Much like the Tiger Tank or P-51, an icon of World War Two is the Sherman tank. In addition to serving with the US, Many Shermans were shipped overseas to serve with the Allied forces, and served on virtually every front of World War Two. Tasca’s new Sherman III DV “early type” (a M4A2 direct vision with early style bogies) does a great justice to this iconic machine.
For those who are not familiar with Tasca’s line of Shermans, you are in for a treat. Inside the box you get 14 dark yellow sprues, one clear sprue for periscopes and lenses, a couple of green sprues for jerry cans and their excellent M2 50cal, and finally four runs of glue-able T51 track.
All of the sprues are very finely molded, and must be the best I've seen in a plastic kit. There are very few mold lines (unlike another major manufacturer of Shermans), and the parts are attached to the spure with the minimum number of attachments, plus these are some of the smallest I've seen used. Makes for some very easy clean up and fast assembly.
I won’t go into too much specifics on the parts, as most are found within Tasca’s other Shermans. However I will touch on a few highlights of this particular kit.
Starting with the suspension, you get finely detailed parts for early type VVSS with centered return roller and no skid plate as used on very early Shermans. The suspension is very highly detailed, and is also “workable” when assembled. This is accomplished through Tascas renowned use of foam pad within the unit, which even though it does make the suspension movable, causes problems as the tracks have a way of compressing the suspension legs. I suggest replacing the foam with sheet plastic or the resin inserts made by Formations. Also the lower arms are separate, however, the upper arms are paired thus don’t actually represent how a Sherman suspension would move. Even with those issues the units are still excellent and look outstanding when assembled.
Tasca provides the full sprue containing all the types of sprocket, as well as open and pressed idlers. All the options in this kit take the open spoke type and “fancy” drive sprocket so the rest go to the spares bin.
The upper hull has all the correct weld beads and are done in the correctly flush/slightly raised type. Another feature of the hull is the direct vision ports that can be shown open or closed. Also included are both styles of transmission housing; a 3 piece and early single cast type. Two of the three marking options call for the 3-piece, and one uses the cast type. Periscope guards are supplied in very fine plastic instead of photoetch, however they are so finely molded that they look very realistic. The plastic former for PE guards is still included, so be sure to save that for other Sherman projects!
The turret is a standard M4 turret with early mantlet. Tasca supplies both a flared and non-flared barrel in plastic, as well as choice of “winged” or plain early mantlet. Other kit specific items are the inclusion of a stowage box and smoke dischargers. The dischargers are left over from kit 35-017 and not used in this edition. Of course their infamous M2 50 cal, probably the best 50 cal in plastic, is provided with mounts for the commanders hatch.
Sand shields and mounting brackets are included, and have beveled edges to make them appear like thin sheet metal. They look great when mounted, however if doing marking option #2, the rear shields are inverted and attached to the rear deck for field modified stowage racks. Once inverted, the bevel becomes obvious and I advise replacing these particular ones with sheet plastic or PE parts (I will be using some from Dragons Sherman III kit).
For extras, Tasca provides four of its excellent jerry cans, three water cans with decals, and a single crew figure. The figure is nicely molded and has a beret with headphones plus a small hand mike is supplied. There isn’t much relief on the figure, but some careful painting will bring out the best of it.
Three marking options are included in the kit:
41st Royal Tank Regiment, 24th Armored Brigade, 10th Armored Division October 1942 El Alamein. "Cocky", includes optional turret numbers of 36 or 66
A Squadron, 3rd County of London Yeomanry, 4th Armored Brigade, August 1943, Sicily. “Abdiel”
4th Armoured Regiment, 2nd Armoured Brigade, Early 1944, Egypt.
The painting instructions are in black and white, however you can download full color PDF versions of the painting instructions on Tascas website.
I originally intended to give an out of box review, then do a build log covering the assembly. However I started to build the kit and found it so relaxing and enjoyable I finished most of the assembly within a weekend! As mentioned, there is very little clean up to the parts, and they are attached to the sprues with very petite stubs so it was extremely easy to remove a part and have it ready for assembly within seconds.
First, a little attention must be given to the instructions. They are very easy to read, however they use the same sheet for both kit 35-017 and 35-L28. It is very clearly called out when there is something specific to each kit, so just be sure to be aware of this.
Assembly is very straight forward, and painless. The bogies might be the most time consuming part, as each one is made of over 15 parts! I had no fit issues anywhere on the kit, and found their method of beveling some edges, such as the sides of the transmission housing, to be awesome. This allowed a butt joint with no obvious join, just like a corner on fine cabinetry. When assembling the 3 piece transmission, don’t forget to leave the join line between each side of the flanges, as this was on the real thing, a seldom modeled detail. There are a few small place to fill, such as some locating holes on the forward hatches for springs, which this early version did not have. I also needed a little putty on the barrel, but that may have been from carelessness on my part assembling it.
A build log to finish up construction, painting, and adding the finishing details can be found Here
Overall, this is an excellent kit, which will be to no surpise to any who own another Tasca Sherman. Highly recommended!