Tamiya Kit No. 35346 - U.S. Medium Tank M4A3E8 Sherman “Easy Eight” European Theatre
U.S. Medium Tank M4A3E8 Sherman “Easy Eight” European Theatre
Tamiya 1/35 scale
Reviewed by Cookie Sewell
|Stock Number and Description
||Tamiya 1/35 Scale Military Miniatures Kit No. 35346; M4A3E8 Sherman “Easy Eight”
|Media and Contents:
|| 308 parts (290 in olive drab styrene, 10 clear styrene, 2 vinyl track runs, 6 vinyl caps).
||Clean, fast-building “Tamiya-Quality” version of the early production E8 suspension tank with 76mm gun.
||No etched brass options; very limited decal sheet selection
||Highly Recommended for all “Shermaholics” and modelers who do not like kits with lots and lots of parts!
B a c k g r o u n d
One of the most iconic vehicles ever built was the late war version of the US M4 Medium tank with all of the improvements and options now put in one place. This vehicle, the M4A3 (76W) HVSS, had the 500 HP Ford GAA V-8 engine, the 47 degree “Wet Stowage” hull, the T23 style turret with commander’s vision cupola and loader’s oval hatch, a 76mm M1A1C gun with muzzle brake, and the horizontal volute spring suspension system with T66 one-piece track link tracks. Some final improvements followed, such as the later T80 steel and T84 rubber pad connector-hinged tracks, but this was pretty much the final model.
It has been surprisingly hard until the last 15 years to find an accurate model of one in 1/35 scale. The first kit, Tamiya’s No. 3018/MT118, came out in the 1960s and was either motorized or unmotorized, but was truly a poor kit. It had around 200 parts but was around 1/33 scale, had one-sided wheels and tracks with no details, and was generally a bad kit (markings were taken from the 1951 movie “Here Come the Tanks” and not actual vehicles).
DML’s first attempt was No. 9009, Korean War with “Rice’s Red Devils” markings. This kit had over 700 parts with a small fret of etched brass and single link T66 tracks, but had some “soft” molding and a few of the parts were scrimped on. This kit was circa the early 1990s but at that time was a VAST improvement on the Tamiya one. Several other variations followed on this kit but probably their best one of the lot was their No. 6183 “Thunderbolt VII” with a lot of changes to the molds and details, such as the turret shapes and weld beads.
In the early 2000s a new company appeared, Tasca (now Asuka) which concentrated nearly completely on M4 medium tank variants. Their comparable version included kits like No. 35-023, M4A3E8 Sherman “Easy Eight” (Korean War). But this kit went to enormous lengths of details and had 1,163 parts, many of which were the tracks with separate guide teeth and pads (572 of the parts were the tracks alone). The details were very nicely done, but the kit was “fiddly” with nearly 20 parts per bogie assembly and semi-working suspension.
F i r s t L o o k
Now - after more than 47 years - Tamiya has finally stepped up and done a proper M4A3E8 kit worthy of their marque. They have gone for the early production (e.g. ETO variant) of the tank and the kit is a nicely done version of that vehicle.
For ONCE Tamiya has actually changed their molds and kit layout, and now the lower hull comes in six parts with a firewall and SPONSONS and fenders attach to it! Why it took them this long to come to the conclusion that the area over the tracks is not open is beyond me!
All of the parts except for the M2HB are new moldings from what I can tell.
The parts layout screams that Tamiya has a number of other new versions of the M4 family in the works so expect to see them make their own offerings of things like M4A3 late models, 105mm howitzer tanks, and the like. Some of the moldings may be shared with their earlier Israeli M50 and M51 kits (I suspect that is where the bogie assemblies came from but do not have either kit).
Options are at a premium but one thing it does offer is a moveable exhaust deflector assembly, as well as all hatches and the gun may be elevated. Tracks may be left to move due to the use of poly caps (oddly missing from this kit!) in the old Tamiya style. Bogies consist of eight parts each.
The hull halves fit together in a new and rather unique method: two pillars are used to attach to the sponsors/fenders and a mount is in place at the rear for another pin to fit it. The front of the hull slides into place under the bolt strip of the transmission cover. From the looks of things it looks suspiciously like a motorized version of the kit will be offered as motor mounts and fittings are present inside the hull, and this “snap together” feature is not needed for a static model.
The gun is nicely done (one piece barrel) with a three part muzzle brake with separate center deflector. The commander’s cupola has clear styrene inserts and also a pair of clear styrene goggles is provided for the commander half figure.
A very nicely done set of details is included such as styrene periscope guards and the complete stowage rack and clips for the M2HB machine gun.
Finishing options are very spartan, which was a surprise: olive drab with all white stars (5th AD, Germany 1945) or olive drab with white hull stars and blacked out turret stars (4th AD, Germany 1945). No bumper codes, names or other markings are provided.
C o n c l u s i o n
Overall this kit is a nice option for many modelers; while it is not as good on some of the details as the Tasca/Asuka or DML ones, it has half the parts of the DML kit and one-fourth the number from the Asuka one. This makes it a great “weekend” kit (which will take most upgrades for those that wish to find and fit them) but most modelers will want to track down after market markings to replace the bland ones in the kit.
S p r u e L a y o u t
A 66x2 Suspension, fender braces
E 8 M2HB machine gun, ammo box
J 2 Upper hull
K 56 Turret base, cupola, hatches, gun assembly, details
K1 1 Turret shell
L 57 Sponsons/fenders, transmission cover, hull details
M 2 Cementable vinyl track runs
N 10 Clear styrene
P 6 Lower hull assembly
R 28 Commander, engine deck, spare track links, exhaust deflector
– 6 Vinyl caps
Text by Cookie Sewell
Images by Brett Green
Page Created 16 January, 2016
Page Last Updated
16 January, 2016