ARM/NAV: DML 1/72 scale LCM(3) and M4A1 Deep Wading Set

Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/72 Armor Pro Scale Kit No. 7360;
LCM(3) Landing Craft + M4A1 w/Deep Wading Kit; 299 parts (229 in grey
stryene, 57 in grey DS plastic, 8 etched brass, 2 in tan DS plastic, 1
length of nylon string, 1 length of twisted steel wire, 1 clear
vacuformed base); retail price US$31.95
Advantages: =93instant=94 diorama in a box with all elements needed in one
place
Disadvantages: LCM(3) and tanks were apparently never used in this
manner
Rating: Highly Recommended (kits only)
Recommendation: for wargamers and =93Small Scale=94 fans
Back in 1965 Airfix released one of the neater kit ideas of the time,
an LCM(3) landing craft with an M4 (Sherman I) tank embarked on it.
Accompanied by their other combo kit from that time frame, an LVT-4
with a Willys MB jeep, they made for a lot of fun as kids when used in
wargame type landing scenarios. Never mind the fact that the LCM(3)
only had a maximum capability of about 60,000 pounds of cargo and thus
was not able to effectively carry a Sherman tank (that fell to the six
foot longer LCM(6) series craft) it was a neat idea and did well.
Fast forward to 2008. DML has now released a package deal of their
new production LCM(3) with one of their excellent M4A1 Sherman kits in
the same sort of concept. Here at least DML provides both kits
relatively complete (somewhere along the line half of the infantry
from the original LCM(3) kit have gone missing) but the tank does make
up for some of the difference.
Since both kits have been reviewed before I shall just sum up from
them.
For the LCM(3) DML apparently took a look at what modelers want and
what they use kits like this for, and came to the conclusion many of
them will be used for wargaming. As a result, the kit is a compromise;
a semi-=93wargame=94 ready model with only a limited representation of the
lower hull (e.g. only enough of it so that the complete well deck
inside the hull can be represented.) Purists wanting a =93full hull=94 or
wargamers wanting only a =93waterline=94 version are bout out of luck; if
the former was modeled the boat would need a stand to display, and in
the case of the latter the well deck would have to be nearly flat to
fit inside the scale freeboard of the vessel in the water.
If you have no problems with that, then the model is a very nice
representation of the actual vessel. It provides for either scale
(etched brass) or sturdy (styrene) gun shields for the gunners. The
ramp can be displayed up or down, but while moveable will not be
operable without a lot of work. Surprisingly, while rigging thread for
the ramp is provided, no directions are included to show how to rig
it.
A crew of three and six infantry men are included; these are
miniatures of the figures in DML=92s 1/35 scale 29th Infantry set and
are doubled up for poses (e.g. two each of six.) Each figure comes
with a separate pack and canteen as well. All are made from DS plastic
and as such have had mixed results from modelers. The figures have
exquisite detail but are difficult to paint well due to the flexing of
the DS plastic. A selection of 10 US weapons in styrene are provided
for them.
The way DML gets around the compromise in the hull molding is to
provide a vacuformed base from a clear plastic for mounting the
finished model. The model nestles down into the base with its bow up
on a simulated beach, so the lack of underwater components becomes a
moot point. (Note: the directions don=92t give any hints except to
color, but I suggest painting the =93water=94 color from the INSIDE of the
base to permit it to retain a shiny surface, and the =93beach=94 color
from the OUTSIDE to keep it suitably flat. Some drybrushed =93foam=94
should finish the water off to most peoples=92 satisfaction.) Three
sections of =93Rommel=92s Asparagus=94 complete the base.
The M4A1 comes with an large number of add-on parts, as well as a
=93slide molded=94 pistol port on the left side which does not have to be
puttied into the side and is open, so the modeler may leave it that
way or close it. All viewers and vision devices are separate items,
and the modeler also has a choice of either styrene or etched brass
covers and guards for the devices. The M34A1 mount comes with a
correct base unit, screw-mounted frame, and mantelet, as well as a
hollow-molded gun bore.
The hull has sponson floors molded in, as well as a large amount of
extra details that are added on. If the etched brass is used, it is
one of the most complete hulls around, as it comes with the little
seen and seldom modeled screening that covers the exhaust pipe exits
under the back edge of the hull top. All fine details such as light
guards may be replaced with etched brass; only the fenders here are
left as styrene parts.
The suspension is well done, using a bit of trickery where the bogie
mounts are molded in two parts and the wheels are molded on as part of
the rear suspension arms in one assembly. The vertical volute springs
are separate (one unit) and the return roller is molded to the front
half of the bogie unit. When assembled, the fiddly modeler may want to
drill tiny holes in the front of the bogie unit to simulate its
=93reversible=94 feature but that is about all it needs (or perhaps an
etched brass track return guide at the top.) The drivers come with two
different =93teeth=94 patterns, a =93fancy=94 ring on the interior and the
=93solid=94 one on the outside, so future suspensions may come with
different outside rings. Once installed, the inside cannot be seen so
it is a moot point. The same is NOT true of the idler, which shares
the failing of most 1/35 scale kits of not having a backing to it.
The model comes with T48 rubber chevron tracks. All tools are
separate parts, and the model comes with an essential option for this
version of the Sherman, namely a six-part etched brass set of wading
trunks that are commonly found on tanks being landed from LCM, LCT or
LST vessels. Indicating this kit is most likely intended for wargames
is the fact that the rest of the normal etched brass parts found in
=93Armor Pro=94 Sherman kits is missing.
Markings and finishing directions unfortunately are not even close.
The Normandy 1944 finish for the LCM(3) is fine as is the set for Iwo
Jima 1945, but the Sherman was not landed by these craft at Normandy
and the USMC battalions at Iwo Jima (3rd, 4th and 5th Tanks) used M4A2
and M4A3 Shermans, not M4A1 types. A nice sheet of Cartograf decals is
provided.
Overall while the kits are good this combination doesn=92t work out
well, but is a handy and slightly more inexpensive way for wargamers
to stock up.
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
Reply to
AMPSOne
Loading thread data ...
eas of the time,
Yeah, but I seem to recall those were more towards the "toy" side of things and not the "scale" side...
Cookie Sewell
Reply to
AMPSOne
You did get a lot of tanks and troops with the kit at a very low price, which made it very usable for wargaming. Lots cheaper than buying Roco Minitanks, much less Airfix ones.
Pat
Reply to
Pat Flannery
ideas of the time,
Funny thing is many of the vehicles were the original ROCO molds which Aurora borrowed. At least they were cheaper, but then again the most any ROCO item cost at the time was 39 cents (the M26 tank transporter was a "phenomenal" 98 cents)
Cookie Sewell
Reply to
AMPSOne
Did you ever get those Roco decals that came with the preassembled tanks to work? I never did. Also, didn't the Roco tanks come with wheels under them mounted on a metal axle that allowed them to roll around? The Aurora ones in the Anzio kit didn't have those IIRC. Detail on the Aurora ones seemed soft compared to the Roco ones - like they had assembled Roco ones, then made molds by pantagraphing the finished models in far fewer parts.
Pat
Reply to
Pat Flannery
Three-times that where I lived. One well-known wargaming author of the period used plaster casts of Airfix models to save money!
(kim)
Reply to
kim
Yes, but as Mother never told you at the time they needed to have a base finish to "bite" into. They work okay with a layer of Future and suitable decal setters.
The ones I had did have the wheels but they were all plastic and not very good. The reason they were softer is Aurora used a different type of styrene than ROCO did -- set them down side by side and the differences are immediate. Some of their own molds were worse, no doubt about it -- I got an old "Rat Patrol" jeep several years ago and even allowing for the fact it was an M38A1/CJ5 the detail is pretty bad...
Cookie Sewell
Reply to
AMPSOne
Ever seen these BTW?:
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makers of the "Hummel" figures go to war. That whole website is interesting:
formatting link
Pat
Pat
Reply to
Pat Flannery

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