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Well it seems I have a bad case of squirrelitis as I've pulled yet another kit out of the stash and I'm, started it. The plan is to do it OOB and just get her done from start to finish. Well, that's the plan. Carl
1:35 “China Clipper” U.S. Medium Tank M4 Composite Sherman Asuka Model Catalogue # 35-034 The M4 Sherman, officially Medium Tank, M4, was the most widely used medium tank by the United States and Western Allies in World War II. The M4 Sherman proved to be reliable, relatively cheap to produce, and available in great numbers. Thousands were distributed through the Lend-Lease program to the British Commonwealth and Soviet Union. The tank was named by the British for the American Civil War general William Tecumseh Sherman. The M4 Sherman evolved from the M3 Medium Tank which had its main armament in a side sponson mount. The M4 retained much of the previous mechanical design but put the main 75 mm gun in a fully traversing turret. One feature, a one-axis gyrostabilizer, was not precise enough to allow firing when moving but did help keep the reticule on target, so that when the tank did stop to fire, the gun would be aimed in roughly the right direction. The designers stressed mechanical reliability, ease of production and maintenance, durability, standardization of parts and ammunition in a limited number of variants, and moderate size and weight. These factors, combined with the Sherman's then-superior armour and armament, outclassed German light and medium tanks fielded in 1939–42. The M4 went on to be produced in large numbers. It spearheaded many offensives by the Western Allies after 1942. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CcVR61Xg8SM The relative ease of production allowed large numbers of the M4 to be manufactured, and significant investment in tank recovery and repair units allowed disabled vehicles to be repaired and returned to service quickly. These factors combined to give the Allies numerical superiority in most battles, and many infantry divisions were provided with M4s and tank destroyers. After World War II, the Sherman, particularly the many improved and upgraded versions, continued to see combat service in many conflicts around the world, including the UN forces in the Korean War, with Israel in the Arab–Israeli Wars, briefly with South Vietnam in the Vietnam War, and on both sides of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965. Paraguay retired three Shermans from the Regimiento Escolta Presidencial (REP, Presidential Escort Regiment) in 2018, which marked the end of service of the final Sherman tanks in use anywhere in the world. Extract courtesy of Wikipedia China Clipper The kit Asuka Model (formerly Tasca) are probably the undisputed kings when it comes to the M4 Sherman. In fact, this particular 2016 kit has almost SIXTY re-pops to date, from six different companies. There’s little doubt that the kit, in its many incarnations is quite a gem, and this particular release is that of a Sherman Composite with a welded rear hull. China Clipper served with the 68th Tank Battalion, 6th Armoured Division and this specific machine has been recreated down to the stowage that is seen to adorn it in some photos of her. Asuka Model has provided this as a set of resin pieces that I’ll look at later. I can’t comment on kit accuracy, but many dozens of reviews of the sprues in various releases tend to lean towards this being possibly the best range of Sherman kits on the market. This release is packaged into a surprisingly shallow but very full box of styrene, with an overhead view of China Clipper on the lid, providing a great reference for the aforementioned stowage parts that are included. Lifting the tight lid reviews 19 sprues of dark green styrene which are generally packed into separate, stapled clear sleeves, except for where multiples of the same exist, and these are packed together. Two clear sprues are also provided as are four lengths of vinyl track, set of flexible polycaps, a piece of black rubber material, one fret of PE, a single decal sheet, bag of Value Gear Detailsresin parts and two sets of instructions. One thing that is obvious from this release is that Asuka Model/Tasca possibly had no idea about how many different variants of the Sherman would be released, as some sprues, whilst different, have the same nomenclature. It’s quite normal to see every letter of the alphabet used on different sprues over different releases, with no real conflict between the various kits (with exceptions to the rule). The instructions do explain about the inclusion of two Sprue J in the box, and to check that you indeed do use the correct parts from each. I think the overlap here is very small and those parts with the same number are actually entirely different, so you shouldn’t encounter any issues. I’m fairly new to armour and was surprised in the first instance to see vinyl tracks in this release as I’m led to believe that these are the things which most incense armour modellers. I do admit to seeing them recently in a 1/16 Takom kit but thought that it was more common for separate track links, the likes that we are now seeing in Rye Field Models and Takom 1/35 releases. Nonetheless, the moulding of these is excellent with sharp details. Each side is split into two pieces (for some reason) and they appear to assemble easily with CA. Instructions suggest priming them with Tamiya primer. Be careful what you do use in case it attacks this more fragile material. Five of the sprues are given over the drive and idler wheels, roadwheels and the three bogie units on each side of the hull. You will need to mix and match the polycaps with these during construction as these will grip the wheels to the bogies when fitted. As the tracks need to be made to sag slightly, I’m pretty sure the polycaps aren’t there so the wheels can rotate. Being able to rotate them before fitting the tracks will make painting easier though. To set the suspension height of the individual bogies, some rubber material is provided which you can use to custom load-out the individual units and set the height of these. This is all full explained in the manual, You will notice that the typical bathtub style lower hull isn’t present in this kit. This section is built up from a number of plates and an internal former. Two slightly different forward differential covers are supplied in this kit, on Sprue J, and you will need to identify the one you need from construction Stage 7. I absolutely love the depiction of the upper hull with its rough forward casting which looks entirely organic and non-contrived. Of course, the rear hull is welded plate, as are the forward mudguard section. Weld seam detail is also very fine. I’m no aficionado as to which angle of arc this is supposed to be, that seems to be so important to some factions of this hobby, but as someone who can weld themselves, I think the depiction looks excellent. The rear engine deck is a separate entity, and the two forward crew hatches are also separate parts and can be posed open, despite there being no interior to the kit. Realistic textures also stretch to the cast effect of the turret, although they aren’t as pronounced here. I don’t know whether that’s through design or omission. No internal details are supplied here, and the lower ring is a separate part on the same sprue. The gun and mantlet of course designed to be able to elevate and the barrel is a two-part affair that you may consider replacing with a metal, rifled alternative. Inside the turret, there is no gun detail, as befitting a model with no interior included. MG detail for the mantlet is excellent, as is the cupola-mounted gun, but you may also choose to replace this with a brass version for more authenticity. I note that a section of rigid styrene ammunition is included for the MGs. To be able to use this, you’ll probably need to dip this in just-boiled water for a minute or so to be able to properly manipulate it. The commanders/cupola hatch can also be displayed in an open position, but as with the other posable hatches, you’d be best sticking a figure in there to disguise the murky, dark and empty interior. Clear parts are included for the periscope and the clarity is excellent. A single PE fret is included that contains parts for engine grilles, Grouser boxes, air cleaners, etc. Quality is excellent, and the removal tags are small enough so as not to cause any difficulty in removing and preparing the parts. As this model focuses on China Clipper, you won’t be too surprised to know that this is the only decal scheme in the box. After all, that’s what you bought this for, right? I imagine that the decals will be printed locally, and they are simple in execution, all being white markings for this one machine. Printing is sharp and thin, with minimal carrier film. Of course, registration is irrelevant here. I do admit that when it comes to instruction manuals, I would prefer a regular book-format production that sits easy on the workbench, but this is one of those multi-folded, panoramic things that tend to get one confused when you dart between various sequences…very much like the Bandai instructions on some of their kits. Whilst there’s a lot of Japanese on this paper, this is also translated into a very reasonable level of English that is easy to understand. Illustrations are in line drawing format, but the instructions themselves look a little cluttered. Tamiya paint references are supplied throughout the assembly sequences, with a simple extra default options that states using Olive Drab where a paint reference isn’t supplied. Extras Of course, this is China Clipper, and the resin extras are also what help to push this kit. These consist of some superbly cast parts, including tent and tarp rolls, deck stowage 75mm crates, packs and helmets, wooden storage boxes and a stowage board. With the exception of the latter that is cast in brown resin, the rest of cast from light grey resin and look superb. Details are sharp and the mastering of these is first rate, and clean-up minimal before use. Adding these to your model will certainly create a visually interesting and authentic-looking miniature of China Clipper. A separate sheet of instructions is included with a full side printed in English. Conclusion Being an aircraft guy, this is the first time I’ve seen an Asuka Model kit, and it’s been an education in reading through the reviews of the Sherman series on various reputable websites. Apart from the specifics that pertain to this specific release, there’s not really too much more can be said with regards to accuracy except to state that these kits are respected for exactly that. For your money, you get a box that’s crammed with plastic, and with plenty for your spares box, plus the added resin parts to boot. This is a fantastic release of this specific machine and should look superb when finished, even with the vinyl tracks supplied. I look forward to building this as the darker months approach later this year. Highly recommended. My sincere thanks to Asuka Model for the review sample seen here.
Introduction Hi guys, although I'm still busy on the 1/24 Airfix Hawker Typhoon, I also felt that this GB could use some more "vehicular" input. Due to all the Liberation Days (celebrated on May 5th, the day the German forces in the Netherlands capitulated to the Allies in Wageningen) I witnessed in my life I have a keen interest in the liberating forces of my country. That makes for a predominantly British and Canadian interest, although we mustn't forget the Polish 1st Armoured Division and the Polish paras! Of course American forces also took part but on a much lesser scale. The 7th AD in October 1944 near Overloon, before the British forces took over the offensive, of course the paras of the 82nd and 101st AB divisions and the supporting units in the western part of Brabant. So, this WIP will deal with a British 75mm gun tank of the forces that were sent to relieve the paras that occupied the bridges at Eindhoven, Son, Grave, Nijmegen and Arnhem during Operation Market-Garden September 17th -25th, 1944. To read an extensive account of the operation: Operation Market Garden - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia For my purposes, it suffices to say that the 2nd Irish Guards formed part of the ground forces that needed to "race" to the North along a very narrow corridor in order to relieve the lightly armed paras along the route. The Airborne part of the offensive was code-named "Market", the ground element "Garden". The front lines on September 14th, 1944: The plan of attack: The line of advance for XXXth Corps: A short piece of text from the Wikipedia article: At 14:15 hours 300 guns of the Corps artillery opened fire, firing a rolling barrage in front of XXX Corps start line that was 1 mile (1.6 km) wide and 5 miles (8.0 km) in depth. The barrage was supported by seven squadrons of RAF Hawker Typhoons firing rockets at all known German positions along the road to Valkenswaard. The advance was led by tanks and infantry of the Irish Guards and started on time when Lieutenant Keith Heathcote, commanding the lead tank, ordered his driver to advance. The lead units of the Irish Guards Group had broken out of XXX Corps bridgehead on the Meuse-Escaut canal and crossed into the Netherlands by 15:00 hours. After crossing the border the Irish Guards were ambushed by infantry and anti-tank guns dug in on both sides of the main road. Portions of the artillery barrage were refired and fresh waves of Hawker Typhoons were called in. The Guardsmen moved forward to clear the German positions, manned by elements from two German parachute battalions and two battalions of the 9th SS Division, and soon routed the German forces flanking the road. Interrogation of captured German soldiers led to some of them willingly, others after being threatened, pointing out the remaining German positions. The fighting soon died down and the advance resumed. By last light the town of Valkenswaard had been reached and occupied by the Irish Guards. Shermans of the Irish Guards advancing past Shermans that were knocked out by dug-in anti-tank units. British troops meet with a Dutch policeman at Valkenswaard 2nd Irish Guards tanks cross the bridge over the river Waal near Nijmegen.
I just realized that this GB does have very little in the way of ground equipment. Time to help rectify that! In 2007 when on a business trip to York, UK, I purchased the Dragon M4A2 Tarawa-boxing at the local hobby shop. On this site one can find very interesting info on the invasion of Tarawa, including photos of the Sherman tanks. http://tarawaontheweb.org The photos of Colorado below were taken from the "Tarawa on the Web"- website. Colorado was early in the fighting hit by a Japanese 75mm shell. Later on Colorado was the victim of a molotov-cocktail which set the tank on fire. The crew drove the tank back into the surf and by doing so, extinguished the fire. Maybe surprisingly enough, Colorado was together with China Gal one of the 2 only serviceable tanks of C-Company after the fighting. What is easily seen is that the headlights were not fitted and that the framing of the right headlight was completely deformed. Also, on the color stills (from a USMC-film) the rearing elephant of the 1st Corps Batallion looks to be yellow, not gray as on Dragon's decal sheet. The colors don't look to be that accurate in those stills, though... But that would mean that the names maybe weren't yellow either, but gray or off-white... If someone knows the "definite" answer, please let me know. I'm afraid it'll be like those RLM 76 discussions amongst Luftwaffe builders, though... That's it for now, since this first installment is written at work during the night shift. After grabbing some sleep I hope to be back with an update!
1/35 Sherman Antenna and Periscope Guards Accessories from Adler's Nest and Schumo Kits Introduction Just in from Tasca I have three upgrade sets for the Sherman in 1/35. The first two are from Adler's Nest, whilst the third is a brand which is new to me – Schumo Kits. Sherman Five Piece Command Antenna By Adler's Nest #ANM-35034 The Sherman radio antennas were made up of sections, each one three feet long with threaded connectors at each end, all except the last one. Most tanks has three sections screwed together, whereas command tanks could have five of these sections, making for an aerial some 15 feet long. Each section had a numbered designation – "MS-xx", and the connections were colour coded, with the connections of the same colour being joined together. This set from Adler's Nest enables you to model pretty much whatever configuration you want. Inside its protective tube, I found the five sections which are machined so that they can slot together, pretty much like the real thing. The parts are tiny, as you might expect, but on close inspection you can see the hollowed out end sections. Test fitting showed that these have been machined to very tight tolerances – either an extremely keen eye or a little fiddling around will tell you which aerial goes where in the sequence. For those interested in painting instructions, a full description can be found here. This antenna set is specifically designed to be used with the base, below. Sherman Flexible Antenna Base By Adler's Nest #ANM-35033 This accessory set represents the MP-48 flexible antenna base. It is designed to be used with the aerial set above, but can also be used as a standalone upgrade on your kit if desired. It comprises turned brass parts at either end, a metal spring fitting between the two, and a piece of what I presume to be lead wire. With the wire inserted inside the spring, you can bend the aerial base to whatever angle desired, and it will stay in place. Simple, but quite ingenious I think. When compared to the Tasca kit part – which I think is quite good in its own right – the Adler's Nest base looks in a different class. I found I needed to widen the hole in the top of the Tasca turret by a fraction for the base to fit in, but once mounted, it should look superb. My only complaint about this set is that it should really come in the same type of tube that the antenna are supplied in – the spring and wire are quite delicate, and I'm not sure a small plastic bag is really enough. Sherman Periscope Guards By Schumo Kits #3500-10 The set comprises five periscope guards which are suitable for the M4 Sherman, M5 Stuart, M26 Pershing series of tanks. Note that not all Shermans used these, so check your references. The guards are made from white metal and are an alternative to the photo-etch guards often supplied in kits The photo-etch guards as supplied by Tasca The Schumo parts certainly have a more three dimensional look – the real things are quite chunky. However, I am still undecided on whether I would be better off giving PE guards a heavy coat of Mr Surfacer 500, or to go with the Schumo option. The casting in white metal is not that sharp, and I will probably have to clean up one or two of the guards in my set. Here is one of the guards on a Tacsa turret so you can judge for yourself. Packaging is an issue: they come in a plastic bag and really need a small box or tube of some sort. Given Schumo products are quite hard to get hold of, it would be a shame to have these damaged in transit. Conclusion Five Piece Command Antenna & Antenna Base Nothing more to say apart from top quality, great engineering, and a real difference maker. Highly recommended Periscope Guards The more I look at them, the more I think I like them, but the casting is not as crisp as it could be. Still probably more realistic than photo-etch. Worth consideration With thanks to the team at Tasca for the review sample. The products reviewed here are available at Tasca's online shop.