Kit Preview : 1/76 Airfix M4 Sherman

About the manufacturer
Airfix started small scale military modeling in the sixties with a range of OO/HO soft plastic figures and styrene aimed at children. OO/HO scaled to 1/76, which was compatible with OO gauge railway sets, OO being 1/76 rolling stock on HO gauge track. OO is still the most popular guage in the UK and a ready source of diorama buildings and accessories.
Airfix rebranded some of their range as 1/72 in the last decade but the kits are still 1/76. The latest offerings such as the Jeep of the GMC Jimmy are true 1/72 however.
The original range of 1/76 kits is still available today (7/09) and is now complemented by the JB range, also in 1/76.

About the vehicle

About the kit
This must be the first 1/76 model ever produced. It holds a lot of nostalgia value but is too flawed for serious modeling.

The overall level of detail is mediocre, with the lights being mere bumps. The main fault is the undersize turret (2mm in diameter) and the resulting smaller turret ring, which is too tight to fit a larger turret. You would have to carve off the splash guard and replace it with a bigger one (or move it). The other issue is the transmission cover, whish seems to be a cross between the three-piece bolted and the later one piece cast models. The VVSS suspension is good but the sprockets lack any detail.
In summary the model can be improved with a lot of work (new turret, reworked splash guard, new transmission cover, very mucho detailing) at a cost several times the price of the model, or in my case it will serve as a source for VVSS parts for Fujimi kits.
Finally, enjoy a discussion on this kit a the Unofficial Airfix Modeller's Forum.

Review date: 9/10/2009