Book Review
Modelling the US Army M4 (75mm) Sherman Medium Tank

by: Jim Rae [ JIMBRAE ]

Few vehicles can have gone through the evolution of the Sherman Medium Tank or (apart from the T34) served in so many conflicts for such an impressive length of time. Therefore, it is only natural, that the M4 should be such an incredibly popular for modellers. In this series, Osprey Publishing have commissioned a series of books from some well-respected modellers and the result has been a series which are truly invaluable - more for the variety of techniques demonstrated than simply the subject matter.

Osprey's New Book
Osprey Modelling 35 - Modelling the US Army M4 (75mm) Sherman Medium Tank is written by Steven J Zaloga. The book consists of 82 pages and is illustrated throughout with color photos, black and white contemporary images and some images from the official technical manuals. The book will be published in November 2006.

In Depth
This review will be done by doing an assessment of the overall book and to give a little more depth, to take a closer look at one of the build projects.

Zaloga begins with a brief historical overview of the M4 series and follows this up with a look at the principal models available in both 1/35th and 1/48th scale. Although this may seem unnecessary to 'older' M4 hands, the reality is that many people simply don't know what is available from the principal manufacturers.Some good detail is provided on various of the models and some mention is made of their shortcomings also.
2)the Build Projects
Four subjects are covered - three in 1/35th scale and a fourth in 1/48th. Each of these goes considerably further than a description of 'where to put part # 457' and Zaloga talks in some detail of techniques, of the characteristics of the vehicle being modelled and the factor which lifts it beyond the simple 'modelling manual' is the inclusion of wartime images of the actual vehicle and putting it within its historical 'context'. Zaloga begins each of these projects by giving a concise analysis of the vehicle type to be modelled. Also included in virtually all of these models are a few figures and some simple groundwork. These also receive attention and notes are provided for some conversion and painting of suitable figures - yet another useful aspect of the book.

Sample Chapter: M4A3 (75mm)W Sherman, Germany 1945

This chapter involves a conversion of the DML M4a3 76 (W) with an appropriate 75mm turret and extemporized sandbag armor. The really interesting aspect however, is the use of open-weave hessian netting over both the hull and turret, giving the vehicle an absolutely unique aspect. Zaloga in this chapter deals with sources of alternative turrets, the use of sandbag armor, an interesting way of producing the hessian netting and also (if that wasn't sufficient) some useful pointers on finishing, weathering along with some simple figure conversions. This chapter in my opinion, epitomizes the value of the book - a number of strategies for reproducing some complex areas in a clearly explained format. Each of the four 'key' chapters has an absolute mass of useful techniques like this one - clearly making it appropriate for the novice to the advanced modeller.

3)Further Reading and Research
This, the final chapter is aimed principally at those with a more limited experience with the M4. Some useful pointers are given in the way of research and some well-considered comments on the limitations of some 'definitive' sources of data are also present.

Zaloga's work need little introduction in either his interesting articles in Military Modelling or the dozens of books he has written. It's more than just a useful book, it is, in my opinion, one of the best ever published in the Osprey Modelling series. Having said that, there are a few doubts which I would express.. Firstly, some of the 'editorial' decisions do seem a trifle odd. Do we REALLY need two pages of (nicely) presented box-art? Surely that is space which could have been better used by more of the author's analysis of the kits? Secondly, and again this is 'editorial', I would like Osprey to designate at least one project within these books for beginners. The projects don't seem TOO complex, but perhaps a little daunting for a beginner? These 'niggles' aside, I found it a superb book which (if modellers give it a chance) will have applications across any field of armor modelling. It would also be a sensible idea for Osprey to commission Mr. Zaloga to do a book specifically on the M4 in 1/72nd or 1/48th scale Once again, practicality is the nature of this book - not abstract theory.

The book consists of eight chapters/sections which are:

Early M4A1 Sherman, Sicily 1943
M4 Sherman, Paris 1944
M4 mine-roller, Battle of the Bulge 1945
M4A3 (75mm)W Sherman, Germany 1945
Further reading and research
Color Charts

In my opinion, having reviewed a good number of Osprey's Modelling series, in the 'bang for the buck' category, it definitely comes top of any list. This new book by Steven Zaloga, gets even more mileage out of an already popular modelling subject by writing a book which will have valuable applications no matter where your subject interest lies
Percentage Rating
  Scale: Other
  Mfg. ID: 1841769657
  Suggested Retail: £12.99 / $18.95
  PUBLISHED: Oct 08, 2006
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Osprey Publishing!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Jim Rae (jimbrae)

Self-employed English teacher living in NW Spain. Been modelling off and on since the sixties. Came back into the hobby around ten years ago. First love is Soviet Armor with German subjects running a close second. Currently exploring ways of getting cloned to allow time for modelling, working and wr...

Copyright ©2021 text by Jim Rae [ JIMBRAE ]. All rights reserved.


Thanks Jim for the review. I have just got the bug to build a Shermen and have been trolling the 'net for ideas. With not much cash I thought of the Tamiya M4A1 kit. TA35190 I think to start with. This book looks like a must, especially if I build more than one eventually. What do you think of the Tamiya kit BTW. Good choice for someone to start with? Please consider I cannot afford aftermarket stuff but would get this book after reading your review. Cheers Tony
OCT 08, 2006 - 12:18 AM
This definitely may be worth a look. I usually don't go for these books since I feel they are of limited value for an experienced modeler if your not building the kit in the chapter, but I'm sure I could learn a thing or 2 from Steve Z. Tom
OCT 08, 2006 - 12:24 AM
I bought the Building the T34/76 almost a fortnight ago and was really impressed with the level of quality and information that this series offers, I would say that anybody who intends building any of the Sherman tanks, it would be money well spent investing in this book. I intend to purchase some more of the series as I think they are exceptional value for the relatively small cost. John
OCT 08, 2006 - 12:40 AM
80 over pages? Isnt that quite large for an Osprey book? Either way, im definitely purchasing it once its published in November. Much as im a modern armour fan, the sherman has a special place for me since its really the very first armour tank that i built when i first started off. I do agree with Jim that it would be nice to have a chapter for beginners. I do find that most modelling books by Osprey are for the more intermediate to advance modellers.
OCT 08, 2006 - 01:56 AM
Tony It's not a bad kit to start out on building a Sherman TA35190 is the M4 mid production version Not the M4A1 Jim Thanks for the review Another "must have" book
OCT 08, 2006 - 01:56 AM
This does seem to be their editorial policy - why, I have no idea at all..Jim
OCT 08, 2006 - 10:54 AM
Tony, even though the Tamiya Shermans are about the oldest out there, and there ISN'T such a thing as a 'perfect' kit, take a look at the DML ones - the M4a2 is REALLY excellent (it'll be available in a few weeks) or here's a good 'starter' - https://armorama.kitmaker.net/review/1337 - the advantage of this one, all the PE is included...Jim
OCT 08, 2006 - 03:40 PM
Chad and Jim. Thanks for the reply's. I think I'll wait for the review of the new kit as I am not at all keen on the tracks for the of the Dragon kit out at the moment. I understand you will have a review of the new kit soon Jim and I look forward to reading it as I understand it has easier tracks. Many thanks. Tony.
OCT 08, 2006 - 09:03 PM

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