Tank Sides 3 Board Sherman Marine
Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII


The GCLaser Company was formed in March 2003, specializing in laser-cut micro-plywood railroad structure and detail kits. They have now entered the 1/35th scale arena with some new and rather innovative kits. With an eye towards making pre cut scale lumber kits, they have released a set of wooden side armor for the Pacific theater Sherman.

Within a heavy plastic bag under a heavy paper header, we find a large fret of laser cut plywood and two sprues of Grandt Line bolts. Be careful removing the staples form the header as the inside of the header is where the instructions are printed.

The instruction sequence follows the parts numbers so after locating the pertinent pieces (nicely delineated by lightly burned lines) I held them up to the light and saw that very small connection points held the parts to the fret. A quick pass with the scalpel and they were loose.

The large side panels are covered with slats to which one adds the Grandt Line bolts. With the bolts being styrene, I decided to try a different approach to mounting them. I lined up the side pieces to my Academy M4A2 Pacific Sherman and used the bolt holes to mark the hull sides with pilot holes.

The pilot holes were then drilled out with a bit matching the diameter of the bolt shanks. I now cut the bolt shanks long and this allowed me to mount the side armor to the upper hull and run liquid cement along the insides for a clean strong joint. Photo two is a close up of the appearance of the counter sunk bolt head.

As for accuracy, I did not find any photos of a late M4A2 (large hull hatches) with wooden side armor. I did find several on the M4A3 so I pulled out Academy’s M4A3E8 Dozer kit and lined up the side panel to the hole, a small mismatch at the rear hull plate occurred, see photo three.

A great advantage of this medium is the ability to scale damage. See the inset on photo one. While it is pricey, it is a high quality product. If photographic proof of a large hatch M4A2 appears, this set would be highly recommended. Thanks to GCLaser for the review sample.

- Saul Garcia


Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII © 2002—2005 Timothy S. Streeter