M4A1 Sherman “Calliope”
Italeri 1/72 Scale
Reviewed by Glen Porter
A Brief History:
One of the first ex-Esci kits that Italeri released was the M4A1 Sherman (No.7003) marked incorrectly as an M4. Originally thought of as the “Ant's Pants” for 1/72nd scale Shermans, it is now overshadowed by other manufacturers’ 1/72 scale Sherman kits. This is the same kit with extra parts for the above turret rocket tubes but minus the link& length tracks found in the original. More on this later.
The detail on all plastic parts is extremely good with no flash and the only sink marks were on the inside of parts where they won't be seen. Indeed, the sprues look brand new rather than the twenty or thirty years that they've actually been around, in fact, the whole kit is only let down by the hull/turret combination (apparently a rare species) and the rubber band tracks.
The “A” sprue has the upper hull parts, turret and crew figure. “B” has the lower hull, eight-piece radial engine and other internal bits, road wheels, drive sprockets, idlers and six two-piece suspension bogeys. “C”, the new sprue, has the rocket tubes and their mounts.
The one-piece tracks are well detailed, far better than some of Esci's earlier rubber bands and may be quite usable if the correct glue can be had. They're not as soft and flexible as Dragon's DS 100 but of course what we really want is link and length.
On the subject of link and length tracks, several times recently, I've commented that I thought Italeri have “missed an opportunity” by not adding to one or more of these ex-Esci kits to improve them but I've come to the conclusion that the reason this is not happening is contractual. I think, though its only a guess, that Italeri have agreed to not fiddle with the plastic but are allowed to alter the instructions, decals and box art. Bummer!
You can have any colour you want providing it's Olive Drab and the decals aren't much better with three plain white stars plus an optional three with stenciled rings and nothing else.
The experts and Shermaholics will opt for the excellent Dragon Shermans in this scale but for the rest of us, particularly those who think any good collection of models should have at least one Sherman in it, this ex-Esci kit by Italeri or the earlier mentioned M4A1 will fit the bill nicely.
It should be cheaper than the others, as easy to build and almost as detailed and hey, you can fiddle with the colours all you want. After all, it is your model!
Thanks to Italeri for the review sample.
Text by Glen Porter