Each of the Archer Fine Transfer dry-transfer sets are researched by experts in their field and this time it’s Jeremy Moore that steps up. This new Free French Sherman set # AR35268 is for “Flandres II”, an M4A3 of the 2ème Division Blindée. The Flandres II designation means the first tank called Flandres in the unit has been destroyed or replaced, but unlike other tanks, the “II” is not painted on the hull. However this M4A3 is generally referred to as “Flandres II”. It carries the name of the French northern region of Flandres as tanks of the 3ème Escadron of the 12ème Régiment de Chasseurs d’Afrique had names of French Northern and Eastern regions. This particular tank is actually from the 3rd Escadron, not the 2nd Escadron as mentioned wrongly in the Archer instructions.
The instructions are printed in full color on a small sheet of paper but beware of the positioning of the small French flags which are shown the wrong way around (they should be blue/white/red from left to right instead of red/white/blue). The blue in the markings, especially for the 2ème DB disk symbol with the outline of France and the “Croix de Lorraine” (cross of Lorraine) appears to be too light, that’s the consensus among French modelers, and my old sets of markings for the 2ème DB (2nd armored division) from Al-By and Azimut both have a darker blue. The Cross of Lorraine also seems too low and should be more off center however there were variants of the symbol, so I’m talking in general terms here.
The flags on the side of the hull should have a wider border around them, in white or yellow, references differ on that matter but that’s easily fixed by trimming the transfer close to the flag, painting a white or yellow rectangle of proper dimensions on the hull, and applying the transfer. The instructions have a small temporary shipping data sheet that you have to cut out and glue on the kit and is a nice detail that appears on period photos, however I would personally have preferred to have it available as a transfer along with the other markings in this set. Lastly, I would have preferred more detailed profiles, for instance in this set the tank is a 47° 56° glacis hull M4A3 but the profile is of a 56° glacis hull generic Sherman, reducing the effectiveness of the positioning guide.
Highs: Easy to use, high quality dry transfers.Lows: Some inaccuracies in the markings and instructions.Verdict: Despite some minor inaccuracies in the markings and instructions, those transfers will look great on your Sherman as they are (I’d change the position of the flags but that’s easy). Colour is not that big an issue after the weathering process.
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