Battlefront M4 Sherman – Review

Today Paul is back in the desert with Battlefront’s new Shermans.

 

Regular readers will remember that I recently reviewed Battlefront’s new Fighting First box. Today I share a review of the USA’s iconic Sherman.

 

Review:

M4 Sherman Frame

The Sherman frame is fairly compact for a full sized tank. There are not a lot of spare pieces here. There is an extra transmission cover (single piece cast and three piece bolted), an extra mantlet and gun and some sand skirts. So virtually all parts included are needed.

 

I started assembly by clipping out all the pieces. As always with the 50cal machine guns, I clipped the frame first. This puts less stress on the narrow barrel meaning it shouldn’t snap. This worked and I was able to clip out all 5 machine guns without breaking any.

The turret has 4 mounting points to the frame. Care should be taken with these, as the mounting points are visible on the bottom of the turrets. Otherwise assembly was straightforward. There are 13 pieces for a buttoned up vehicle and 14 for an unbuttoned commanders vehicle.

Pieces ready for cleanup and assembly

I trialed something new with the Shermans. I left the tracks off and painted them separately. This worked really well. Painting the tracks is usually the worst part of painting tanks and this certainly made it easier. I will definitely use this method again. Otherwise I made use of the stowage provided but mixed up the pieces used and where I placed them to provide some variety. Unlike the old resin and metal box sets where there was some variety in models, all these Shermans are identical and really benefit from a little stowage, different placement of MGs and a variety of commanders to make them look different. Like the Stuarts, the Shermans contain new tarps for attaching to the sides. I really like this new stowage.

Models assembled and ready for priming

The instructions were simple to follow and I had no problems putting this vehicle together. Of all the models in this Fighting First box, the Sherman was the most straightforward. I plan to use these as a single HQ vehicle with a platoon of 4. However it could easily be an HQ section of 2 and a platoon of 3.

 

Battlefront have a nice Sherman spotlight covering a background, box contents, pictures and assembly guides. You can find the Fighting First box in the online store.

 

Painting:

After blu-tacing all pieces to bottle tops, I started with a simple spray prime coat with flat white.

I then sprayed the vehicles with the new Flames of War US Armour Spray. I then touched up any bits I missed using a brush and Brown Violet. Brown Violet is not an exact match for the new spray. I expect it probably matches the new Colours of War paints (I haven’t picked any of these up yet). This wasn’t a big problem as I was going to wash the models anyway.

Some of the Shermans following the US Armour spray

Next I hit the models with a Army Painter Strong Tone wash.

When dry, I mixed up 80% Brown Violet and 20% Iraqi Sand and highlighted the vehicles.

Finally I finished up the highlights with a very light edge highlight using pure Iraqi Sand.

The tarps are Khaki, tracks are black with an Iraqi Sand light highlight. The commanders head wear and the tools are chocolate with a Flat Earth highlight.

Painting Finished

Decals:

As I mentioned in the review, the Fighting first box contains a full set of decals. The decals included are the new, distinctive MW yellow decals. These are in a word, terrific. There are turret stripes and stars, tank numbers, unit markings and the US flags for the sides and the 2 decals for the transmission covers.

I found the decals in the box the best I have used. They really transform the plan Olive Drab vehicles into something much more impressive looking. All the decals were simple to apply except the turret stripes and stars. Basically there is one long decal for each side that joins at the back. They wrap from the end of the mantlet right around to the other side of the mantlet. I tore one getting it off the backing paper and tore another putting it into position. Real caution is needed here. There is a little bit of overlap for the 2 stripes so you can cover tears with a slight overlap. However there are no spare decals so if it goes really badly, you will be without a decal for one of your vehicles.

In the Game:

The Sherman is afraid of no vehicles in the desert. Well aside from the Marder and the Tiger. Nothing else can take one out easily. Oh, except from the Flak 88. And possibly the Italian big guns when they are released.  :) There will always be a natural predator for every vehicle, but the Sherman really is a tough customer. Front armour 6 means that that the short 75mm gun on the Panzer IV isn’t a threat. At long range, the Pak 38 at AT9 and the Panzer III AT 8 or 9 at isn’t much of a worry either.

The Sherman comes standard with a stabilizer which allows full ROF on the move at a plus one penalty. Against AT 10, 12 and 14 the Shermans should be looking to stay on the move to find targets whilst minimizing return fire. Often this can be achieved by putting just some of an enemy unit in sight of the Shermans. The enemy will then need to move some or all of the survivors to return fire.

Finally, the Sherman (unlike the Lee) comes with the 50 cal. This is one of the US gifts that just keeps giving. It has a high ROF, can open up armoured cars and take down gun lines. Finally it is an AA MG so can (with a small chance) bring down a plane. Not bad for a secondary weapon.

Summary:

Overall, the Shermans are a great new addition from Battlefront. The new smooth plastic surface works really well for the smooth rounded lines of the vehicle. Unlike the old resin models, there are no imperfections to mar this clean surface. The models are simple to assemble and can be done quickly. Finally, the distinctive decals really transform the model.

 

Note: I haven’t hit these with a matt varnish yet so ignore the slightly shiny sections on the hull sides. This is the gloss varnish I put down prior to decals.

 

Well, thats it. I hope you enjoyed the review. Roll pictures!