by: Matthew Quiroz [ ]
Who doesn’t like a Sherman? Now, who doesn’t like an Israeli Sherman? I would guess that the guys on the receiving end of that main gun didn’t care for it much. But I digress… This PE set states it is designed for the new M-51 offering from Tamiya, specifically kit 35323. In the same breath I would guess that it would also fit other manufacturer’s kits such as Dragons 3539 which I had in my stash as well. That particular kit already comes with a healthy dose of PE itself so this one would merely be adding to it.
The set comes in the now familiar orange and black Voyager box with the delicate PE pieces safely tucked away inside in a plastic bag. The set contains five frets of PE, a braided copper line for the tow cable, small brass tubes for use as the grenade launchers (they seem a bit undersized to my eye…but what do I know) small pre-wrapped springs for the loaders hatch (perhaps the smallest I have laid eyes on) resin tow cable ends, turret spot light, periscopes and several lengths of styrene and brass rod. The last item is a piece of thin wire that for the life of me could not figure where it was used. I went through the extensive six pages of instructions, but still came up empty handed. The only thing I could think of is it is used as a radio antenna. It’s already bent though so anybody’s guess would be as good as mine at this point.
For those of you who have dealt with Voyager sets before, you will find no difference in the shear amount of “stuff” found inside. For those who haven’t had the pleasure, prepare to spend some lengthy amount of your time if you intend to use it all. There is a metric-boat-load of parts and pieces to deal with. As I alluded to earlier, the instructions cover six pages and the pages are filled with assemblies and sub assemblies. As an example, the periscopes consist of seven pieces by themselves. The commanders .50 Caliber MG and associated ammo cradle consists of fifteen parts if my counting was correct. The only thing I could think of to make this area even better would be a full blown brass weapon system. The bow gunner/radio operator MG has a PE cooling jacket that must be wrapped. Good time to invest in some various rolling materials/tools for the job. I’m not an IDF Sherman expert by any means, but it looks like all the various tool hold downs, brackets, grab handles, supports, screens, covers, mantlet cover mounting points ,chains and even data/ID plates are here. Suffice to say there is a lot here to add to your model…more than enough in fact.
The various storage boxes along the hull sides are included as is the rear exhaust baffle/outlet which will need to be folded into shape, but it all looks doable provided the builder just takes their time. Although it is a bit on the pricey side the set provides one with just about everything you would need to really detail an IDF Sherman. But wait…there’s more!
The other Voyager set I’m looking at is 35486 which are the fenders for the Tamiya M-51. It is a single PE fret, but really brings something to the table as adding these to the above set will only add to the overall excellent appearance of an already good looking model. The first set I reviewed above included the fender supports that run from the hull to the kit supplied fenders. This set includes the supports as well as the fenders themselves. The fenders are dimpled at the locations where the fender supports attach making locating those points considerably easier than guessing, measuring or what have you. The only real challenge I foresee would be folding the fender supports into shape as they are quite small. I could easily see one or more of these launching across the room. Luckily I have the ones in the above set to fall back on should I indeed launch one.
Also included in the set are various stencils for painting the markings on your completed M-51. They include a large #3, a slash which appears to be an ID panel of sorts that would be added to the model rather than a stencil since it has bolt holes around the perimeter of it and 2 different sized license/vehicle ID plates; one large and one small. There are two different tactical marking stencils included that I tried to find info on as to what they were, but didn’t find a definitive answer to. Based on what I do know and taking a S.W.A.G. I would deduce that they are brigade/battalion markings. I’m sure others will know more. I’m sure this set coupled with the other will really make your M-51 pop.
So there you have it, a rundown on what you can expect to find in these two sets. Granted it will set you back close to $60 USD for both, but I think that is the nature of the beast any more. I don’t like it anymore than the next guy or gal. What I do like is the quality of the parts that I found inside the packaging. All items that need to be folded have fold lines where this needs to happen, all parts are well marked, and the instructions are easy to follow/read. All in all I think these are both excellent sets.