ARM: DML 1/72 Scale M4A3 (76) W VVSS Sherman

Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/72 Armor Pro Kit No. 7271;
M4A3(76)W VVSS Sherman; 129 parts (99 parts in grey styrene, 27 etched
brass, 2 tan DS plastic track runs, 1 length of twisted steel wire);
retail price US $11.95
Advantages: amazing amount of detail in a 1/72 scale kit; very nicely
done with new parts breakdown showing it was not pantographed; DML
discovers weld beads!
Disadvantages: "Not German"
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all Shermaholics and 1/72 scale modelers
In this day and age many modelers greet a new Sherman kit with the
same sort of lackadaisical attitude that non-German modelers greet
another Tiger kit - nice, but not my cup of tea. But this little gem
is something new, a really great model of a late-model ("Wet"
stowage) Sherman with a unique way to breakdown its parts and a really
great looking kit.
First off, DML is to be congratulated for FINALLY discovering the hull
weld beads on Shermans! No trenches, just petitely raised weld beads
all around the upper part of the hull. That alone makes the kit worth
investigating, for it is the first one so far to get it right.
The model is an early production version of the late Sherman - VVSS
suspension, 47 degree ("big hatch") hull, T-23 style turret with
commander's vision cupola and loader's split hatch ring mount for
the .50 caliber machine gun, early style exhaust deflector, and choice
of either an M1A1 gun with thread protector or the later M1A1C with
muzzle brake; both of the latter are "slide molded" so they have
hollow bores.
The hull has two odd holes in the bottom which appear to have
something to do with the preassembled variants (perhaps the base mounts
for the pre-assembled ones; they are too small for screws). Barring
that, the upper hull is again "slide molded" in one section and has
the mounts for the side shields on it with bolt holes clearly visible.
The smaller tools (e.g. mattock, tanker's bar, and axe) are molded in
place, but the remaining ones are separate.
The suspension is unique, as it does not copy that of the larger
Sherman kits. The bogie assemblies consist of a VVSS spring set, a
bogie outer section with an "upswept" return roller molded in
place, , a rear section, and a twin road wheel set with the rear
section of the articulating arms molded in place. Net result is that
with only four parts you get a nice, neat finished bogie assembly. The
wheels are the "cast" type with covers in place; likewise it comes
with solid (e.g. matching) idlers and "solid" ring drivers. The
tracks are T48 type with rubber chevrons.
The turret consists of a top and bottom with the pistol port molded in
place, but the cover left separate. This is again a "slide molded"
part to get the detail resolution. (Note that everything with a casting
number except the mantelet has one, even though you will need a
jeweler's loupe on some of them!) The turret is quite complete, with
a very nicely done machine gun with parallel heat jacket at the rear of
the barrel and separate spade grips.
The etched brass parts replace some of the detail parts provided in
styrene, such as the front fender tips, the rear luggage rack, and some
of the tool racks. The parts are called out on the directions with blue
for parts to be trimmed or removed and a mustard color for the brass
parts to be installed; this is quite helpful as the directions are
thankfully in black and white and parts are thus much easier to see.
Markings and finishing instructions are provided for four vehicles:
761st Tank Battalion (The "Black Panthers," an African-American
unit), Task Force Rhine, Germany 1945; 760th Tank Battalion, US 5th
Army, Italy 1945; 19th Tank Battalion, 9th Armored Division, Belgium
1944; and a captured Sherman, Aschaffenburg, Germany 1945.
Overall this is a really decent rendering of a Sherman, and I can only
hope that DML goes back now and fixes the "trenchline" welds in
their 1/35 kits!

Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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Sounds good, we've been waiting for a really good and affordable (Eduard/ExtraTech ones were $30) Shermans in true 1/72 scale.
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