ARM: Review - DML 1/72 Scale M4A3E8 (76) HVSS

Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/72 Scale Armor Pro Kit No. 7302;
M4A3E8 (76) HVSS; 189 parts (160 in grey styrene, 27 etched brass, 2
tan DS plastic track runs); price US$14.95
Advantages: very nicely done kit with both general options and
specific options for "Thunderbolt VII"
Disadvantages: "Not German"
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all Shermaholics and US armor fans
DML continues to rock with their small-scale Sherman line, and in
this case it appears they have done a very commendable job of it. The
model builds up as an early production M4A3 with the "Wet" stowage
hull, a 76mm M1A1C gun with muzzle brake, the "split ring" loader's
hatch, HVSS suspension, and T66 single pin cast track. It also comes
with a sprue of additional parts to correctly represent Colonel
Creighton Abrams' "Thunderbolt VII" command tank when he was
commanding Combat Command B of the 4th Armored Division in early
1945.
The model is of the normal "mix and match" sprue provision of most
DML kits, and in this case provides the early T23 type turret sprue,
an apparently updated HVSS suspension sprue with a great deal of
details present, a generic Sherman detail sprue, the aforementioned
supplemental parts sprue, a small fret of etched brass, and the two DS
glueable plastic track runs.
The hull and turret details look very good, and as it is a generic
sprue it also has the M1 gun barrel (no muzzle brake) and M1A1 with
thread protector on it. The .50 caliber now has a set of spade grips
but they come on another sprue; at least DML has been listening to
complaints about such details being missing on early members of the
"family."
The suspension consists of the six bogies for the HVSS suspension
with each bogie requiring eight parts - a "bicycle" formed by two
wheels and the bogie frame, two outer wheels, two spring sections, a
joiner for the articulated sections of the bogie, and a mounting to
attach them to the hull. Wheels are detailed on both sides - this is
quite a nice touch in 1/72 as it was only recently those features made
it to 1/35 scale kits! Ditto for the idlers.
The tracks are very nicely done T66 tracks with acceptable levels of
detail; they may be a bit thin but once installed and painted it
should not be too noticeable.
The supplemental parts sprue provides a matched armor array for
"Thunderbolt VII" of applique panels for the bow and turret, but as is
too often the case DML's directions don't highlight which parts are
for which tank and show all four offerings for finishing with the same
parts. The parts are all marked with the ambigious "optional" blue
arrow favored by DML so the modeler is left up in the air unless he
has good reference. (For "Thunderbolt" use all of them.) Note this
also includes a .30 caliber in front of the commander's station.
The brass parts cover new front fender tips, the luggage rack at the
rear of the hull, and headlight guards. Also note that before
cementing the hull together you have to drill out several holes to
mount the OVM on the rear of the hull and this is shown in Step 4. The
drawing isn't too clear but it is from the inside of the hull and you
can see the indentations to drill when inverted.
As noted, there are four finishing options, all in plain olive drab:
37th Tank Battalion, 4th Tank Division, Germany 1945 (as already noted
it was CCB 4th Armored); generic 4th Armored Division, Germany 1945;
35th Tank Battalion, 4th Armored Division, Bastogne 1945; and 41st
Tank Battalion, 11th Armored Division, Germany 1945. The latter is the
well-known "Flat Foot Floogie" and it is rendered correctly (it's from
a song of the period - "Flat foot floogie with the floy joy...")
Overall this is a much better kit than the unfortunate 105mm howitzer
version whose gun and mantelet let it down, but I wish DML would use
better instructions and keyed references when there are possible
variations.
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
Reply to
AMPSOne
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote in news: snipped-for-privacy@u30g2000hsc.googlegroups.com:
Thanks again cookie, for letting us know it's here and it's quality. You might ask Freddie to ask DML if they might make nonetched brass versions. I love the new stuff but ventures into PE haven't been, err, highly positive and that's in the bigger scales.
Not to say I wouldn't try it, but it would be nice to have options.
Frank
Reply to
Gray Ghost
innews: snipped-for-privacy@u30g2000hsc.googlegroups.com:
Frank, most if not all of the newer Dragon 1/72 scale kits that include PE or metal barrels have corresponding plastic pieces. The metal parts are optional.
RobG
Reply to
RobG
RobG wrote in news: snipped-for-privacy@p77g2000hsh.googlegroups.com:
I'll have to take a closer look at my Firefly and M4A4. Thanks.
Frank
Reply to
Gray Ghost
innews: snipped-for-privacy@p77g2000hsh.googlegroups.com:
All of the metal parts except the periscope guards require cutting off molded on plastic details.
Reply to
RobG

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