by: Rick Cooper [ ]
Nothing seems to make a model of a WWII era US Sherman tank come to life quite like the stowage does. Legend Productions has now released a comprehensive update set for the M4A3E8 Sherman that will enable you to nearly bury the vehicle in stowage if you so choose. It should also be mentioned that this offering has more than a passing look of ‘Fury’ from the film of the same name.
Inside the sturdy cardboard box you will find a large selection of parts in resin, photo-etch, paper, as well as string, brass wire, and decals.
In resin you will find;
13 different soft sided packs, tarps, rolls, etc.
7 water and fuel cans with separate handles
Short run of spare track
8 ammo crates
2 each of C and K ration crates
3 generic crates
Several odds and ends; tool box, bucket, oil can, tow cable clamps, etc.
Also, a photo-etched piece with 25 or so pieces
A decal sheet with numerous markings
A thick piece of string as well as a thinner, longer piece, plus a short length of brass wire
Finally, a piece of printed 10- in 1 ration sleeves and menus as well as a full color instruction sheet of sorts.
Everything comes packed in a very sturdy cardboard box with an end flap that tucks into the sides helping to ensure that everything stays right where it is supposed to be. Inside you have a pair of sip lock style poly bags that hold the resin in one and the decals, strings, and wire in the other. The photo-etch, the printed ration boxes and the instructions sit safely underneath the poly bags.
First impressions are that everything is perfectly cast; I could not find a blemish on a single piece, large or small. A second, more careful inspection reveals that indeed nothing was amiss, no broken fuel can handles, no air bubbles, no pits anywhere. Of course, if you have ever seen a Legend Productions update set it is hard to find an imperfection in anything they cast.
The soft sided pieces are all very well done with nice strap and buckle detail. The pieces that are intended for the turret sides have a nice curve to them that will enable them to sit snug against the side. In addition, the avoid the problem of appearing to be floating on the side as the straps go all the way to the top of the casting giving the impression that they are secured to the stowage loops seen on the side of Sherman turrets.
The large rolled tarp that is often seen on the rear looks to be a good fit as well. The placement is a bit different than what you might expect, it does not exactly drape over the rear of the vehicle. Instead, you need to add a stack of materials, such as ammo cases, 5 gallon water cans, etc. on to the folding stowage shelf (neatly provided in photo-etch) which the large tarp will now fit over bringing the most of the rear deck stowage all together in a larger, comprehensive pile.
What I believe is the highlights of the set are the ammo and ration crates. What makes them the stars of the show are the decals that Legend has provided for each of these castings. The decals for each are very comprehensive with every marking faithfully reproduced. To give you an idea of the level of detail, the .30 caliber crates require 4 decals while the .50 caliber crates require 9 separate decals. I particularly like the .30 caliber crates with the yellow decals as they provide a splash of color that can often stand out against the olive drab backdrop.
The mounted .30 caliber machine gun is cast in the cradle with the pintle, ammo can, and handle as separate pieces. Unfortunately, the barrel is not drilled out leaving it to the modeler to perform this required task.
The photo-etch provides all the obvious pieces such as the brush guards, tool stays, and periscope guards. Also, you get a nice foldable stowage shelf for the rear of the vehicle that has all the hinge detail to make it stand out. You also get a good number of smaller fittings for the locks, springs, and stays.
The string and the brass wire are a nice inclusion but I don’t think many modelers will use all of it. The larger string example that I received which is intended to be a tow cable was badly frayed. Most of these string cables seem to end up frayed so nothing out of the ordinary here, but I would replace it with real braided metal cable. The longer piece of string is meant to replicate a long piece of rope that can be used to secure the wood logs to the sides as well as secure the pile of stowage to the rear of the vehicle. As far as this goes the included string should be fine. The brass wire can be used to make handles or stowage loops if you desire.
The instructions are in full color with decent point and stick style directions for the decal placement and the trickier photo-etch. While not extensive I think that most modelers will have most of what they need. What is missing are instructions for the printable cutouts for the 10 in 1 meals. My sense of it, after some careful measuring is that the piece marked “Ration 10 - 1” should be the outer slip cover sleeve with two of the “Menu” boxes fitting neatly inside and all held together with a piece of metal strapping (not included). For a fuller understanding of US ration crates and boxes check out Tim Streeter’s excellent site, “Modelling the US Army in WWII”. I have provided the link that will take you straight to the information regarding rations but I would recommend that you spend some time browsing the entire site if you haven't already.
Finally, the piece de resistance; the German helmet with attached gas mask that is perfectly cast and is designed to fit right over the left light brush guard. I love this jewel of a casting as it just screams out late war Sherman like little else!
Another great stowage set from Legend Productions. The contents would probably allow you to dress up at least a pair of late war Sherman tanks. Not too many drawbacks with the set, I would have liked to see some instructions for the printable materials and a drilled out barrel for the .30 caliber machine gun but other than that no real problems. Let me emphasis how perfectly cast every single piece of resin is, no bubbles, pits, or imperfections of any kind throughout the whole set. Add in the photo-etch, the comprehensive decals, the printed ration sheet and even the somewhat pricey sticker can be justified.