Quoted TextQuoted TextLurker here. I just finished this kit, and I agree, it's much better than the old Academy offering and the even older Tamiya kit from the '70s. I thought the tracks were very well done, and the figures were outstanding.
The Sheridan was special to me because it was the first actual tank I got to climb around on as a kid. The local Ohio National Guard armory in Bainbridge had a squadron from the 107th Armored Cavalry, and would bring a few vehicles to the county fair every year.
If I get around to it, I'll post a few photos of mine...I did it in the MASSTER camouflage pattern from the mid-70s (I did the best I could, seeing as I could only find a few images of a Sheridan in that pattern.)
Again, excellent write up.
Just from reading what you guys have all been saying about the NEW TAMIYA M551 as compared to the OLD TAMIYA kit and the ACADEMY kit, confirms what I said earlier about the benefits of "slide-molding" that are being passed on to us, the builders. "Apples to apples" though, aren't the RYE FIELD M551s supposed to be -A1s, as opposed to the TAMIYA kits being 'Nam-vintage "slicks"???
Dennis, that's correct-- the RFM kit is an A1/A1TTS kit. But several folks in different forums have been considering converting the Tamiya kit into the later versions. Which wouldn't be too hard (with either creative scratchbuilding or the help of the aftermarket). The CAD shots of the RFM kit also show several options Tamiya doesn't offer (if CAD shots can be trusted). There are also many more folks who served on A1/A1TTS versions than there were on the slick, and the variety of camouflage and paint schemes is much wider than the options for a slick (OD, MASSTER, MERDC, Desert, 82nd ABN, etc). So I think while the Tamiya offering is great, the RFM offers a lot more options. I haven't seen any manufacturer offering a true slick though-- which would have the early bore evacuation system-- everyone seems to be offering the modified barrel CBSS, or the new CBSS guns. Many of the old M551s with the older bore evacuation system served in Vietnam. The current offerings with the ring around the barrel were mods of the old system, and the A1/A1TTS should be straight barrels.
If memory serves, I'm pretty sure that I saw an A/M barrel for this particular TAMIYA M551 kit out there WITH a bore Evacuator, somewhere... I forget WHO makes it, exactly... RB Barrels? DEF? I dunno... Anybody know..?