Plastic Soldier Company have a growing range of plastic vehicles in both 15mm and 1/72nd scale, mainly aimed at the war-gaming market. Given this market is dominated by resin/metal miniatures, the company's lower-cost injection molded plastic kits offer an interesting alternative.
This kit is the 15mm M4A4 Sherman V, mainly used by British and Commonwealth forces during the later war period.
Resin/metal war-gaming vehicle miniatures generally have a limited number of parts. This means quick assembly and a paint job and they are ready for the table. The Plastic Soldier Company miniatures are different. They are complex models featuring a good number of parts which require assembly. This is no instant army - but the result is stunning. Assembly is very straight-forward and because these are injection molded plastic they can be assembled using standard plastic cement.
The first thing you notice when you take the 5 identical sprues out of the box is the sharpness of the detail. Although these 15mm scale vehicles are tiny and primarily intended for war-gaming, they are packed with all the detail a modeller would expect from a larger scale kit.
The second thing you notice is the sprues are packed with options for building multiple variants. The M4A4 sprue has different hulls and turrets for building the 75mm M4A4 and the 17-pounder Firefly variants as well as additional stowage and optional side skirts. Interestingly, both hulls supplied are "dry" with applique armor covering the ammunition stowage bins molded on the hull. Given the minor differences between the Sherman V and Firefly hulls it would have given modellers more options if the kit offered both "wet" and "dry" hulls which could be fitted with the hull machine gun for the standard Sherman V or the blanking plate for the Firefly.
Instructions show the parts on the sprue for each variant - color coded for simplicity. Parts fit is excellent, with no flash.
Tracks are molded in upper and lower pieces which need to be glued onto the mostly one-piece running gear. Care needs to be taken here to clamp these track halves together otherwise there can be noticeable gaps which will need to be filled. However the fit of these parts is good and tracks include realistic "sag" over the return rollers. This makes the tracks look very natural on the finished kit.
There are no decals supplied with these kits, but the company offers a range of 15mm decals for well known units like the 11th and 4th British Armoured Divisions as well as 1st Polish and 4th Canadian Armoured Divisions. Each decal set is 4 sheets which contain enough insignia, bridge and tactical markings for up to 50 vehicles. Clearly this is aimed at gamers who are creating large unit sets.
Having 5 sprues in the box allows a gamer to build a British Tank Troop (two Sherman Vs and a Firefly) as well as a command team of two Sherman Vs. The Plastic Soldier Company website also offer the Sherman V sprues for individual sale, so a war-gamer can flesh out missing vehicles without having to buy another whole 5-vehicle box.
15mm is generally equivalent to 1/100th scale. While the Plastic Soldier Company vehicles are slightly smaller than Battlefront vehicles any difference is minor and these tanks will readily mix together for gamers fielding a mixed force of plastic and metal/resin vehicles.
Overall, these are complex and well-detailed miniatures. While they are more complex to put together then their resin/metal counterparts the end result is superb. Detail is sharp and each kits allow a number of variants to be built. The additional stowage allows individualization of vehicles.
Highs: Great detail. Low-cost alternative to resin/metal. Lots of options to build multiple variants.Lows: No "dry" hull option. No decals.Verdict: This offering from PSC is a welcome addition to wargamers and the quality and detail is sure to satisy modellers working in 1/100.