by: Jeff Nelson [ ]
This is basically an in-box/start of build up review of the kit. I don't feel qualified to comment on the "accuracy" of the kit, but can offer my opinion on the overall level of quality.
One thing I noticed right away upon breaking the box open was the number of options that Academy has provided the builder. For the running gear alone you have two different wheel types (spoked and pressed), two different sprocket types (lace and normal), two different idler wheels (spoked and solid), as well as two different choices for the track return skids (elliptical and the regular oblong type). I wish other kit manufacturers would do more of this. Academy has even thought to provide two full extra bogie assemblies in the box..... buy three of these kits and you have a full suspension set to correct the Tamiya Early M4, not to mention a ton of extra roadwheels, idlers, sprockets, etc. You also get a choice between the "early' and "late" style differential covers.
The supplied tracks are the T-49 three bar cleat type, most common on French M-10's, but are nicely done rubber band style tracks. I am doing a US version, so I chose to replace these with the RHPS T-51 style set. A word of warning for those trying to use these RHPS tracks on the Academy kit, however. The Academy sprockets are a tad narrower than the Tamiya sprockets, so the RHPS tracks will not fit unless a spacer is added in the middle of the two sprocket halves. I found this out after I had glued the sprockets together... so I had to sand each link down in thickness. They fit like a charm now and look quite good, so no harm done. It just would have been easier to fix the sprocket initially.
The level of detail provided is certainly on par with that of the later Tamiya kits. I have not built an Academy kit since their copy of Tamiya's PzKpfw IV H, and must say that I am pleasantly surprised. The molding is crisp and free of flash. Very nice!!!
The fit of the parts I have been able to get assembles so far has been excellent. I have the running gear, tracks, and interior of the hull done, and have had absolutely no issues at all. There are no gaps or ill fitting parts. The build is going very smoothly, aside from my aftermarket track hangup, and I can't fault Academy for that one. A little test fitting on my part would have alleviated that problem right away.
conclusionsI would highly recommend this kit to anybody that has an interest in Allied armor. I am not a Shermaholic like some others, but even I can see the value presented here. If you like to build Shermans - buy this kit. You not only will get a sweet looking M-10 out of the deal, but your spares box will thank you.
The only thing that isn't included that would have been nice, is a couple of crew figures. Allied builders are at a disadvantage in the figure department anyway - a crew figure or two would have been welcome. As it is, I'm going to have to get a resin crew from Verlinden or Warriors to top this thing off. Even in plastic - US/Commonwealth AFV crews are hard to come by. That is my only complaint.
I would highly recommend this kit to anybody that has an interest in Allied armor. I am not a Shermaholic like some others, but even I can see the value presented here. If you like to build Shermans - buy this kit.
Copyright ©2020 text by Jeff Nelson [ ]. 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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