Friday, 4 October 2013

15mm Plastic Shermans

Recently 15mm wargamers have been spoilt by the rapid influx of 15mm plastic model vehicles, allowing larger forces to be collected without breaking the bank or getting a 2nd mortgage.  As an example 5 traditional model Shermans will cost you £35 from Peter Pig, £35 from Battlefront or £32 from QRF.  This made a reasonable size armoured force quite expensive, prohibitively so for many people.  Then Plastic Soldier Company appeared and brought out 15mm models in plastic, with a box of 5 models costing £18.95, so just over half the price.

Battlefront then released their Open Fire starter set, which is a bargain if you want German infantry, US Paras or British Shermans, with all the models and figures being excellent.  I have recently painted up and sold some of the Open Fire Shermans, but still have 8 sat here to support a planned British force for CoC and/or Battlegroup games.  I also have a box of PSC Sherman M4A1's for my American armoured infantry force, as Stuarts are nice but no match for any sort of German armour.

So, heres my view on the 2 different plastic Shermans that I have to hand.  They are different versions of the Sherman, an M4A1 from PSC and a Sherman V or M4A4 from Battlefront, but this is more to view the differences in model style as much as anything else.

Battlefront produce their sprue of 21 parts in green plastic.  Of these you need 10 parts to make the tank, with the others being an optional open hatch, a 50cal MG, some stowage (3 rolls, 1 line of bags, 2 track lengths, 1  box and 1 wheel) and a commander. 

PSC make the sprue in a cream plastic (which isn't attractive), containing 46 parts.  Of these you need 19 to make the 75mm M4A1 version.  The vast number of spare parts allow the construction of the 76mm turret and gun, the addition of skirts or various bits of stowage.  It also has 2 commanders, but the detail on these is rather less well defined than on the Battlefront one.

Of the two models, Battlefronts is easier to put together, but requires a lot more work to put together neatly.  I have made models in many scales and from many manufacturers and this Sherman was one of the worst for getting a good fit to the parts.  The sides wouldn't stay tight to the hull top despite the use of elastic bands while the glue went off.   However, the model itself looks good and with a little bit of filling it makes a good Sherman V.

The PSC one takes a few minutes longer to put together and does require a bit more skill than the Battlefront one.  However, it goes together perfectly and the time it takes to put together is slightly less than the combined construction and filling time for the Battlefront one.  One nice feature is that all the joins between parts are hidden beneath the model as much as possible.  It also has separate tracks, which I prefer as you can paint the tank, then paint the tracks on the sprue before attaching them.

The PSC model is significantly smaller than the Battlefront version though.  Length is 52mm vs 60mm and width is 22mm to 25mm.  I am not that bothered which is accurate however, as both look good with 15mm figures.

One feature of the PSC one is the option to make the 76mm turret as well.  There are features that make this technically incorrect (the hull front is wrong for the 76 I believe), but it works ok on the table and I only need a couple of turrets as options for my Battlegroup force.  It does require the theft of the spare hatch from the Battlefront model to fill the second hole in the turret, but I have both here so I can do that.  Lucky me.

Anyway, marks out of 10.

Battlefront gets 8.5, being marked down because of the difficulty of fitting the sides on neatly.  Apart from that its a good model and I am quite happy to use them to supplement my Cromwells.
PSC gets 9, because it goes together so well and also has all the options you need for either a 75mm or 76mm version.

Just as a note Battlefront also do a Firefly sprue, but this is a different sprue to the Sherman and is not an upgrade or modification.  Looks good though.

Off to do something productive now so I'll catch you later.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the comparison. How do they match up against the lead from Peter Pig or older Battlefront models? QRF always seemed a bit on the scrawny side to me.