Hobby Boss took the 1/48th scale world by storm with their line of T-34's with full interiors. Less well received were their line of Sherman's, but perhaps Eduard can go some way to making them more acceptable with this 2 fret set of PE parts. They won't correct the dimensional errors, but they will improve the in-scale appearance of many of the smaller parts!
The set arrives on two frets, both of which are smaller than the usual Eduard size. The instructions for this set are of the usual Eduard style, and very clear, and in this case run to four sides.
The instructions begin by offering improvements for the two rectangular...............ok, I give up.......I'm not an Allied modeller, know sod all about the Sherman, and these two blocks on the rear of the hull have me thoroughly scratching my head? I've been through all the Sherman books I have and I can't find them referred to. They'll look very nice with the Eduard PE parts on though!
The towing pintle is completely replaced by Eduard, and a new grab handle for the rear engine hatch is supplied, although i should imagine most modeller's will simply replace this with wire for a more three dimensional appearance. The improvements for all the various hatches, both turret and deck include grab handles again, periscope housings, brush guards for the periscopes, and locking hasps. The attachment strips for the sand shields along either side of the bottom of the hull are represented by Hobbyboss as just solid strips, and after careful removal, Eduard supply these with the 'holes', which also affords the modeller the opportunity to represent them as damaged.
For the engine deck there is a really nice grill supplied, which will not however, be seen if you're fitting the armoured cover supplied by Hobbyboss, but another grill is supplied for the underside of the cover, which was hinged, so again, this gives the modeller the opportunity to model it in a different configuration to that which the instructions show. Small retaining chains are also supplied for the filler caps. Personally I don't really like these, as they always appear to be too 'flat' for me, but in 1/48th scale, if you really wish to use 'real' chain, then it will be difficult to source at the correct size. There is a perforated cooling jacket supplied for the bow machine gun, which I find terribly difficult to roll up into a perfect cylinder, even after annealing, although if you do manage it, it's a great improvement!
Both front fenders are replaced, and this of course mean once again that realistic looking wear and tear can be depicted. New brush guards for all the lights, along with various fittings and fixtures all over the hull are supplied, along with PE replacements for all the tool stowage straps and brackets. The engine grill at the rear of the hull underneath the overhanging deck is also supplied rather than replaced, since Hobbyboss don't include one.
For the turret we're offered a full PE mount for the .30 cal, including ammunition box, ammo belt so that it can be displayed open or closed, but oddly, no cooling jacket this time for the .30 cal itself. The lifting lugs are replaced with PE, not sure about them as the styrene parts supplied by Hobbyboss look more in-scale to me, a PE brush guard for the two turret periscopes, as well as their housings, along with hasps for the hatch. A nice touch are the three large PE straps for the rear of the turret, which again were completely omitted by Hobbyboss, although their attachment brackets were included, which will have to be removed to fit the Eduard straps. There are a lot of parts to improve the turret mounted .50 cal! New locking handle on the barrel, completely new mount, ammunition box, open or closed, ammunition belt, cooling jacket, again this will need to be rolled into a cone shape, new rear handle with trigger mechanism, and a large plate for the top of the gun with sight and vane. Get this lot on and it will be work of art and no mean feat!
Although I know very little about Sherman's, I have all the Hobbyboss ones in my stash, and now that I've examined this Eduard set close up, I can't see myself building one without using an Eduard set! They just add so much to them in this scale! My only reservation, would be the price which is comparable with the cost of the kit itself. Apart from this one reservation......recommended!
Eduard have produced a beautiful little set that will certainly go a long way to making these diminutive Hobbyboss kits stand out. Although at a price that matches the cost of the original kit, for only two small frets, I wonder how many modellers will take the plunge!