Riveted Sherman Lower Hull
Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII


When someone gets the Sherman bug, it is nice to know that there are some companies one can go to and get high quality products that will meet or exceed one's expectations and capabilities. One of these is Formations, which also has several time saving sets; this particular lower hull is one of them.

In an over-sized resealable with a standard heavy paper header, this packages seems out of place but the contents are readily viewable. Inside is the one piece lower hull tub along with a rear plate, cylindrical air cleaners, sponson to rear hull plates, exhausts, suspension mounting plates, an escape hatch, and a complete set of adjustable idler mounts.

No air bubbles, blobs from torn molds, warping, or unintentional flash was found on any of the parts. Reproduction of fine details is excellent. The resin is not hard and takes sawing, cutting, filing, and sanding well. Like most resins, any paint works.

Built using ordnance drawings, it is very accurate with excellent rivet and bolt detail on the sides, fuel drain ports on the lower sponsons, hulls stiffeners and drains.

The tub has scribed in location marks to assist the modeler in trimming the part to fit a particular kit. This is a very nice touch. The instructions are quite helpful in letting the modeler know to cut off the strip of bolts on the edge of the lower hull tub when mounting a one piece transmission armor cover.

The included escape hatch is a mystery which seems to be an afterthought. While I understand the possibility of using this hull with various versions of the Sherman which may have different locations of the escape hatch, it should be noted that removing the one already molded on will be very difficult. To get a smooth surface without destroying adjacent rivet detail will test anyone's skills. Another thing to consider is the extra armor at the forward end of the hull tub. This makes it unsuitable for the M3 Lee/Grant series. See the last photo for a comparison of the Academy kit hull to this offering. Bear in mind that the M3 Medium series also had an extra row of rivets for a mount on the inside of the hull.

To use, I first grabbed it by the rather thick casting blocks and dipped it in almost boiling water for about 20 seconds. While I did not perceive any hull warpage, this treatment ensures me that none is there as it relaxes the resin to the state is was within the mold.

Next, I dry fitted the rear hull plate and found that thinning the thick side walls greatly improved the fit. No brass wire was included for the engine hatch handle but this was taken from the upper hull set (most of which have a length included for filler port handles). Last, add the tow pintles after completely drilling out the pin holes.

The adjustable idler mounts were added next but the idler swing arms left loose until the tracks are fitted. Since the Shermans use live tracks, one should rotate the idler until the track shows no visible sag.

The mounting plates seemed designed for Tamiya. This means that other suspensions will need to have their mounting pegs drilled either to the suspension backing plate or the hull tub. On a hull tub of this vintage, I would prefer to use an early suspension type rather than Tamiya's late type.

All in all, this is a very well done hull tub which adds all the little details normally not found on kit hull tubs. My thanks for Formations for including this product sample along with my order. Items are available directly from their web site.

- Saul Garcia


Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII © 2002—2007 Timothy S. Streeter