by: Darren Baker [ ]
One of the latest products on offer from Legend Productions is a detailing set for an M4A3E8 Sherman. The set has been designed for use with the Tamiya offering of the M4A3E8 Sherman, kit No 35346. This is a 1/35th scale kit offering, that while designed for the Tamiya kit will likely be useable on most offerings of the M4A3E8 Sherman.
The product is packaged in one of the usual end opening card boxes favoured by Legend Productions. The contents are packaged inside two Ziploc plastic bags. The contents break down as follows;
18 resin parts
A photo etched fret
A length of cotton twine
A length of 0.3mm brass wire
A sheet of paper instructions
A look over the contents of this detailing set indicates to me that Legend Productions has continued to live up to their reputation for excellent casting. I cannot find a single fault with the resin parts; there are no air bubbles or areas where resin has failed to reach. An excellent example of the moulding quality offered by Legend Productions can be clearly seen in the length of ammunition belt provided in the set, none of these little resin bullets are not perfectly formed. Another aspect I like and appreciate from Legend Productions is that they make efforts to protect the most delicate resin mouldings via sacrificial legs, these being thicker than the parts protected usually do the job of preventing damage.
The resin parts included with this set are primarily for detailing the turret, the exception being the mounts for the tow cable. While talking about the tow cable mounts, it seems a good time to cover the twine supplied with the set for the tow cable itself. The twine is by its very nature easy to use for the purpose, but it is my opinion that a metal cable would do a far more convincing job of this aspect. Moving away from my negative and looking at the resin Browning MG offered for the turret. The detail on this MG is very nice and being a mix of both resin and photo etch parts does a good scale job of being convincing. The short ammunition belt has already gained praise from me. Every aspect of this MG is very nicely captured in resin and photo etch, but some due to the cheaply available offerings may wish to add a metal barrel, I say that as the muzzle will need drilling to improve its appearance.
The main gun mantlet will require some steely nerve as it requires the removal of a portion of the turret; definitely a case of measure, measure and check again before taking a saw too the turret. The resin replacement has been tackled this way I believe, because it offers the best way of providing the modeller with a canvas that looks naturally creased, but at the same time is accurately secured to both the turret and mantlet. This really is a nicely done item as even the casting marks are present on the mantlet. It does of course mean that the barrel is at a set elevation, but it is a good position from what I can see. A note on the large casting block attached to this piece, I am pleased to say that it looks as if it will be very easy to remove from and clean up the moulded part.
While the resin parts take the limelight, it is the photo etched parts that are likely to be the stars with those who like their details just so. The engine deck grills and the rear hull stowage rack are the big parts here. The engine deck grills will be a big improvement I feel and will certainly be worth the work they involve. The storage rack is an improvement, mostly due to the scale thickness, but I suspect that a lot of modellers will struggle with the parts involved and will then likely hide all their work under stowage, it is however a nice offering depending on what the modeller intends.
For me the photo etched parts that I like are the brush guards for the lights and periscopes. These are never well represented in plastic due to moulding constraints and they can be quite complicated in design for scratching them. The tools have not been forgotten, Legend Productions has provided a full set of tool stowage points and has even included brackets and buckles for the modeller to create straps using paper or tape to create straps for securing the tools in place. I suspect this may result in swear words from a number of modellers, but the detail addicts will love this aspect, and lets be honest it is why people invest their time and money into sets such as this.
The wire included with this product is for making the hatch handles and the spring detail on the hatches. The handles are an easy replacement and I suspect most armour modellers have done this at some time or other. The springs that stop the loaders hatch from causing concussion are not so straight forward and it is not explained in the instructions how they are formed. In my case I wrap the wire around a suitable sized drill bit the required number of times and then create whatever looping/securing design is required on the ends. I am sure there are other ways of doing this, but that way works for me.
This offering from Legend Productions is not going to be for everyone, but those modellers who thirst for the little details, such as the spring detail will love it. The resin parts are very nicely done and providing you have the nerve to take a saw to your latest model purchase, the mantlet should or will improve the appearance of the turret. The parts I see as the most valuable to me as a modeller are the light and periscope brush guards. The twine included with the set is something I will never use, but I suppose that is the beauty of products such as these, in that you can use some or all of what is included depending on your ability and requirement.