Tamiya has produced a new tooled M551 Sheridan which is a welcome offering of this small but interesting US armor subject.
The kit was supplied for review with the two aftermarket items Tamiya released for detail this kit. Detail up parts series 12687 PE with metal Barrel as well as the 12685 U.S MCI Cartons (Vietnam War).
In the box is:
- 5 x light green sprues
- 1 clear sprue
- 1 small decal sheet
- 1 plastic mesh
- Several polycaps
- Metal wire
- A small length of hose
- 1 instruction booklet
- 1 color guide booklet (in color)
- 1 history booklet
Detail up parts are available separately:
- 12687 - Photoetch / Metal Barrel - $18.50 MSRP
- 12687 - MCI ration cartons - $4.40 MSRP
The kit consists of 5 main sprues, the sprues are extremely well molded with great detail; the decals allow you to finish the tank in two different versions with 2 markings to choose from.
First is the construction of the lower hull, suspension, and road wheels etc. All the parts go together extremely well and the builder should have no problems.
The tracks are installed next and are the length and link type which I was worried about as they can prove a pain to install. I was pleasantly surprised how well they fitted and was so easy to assemble!
Now we progress on to the upper hull inside parts, the driver's hatch can rotate open and closed when assembled.
Now the outside of the upper hull details are added. There is plastic mesh to cut and install for the engine grilles. The detail up parts includes PE versions of these which are very good but the plastic mesh also looks good installed. The tools are added to the rear of the upper hull.
The upper hull and lower hull are now assembled with the addition of the mud flaps.
You now add the front mesh anti RPG chain-link net, here to the plastic mesh supplied with the kit is good but I must say the PE parts in the detail up kit are really a must-have addition!
Next up is the lower turret assembly to add the gun mount and figure platforms. Also there is a nice added piston to allow the gun to raise and lower with a realistic feel.
The upper turret is now attached to the lower one and all the exterior details added and there are a lot of parts to add to the turret. First is the gun barrel which the kit comes with a very nice one-piece molding. I must again say that the detail upset with the metal barrel is an awesome addition I would highly recommend. The ammunition boxes are all assembled from four parts and are very highly detailed. The rest of the details on the turret are very well engineered and detailed. Now you have the option of two cupolas for Version A or B of the tank. I opted for version A for now real reason as both are great looking options.
Then as I selected the A version to build I had to select if I wanted the Searchlight covered or uncovered. I opted for covered as most day time photos show it in this configuration.
The cupula and searchlight are attached along with additional turret details. Finally, you build and mount the M2 Heavy machine gun and the crew.
Finally, the kit is finished with painting and decals.
This was a fantastic kit, it goes together like a dream and I highly recommend it. Thanks go to Tamiya for providing this kit to review and IPMS USA for allowing me to review it for them.