Building the IDF M1 Super Sherman from the Tamiya kit #35322 1/35 scale

by Allon Kira © Modeler Site

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With the establishment of the State of Israel and the outbreak of the Israeli War of Independence, the need arose for the purchase of tanks. The first IDF tank was from the British army's surplus in Israel. In the weeks before the end of the British Mandate in Israel, the British led old Sherman tanks that they thought were unworthy of being evacuated from the army depots on Mount Carmel, in order to scrap them by dumping them from the mountain. On May 14, 1948, Three Sherman tanks were transported from a warehouse in Haifa on their way to Mount Carmel for dumping. One of the three, without the knowledge of the British, was loaded on the cart of an Israeli tanker and began its journey to Tel Aviv.


At the same time, Israeli agents around the world were looking for sources to purchase tanks. In Italy, many Sherman tanks from World War II surplus were found to be sold as scrap. Due to budget constraints it was approved to purchase 30 of them at a relatively low price of $ 2,200 per tank.

The tanks that were purchased were in a very poor technical condition and some had no usable guns at all. To overcome the problem of shortage of guns, an attempt was made to install a Krupp 75 mm gun on one tank.

The tank's firing system did not fit the gun, so it was difficult to be accurate in firing. Despite this and out of lack of choice a number of more Krupp guns were purchased and installed on six more Sherman tanks.

By mid-August 1950, 50 M3 75mm guns had been purchased in France, and by March 1951, 17 tanks had already been converted for this gun. During the early 1950s, dozens more Shermans were purchased some armed with 76.2 millimeter gun, from France.

The Super Sherman

Great concern caused in IDF leaders the entry into service of T34 / 85 tanks in the Arab armies at that time. So to be able to penetrate the armor of those new tanks, Israel began a secret collaboration with France to improve Sherman's firepower, by converting Sherman's original gun to the French CN 75-50 gun. 75 mm in diameter, which is actually a replica of the German ‘Panther’ tank gun.


The new tank was known as the Sherman M-50, and it entered service in the IDF in the mid-1950s.


The Sherman M51 is probably the most advanced Sherman model ever produced. This is a Sherman whose engine was replaced by a 460 HP diesel engine, the running gear was replaced by the wider HVSS, its fire control systems have been improved,  infrared spotlights were added, and the most significant change - the gun was replaced by a 105 millimetres French gun. This tank became known as the Super Sherman.


Therefore, the name of the Tamiya kit of this tutorial is a bit misleading. This is definitely not a Super Sherman.


I clarified the matter with Lt. Col. Michael Mass - the man who knows everything about the Israeli Armored Corps - according to Lt. Col Mass, this is an M4A1 with a VVSS suspension and a 76 mm gun.

Building the Tamiya M1

The kit released on 2011, as expected from a Tamiya's, has a very good parts fit and is easy to build, very accurate and requires almost no putty. Some aftermarket details slightly upgrade the overall look, but are not really necessary. It can certainly be built directly out of the box at the highest level.

The only thing that seemed problematic to me were the vinyl tracks. I considered replacing them with metal ones, but after painting I decided that their level of detail was enough.


On the other hand, I added some aftermarket parts:

1/35 Aber 35L-186 barrel 76mm for M4A3E8 SHERMAN

Star Decals 1/35 Israeli AFVs #3 M1 Sherman

Def. Model, DE35001A, M4 Sherman Basic PE detail up set

2 mm white lenses by AK Interactive.


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