M4A1 Direct Vision Hull
Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII


Although Formations suggests this resin direct vision Sherman conversion is can be used with Tamiya or Italeri hulls with some added effort, it's optimally designed for DML's M4A1 75mm Early Version, which got good grades when initially released in the 1996. While the DML early version uses the one-piece final drive cover, the kit includes a sprue with the three-piece cover, which is just what you need for this DV conversion. Add Formation's M3 Lee Style Suspension set and you should be in good shape with some additional modifications to the DML turret. (However, if you add the costs of this set ($25) and the new suspension ($30), you're at the same price as Formation's complete conversion set which includes a final drive and turret and MV lenses for the headlights—all for for the same $55 price.)

But this package does give you what you need to get the superstructure shaped up. The prize piece is the well formed hull. The creamy resin has a nice, satisfying rough finish to it. The openings for the turret, engine bay and front hatches are skinned over and the bottom edges of the hull may need some attention. The direct vision slots can be cleaned out if you are going to have the armored visors open.

The rest of the parts dress up the hull: forward hatches with periscopes and covers, open and closed styles of grouser vent covers, lift rings, ventilator covers, front and rear fenders, tail lights, cable clamps and cleats, and fuel cap covers. The new engine deck has a thinner air vent cover. The pair of .30 machine gun barrels are ramrod straight; just cut off the little casting pips at the tips of the barrels. A small curl of wire is provided, though the simply illustrated one-page instruction sheet doesn't indicate what it's for (engine cover handles, lighting wiring?).

Once you get your hull built, you'll be faced with adding the anemic DML pioneer tools—or make a wise investment in Formations' superior replacement tools. Formations can also provide the towing cable missing from the DML kit.

Orrrrrrr, buy the complete conversion set, which has these items as well!

Clearly, if you want to build yourself a prize-winning direct vision Sherman, Formations is your supply depot. Just do a thorough spares box inventory before placing your order so you get the most bang for your buck.

Thanks to Formations for the review sample.



Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII © 2002—2007 Timothy S. Streeter