decent. with all these spares you can start building and improving the Hat kits, spare tracks are provided in the Dragon M4A1 kit.
As I have already mentioned the decals are mainly for Israeli vehicles, placement in the instruction is provided for just one Israeli vehicle.
The kit is not as nice as the Dragon kits, but it will build into a decent model without too much work, the box has plenty of spares for use on there kits, the suspension units are better than the Dragon kits , being able to change the wheels, although the return roller is too large. The kit measures out well compared to the Dragon kits and the dimensions I have.
M4 Sherman in Action Squadron/Signal Armour No 16