Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Battlefront 1/100 M4A1 Tank Kit Review

As part of the massive boxed Flames of War starter "Hit the Beach" (which I got for my birthday), you get eight sprues of American M4A1 Sherman tanks.

Battlefront M4A1 Sherman tank sprue
The eight tank sprues make two variants of the iconic cast body M4 tank (over 9,500 built), and with the added three 76mm gun sprues, it can make two more variants.

Battlefront M4A1 76mm cannon/large hatch sprue
The 76mm gun sprue adds a larger hatch version of the hull top, the T23 two hatch turret, and of course a 76mm gun.

Anyway, eight tanks that build up into four different variants is pretty cool, but how is the kit itself?

Added radio antenna, commander, and magnetized M2 heavy machine gun
I found the kit a complete delight to build.  The plastic is the same sort of very hard and very precise casting you get on high quality model kits, rather than the softer (but more durable) plastic you get with miniatures.  If you look at the picture above, the tanks are in one plastic type, and the commander is another.  The tank does not quite fall together, but the fit is so precise that you have to be more careful about dry-fitting than usual... because you might not get the piece out easily to glue!  Like many Battlefront tanks, the turrets are set up to either take a peg (included) or a pair of 5x1mm magnets (not included).

With the Hit the Beach starter, you get eight tanks, three 76mm sprues, and one American tank commander sprue. (there are a further two Commonwealth tank commanders on the infantry sprues, but the M4A1 was mostly used by the US).  This allows you to build either a company command of two tanks and a platoon of five tanks, or two short platoons of four tanks each.  (the Battlefront suggested layout of two command tanks and two short platoons of three tanks each is also an option)  The major deficiency of buying the tanks this way vs. the dedicated tank platoon box is no decals, but white stars are not that hard to paint...

At a retail cost of $6.25 (US) per tank, it is not the cheapest option (although it is cheaper than most alternatives); however, for that price you also get a commander sprue, which would cost more from most sellers (and of course you also get three PzIV tanks, two Pak40s, a terrain piece, and three platoons of infantry).  That makes it a great deal if you need any of those items, have a friend to share with, or sell on eBay.

In summary, great little tank models, and highly recommended.


Stew said...

Nice review of the kit. I hope you’ll get a lot of use out the box set. I actually had nothing but good experiences with my battlefront stuff ; though it HAS been forever since I’ve done anything WWII. 😀

FourEyedMonster said...

I more used to 1/32 scale (which I now realize is taking too much room in my limited display space) so this was an interesting review. There are some good details on the 1/100 scale kit for sure.

Lasgunpacker said...

Yikes 1/32 kits are huge!

Yes, these are nice little kits, and there is both a good amount of detail and room for various customization and detailing.