by: Alan McNeilly [ ]
IntroductionSherman builders have been delighted with the releases of the Tasca Sherman kits. I have heard nothing but praise for them. Resicast have recently produced a new kit to convert the Tasca M4A4 Sherman Mk V into a Sherman ARV Mk II.
Armoured Recovery vehicles (ARVs) played an important part in the recovery of damaged tanks and vehicles from the battlefield. Engineering ‘tanks’ (in my humble opinion) provide one of the most interesting areas of armoured modelling, and Resicast with their usual detail and quality have provided yet another option for Sherman fans.
Developed during WW2, ARVs initially tended to use obsolete tank chassis for the vehicles. ARVs based on the Cavalier, Churchill, and Grant came into being; these were later superseded by The Sherman ARV Mk I based on the M4A2 and M4A4 chassis/hull, and later by the Mk II based on the M4A4 Mk V Hull.
The Mk I was a turret-less vehicle and no winch was provided. This was corrected on the Mk II which was fitted with a fixed turret, dummy gun and a broad spade on the rear to help increase the towing capabilities of the jib crane. The Mk II appeared late in the war and at the time of writing this review I have no specific date on numbers or deployment. However, as noted on the front cover of the instructions Allied-Axis issue 4 contains data that should be of use with 11 pages of "in action" and detail photographs.
The kit was Mastered by George Moore and for the more ambitious a complete resin kit of this vehicle is also available.
The Conversion SetThe set comes in the standard Resicast sturdy box and contains an A5 instruction booklet of 20 pages, 12 zip bags of resin parts, the fixed turret, several lengths of plastic rod and some string for "wire", plus two frets of PE. The box art features the product and manufacturer's details, with 6 coloured pictures of the built model taken from various angles. All the zip bags are wrapped in protective bubble wrap.
Page 1 of the instructions features the product details, page 2 and 3 the listing of parts, and the remainder of the pages the building instructions laid out in photographic style with the parts and texts in logical and clear fashion. The instructions are also available in pdf format through Resicast.
The kit parts are expertly cast with terrific detail. A replacement set of bogies and wheels are provided with the kit. No cutting is require on the donor kit as the set provides all the add-on parts that are necessary. On the last page of the instructions there are some line drawings showing the A-frame front winch erected so you will need to choose how you want to display the model.
The new fixed turret is of the initial pattern with the hexagonal cupolas and is really nicely done. The hatches can be modelled open or closed. It’s recommended you add the cable to the turret before fixing it to the hull. The spade, fixtures, and fitting are all quality parts.
The two frets of PE add additional sharp detail, with one fret containing the grouser frames.
A sharp modelling knife, razor saw, and a little patience should produce a cracking model. Normal safety precautions apply when working with resin.
ConclusionWhat you get here is a detailed but straightforward conversion for the M4A4 Sherman Mk V to make a detailed representation of the British ARV Mk II. As everything is an addition to the Mk V hull there shouldn’t be any issues in building a very interesting-looking vehicle.
I like the fixed-turret square look of the build. Being an engineering vehicle (and with the option of erecting the boom) whether as a stand alone vehicle or set within a recovery type scene this should be a fun build.
If you can track down a copy of Allied-Axis Issue 4 there are a lot of very useful and interesting pictures of the Mk II in there.
Another cracking conversion from Resicast that should be do-able by most with average skill and experience of working with resin. In short - another quality product giving modellers yet more choice for their Sherman builds.