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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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