Italeri- M4 Sherman U.S. Marine Corps
For a First Look and history of this rebox, head here: http://amps-armor.org/SiteReviews/ShowReview.aspx?id=14595
Before we even get into the build, I just wanted to be up front from the get go-- I deleted the in-progress photos from my phone thinking they had already synced and uploaded to the Google Photos cloud...but that is not the case and I don't have a trace of them...so my apologies. Lesson learned...
That being said, this kit is a bit rough in places with flash and ejector marks, but construction and fit was really good and I enjoyed the build immensely. There is not a whole lot of detail, and there are only a couple handfuls of steps, but it serves as a nice build. The first step is switching out the engine deck if you are building one of the first three schemes...luckily I used scheme 4, so I skipped to step 2 which entailed assembling the bogie assemblies and sprockets, as well as rear plate, tow pintle, and rear idlers. The sprockets were each made up of 5 parts which seems a little much, and don't hold up to much handling as I later found out to my chagrin.
Step 3 has you add the transmission cover, top hull with hatches, and tracks to the lower hull. I held off on the tracks to make painting easier. The base of the deep wading gear was also part of this. All went together well after removal of flash. Step 4 added all the small bits to the upper hull such as grab handles, lights and their guards, tools, and spare track racks. These were a bit tricky to line up as they are also five piece assemblies. The tools were a bit rough-- especially the axe as the head was way smaller than anything I have ever used...I ended up replacing it with one from the spares.
Step 5 involves the assembly of the two piece gun barrel to the mantlet and adding it to the turret, as well as the building of the commander's cupola and loader hatch. I am going from memory for the rest because I ended up using the last page to cut the screen for the top of the deep wading stack using the included cutting pattern and absent-mindedly threw it away. Basically though, the steps conclude with adding the add-on armor-- in the case of the one scheme, they are welded plates which I didn't use because I did the wooden plank sides instead, so more for the spares box! After adding the planks to the sides, it was then time to build the deep wading stack...I only used the bottom half of the rear one, but there are parts to do the two stacks as you would see in the D-Day DD Shermans. The only thing missing was the propellors hooked up to the DD. After that, it was just to add the turret to the hull and the extra machine gun. The peg broke off of mine, so it might seem a little off kilter. The kit does come with a jerry can and a poorly molded sleeping roll, so I decided to go with a few pieces of Value Gear stowage for the front and rear deck.
Painting and Weathering
So I chose the last scheme "Black Jack" as I rarely do the cover scheme if I can help it. The paints were a mix of Model Master Acryl and Vallejo Model Air based on what I had on hand. The decals went on nicely after some Micro Sol. I then used Tamiya Panel Line wash and AMMO washes for the pin washes and to help bring out the nice wood grain that Italeri had already provided on the plank armor. At this point I started to add the tracks-- went to spin the sprocket to line the teeth up with the tracks and pulled the sprocket apart- so the five piece assembly was a bust in my opinion. Since it was Iwo Jima based, I thought about the volcanic sand weathering that would be typical-- thought about buying a new container of pigments, but instead mixed up some Mig Productions Dark Mud and Black Smoke and I think that matched up pretty well. After a Dull Cote from Testors, I went to take pics and the tank dropped out of my hands. Not too much damage was done, but it wasn't until I went to take these pictures that I saw the machine gun handles were knocked askew...this has been quite a build! I also thought I had done a pretty good job removing the seam from the gun barrel, but my camera tells me otherwise.
Well-- it is a rebox and there are some snags I hit along the way- the flash and some nasty sink marks and the sprocket and dropping mishaps. Beyond that though, this was a fun build and it sure does look like it rolled out of the surf. I plan on adding tie-downs for the stowage and fixing the barrel seam and machine gun before I put this into a vignette with a Tamiya Chi-Ha I am building for fun at the moment. If you haven't built up an Italeri Sherman, this is an interesting one to choose with the USMC schemes, plank armor, and deep wading gear. Who knows-- maybe Meng or Rye Field Models will someday come out with a USMC version, but until then- you can't go wrong with this one!
Highly Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders interested in Pacific USMC armor.
Thanks goes out to Model Rectifier Corporation for this review kit.
Reviewed by Michael Reeves, AMPS Albany
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