ARM: Review - DML 1/72 scale M4A3 105mm with Wading Trunks

Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/72 Armor Pro Kit No. 7330; M4A3
(105mm) VVSS Sherman w/Deep Wading Kit; 143 parts (120 in grey
styrene, 20 etched brass, 2 tan DS plastic track runs, 1 length of
twisted steel wire); price estimated at US$19.95
Advantages: amazing amount of detail in a 1/72 scale kit; very nicely
done with new parts breakdown; weld beads; etched brass air trunks
Disadvantages: etched brass air trunks
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all Shermaholics and 1/72 scale modelers
This new version of the DML M4A3 with 105mm howitzer makes its debut
two years after its regular version. This is a slightly modified kit
but now also includes the wading trunks for beach landings.
The model is an early production howitzer Sherman =96 VVSS suspension,
47 degree (=93big hatch=94) hull, high-bustle turret with loader=92s hatch,
early style exhaust deflector, and a =93slide molded 105mm barrel.
The hull is a new mold piece and no longer has the holes in the
bottom found on the earlier kit. The upper hull is again =93slide
molded=94 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=92s bar, and axe) are molded in place, but the remaining ones are
separate.
The suspension is DML=92s unique Sherman type where the bogie
assemblies consist of a VVSS spring set, a bogie outer section with an
=93flat=94 return roller molded in place, a rear section, and a twin road
wheel set with the rear section of the articulating arms. Net result
is that with only four parts you get a nice, neat finished bogie
assembly. The wheels are the =93cast=94 (welded) type with covers in
place; likewise it comes with solid (e.g. matching) idlers and =93solid=94
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 =93slide molded=94
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=92s 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. However, even though it is the
VVSS version only the later commander=92s =93vision=94 cupola is included
and not the early production =93split hatch=94 one.
In the previous version the DML howitzer M4s all suffered from the
same problem, regardless of scale: a too narrow mantlet. The previous
kit had one 13mm wide where it should have been 14.3mm; this kit now
sports a modified sprue and a mantlet 14mm even across (I can give
them 0.3mm in this scale!) There are a few other tweaks but you would
have to compare the kits together to find the differences.
The etched brass parts in this kit do not replace styrene, but
provide both the upper and lower sections of the wading trunks, so the
modeler has his choice on having it fresh from the beach or after the
clumsy top sections have been removed. A set of headlight guards are
also included.
Finishing instructions cover two tanks: B Company, 31st Tank
Battalion, 7th Armored Division, Europe 1944 (OD overall with white
stars and bumper codes); and, 3rd Armored Division, Europe 1944 (OD
and brown spots - may be touch-up painting with white stars in three
positions). A =93targeted=94 set of Cartograf decals is provided.
Overall this is a better version than the original with its modified
parts, and does show that DML will listen to the modelers.
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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AMPSOne
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