U.S. Assault Tank M4A3E2 Sherman Jumbo
Reviewed by Brett Green
Tasca’s latest salvo in the battle for 1:35 scale Sherman supremacy is the M4A3E2 Jumbo Assault Tank.
The M4A3E2 was a heavily protected Sherman with an extra 4” of armour welded to the front glacis and appliqué armour on the hull sides. The turret was similar in shape to the 76mm T23 turret, but featured thicker armour and vertical sides. The 75mm was fitted as standard, but this was often replaced with the more effective 76mm gun. The result was a Sherman that could stand toe-to-toe with Panther and Tiger tanks, absorbing punishment from the superior German guns. It was therefore used as a breakthrough vehicle, heading the charge in front of more vulnerable standard Shermans.
The M4A3E2 Jumbo was heavier than the standard Sherman, so the tracks were usually fitted with “duckbill” extensions to more evenly distribute the weight. Not surprisingly, the top speed of these heavier vehicles was 4 mph less than a standard Sherman.
The Jumbo entered service in North Western Europe in late 1944. 254 of these hefty stopgap tanks lumbered off the production lines.
Until now, the only 1:35 scale M4A3E2 was the 1980s vintage kit from Tamiya. This model suffered from a number of critical errors and is best ignored.
Tasca is the first on the scene with an accurate, state-of-the-art Sherman Jumbo.
Tasca’s 1:35 scale M4A3E2 comprises 471 parts in dark green plastic, 15 parts in clear plastic, one fret of photo-etched parts, 24 clear polythene caps, 4 lengths of flexible tracks and one sheet of black material to pack into the workable VVSS suspension units.
This Sherman kit provides a number of important new parts. These include an all-new turret, side and front appliqué armour, revised hatches, “big hub” road wheels and T48 tracks with duckbill extensions.
The new turret includes the angular mantlet and 75mm gun.
The surfaces are moulded with a restrained cast texture but no casting numbers. Tasca has also supplied the 76mm mantlet and two gun barrels from their M4A3 kits, so the modeller has the option of upgunning their Jumbo if desired.
The appliqué armour is bevelled and features weld beads where appropriate.
Revised sand shield mounts for the hull are also included.
In addition to the brand-new “big hub” road wheels, the kit also includes full sets of two-piece solid spoke and the early open spoke road wheels as options. All types were seen on various Jumbos, so check your references carefully.
The T48 rubber chevron tracks with duckbill extensions are very well done. As usual, each side is supplied in two brown vinyl lengths that can be joined with regular polystyrene cement. Most photos of Jumbo Shermans show a number of the duckbills missing from the track runs, so it might be worth spending a bit of time cutting some of these extensions off and adding bolts to the exposed connectors.
The balance of the sprues have been seen in some of Tasca’s earlier releases. The one-piece upper hull and hull fittings are mostly from the M4A3 kits. The familiar “flat pack” lower hull is made up from five pieces, but assembly is certainly not a chore and the fit is perfect.
Two full sets of VVSS suspension units are provided. One features the straight mounting arms for the return rollers, with the other set is moulded with the later upswept arms. Built according to the instructions with the foam rubber sheets, the suspension units are fully articulating but I generally prefer to fix them in place using solid plastic packing.
The clear Commander’s cupola has had become standard on all of Tasca’s late Shermans, and this kit is no exception. This will be ideal for modellers who want to mask off the vision blocks for a very realistic result. Periscopes and light lenses are offered as clear parts too. For those who prefer to paint their vision blocks, a solid green plastic cupola is also supplied.
The M2 .50 cal machine gun has been seen in earlier releases. This is a little gem. Jerry cans are supplied too.
The modest photo-etched fret includes brush guards for the lights and periscopes.
Tasca’s 1:35 scale M4A3E2 Jumbo is a fitting tribute to this muscular assault tank. It is accurate, very well detailed and should be as pleasing to build as its predecessors.
Where to now Tasca? 105s? Israeli Shermans perhaps?
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