Kit Preview : 1/76 Cromwell Combat Ready M4A3E8 with sandbags

About the manufacturer
Cromwell now focuses on 1/76 and 1/72 Combat ready models which combine a reduced count of parts and a good level of detail. Older kit type models are still available, mostly on Ebay. I find Cromwell castings to be among the best on the market.

About the vehicle
More information at Wikipedia and Primeportal.

About the kit
The hull looks like a Sherman, unlike the stubby MMS Shermans. The HVSS suspension springs are substantially smaller than on the Fujimi M4. Cromwell's are closer to reality.
The turret looks very bulky, like a T23 on steroids. It has rounded sides and sits very high. The resulting appearance is that of an oversize turret. Most photos show that the height of the hull is roughly equal to the height of the turret (from hull roof below the gutter to turret roofline). Bradford's drawing shows the turret being substantially higher and this kit follows those proportions.
The gun is better replaced one of the two in MMS kits (with or without muzzle brake).

This is an early casting with the solid resin underside. I use a Dremel with the emery disk to cut through it: two lengthwise incisions to mark the inside of the tracks, then diagonal cuts to remove the material in the middle. Putty is used to repair any damage done by overeager cuts.The cutting wheel has to be large enough to clear the tracks and give some meneuvering room. The "before" picture shows the M4A2(76)'s underside and this kit was similar.

Here is the completed model before painting. I tried my hand at making two periscope guards in 6thou brass. It was easier than I thought though their alignment is iffy. They were very rough in reality so I'll stick with them. The gun and MG are from MMS. I cut off the molded on handle under the 50 caliber MG knowing I had brass ones from Milicast. But I never found them... The turret detailing is plastic strip, L-shape beams and shaped strips of metal wine wrappers. The 3 brass lifting eyes are from 8 thou brass. The two on the hull rear were missing. One of them is partial as it runs under the tarp. I broke off one of the gun mantlet's "ears" so had to replace it.

Almost done. The MG and gunsight ports on the turret mantlet need to be blackened on the gun mantlet andthe base needs touching up, then on to a final coat of matt finish. Reviewed on 09/10/09. Updated on 10/22/09 and 12/14/09.