The two-tone desert-camo paint scheme is a real eye-catcher from any angle. It’s more compelling than olive drab, and it gives the surface features much more contrast. It does make certain tooling marks and minor surface blemishes more visible, but in my opinion, the tradeoff is more than worth it.
|Left: the radio set in the back of the turret shows the type of detail The Franklin Mint is capable of replicating. Even the commanders cupola doors are hinged to open.
Right: the bright white paint diminishes the casting details of the main gun breech and elevation controls. The drivers position is well done, but its way down in the hull where its hard to appreciate fully.
|Detailed grilles hide an accurate, but sparse, engine compartment. Notice the orange air-intake hoses and the detailed twin radiator-fan setup.
Under the diecast hood. The Sherman used several different engines throughout its run, but the only powerplant used in the M4A3 variant was a 500hp Ford V-8. The engine bay is reasonably well done, but because the engine compartment on its full-size counterpart was rather nondescript, Franklin had little to work with in this area.
The engine is well-molded but monochromatic; the only relief from the green is supplied by the bright orange intake ducts and a couple of black rubber radiator hoses. The radiator fans and detailed fan belts look sharp, too, and they add texture. The exhaust manifolds are separately molded, and they line up nicely with the outlets at the rear of the hull. You’ll probably prefer to keep the engine bay buttoned up because the doors are nicely detailed-especially the hinges.
Diecast Suspension & undercarriage. This diecast model brings articulated suspension to an entirely new level! One detail on the M4A3 variant was the switch to a horizontal volute suspension, and Franklin nailed it. What’s more, all 24 tread wheels (not counting the cogged drive wheels) are real rubber, hinged in pairs and fully sprung. The realism here is awesome. All the two-piece shock absorbers are compressible in a perfectly true-to-scale manner. Equally impressive are the treads, which are individually molded plastic links. There are literally hundreds of pieces in each tread, and their construction impressively mirrors that of the full-size tank.