ARM: Review - Tasca 1/35 scale M4A3E2 Sherman Jumbo

Kit Review: Tasca 1/35 scale Kit No. 35-021; 1/35 scale U.S. Assault
Tank M4A3E2 Sherman =93Jumbo=94; 570 parts (523 in olive drab styrene, 24
clear vinyl, 14 etched brass, 8 clear styrene, 1 rubber sheet); retail
price US$61.95
Advantages: nice new state-of-the-art kit of this popular Sherman
variant; numerous options and provisions for =93super detailers=94
Disadvantages: Tracks seem somewhat =93old fashion=94
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all late war Sherman fans
As everybody=92s favorite American tanker (Oddball) once said, =93The
only way I can distract a Tiger is to sit around and let him shoot
holes in me.=94 While a bit brusque, it was soon apparent that both
early and late model M4 medium tanks were very vulnerable to high-
powered German 75mm and 88mm guns. The only solution tried by the Army
during the war was to massively uparmor 250 M4A3 tanks with a new
heavy turret, glacis and side applique, and add track extenders to try
and retain mobility. The result added 11 short tons to the weight of
the tank (31 to 42 tons) and reduced its mobility, but did provide
more survivability. While the Army gave it the supplemental
designation E2, the troops dubbed it =93Jumbo=94.
Arguably the most famous =93Jumbo=94 was C-9, =93Cobra King=94, of the 37t=
h
Tank Battalion of the 4th Armored Division. Commanded by 1st
Lieutenant Charles Boggess, it was the first tank to break into
Bastogne during the relief of the city in December 1944. Boggess
reported back to Colonel Creighton Abrams that he had achieved the
breakthrough and Abrams asked on how wide a front. He turned to his
gunner and asked, =93Quick! How wide is an M4?=94
In 1987 Tamiya released an M4A3E2 kit, and I remember eagerly picking
it up at a German model shop in Garmisch. When I got it back to the
hotel and opened it up, all they had done was add one new sprue of
bits to their old M4A3 kit. The new turret was not correct and most of
the =93stick-on=94 bits did not look quite right either. I had to go
through a lot of work to redo the model and in the end the only easy
part was painting in =93Cobra King=92s=94 post-relief =93FIRST IN BASTOGNE=
=94
propaganda finish.
While DML has advertised a new M4A3E2 kit now for over two years,
Tasca =96 quickly taking over the lead in M4 tank modeling - has
released their own version. Like the Tamiya one before it, it adds
sprues to a basic kit of the M4A3. But unlike Tamiya, all of theirs
check out and look the part out of the box.
This is the first full Tasca kit that I have picked up, so it is an
interesting comparison with Tamiya, Italeri and DML offerings. The
lower hull comes in four parts, but it does have a firewall to act as
a stiffener and former which makes for a simple and sturdy assembly.
It comes with the early M4A3 exhaust deflector, but whereas one from
Tamiya was a single piece this comes in six as well as directions for
open or closed installation.
The suspensions have been around for some time and I have all three
VVSS ones, of which this is the last version. It offers two different
bogie carriers (=93flat top=94 or =93upswept=94) and two different wheel
styles (welded spoke or welded solid). The latter come with rim rivets
on the sprue runners but are very tiny, so be warned. The suspension
may be made to work but as I have previously noted this is not a good
idea with vinyl tracks as it tends to =93rocking horse=94 at both ends.
One thing where Tasca is far from like DML is in their directions,
which are very clear and precise. Changes, modifications and even
suggested upgrades (0.3mm wire for the plastic hand grabs provided in
the kit) are all clearly enunciated. The kit is also well designed for
after-market additions like interiors and engine pack.
Three different gun barrel options are offered, but all are styrene.
It comes with a 75mm M3, a 76mm M1, and a 76mm M1A1 with muzzle
keeper. Each is keyed to a specific vehicle in the finishing
directions.
One nice touch is the kit comes with a duplicate set of parts for the
viewers and vision cupola =96 either clear or olive drab styrene. This
caters to both those who like or dislike clear parts.
Details do abound. The loader=92s hatch comes with separate springs,
dog, and even pad, plus the lock hasp. The M2HB machine gun consists
of six basic parts =96 two different barrels, clean or with changing
handle =96 and the options to mount it on the commander=92s pedestal or in
travel mode on the racks on the back of the turret. Also a spare
barrel is included.
Credit is given in the directions to Chris =93Toadman=94 Hughes for
assistance.
Finishing directions are provided for four tanks: 33rd Tank
Battalion, 3AD, Houfallize, Belgium January 1945 (OD with painted out
stars, partial bumper codes); 32nd Tank Battalion, 3AD, Belgium
January 1945 (OD with painted out stars, Reg USA 3082929); 32nd Tank
Battalion, 3AD, Cologne March 1945 (OD, bumper code C-4 3-32 Reg
3083123, 76mm M1A1 gun); 37th Tank Battalion, 4AD, Alzey, Germany
March 1945 (OD with painted out stars, 76mm M1 gun). A targeted sheet
of decals is included.
Overall this is an excellent kit and from its breakdown and options
will allow both the causal builder (if prepared for the number of
parts!) and the detailer to have a good time with it.
Cookie Sewell
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AMPSOne
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