Monday, October 8

Look out Tamiya - A new 2 in 1 Sheridan from Ryefield Model is on the way...

It seems that Ryefield Model has taken on Tamiya's latest high profile  1/35th scale kit head-on with their own M551A1 Armored Reconnaissance Airborne Assault Vehicle, better known as the Sheridan in a 2 in 1 kit in two flavours. We have some CAD info in our preview...

A new 2 in 1 Sheridan from Ryefield Model is on the way...

M551A1/ A1 (TTS) Sheridan 2 in 1
Kit No# RM-5020
1/35th scale
So Tamiya has competition already for the best Sheridan with Ryefield Model's new kit of the M551 in two variants. The post-Vietnam War era M551 A1 and the TTS versions - but hang on - what exactly are these variants?

The earlier Vietnam-War era M551 Sheridan
The M551 Sheridan
The M551 Sheridan was developed to provide the US Army with a light armoured reconnaissance vehicle with heavy firepower. The main armament consists of a 152mm M81 gun/missile launcher capable of firing conventional ammunition and the MGM-51 Shillelagh antitank missile (20 conventional rounds and 8 missiles). Due to problems with the gun-tube-launched antitank missile, the Sheridan was not fielded widely throughout the Army. The gun would foul with caseless ammunition, gun firing would interfere with missile electronics, and the entire vehicle recoiled with unusual vigour when the gun was fired since the 152mm gun was too big for the light-weight chassis. 
The Shillelagh missiles were evidently never used in anger. In addition to the main gun/missile launcher, the M551 is armed with a 7.62mm M240 machine gun and a 12.7mm M2 HB antiaircraft machine gun. A Detroit Diesel 6V-53T 300hp turbo-charged V-6 diesel engine and an Allison TG-250-2A powershift transmission provide the Sheridan's power. Protection for the four-man crew is provided by an aluminium hull and steel turret. Although light enough to be airdrop-capable, the aluminium armour was thin enough to be pierced by heavy machine-gun rounds, and the vehicle was particularly vulnerable to mines.
Initially produced in 1966, the M551 was fielded in 1968. 1,562 M551s were built between 1966 and 1970. The Sheridan saw limited action in Vietnam, where many deficiencies were revealed. The missile system was useless against an enemy that employed tanks, though the Sheridan saw a lot of use towards the end of the war because of its mobility. Sheridan-equipped units participated in Operation Just Cause in Panama (1989) and were deployed to Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Shield. As projectile technology advanced, the Sheridan's potential declined and it was phased out of the US inventory beginning in 1978. However, the M551 is still used by the 82nd Airborne Division. Some 330 "visually-modified" Sheridans represent threat tanks and armoured vehicles at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California.
Specifications (Sheridan)
Weight (pounds) 17 tons
Length 22'4"
Width 13'6"
Height 12'6"
Forward speed 45 mph
Reverse speed 10 mph
Engine Detroit Diesel 6V-53T 300-hp water-cooled turbocharged 2-stroke V-6 diesel.
Allision TG-250-2A powershift cross drive transmission with 4 forward /1 reverse
Vertical obstacle climb 49 in
Maximum width ditch 108 in
Fording Depth 48 in
Main Gun 152mm cannon/Missile Launcher with 20 HEAT-T-MP rounds and 8 Shillelagh missile rounds
Coaxial machinegun M240 - 7.62mm
Commander's machinegun M2 - .50 cal
Sensors and Fire Control M129 gunner's telescope, magnification 8x8 field of view (FOV), M44 gunner's IR night sight magnification 9x6 FOV, IR SACLOS data link
Upgraded M551 with AN/VVG-1 laser rangefinder.
M551A1(TTS) (Tank Thermal Sight)
The Army began to phase out the Sheridan in 1978, although at the time there was no real replacement. Nevertheless, the 82d Airborne Division was able to keep them until 1996. The Sheridan was the only "rapidly" air-deployable tank in the inventory. Their units were later upgraded to the M551A1 TTS model, including a thermal sighting system for the commander and gunner in 1989. The AN/VSG-2B thermal sight unit, similar to the unit used on the M60A3 MBT was used. This later became standard to all M551A1s.
The kit from Ryefield has only appeared in a  few CAD shots so far - both the images we see above and the sprues here below
There is no more information on this kit, but check out the Ryefield Model Homepage for more information...