Kit Preview : 1/76 SHQ M4A1 Sherman II early

About the manufacturer
SHQ carries an extensive range of 1/76 (20mm) wargaming models and figures in white metal, many unique. Vehicles tend to be on the chunky side, mainly due to the thickness of metal panels. Those trucks are as well armored as Tiger tanks. Their more recent models have gained considreably in accuracy and details. The wargaming roots still show in some kits with plain tubular axles.

About the vehicle
In tis early days the LRDG acquired a small number of civilian Fords in Egypt and used them primarily as pilot cars (patrol commanders' cars). They were extensively modified with cut down cabs and pick-up cargo bodies. The few pictures showing these cars have them with a civilian pick-up body with rounded fenders. SHQ offers this type as well as with two types of 15cwt British military bodies, such as on this model. To complicate things further, 2 cars had right hand drive, the other 5 were left hand drive.
Here is what I could find on the web on the subject. The pdf restoration article is the most informative and sheds some light on some of the variations among the Fords used bt the LRDG

  • Article on 2 restored Ford V8s depicting the RHD models
  • List of LRDG vehicles including photos. Part of a site dedicated to the LRDG
  • List of LRDG vehicles including photos. Part of another site dedicated to the LRDG
  • More photos of LRDG vehicles

    About the kit
    This is a recent SHQ release. Wespe has a kit of the same vehicle but used the grille of a 1940 Ford instead of a 1939. Correcting this error requires major surgery. The SHQ kit represents one fo the models with squared rear wheel opening, which seems to map to one of the RHD cars described in the LRDG Preservation Society's restauration project. SHQ has this model with three body versions, including one with rounded rear fenders, which ist the only type I have seen in period photos and is also the model represented in the Osprey LRDG book .

    The axles are dreadful. They are solid sticks of metal. Having invested so much in researching the vehicles, it boggles the mind that SHQ couldn't cast 2 proper axles. The car has a pretty high ground clearance so the differential can be seen from the rear. I can use spares from Airfix trucks but I am not sure that plastic axles will bear the weight of a metal model. On the positive side SHQ captured very well the look of a 1939 Ford Deluxe. The same grille was used on 1940 Standard and commercial models. Wespe's kit has a 1940 Deluxe grille, which is inappropriate fro LRDG vehicles.

    Wespe versus SHQ. SHQ's Ford is somewhat larger. The wheels are one size bigger. They may both be correct. SHQ's tires scale up to 900-13, Wespe's to 6.50-16. The two sizes were used on the Fords.

    Reviewed on 11/13/09