M4 Direct Vision Upper Hull
Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII


Formations has made a name for itself by providing very high quality Sherman products. Their range is diverse and includes Commonwealth variations. In many cases, the inclusion of extras such as MV 7 Lights and brass wire to complete the kit shows their dedication into providing the best they can in one package.

Over at Missing Lynx's Constructive Comments forum, I saw the beautiful work of Fabio Sacchi on an M4 Direct Vision hull. Having a half-built Tamiya kit and Osprey's Modelling the 75mm Sherman at hand, I was tempted to try a conversion as detailed in Steve Zaloga's text. Luckily, Fabio mentioned that his superb work would be released by Formations and here we are...


In a resealable bag with a heavy paper header, we find a lot of resin parts stuffed into the cavity of the upper hull as well as instructions and some brass wire. See photo one.

The lucky thirteen sprues are perfectly cast with no blemishes, pits, bubbles, or unintentional flash. See the lower right corner of photo one for an extreme close-up of the tow hook butterfly nut rendered in resin.

However, the subject at hand is the M4 Direct Vision upper hull and here we can appreciate Fabio's eye for detail. There are numerous casting marks all around along with subtle welds. If there is anything to nit-pick it would be the type of welding depicted but the drain holes, locations of welds, and the appearance are spot on.

The kit is designed for various lower hulls and I considered my Tasca M4A1 but the riveted construction would mean modifications were needed.

Construction is fairly straightforward after building a few of Formations kits but the reinforcement bar in the large openings could have benefited from a scribed line to act as a guide and/or snap point. It took a bit of work to cut through and carefully carve the turret opening. This was practice for the engine area as the latter is visible and a wrong cut would mar such a well done hull.

Parts by Fabio are the visors themselves but most of the other sprues include items from Formations ready line up. I did find myself scrounging for a left over Academy M10 hull from which to remove the filler port labels.

From experience, I highly recommend dry fitting and chamfering the inside of the upper hull slowly until the fit to your chosen lower hull is perfect. While tedious, it is far less time consuming than trying to add all that wonderful detail, AFTER converting the upper hull, as Fabio has done. Also, drill the filler caps before adding to the hull and insert the included brass wire.

Accuracy seems quite high including the weld lines which angle out. Slots are cut into the front face of the direct vision ports but extra work awaits anyone who wishes to add a full interior. The fit of the hatches in the close position was very good and the instructions correctly indicate to remove the springs from these.

This is an excellent release and I am happy to have bought it. The kit is available directly from Formations.

- Saul Garcia


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