When I saw the photograph of Alsacast’s small hatch M4 75mm Sherman on their website, I knew it was not an accurate rendition of the prototype. This was very obvious as the suspension has the bogey spacing of the M4A4.
I bought one anyway, thinking that maybe I could modify the hull into an M4A4. More than likely, I thought, the hull is too long for an M4 as Alsacast already makes a very good looking Sherman Vc Firefly, a British up-gunned version based on the M4A4. The bogey spacing on that model is correct.
After studying this M4 kit I can say that, except for the suspension, it very much represents a small hatch M4 75mm. It is well proportioned and dimensionally close to the line drawings as found in R.P, Hunnicutt’s SHERMAN: A HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN MEDIUM TANK, page 132 (see Category HOW-TO MILITARY/SHERMAN TANKS).
The angled rear plate represents an Alco or Pullman-Standard manufactured tank, although the solid road wheels more strongly suggest Pullman-Standard. It is a mid-production (February to May 1943) version. It has the early 3-piece final drive assembly (the lower frontend), although the 1-piece “blunt” casting was far more common on Pullman-Standard Shermans. It also has the “quick-fix” added armour on the hull sides and the “thin-spot” patch on the turret front. There is a pistol port on the opposite side. A Sherman configured like this would have been found in Italy in early 1944 (Anzio to Casino battles), and in Normandy later that summer.
The main correction needed is the bogey spacing. In the picture below, the M4A4 suspension (upper) has a greater gap between road wheels #2 & #3 and #4 & #5 compared to the early M3 suspension (lower) spacing which is also correct for M4, M4A1, M4A2, and M4A3.
The suspension was re-spaced on the longer M4A4 hull (due to the much larger power plant), resulting in greater gaps between the bogey road wheels. The M4A4 had 83 track links (per side) whereas the other Shermans had 79. Correcting the kit suspension should be very possible by removing one upper and lower link between the #2 & #3 and #4 & #5 road wheels.
Given the small size of this model, just correcting the suspension and giving it a nice paint job would be enough to have an accurate and finely detailed flat car load. But the model has some other small issues and, in my opinion, there are some obvious details that are relatively easy to correct as shown below.
In a future post I will show what I will do to make the model a little more accurate.