modelers have been waiting for the long announced M4A2 from Dragon. While it has
been in their catalog for several years, speculation arose as to which variant
it would be and if were ever see a hobby shop self. Well, it is here and it is
very, very good.
under an attractive painting, we find the bonus card and all the sprues in cellophane
packaging. The bottom of the box, as well as the sides, is used for promoting
the features of the kit. Under the bonus parts card, are the 449 parts on several
sprues, DS tracks, decals and a short length of twisted wire. On sprue A, marked
M4A2/A3 there are 96 hull detail parts. The sprue seems to have been modified
a bit with the addition of new items. Sprue B is the all new low bustle turret
with M34A1 gun mount and contains 50 pieces, some of which are not for this variant.
Sprue C has 20 clear styrene parts and comes from a previous kit. The clear styrene
is bubble free and all the parts are usable. Sprue D is the early welded hull
with the 56 degree glacis slope and the box shaped hoods. Molded around the hull
are another 17 parts for a total of 18. The tracks are marked F and are DS gluable
type T54E1 type. The packaging has caused some of the beautifully done teeth to
be damaged. A dip in hot water cured them. DML recommends
submerging them in hot water for three minutes.
early rounded transmission cover is marked as G. Sadly, this seems like a part
clipped from another kit sprue and could have benefited from the addition of drain
holes as well as toning down the cast texture. Part S is the twisted wire packaged
in a resealable bag. There are two sprues marked V each with 81 parts and have
been modified from the previous release. These are the VVSS with the flat top
return roller mount with pillow blocs. The wheels are the pressed and welded and
each has a back including new parts for the sprocket ring, idler backs (hurray!)
and tiny bolt heads (parts V33) which are not mentioned in the instructions but
are meant to be used on the track skids. On the sprue side, beautifully done bolts
appear which are also not in the instructions and I will use in lieu of the photo
etched parts (MA5) on the upper rear hull panel. The lower hull is part X and
seems to have been modified with the addition of a strip of bolts for the transmission
cover. It is correct in most details for the M4A2 and is only missing bolt details
and the fuel drains under the sponsons to be complete. MA is the photoetched brass
fret which account for 43 parts.
instructions are of the regular non photographic type and cover assembly with
markings. The decals are by Cartograph and have seven options, six of which are
from C Company, 1st Tank. The last is from D Company and is interesting in that
they had star and bar markings added to the sides and roof. Sadly, only two star
and bar decals are provided.
Sprue D - Upper hull
2. Sprue X - Lower hull.
3. Sprue A.
B - Turret parts.
5. Sprue V (×2) - Suspension parts.
6. Sprue C
(clear parts), Decals, Photoetched parts.
7. Carded parts, including tracks.
8. Tracks, with close-ups.
9. Decals, close-up.
10. Front Hull detail
close-ups. Raised weld beads of the correct type on the upper hull. Note areas
where the plastic needs to be removed and weld bead added.
11. Rear hull details
(note the painted on locators for the bolts), American Steel Foundry symbol and
correct part number on transmission cover.
12. Various part close-ups. Two
types of inner mantlets are provided, kit only uses one. The metal barrel is the
offering from Tiger Model Designs and is shown for comparison.
1 - Running Gear
with Step 1, there is a choice of sprockets to use, the cast (part V30) or the
newly added flat disk (part V31). Photos of "Cannon Ball,"Charlie,"
"China Girl," "Cobra" (which had three bar tracks), "Colorado,"
and "Condor" all show the disk type sprockets. "Destroyer,"
as well as a photo I found of "Dude," also have the disk type sprocket.
The bogies have received casting marks which are correct and properly placed.
The only thing missing are the rivets on the outer rim of the road wheels.
2 & 3
2 and 3 cover the mounting of the suspension as well as the rear deck. The rear
panel is from Dragons previously released M4A2 76mm kit. The exhausts can
use a little deepening of the ports. A great addition are the rear sides of the
idlers, parts V32, which are now included. Part A53 represents a grill that is
in the up position. The modeler should remember this if he ever wishes to show
it in the lower position.
4 - Drive Sprockets and Transmission
4 has the modeler adding the front sprockets to the transmission cover. Here,
we find a problem that was not corrected. The reduction gear covers, parts A29,
are a bit undersized. In this photo, I show Dragons part, above, compared
to Italeris (dark gray) part, which is correctly sized.
5, 6, 7 & 8 - Upper Hull
upper hull makes its appearance in step 5. It is a work of art with the proper
56 degree slope, raised weld beads of the correct type, correct amount of engine
firewall bolts, and the welded hoods. Being a welded hull, there are no casting
marks expected. There are a few corrections to the hood area pointed out by the
red arrows in the photo at right. Use metal parts MA11 under the front lifting
eyes (parts A52) as all photos I came across of the subjects showed them. The
periscopes are clear and those of the crew hatches are designed to be rotated
to the modelers wish. The next steps, 6 through 8, cover the rear hull and
tool stowage. New straps for the tools would have been appreciated on the photoetched
fret. The bolts on the upper rear hull are offered in photo-etch and no mention
is made of the better alternative found molded onto the sprue tree.
red arrows in the photo at left point to areas that need attention around the
antenna pot. This was made of cylinders and flat plates. So some cutting and rebuilding
the weld bead is necessary. Remember that the weld beads are of the "cake
frosting" type. These are correctly depicted on the kit.
9 & 10 - Turret
steps are to assemble the turret. The commanders cupola hatches are wonderfully
detailed with casting marks but the cupola lacks any internal detail if the hatches
are left open. The gun tube is slide molded with an open bore but lacks the flare
of the early gun. "China Girl," "Commando," and "Cuddles"
clearly have this type. The pistol port is open thanks to slide molding but there
is a seam that must be removed and the turret then re-textured. The spotlight
is exquisite in detail and the rear turret stowage tie downs are tiny (parts B31).
Photo etched straps are included.
11 - Final Details
last step, 11, has one add the towing cable, foundry marks, and skirt mounts (the
latter two items in photo etched brass) before putting both halves together. The
tracks are also added at this time. The end connectors are very detailed and it
is a shame that the teeth were damaged by the packaging as these tracks are better
than some aftermarket items.
to the Kit
which have to be made are not difficult and are mostly a matter of omission. Many
Marine tanks didn't have a machine gun but I will use Formations' excellent early
gun for this kit. Also, several tanks had stowage brackets for fuel or water cans
on the upper rear deck. These must be scrounged from the parts bin.
decals are by Cartograf and are well printed but the elephant should be yellow
according to a color photo seen on the Tarawa on the Web site listed below.
out the kit I will use the following:
those wanting to do a Commonwealth tank, there are quite a few changes but here
are some I will be doing:
Turret Stowage Bin
Productions Polish Decals
though it has some mistakes and omissions, this is by far the best Sherman tank
in polystyrene plastic.
sincerest thanks to Mike Canaday and Pawel Krupowicz for their work on the kit,
Kurt Laughlin for his photo collection, and especially to Paul A. Owen for the
A History of the American Medium Tank, by Richard P. Hunnicutt
Issue 8, Marine Corps Shermans, by Oscar E. Gilbert
Battles of the Pacific War 1941-1945, by Steven J. Zaloga
Marine Corps Tank Crewman, 1941-45, by Ed Gilbert
in Action, by Bruce Culver
Around M4 Sherman, by Jim Mesko
Sherman Tank in U.S. and Allied Service, by Steven J. Zaloga
Medium Tank 1942-1945, by Steven J. Zaloga and Peter Sarson (New Vanguard
reissue of the previous title)
Sherman Col. II, by Wojciech J. Gawrych (Wydawnictwo Militaria 99)
9-2853 Preparation of Ordnance Material for Deep Water Fording (display option
by borrowing Italeris or Academys trunks)
9-738 Tank Recovery Vehicles M32, M32B1, M32B2, M32B3, and M32B4
Tank Recovery Vehicle, Military Vehicle Workshop Series 22, , by Sid Arnold
(markings option for "Dude" by combining with Italeris M32B1)
Shermans Vol. I, by Wojicech Gawrych & Wojciech Luczak (Commonwealth options)
Shermans Vol. II, by Janusz Ledwoch (Commonwealth options)
Acromy do Zwyciezcy 2, by Andrzej Antoni Kaminski (Commonwealth options)
Acromy do Zwyciezcy 3, by Andrzej Antoni Kaminski (Commonwealth options)
Acromy do Zwyciezcy 4, by Andrzej Antoni Kaminski (Commonwealth options)
Lend-Liza 1941-1945, Russian Language
Lease Vol. II, by M. Kolomiets and I. Moshansky (Polish edition of above in
their Wydawnictwo Militaria issue 135)