by: Sabot [ ]
Mark Pieters did a good review of the new M4A3 75mm kit back in December so I will try to show a side-by-side comparison of what is actually different in the M4A3 75mm (35250) and the M4A3 105mm (35251). The intent is to give modelers an idea of what is new and what is the same so they can make an informed decision on whether or not to purchase these kits. I will also be referencing the older M4A3 (35122) as well as the M4 Early Production kit (35190). Combined with Tamiya’s original M4A3E8 (MT-118) and the M4A3E2 “Jumbo” (35139), these two new kits are the fifth and sixth Tamiya Shermans. Confused yet?
To start off with, both kits share the same upper and lower hulls as the original M4A3. The running gear and hull fittings are the same as the original M4A3 (“A” & “B” sprues), including the drive sprockets and idler wheel. Early type sprockets are included due to common sprues with the M4 Early (“D” sprues, 2 each). The tracks are the rubber chevron ones introduced with the M4 Early.
The new M4A3 75mm also includes smooth, solid dished road wheels (“H” sprue) not found in any other kit. The new M4A3’s turret (“C”) sprue is identical to the old M4A3’s turret sprue with one notable exception, the new turret has a separate loader’s hatch and the old one is molded in place. The turret still has two cupola choices.
The M4A3 105mm turret has only one cupola option, the newer one-piece hatch type. It also includes a .50 cal hold down bracket not found on the other M4A3 turrets.
The majority of the remaining sprue are identical. Both have two “X” sprue that include ammo cans, crates and the ¾ tank commander figure. Each has one “Y” sprue that includes the individual weapons and equipment for the infantry figures. The final sprues contain the three infantry figures. Both kits have the “Z” sprue that contains two figures and the M4A3 75mm has a “V” sprue with a firing infantryman. The M4A3 105mm has a “W” sprue with an infantryman peeking around the corner.
All in all, both kits are good, but very similar to all but the ancient M4A3E8, and have a lot in common with the M4 Early. The tank crew figures and infantry figures are a nice addition. Too bad Tamiya didn’t cover up the upper hull sponsons that have plagued this kit since the first M4A3 appeared in 1981. Additionally, it would have been nice to include the breech to the main gun like they did with the M4 Early, and that kit only has one hatch to look into. While the M4A3 75mm is a little pricey for a basic rehash of the original M4A3, the M4A3 105mm is worth the money, especially if you get a good deal. I found mine as a Squadron.com Subscriber’s Special for $24.99 and got the M4A3 75mm also as a Subscriber’s Special for $16.99. Well worth the money, especially when you throw in all the extra parts and figures.
Copyright ©2020 text by Sabot [ ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Model Shipwrights. All rights reserved.
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