by: Jim Rae [ ]
Although the 'basic' models from the three principal injection-moulded manufacturers of 1/48th scale armor - AFV Club, Tamiya and Hobby Boss are pretty good in themselves, they are lacking the many additions, which, IMO, bring a model in any scale to life. The last year or so has seen a number of companies concentrating exclusively on 1/48th scale, amongst them, the Czech company Black Dog.
T48003 - US Sherman Accessories Set is a 1/48th scale update set for Tamiya's M4 (# 32505). T48003 contains 36 parts moulded in a dark-grey resin. The set comes in a sturdy cardboard box inside a snap-top plastic bag and further protected by a strip of bubblewrap.
The set is designed for a Late-War M4 - particularly within the European theater. The set covers the the following areas:
Front Glacis Sandbag Armor
Rear (Engine-deck) stowage
Cullin Hedrerow Cutter
Various Rolled Tarpaulins
Jerry Cans, POL cans assorted ammunition boxes etc.
Personal gear including three tanker's helmets
'Liberated' items such as wine bottles, a box of cabbages etc.
All the items include integrally moulded tie-downs. The front (single piece) casting for the glacis includes 13 sandbags which are 'texturized' and include side seams -something you don't always get in 1/35th scale.... My only concern about this particular casting are the size of the sandbags - they DO seem a little large. What I DO like about this part is the front board which has several POL cans sculped in. The length of track is also well done - with the corners 'cutting into' the sandbags. See the photos...
The Hedgerow cutter consists of five pieces and is simplicity itself to assemble.
The most impressive casting is probably that of the stowage for the rear engine deck. Once again, this a commonly-seen feature on Late-War M4s when the crews amassed all sorts of additional equipment. The most notable is almost certainly the cabbages. This seems to be one of the parts from Black Dog's other sets - T48010: Food Supplies 1, In addition there are hemets POL drums, tarps etc. Once again, see the photos..
The other items are pretty 'generic' in the form of rolled tarpaulins etc. along with crew packs etc.
The personal items include several tanker's helmets which are excellent. Also present is a nicely-rendered Thompson SMG - unfortunately this was damaged, no doubt due to the delicacy of this part.
I still hold my doubts over the sandbag size - the only reason why this Review didn't get a 95% was for that reason. However, that niggle apart, this really is an extraordinarily fine piece of sculpting and casing. Quality is excellent with no air-holes in the castings. There was some minor damage to one of the smaller parts (the Thompson SMG) but that's pretty inevitable and not impossible to repair. A very imaginative set for anyone working in Quarter-Scale and definitely worth getting hold of for a Late-War Sherman.
VERY Highly Recommended