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In-Box Review
135
M4A3E8 Stowage set
M4A3E8 1945 Update Set
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by: Rick Cooper [ CLOVIS899 ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction

Nothing seems to make a model of a WWII era US Sherman tank come to life quite like the stowage does. Legend Productions has now released a comprehensive update set for the M4A3E8 Sherman that will enable you to nearly bury the vehicle in stowage if you so choose. It should also be mentioned that this offering has more than a passing look of ‘Fury’ from the film of the same name.

Contents

Inside the sturdy cardboard box you will find a large selection of parts in resin, photo-etch, paper, as well as string, brass wire, and decals.
In resin you will find;
6 logs
13 different soft sided packs, tarps, rolls, etc.
7 water and fuel cans with separate handles
7 helmets
Short run of spare track
8 ammo crates
2 each of C and K ration crates
3 generic crates
Several odds and ends; tool box, bucket, oil can, tow cable clamps, etc.
Also, a photo-etched piece with 25 or so pieces
A decal sheet with numerous markings
A thick piece of string as well as a thinner, longer piece, plus a short length of brass wire
Finally, a piece of printed 10- in 1 ration sleeves and menus as well as a full color instruction sheet of sorts.

Review

Everything comes packed in a very sturdy cardboard box with an end flap that tucks into the sides helping to ensure that everything stays right where it is supposed to be. Inside you have a pair of sip lock style poly bags that hold the resin in one and the decals, strings, and wire in the other. The photo-etch, the printed ration boxes and the instructions sit safely underneath the poly bags.

First impressions are that everything is perfectly cast; I could not find a blemish on a single piece, large or small. A second, more careful inspection reveals that indeed nothing was amiss, no broken fuel can handles, no air bubbles, no pits anywhere. Of course, if you have ever seen a Legend Productions update set it is hard to find an imperfection in anything they cast.

The soft sided pieces are all very well done with nice strap and buckle detail. The pieces that are intended for the turret sides have a nice curve to them that will enable them to sit snug against the side. In addition, the avoid the problem of appearing to be floating on the side as the straps go all the way to the top of the casting giving the impression that they are secured to the stowage loops seen on the side of Sherman turrets.

The large rolled tarp that is often seen on the rear looks to be a good fit as well. The placement is a bit different than what you might expect, it does not exactly drape over the rear of the vehicle. Instead, you need to add a stack of materials, such as ammo cases, 5 gallon water cans, etc. on to the folding stowage shelf (neatly provided in photo-etch) which the large tarp will now fit over bringing the most of the rear deck stowage all together in a larger, comprehensive pile.

What I believe is the highlights of the set are the ammo and ration crates. What makes them the stars of the show are the decals that Legend has provided for each of these castings. The decals for each are very comprehensive with every marking faithfully reproduced. To give you an idea of the level of detail, the .30 caliber crates require 4 decals while the .50 caliber crates require 9 separate decals. I particularly like the .30 caliber crates with the yellow decals as they provide a splash of color that can often stand out against the olive drab backdrop.

The mounted .30 caliber machine gun is cast in the cradle with the pintle, ammo can, and handle as separate pieces. Unfortunately, the barrel is not drilled out leaving it to the modeler to perform this required task.

The photo-etch provides all the obvious pieces such as the brush guards, tool stays, and periscope guards. Also, you get a nice foldable stowage shelf for the rear of the vehicle that has all the hinge detail to make it stand out. You also get a good number of smaller fittings for the locks, springs, and stays.

The string and the brass wire are a nice inclusion but I don’t think many modelers will use all of it. The larger string example that I received which is intended to be a tow cable was badly frayed. Most of these string cables seem to end up frayed so nothing out of the ordinary here, but I would replace it with real braided metal cable. The longer piece of string is meant to replicate a long piece of rope that can be used to secure the wood logs to the sides as well as secure the pile of stowage to the rear of the vehicle. As far as this goes the included string should be fine. The brass wire can be used to make handles or stowage loops if you desire.

The instructions are in full color with decent point and stick style directions for the decal placement and the trickier photo-etch. While not extensive I think that most modelers will have most of what they need. What is missing are instructions for the printable cutouts for the 10 in 1 meals. My sense of it, after some careful measuring is that the piece marked “Ration 10 - 1” should be the outer slip cover sleeve with two of the “Menu” boxes fitting neatly inside and all held together with a piece of metal strapping (not included). For a fuller understanding of US ration crates and boxes check out Tim Streeter’s excellent site, “Modelling the US Army in WWII”. I have provided the link that will take you straight to the information regarding rations but I would recommend that you spend some time browsing the entire site if you haven't already.

Finally, the piece de resistance; the German helmet with attached gas mask that is perfectly cast and is designed to fit right over the left light brush guard. I love this jewel of a casting as it just screams out late war Sherman like little else!

Conclusion

Another great stowage set from Legend Productions. The contents would probably allow you to dress up at least a pair of late war Sherman tanks. Not too many drawbacks with the set, I would have liked to see some instructions for the printable materials and a drilled out barrel for the .30 caliber machine gun but other than that no real problems. Let me emphasis how perfectly cast every single piece of resin is, no bubbles, pits, or imperfections of any kind throughout the whole set. Add in the photo-etch, the comprehensive decals, the printed ration sheet and even the somewhat pricey sticker can be justified.
SUMMARY
Highs: More than enough included to really 'dress up' a late war Sherman or two. Quality casting that is simply the finest around, great decals, nice printed cut out and fold up ration boxes, good photo etch piece that covers the common replaced parts.
Lows: Directions for the printed cut out rations would have been nice, as well as some sort of strapping material.
Verdict: Highly recommended, will go a long way toward adding some 'life' to any late war Sherman.
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: LF1300
  Suggested Retail: $42.99
  Related Link: Modelling the US Army in WWII
  PUBLISHED: Oct 18, 2015
  NATIONALITY: United States
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 88.73%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 88.07%

Our Thanks to Legend Productions USA!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
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About Rick Cooper (clovis899)
FROM: CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES

I have been modeling for about 30 years now. Once upon a time in another century I owned my own hobby shop; way more work than it was worth. I tip my opti-visor to those who make a real living at it. Mainly build armor these days but I keep working at figures, planes and the occasional ship.

Copyright ©2017 text by Rick Cooper [ CLOVIS899 ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of TankRat's. All rights reserved.


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Comments

How common (in the real world) was it for Shermans to have the log armor on the sides? I have seen it on Finnish StuGs but haven't noticed it on Shermans before (other than in the movie Fury)
OCT 19, 2015 - 02:54 AM
Legend never includes directions for stowage.
OCT 19, 2015 - 02:54 AM
Legend never includes directions for stowage. [/quote] Actually I was surprised to find them in mine
OCT 19, 2015 - 03:52 AM
that's good news. Use to be the only instructions were found in their conversions and updates sets. Stowage was always "figure it out yourself"
OCT 19, 2015 - 06:03 AM
it is good to see my hard work pays off in the review, to start with I just email legends to see if they where up for a Sherman update set called "fury" and they where, so I sent all the pictures I had to them with info and this is what the out come was, but they still need to add some items but we could not as of legal issues. the “Menu” boxes are right as this is haw they look on fury. I also got a set of decals done by echelon LINK dave
OCT 19, 2015 - 07:45 AM
Heya, Dave, Nice work on the research --- looks like a very complete set! What items could you not add for legal reasons? My guess would be a decal with the name "Fury" but what else would be prohibited by copyright law? Just curious as what might be considered typical U.S. Army vehicle stowage (and thus in the public domain) vs. what might be considered specific enough to get an aftermarket company sued... Got this one on my list for the new year. With Regards and Aloha, Johnny B.
OCT 27, 2015 - 03:44 PM
I picked up one of these too - it's a great set. I also completed my "Fury" build using this set - took about six months altogether, but it was worth it!
OCT 29, 2015 - 11:42 AM
I've seen it on a few photos. The logs may only be armor in an incidental sense. The logs were often roped together and used for self recovery when the vehicle became bogged in the mud (the autumn of 1944 was very wet and cold). One significant item that is missing from the stowage is the air recognition panel. Pretty much universal on the rear engine deck from the Normandy Breakout onward, to prevent friendly aircraft from attacking.
OCT 29, 2015 - 03:23 PM
hi johnny the name was one big thing and the other was the tank from tank museum as sony had all the rights. the items you need to make a full fury set is 1. new engine deck LINK 2. new rear vent grill under stowage rack 3. new rear mud guards 4. drivers side at the rear next to the engine deck there is a tool rack. dave
OCT 30, 2015 - 02:16 AM
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