Thursday, 22 March 2012

Plastic Soldier Company Ltd 1/72nd scale M4A1 Sherman


So the latest 1/72nd scale release from The Plastic Soldier Company Ltd arrived at Kingsleypark Manor today - the M4A1 Sherman.

As it states on the front of the box there are enough parts to build 3 models. On the back of the box you get a couple of pictures and a helpful painting colour guide


Unfortunately, the blurb on the back of the box is mis-leading. It states

For those of you optically challenged left click to enlarge the photograph.

It states that there are parts to build the 75mm or 76mm gun variant and also has US and British Commanders. Unfortunately this is incorrect. The sprue only contains parts for the 75mm version and only 1 Commander figure is included, a British Commander. I suspect the blurb has been lifted directly from the text used for the 15mm version of the kit. And of course, the picture of the 76mm version on the box isn't relevant for what is in the box.

Inside the box are 3 of these -


And 1 of these -



As with the rear of the box, the instruction sheet is slightly misleading as it shows firstly, the turret having the narrow 75mm mantlet. No such piece appears on the sprue, it is in fact the wide mantlet variant that is supplied. Secondly, the cast iron arches at the front of the picture (anyone know what the technical term is for these?) do not appear on the sprue.

Building the kit is for the most part pretty painless. The only part that requires a wee bit of care is the track assembly.


You have to make sure that the two parts of the track have the links of the track going in the same direction. They are moulded in such a way that some of the teeth on the track are missing so they go to the back of the track when fitting it together. And the sprocket wheel has a moulded plug that if put in the correct way the teeth of the sprocket are visible as opposed to being hidden by the track.

Finished track assembly for the left hand side of the model.

A couple of dollops of glue and the bottom of the hull and tracks are complete



The upper hull and the front of the tank are added next



As mentioned above the turret provided is the 75mm version with wide mantlet.

As can be seen, I've built the turret with the commander in place. It has to be said that if you want to omit the Commander and have the hatch doors closed they are going to have to be trimmed to fit the ring of the hatch. Certainly from the dry run I had they did not fit flush, so using the Commander is the eastiest option and in any event no self resepcting British Tank Commander would skulk inside his tank just because Jerry was about!

There is a .50cal Browning machine gun and mount that can be fitted to the turret but I have left this off, so it will mean a wee bit of filler will be required to fill in the hole provided for the machine gun mount. There are also optional side skirts provided. Hull mounted machine gun was added and viola, a finished model -


Not counting the time it took to cut the parts of the sprue, I'd say it took about 10 minutes to put together.  There are a couple of extra bits that can be stuck on as spare parts for the tank, for example, there is a some track, a bogie wheel and a jerry can. There are also these -

Any clues as to what they might be?
I thought initially they might be smoke dispensers but they look they wrong shape.

And then there is this piece -

Again, not sure what it is and where it is supposed to go.
Any suggestions as to where I should stick it? (Polite answers only please)







Here is a size comparison with an Armourfast Sherman and an Airfix Sherman -

The Armourfast kit is on the left. The smaller 1/76th scale Airfix model on the right.



Price of the kit direct from The Plastic Soldier Company is £12.95 plus postage of £1.30. Ignoring the postage cost that works out at £4.32 per model. The Armourfast kits retail at £7.99 for 2 models from Wonderland Models who are based in Edinburgh (they charge £3 for postage) so just under £4 per model.  According to the Hannants online store there are numerous different manufacturers of plastic Sherman kits at many different price ranges but none working out as cheap as either the Armourfast or Plastic Soldier version. A resin kit from Under the Bed Enterprises costs £4.95.

Althought the Armourfast model works out slightly cheaper than the Plastic Soldier version and despite the misleading blurb on the box, instruction sheet  and the mystery sprue items I do prefer the Plastic Soldier version. I thought the kit was detailed enough yet simple to put together.

According to the latest news release from The Plastic Soldier Company Ltd there are more 1/72nd scale goodies to come from them over the next months so it is encouraging to see that they are continuing to expand the range, so if 1/72nd scale/ 20mm WW2 is your thing then you should certainly consider checking them out.

I'll get the model painted up over the next few days and post some pictures up in due course.



15 comments:

  1. It looks a lot like the 15mm version I did a write up about and the sprues contain the same extra pieces. That one long extra piece I believe is a storage bin or tool box.

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    1. Have you got a link to your review Victor? I would like to see how the 15mm version compares to it's big brother

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  2. I like the Plastic Soldier Company kits myself though I don't do 15mm so can't comment. Thanks for the comparisons, most useful and I like the later hull shape.

    I would go with the stowage too, though where it goes I couldn't rightly say.

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  3. The long extra piece goes on the rear of the engine deck, and as suggested it is a storage bin.

    Appliqué armor is the term you are looking for I think.

    A nice looking kit by the look of it.

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    1. I suspected that it was some sort of storage box. The piece is actually triangular in shape so did leave me wondering where on the model it should go.

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  4. I'll have to go with the guys on their ideas but it didn't turn out too badly, I haven't made any of their kits yet!

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    1. That's probably because you've been busy with the painting challenge!!

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  5. Armourfast kits are £7.50 direct from Armourfast themselves, dont know about the postage though Dave, might be worth a wee check out.

    And FYI, they have a Bren Carrier in the pipeline.

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    1. Postage in the UK is £1.39 so that does make a difference. Guess it comes down to which model you like better

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  6. as I suspected NO TURRET BIN. useless..and they seem confused about a bolted or cast transmission cover so did a bit of both..and the cheek appliqué on the turret is quite bizzare..and appears to have appliqué armour on the left cheek of the turret, now that is quite odd..for such a well known tank yet another failure to do quite it right..

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    1. It's surprising to hear elsewhere that on the 15mm version they have included a turret bin but not on this kit. I know they had all sorts of issues when tooling up the sprue for the 15mm version and tried to provide options for a number of variants which then they had to abandon and produce separate kits (while still keeping a number of the variant parts on the sprue with the result the 15mm kit has bits that aren't required for a particular variant).
      Maybe they have gone to the other extreme and excluded bits from the 1/72nd sprue which should have been left in. Still it is a cheap model and as they say you pay for what you get

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  7. I believe the first mystery pieces are track holders? I can't remember where I've seen them now, but I think I've seen racks for spare links like that, rather than just hung from the side.

    Maybe track shoe holders?
    http://www.strijdbewijs.nl/tanks/sherman/eng.htm
    Pic half way down.)

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    1. I think you have called it right Rabidchild, good call!

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