The Baldwin M4 Sherman easy conversion

  Article by Danilo Carli - 172normandyafv(at)gmail(dot)com
Edited by Marc MERCIER

The M4 tank was produced by five plants: American Locomotive Company (ALCO), Pressed Steel Car (PSC), Baldwin Locomotive Works, Pullman Standard, (each of these producing its own M4, with some little peculiar features) and Chrysler (producing the more different composite hull before and the 47° hull after).

Actually the 1/72 M4 kits on the market depicts the ones produced by the ALCO plant (Dragon and Trumpeter) while other gives mixed features.
A couple of very simplified M4's can be found in the Armourfast kit, which have the PSC tanks rear upper plate and the Pullman tanks antenna bracket.
I’ve never seen an Extratech M4 “live”, but from the preview photos it seems like an ALCO or a Pullman tank, with an antenna bracket that doesn’t seem correct for neither one. Surfing on the net, I’ve found an article that says the hull is short, but at the moment I’m not able to confirm this.
The UM kit has something that wants to be an ALCO antenna bracket, with a thick sloped rear upper plate that joins the vertical rear side edges of the hull.

After having made some M4 Sherman’s, I find myself considering the unsatisfying fact that a Baldwin model is actually still absent. Since I had a lot of spare parts resting in a box and an Italeri fast assembly Sherman III/M4A2 kit (that I bought as B-plan for my Trumpeter M4 upper hull correction), I thought to try out an experiment: make myself a M4 Baldwin.
To save money, I choose to use the cheap quick building kit. Obviously those who want to do the same can use the preferred M4 kit and follow an easy way to have its own Baldwin tank. The information required was found on Hunnicut’s book and on

The differences

From the 1/72 modeler point of view, the Baldwin M4 differs from the ALCO/Pullman ones in four points :

1. the hoods are always the direct vision type;
2. the bow antenna brackets are the D shape fabricated type;
3. the rear upper plate is vertical;
4. the rear lower plate has a curved transition plate with the belly.



In other aspects, the Baldwin tanks followed the same evolution of the other production lines. So you can find the following combinations:

1. bolted transmission cover and pistol port turret with M34 mount;
2. bolted transmission cover and pistol port turret with M34A1 mount;
3. casted transmission cover and pistol port turret with M34A1 mount;
4. casted transmission cover and no pistol port turret with M34A1 mount.

The conversion job

Cheap and well done (although simplified), my Italeri M4A2 was converted to the M4 standard using spare parts and scratch building; this job is not described here, being irrelevant for the purposes of this article. The following specific works described are useful on every kit chosen.

  • The easiest part was to replace the rear plate with the one found in the Dragon M4 (as alternative, a piece of sprue can be trimmed to have the curved plate).
  • The bow antenna bracket was removed and a D shaped hole was made in its place.
  • Around a 4 mm diameter round rod with the flattened end, was glued a 0.5 mm thick plastic stripe, bent to the D shape, leaving a little (0.50 mm) gap on the top. This scratch built piece was pushed in the “D” hole from the inside and glued. The welding seam was made with acrylic glue (being transparent, not well visible in the photo).
  • The hoods were removed and replaced with the UM “direct vision” piece. I found these in a M4A1 kit (but also available in other UM Shermans). The hatches came from the M4 Dragon kit.
  • The rear upper plate was removed and the rear edges of the sides were filed to vertical. A new scratch built plate was added (I used a modified M4A4 plate found in the
    Dragon M4).
  • A 1.0 x 1.0 mm rod was added on the new rear plate to restore the sand skirts supports.

That’s all! This conversion is easy and the real needed piece is the direct vision hoods part, the rest can be scratchbuilt. The job can be made with any kit you prefer, giving us the opportunity to expand the modelling potential of this tank.

The Baldwin plant produced 24 percent of all welded 56° hull M4 tanks, making this quite a common type, that can be found on many photos taken on the Mediterranean fronts and in North West Europe.

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Article Last Updated : 04 December 2013