I won’t go into much detail about the M4 as so much has been written about it already. This particular model of the M4 was produced from March to December 1944 with just under 2000 being built. It was basically an upgunned M4A3 with a 76mm M1 gun in a new larger turret.
The kit itself contains a small photo etch fret of 14 parts, but as you can imagine, this set from ET Models significantly improves on that. This set contains approximately 120 pieces on 6 frets. The instructions and website say 5 frets but there is a small 6th fret as you can see from the images. This small extra 6th fret is actually part of fret B, the largest fret, at least as far as the instructions go. You will also need to source small quantities of rod in diameters of 0.2mm, 0.4mm and 0.8mm.
The items in this set upgrade various items all over the tank, but a significant proportion are used on the rear of the vehicle. The stowage rack at the rear of the vehicle, made from approx 45 pieces, is added to the kit. This isn’t part of the original kit and will allow more diorama options. The rack can be shown folded flat or opened out ready for you to add jerry cans, packs etc.
Each of the 6 suspension bogies receives a piece of folded PE to the top that replaces the track skids. There is a single piece of PE that is used as a guide to drill holes in the right places to add bolt heads, which although not labelled in the diagrams are included on fret A. Still at the rear of the tank, the spare track block racks are added, one per side. This is where that extra 6th fret comes in. My guess is that they made a mistake on fret B and didn’t have enough parts to add a second spare track block. Hence the extra small fret that rectifies that mistake. All the usual tool clamps, various brackets and clamps are replaced with PE, some using as many as 4 parts, The fenders, light guards and some hatch detail are also added.
The final section is a complete overhaul of the 50 cal that comes with the kit. It’s easier to say that all that is used of the kit gun is the block and barrel, everything else is replaced. There’s also some PE ammunition belts in this set so you can show the ammo box open and a belt of ammo running to the breech of the 50 cal. There’s about 20 pieces of PE used in the 50 cal.
Overall this set of PE upgrades some features of the kit and adds new features to it as well. There is some fiddly work in this if you plan on using every single piece of PE supplied and strong magnifiers are a must. This is a not a set that is suitable for your first try at using PE, but if you have a few frets under your belt this set could make your M4A3(76)W into a show stopper.
M4 (76mm) Sherman Medium Tank 1943-65, Steven Zaloga, Osprey New Vanguard
The M4 Sherman at War, Steven Zaloga, Concord Publications
The Sherman at War (2), Steven Zaloga, Concord Publications
Thanks to ET Models for supplying the sample set.