The M4A3E8 Sherman earned the nickname "Easy 8" from its experimental designation (E8). This new variant entered into WWII late in the war (Dec 1944). It sported the much vaunted HVSS (horizontal volute spring suspension) wide track and suspension upgrade. This gave the tank a much better ride and more stable firing platform. The M4A3E8 was so successful that it was the used during the post WWII years, in Korea, and even by many other countries during the cold war period.
Tasca has release several Shermans recently. This is just another in what would be considered a boon to allied modelers. This variant is certainly a 'fan' favorite of modelers, being produced in many scales over the years. However this kit by Tasca appears to be very well researched and detailed. It does offers a couple of different build options for the kit maker. For one you can select between (2) different 76mm guns; one with the late period muzzle brake, and one without. An extra gun barrel is also included, but I get the impression many extra parts from prior Sherman releases may be on these sprues, and luckily Tasca's instructions seemed to be solid.
The HVSS system is designed to articulate so it will be important not to glue the wrong parts. There is an insert included with our release that corrects a mistake to the HVSS portion of the instructions. The kit also include T66 track links. This is a very nice addition to this kit and will certainly help add value for the modeler.
The hull is actually made from distinct flat pieces of plastic, which is a rarity these days. Of course the differential cover is a single piece of molded plastic, just like the real thing.
There is so much detail and intricacy in this kit. For example the 50mm gun has no less than 15 parts once fully mounted. There is even a spare barrel and an optional barrel without a handle. The Jerry cans can be made in two different styles (water/gas) and are made of (4) separate parts! The main can, the top of the can, the handle and the cap. A clear plastic commander's cupola is included (with a plain plastic version) to achieve a nice effect with the glass vision blocks. There are also photo-etched parts for the periscope guard and light guard.
Decals and Markings
There are decals and marking diagrams for four different units during WWII.
- 5th Armored Division, April 1945
- 66th Tank Battalion, 2nd Armored Div. Tueven, Belgium, February 1945
- 35th Tank Battalion, 4th Armored Div. Bastogne, February 1945
- 8th Amored Division, Kirchhellen, Germany, March 1945
The paint schemes are all in plain olive drab. Tamiya Colors are used in the instructions and a chart is provided to match those codes to GSI (Gunze Sangyo) as well.
As stated earlier this is a highly detailed kit. And as I am not an expert on this variant (nor Sherman tanks as a whole) I will leave the nit-picking to others. As Tasca is known for their attention to detail and higher cost, it's probably no surprise that this kit will be highly sought after by allied AFV fans. Highly recommended.