The Pullman-Standard Car Company (PSCC) was a major producer of early Shermans, specifically the small hatch 75mm radial engined M4 (689) and twin Diesel powered M4A2 (2737) models. Production ended in October 1943. The Alsacast 1/87 (HO) scale M4 is a nice model (see CATEGORY: ALSACAST M4 SHERMAN Pt1) with one fixable major error and opportunities for even more accurate detailing.
I decided to build a late model PSCC M4 75mm from September/October production. The main identifying features are the 1-piece cast final drive assembly with a sharp profile and a new turret casting. The new turret casting corrected a fault at the front right corner where internal machining actually reduced the armour thickness. To compensate for this earlier turrets had a “thin-spot” patch of contoured armour plate welded in place on the exterior. By the summer of 1943 the revised casting featured a thicker “cheek” so that the patch did not have to be applied.
In addition, the pistol port on the rear left side of the turret was eliminated as it was considered a ballistic weak spot. However, it was very popular with tankers in the field for loading ammunition and it was re-instated after PSCC Sherman production had ended.
Although most Shermans in action had them removed, production tanks of this period were shipped with sand shields (fenders).
Correcting the major fault of the kit (the wide bogey spacing, which is proper only for a Chrysler M4A4 or M4A6) is easy by simply removing one link of track from the top and bottom between the bogies. I did this with a fine-toothed miniature saw attached to a hobby knife handle. The saw blade is only .007″ thick and very sharp. The cuts were made in between the track end connectors and crossing both upper and lower tracks at the same time. The three resulting sections were then CA’d back together.
The result is shown below – the upper suspension assembly is the unmodified Chrysler version. The lower one has been cut as described and the closer correct road wheel spacing is apparent.
In order to add the sand shields, I had to narrow the lower hull by sanding to bring the suspension assemblies inside the side armour. This was done with 100/220/320/400/600 grit sandpapers against a small block. The drive sprockets were also protruding much more than the prototype, so I sanded these down to help get the sand shields to fit well.
Here are the other modifications made to obtain a late production PSCC M4 75mm. The travel lock was also a late production feature.
.0125″ diameter Tichy phosphor bronze wire was bent for the lift rings.
Vehicles were not shipped with tools mounted in place (shovel, axe, sledge etc.) as these would disappear by the time they made it overseas. All vehicle “kit”, or On Vehicle Material (OMV – tools and supplies), would be shipped in a large crate attached on the rear deck. I still need to make this item for a flat car load.