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Tank Workshop M4A2 Sherman Conversions

Tony Leung

The M4A2 was the only diesel engined version of the Sherman tank to see service in large numbers, mainly serving with the USSR as Lend Lease equipment and with the US Marines, the British and the Free French. As a consequence of having a diesel engine, the M4A2 version's engine deck and back end is distinctly different from all other versions of the Sherman.  Strangely though, not one major model kit manufacturer has seen fit to release a 1/35th scale injection moulded plastic kit for the mass market.   Dragon Models is reportedly planning to release an M4A2 in 2000, but I will believe it when I see it as such a kit was suggested before in one of their earlier catalogues and was suddenly cancelled. 

An American company called The Tank Workshop has two resin conversion sets to make a diesel engined variant of the Sherman tank currently on the market. I believe these two Tank Workshop conversion sets have been around for a number of years already and similar resin conversion products have also been sold by Azimut /ADV of France and Verlinden Productions of Belgium. Both came packaged in thick transparent zip-lock plastic bags. The Tank Workshop conversion #008 "M4A2 Hull with closed rear deck" is the first product to be described here. This product was designed to be used with either the Tamiya M4A3 or M4 Sherman kits. There is a total of four resin pieces provided with this kit ( one upper late model welded hull with a 47 degree glacis and wide hatches, one lower rear hull plate, exhaust and exhaust grill). This conversion is for building a late model M4A2 as indicated by the fuel cap located just behind the engine grill doors on the back deck. My sample was free of bubbles, but the left side of the hull had a slight cut-like blemish. There are resin overpour plugs that must be removed from the pieces. The price I paid for this set was USD19.20 plus shipping and handling.

The second M4A2 conversion put out by The Tank Workshop is #0024 "M4A2 Conversion Set". This set comprises six resin pieces (exhaust, exhaust grill, lower hull rear plate, upper hull rear plate, two pieces forming the engine deck, the grill and the spacer). This set is a little more challenging than #008 as the modeller will have to do some surgery to his base kit upper hull by cutting out the old enginer deck and upper hull rear plate. The angle of the upper hull rear plate on M4A2s is distinctly different from that of other versions of the Sherman, so the modeller will have be real careful and consult scale plans when he does the cutting in order to get the correct slope of the upper back plate. My sample was well cast, but it also has those annoying overpour plugs to remove from each part. Since this is only an engine deck conversion, it allows the modeller the option of using it with an early Sherman welded hull with the 56 degree glacis and protruding driver/co-driver hoods to model an early version of the M4A2 Sherman. If the Tamiya M4 is used as the base kit, only the upper hull rear plate needs to be cut and replaced with the Tank Workshop supplied piece. The Tank Workshop gives the option of building a very early version of the M4A2 by moulding rivet detail on both sides of the engine deck spacer containing the fuel filler cap. All the modeller has to do is to flip over the side of the spacer containing the fuel cap to hide it. I paid USD7.20 plus shipping and handling for my set. 

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