Modelling the US Army M4 (76mm) Sherman Medium tank
by Steven J. Zaloga
Reviewed by Al Bowie
Disclaimer: The reviewer is an unashamed Shermaholic
When I first realised I was hooked on modelling armour and started my reference library (or "those damned books" as my wife so lovingly refers to them) I discovered an author by the name of Steve Zaloga. Over the years I have added many, many books by this illustrious author who also is a highly respected and talented modeller and historian. Mr Zaloga has shared his encyclopaedic knowledge of US Armour (and other armour & military related subjects) with the public for many years and regularly displays beautifully built and inspirational models in a variety of scales in the world’s premier modelling magazines and websites.
Osprey have a number of Steve Zaloga’s modelling guides ( Modelling the M3/M5 Stuart ; Modelling US Army Tank Destroyers & Modelling the US Army M4 (75mm) Sherman Medium Tank) in publication and this builds on the previous M4 title. Like the earlier title this book concentrates on the US Army variants of the Sherman but those with 76mm (plus the British 17 pdr).
The book is logically presented and comprises an Introduction including a “quick & dirty” historical guide and a rundown of available kits of the 76mm armed M4 Sherman. This is followed by chapters dedicated to a presented Model with a quick subject history and construction notes all supported by quality images. The models presented as subjects are as Follows:
The projects are all new and not previous projects from Military Modelling which was a pleasant surprise as I was expecting at least one or two to be previous works like the Stuart title. The presented projects are rated as to complexity. Despite being Intermediate and Advanced projects the techniques and tips are great advice for beginners and advanced modellers alike. The author has a rare ability to present his topic in an easy to digest format not full of jargon and minutiae only known to experts in the field thus broadening the appeal to modellers of all levels of expertise.
Each project lists the Basic Kit and gives a listing of the aftermarket parts used. The projects also include the small display bases and figures along with the authors trademark photo montage of the kit against a real photographic backdrop. Detailed description of the conversions and techniques make this an invaluable reference for the modeller and even expert modellers will pick up ideas from the authors stable of tips and techniques which like most artisans evolves with each new subject.
The Author makes a point in the introduction of not covering the multitude of Sherman aftermarket accessories available as this would need a volume of its own and as he rightly claims, would be obsolete before it is published.
This book is proves once again that the Sherman is not like a Model T Ford with regard to models and schemes as some modellers seem to believe. Whilst most of his subjects are OD (as were all delivered M4’s) the Author shows just how interesting OD can be as a scheme with two examples having Black disruptive schemes and the others a variety of custom stowage etc. The Author should be congratulated on his choice of subjects and particularly for including the 48th scale conversions as this is a quickly growing branch of the hobby.
I listed the fact that this was devoted to US examples as a disadvantage but given the breadth of service and the number of users it makes perfect sense to keep within a theme for this title.
This truly is a golden age for the hobby and as a Shermaholic (meetings are first Fri of the Month) it is the golden age for the Sherman Modeller with state of the art kits , excellent references and aftermarket accessories appearing daily. This book truly belongs to this “golden age” and is a “must’ for Sherman Modellers.
Publishing for the review sample
Text and Images by Alastair