88 Light Grey plastic parts on six sprues,
2 black rubber band tracks, decals for several vehicles (only one
mentioned in the instructions), 4 page, double sided, A5 sized, fold-out
instruction sheet with parts plan, 9 build diagrams and 1 page of
decal/paint drawings but no history.
purchased for $14.95 Australian
Some detail parts are very good, 2 complete
sets of suspension and running gear, reasonable turret and some extra
Front plate on upper hull at wrong angle,
all tools moulded on and soft in detail, no light guards (plastic or
PE), rubber band tracks and over-sized support rollers.
Recommended only as a source of parts
The first thing you will notice about this kit when you see it in a
shop is the totally uninspiring photo of a built model on the box
top. Aren't there any good modellers working for Trumpeter, or were
they just in too much of a hurry to release it? Whoever built it
hasn't even bothered to remove the seams from the road wheels. Look
at the tracks floating above the return rollers, the visible decal
film and that paint job!
I have heard this kit referred to as a dog. I wouldn't go that far -
it has some good points. The main problem is the angle of the front
plate. Now I'm not sure if the much quoted correct angle is from the
horizontal or the vertical but this one is way too close to the
horizontal and it stands out. It also moves the turret to the rear
and this stands out too. This fault alone will stop me from building
this kit and many from buying it.
thumbnails below to view larger images:
faults are less serious and in most cases fixable. The moulded-on
tools could be removed and replaced along with the lifting eyes on
the hull and turret. The transmission housing flanges, devoid of any
detail, could also be removed and replaced by left-over parts from
an Extratech kit. Then there are the annoying things like the ring
for the Commander's hatch not being a separate part which would
allow you to place the MG anywhere around the hatch as seen in many
photos and the extra side-armour being also moulded on. The
otherwise excellent bogies are marred by oversized return rollers
which are about 50% bigger than they should be.
Okay, that's the bad news out of the way. Now let's have a look at
what good bits are in the box.
Firstly, the kit includes two of the best injection moulded machine
guns (.50 and .30 cals) that I have seen in this scale, but again
not quite perfect with their moulded on mounts. The turret is not
too bad apart from the moulded on lifting eyes and hatch ring. The
tracks, although rubber bands, are well moulded and according to the
instructions can be glued with plastic glue. That will have to be
tested to know for sure.
On first viewing the bogies I got very excited and then I noticed
the over-sized rollers. Bother! However, apart from those rollers
the bogies are quite good and will make nice replacements for the
Extratech items. I am just not sure if it will be necessary to
replace those rollers or not. Not only are the bogies well moulded
but you get two sets - one set moulded as a complete item with
spoked wheels and another set with the bogies moulded in two pieces
and two sets of separate wheels in both spoked and cast.
The return rollers also come in spoked and cast and there are two
types of drive sprockets.
Quite a few of the smaller parts such as air-filter cans, bow MG,
tow coupling and head lights are superior to those in the Extratech
kits and could surely be use to enhance those models.
Both Uni Model and Mirage have announced plans for various Shermans
in this scale but if what we're hearing of the new Dragon kits is
correct, it wouldn't surprise me if they both cancelled those plans.
As for this kit by Trumpeter, it looks like they've rushed it to get
it onto the market before Dragon, but they blew it big time.
The point I am making is if like me you've ended up with several
Extratech Shermans, it will still be worth while buying one of these
kits just for the parts.