Tamiya 1/35 M4A3E8 Sherman

KIT #: 30018
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Robert Myers

Motorized version, with hull cutouts underneath for switches.


The M4 Sherman, officially the Medium Tank, M4, was the primary battle tank used by the United States during World War II. It took its name from the American Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman.

The Army had seven main sub-designations for M4 variants during production: M4, M4A1, M4A2, M4A3, M4A4, M4A5, and M4A6. These designations did not necessarily indicate linear improvement: for example, A4 was not meant to indicate it was better than the A3. These sub-types indicated standardized production variations, which were in fact often manufactured concurrently at different locations. The sub-types differed mainly in engines, although the M4A1 differed from the M4 by its fully cast upper hull; the M4A4 had a longer engine system that required a longer hull.

The M4A3E8 HVSS (Easy Eight) - included a wider track,  Horizontal Volute Spring Suspension, a 76mm M1 gun, a Ford GAA V-8 engine and a welded hull . The new suspension allowed for more armor to be added.  


This is an old Tamiya kit from the 1970s. So why bother with it when there are newer Easy Eights available? It is a good starter kit. It is well molded and builds easily. There are a minimal number of parts. The molding is crisp for 1970s era technology and has no flash. The underneath of the hull has openings for the electric motor switch and a couple of screw holes.

 The upper hull has all of the pioneer tools and the extra side track links molded on. There is absolutely no interior detail. So having the drivers and gunners hatches molded shut is a good thing for simplicity. The turret hatches do open, but again there is no detail inside.

The track is the old Tamiya rubber bands that no glue will stick to. There is no photo etch and the headlight guards are thicker than scale should warrant.

 For a more complete kit preview, check out the one done by Bill Michaels .


This is an old build that has sat on my shelf for over 30 years.  I built it back when I was just starting to build tanks. So, I would consider this a re-build review. I read most of the build reviews and learn a lot from them, but I tend to forget not everyone visiting this site has 50 years of building time under their belt. (Yes, I said 50, it is not a typo, I started young and I'm old!) So, lets go simple and perhaps this will give you an idea for some of those older kits that look a little plain next to the new ones.

 I gave the model a good bath and scrubbed off at least 20 years of dust. That gave me a good starting point for the re-build. First I got out an old tube of putty and smeared some on the front of the hull, fenders, suspension and tracks. I don't weather many of my models because I like to build them as they would appear in the vehicle park or a museum. Minimal mud seemed to be a good start. The "mud" was brush painted with some old Model Master tan paint that was getting a bit thick. After the tan dried, I thinned out the last of it to make a wash. The whole tank was given about three coats of the wash over a two week period. That blended the new mud with the OD. Each coat was allowed to dry for several days. I didn't want the thinner to wrinkle or lift the OD paint. The dirt wash helped to make the surface details stand out a bit more. After all of that had dried, the last of the wash went into the airbrush. I gave the whole tank a very light coat of sprayed "mud" to blend in the decals that were already in place with the rest of the dirty effect. 

I never did glue the commander's hatch down and since I was pushing myself to try new things I decided it needed a figure. Fast forward, my figure painting is horrible. So, I ripped one of his arms off and glued it inside the tank to hold the hatch partly open. A figure was added and I am not embarrassed about my figure painting skill.

Next were the little details; The canvas pack on the rear was given a black wash as were the engine cover grates, the vision ports were painted flat black, front lights were painted silver with a wash of white, tail lights are stop light red metallic over a flat black base, the machine gun is gunmetal with a black dot for the muzzle & wood handles and finally an antenna was made from stretched sprue.

At this point I thought It was looking good, but "just not quite there." After viewing some real images online, I decided to add some wood to the front. I went out into the yard and found some sticks. I broke and cut them to the lengths I wanted, then tied them together with tan thread. They were fit into place next to some old spare track links. I hope it makes the crew feel a little more protected. It does help to cover the oversize parts on the front.


This is an old kit with minimal detail. The driver's and gunner's hatches are molded shut and the details on the hull like the pioneer tools and extra track links are molded on. However, these kits are cheap, plentiful and very easy to build. It would make an excellent kit for a beginner or a slump buster for most anyone to get back to modeling or try out some detailing techniques. Yes it has it's inaccuracies, but overall it looks like an Easy Eight.



Robert Myers

June 2014

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