|An Allied workhorse
The M4A3 Sherman Tank was crucial to the success of U.S. and Allied ground forces in WW II. General George S. Patton used it with great skill and, with it, became the War’s most accomplished battlefield commander. In service almost for nearly the entire conflict, the Sherman benefited from a number of significant upgrades and revisions during its active duty. The Franklin Mint depicts one of the later M4A3 models used by Patton to push across France and into Germany. Cast in 1:24 scale, this large model has all the features and details required to accurately represent an important piece of military history.
Exterior. On any tank, what first draws your attention is the gun. The Sherman that Franklin chose to replicate sports the best gun used on any WW II U.S. tank-the high-velocity 76mm. Its distinguishing features are its long barrel and prominent muzzle-brake, both of which have been very accurately cast. Notably, this gun wasn’t put in the field until March 1944, so notwithstanding the desert camo scheme, its gun dates this particular Sherman as a late-War version. The main gun sits in a mantlet that is hinged to pivot vertically through 30 degrees. This is less than the actual M4A3 main gun moved, and it prevents the model’s gun from actually engaging the barrel mount (which is also hinged).
The gun rides in a notably high-profile cast turret-a Sherman characteristic that drew both criticism and enemy fire! Up top, the commander’s cupola dominates, and we see the Browning M2 .50-caliber machine gun very well molded in dark gray plastic and on a swivel mount. The hatch doors are hinged to open just like the real ones, but the cupola doesn’t rotate. The best feature on this assembly is the ammo box; its stenciled markings are spot-on and perfectly legible even though they’re quite small. The turret casting has a satisfying heft and an authentic-looking texture-not too smooth.
From the front, the full-scale Sherman has a very tall, broad-shouldered stance-ironic because it was not known for its battlefield brawn; it was prized for its speed and agility. The Franklin Mint replicates this shape perfectly, and the molded hull details, particularly around the weld seams, really tell me that Franklin did its homework. The accessories and surface details are equally well executed. They stand out both for their crisp molding and their intricacy, and they serve to draw your eyes around the tank as you discover each new item. The headlight detail, replacement tread links and authentic cable section all bear a close look. Even the K-rations crate on the rear fender looks right; you almost expect to find little freeze-dried meals inside.