U.S. Tank Destroyer M10 Mid Production
Tamiya 1/35 scale
Reviewed by Brett Green
B a c k g r o u n d
The M4 Sherman was the backbone of American and British armour forces by the time of the Allied campaigns in Italy and North Western Europe. The Sherman was a hard working tank available in vast numbers thanks to American mass-production techniques and it could hold its own against its German contemporaries, the Panzer III and Panzer IV. However, the 75mm main gun was ineffective against the German heavy tanks, the Panther and the dreaded Tiger.
American armoured doctrine called for the use of specialised tank destroyers - heavily armed and highly mobile vehicles dedicated to blunting German armoured breakthrough. The M10 tank destroyer was the first of these dedicated vehicles. It was based on the chassis of the M4A2 Sherman with new sloped hull armour and an open topped turret fitted with the M7 76mm anti-tank gun.
After seeing service in North Africa and Italy, the M10 was used extensively in France following the D-Day landings of 6 June 1944. The 76mm gun fitted to the dedicated US Tank Destroyer, the M10, did not fare well against Tigers and Panthers, but in the drive through France, Belgium and Germany, the M10 was increasingly used in the infantry support role.
More than 4,900 M10s were manufactured.
F i r s t L o o k
Tamiya has expanded its WWII Allied catalogue with a new 1:35 scale M10 Tank Destroyer. This kit has nothing at all in common with the old motorised M10 released in the 1960s.
I was fortunate to receive a white-box test shot of this kit during my recent visit to the Shizuoka Hobby Show. This is not the final product, but it is probably pretty close. The most noticeable difference between this kit and the final version that you will see in the shops is that my sprues are light grey and yours will almost certainly be olive green.
Tamiya’s 1:35 scale M4A3E8 Easy Eight Sherman test shot sprues comprise 324 parts in light grey plastic, ten parts in clear, two lengths of polypropylene tracks, 4 small and 4 large polythene caps, a length of string and markings for two vehicles.
The kit is almost all new, including the VVSS running gear and tracks.
The only recycled sprues are the .50 cal machine gun, which dates from 1998, and the clear sprue, which includes generic light lenses and crew goggles.
The kit features crisp surface detail throughout including convincing cast texture on the transmission cover.
Weld beads are subtle, and tie-downs are moulded directly to the turret.
Like the rest of the kit, the running gear is brand new. The mid-style Vertical Volute Spring Suspension (VVSS) bogie units feature straight return roller arms, packed roller mounts, and full-length flexible T51 rubber block tracks. The pressed metal road wheels are made up from a main section and an insert for the rear. Each tyre is moulded to the main plastic section.
The drive sprocket and idler wheel are attached via polythene caps.
The lower hull is made up from a “flat pack” arrangement of separate floor, sides and engine firewall. The fighting compartment floor is built into this sub-assembly.
The two identical sponson blanks are cleverly moulded symmetrically from front to rear. Ammunition stowage is mounted on the top side of the sponsons.
Detail on the full-length flexible tracks is very crisp and clean on the outside and edges. Even on the inside of the blocks there is no sign of ejector pin marks or flash, only a small circle on every twelfth link. It is also interesting to note that the way the track ends join differently on this model. Instead of locating pins and holes, each track features two slightly raised squares and two corresponding recessed squares on the other side. This should ensure a nice flat join.
Note that the idler wheel mounts are also workable track tensioners. Do not glue these parts in place initially, as you may want to swing the arms to tighten the vinyl track when it is installed.
The clear sprue includes a number of generic parts that you will not need, but the headlight lenses and goggles will come in handy.
The hull crew hatches may be posed either open or closed. Tamiya supplies a toothed turret race that is fitted in two parts to the lower hull.
40 individual armour bosses are supplied for the outside of the hull and the turret. Each has to be cut away from two sprue attachments, so some care will be required to maintain their circular shape.
The turret interior provides a nicely detailed 76mm gun breech, racks, boxes, stowed ammunition, gunsight crew seats, stowed Thompson sub-machine gun and more. This should look suitably busy.
The 76mm gun barrel is moulded in one piece with a hollowed out muzzle. A .50 cal machine gun may be mounted at the rear of the turret, and string is supplied for the tow cable.
The decal sheet offers two options, both American and both in overall Olive Drab.
The package is rounded out with three nicely animated crew figures posed in the process of aiming and firing the main gun. Moulding quality, fabric drape and facial details are very good. I would not hesitate to use them straight from the box. I'll probably only add straps for the goggles.
C o n c l u s i o n
Tamiya brings their easy building philosophy to a VVSS Sherman-based vehicle for the first time.
Tamiya's 1:35 scale M10 Tank Destroyer is a well detailed model with a nicely fitted out turret and a set of crew figures that lifts it into the category of instant vignette. The decision to include full length flexible tracks is entirely appropriate considering the tracks are "live" on VVSS suspension and were therefore stretched taut while fitted to the vehicle.
We can only hope that the new VVSS suspension finds its way onto other M4 variants from Tamiya in the future!
Thanks to Tamiya Japan for the sample
Tamiya kits are distributed in the UK by The Hobby Company Limited
Text and Images by Brett Green