A RECENT VISIT TO THE BRITISH ARMY TANK MUSEUM STORE gave us a chance to inspect something a little different - a laser-cut model of a World War II Sherman tank.
SMN report: The Metal Earth Sherman tank component sheets are things of gleaming beauty, almost deserving to be shown off by themselves in a suitably-lit museum display. Packaging for the sheets consists of a slim A5-size card envelope, which also contains a detailed A3-size instruction sheet.
Brief historical details (below) of the Sherman tank are printed on the pack's reverse side.
These two sheets comprise all but one component for the Metal Earth Sherman tank. Scale isn't quoted, but the assembled model measures about 75 mm (2.9 in) which puts it in working distance of standard 1:76 scale.
Tank sides (below left) are given a textured treatment, the tracks (below right) are each a single item.
The running gear is neatly designed, though don't forget that the final result will be a non-realistic shiny object, not the battle-scarred olive-drab that you'd aim for with a plastic-kit equivalent. Sure, you could paint it, but in our view that would defeat the purpose of it all.
The gun barrel (below) is a turned item, but otherwise the whole thing is a beautifully produced laser-cut replica.
Instructions (below) are clear and comprehensive, though note that laser-cut metal has sharp edges so take care throughout and use sharp nippers to cut components away from the their assembly sheets.
Assembly is not difficult, though (like building a plastic kit) it benefits from plenty of work lighting and a draught-free environment. Smaller parts are tiny and easily misplaced.
As a kit, the Metal Earth Sherman tank makes a change from plastic, and it makes an interesting talking piece when you have finished. If tanks are not your thing, there are plenty of other Metal Earth models to choose from. Subjects range from windmills and sailing ships to aircraft and locomotives.