ARM: Review - DML 1/72 Scale M4A4

Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/72 Scale Armor Pro Kit No. 7311;
M4A4 Sherman; 175 parts (122 in grey styrene, 51 etched brass, 2 DS
plastic track runs) ; price estimated at US $13.98
Advantages: nice clean complete model of M4A4/Sherman V tank with some
optional bits in the kit
Disadvantages: overdone brass sheet, some question on markings accuracy
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all Commonwealth armour fans and "Shermaholics"
in small scale
Kit Review: Dragon Models Limited 1/72 Scale Armor Pro Kit No. 7303;
(Sherman) Firefly VC; 190 parts (134 in grey stryene, 54 etched brass,
2 tan DS plastic track runs); price estimated at US $13.98
Advantages: Nice, clean kit with new M4A4/Sherman V hull, tracks and
turret; detail rivals 1/35 scale kits; provides the modeler with the
ability to make the model as detailed as possible
Disadvantages: brass details are now bordering on the ridiculous in
regard to size and usability
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all Commonwealth armour fans and "Shermaholics"
in small scale
As with many other DML kits, they have now released a straight
Sherman V kit (but under the odd release designation of M4A4) to
complement their earlier Sherman VC Firefly kit. As can be expected,
this model uses all but the turret sprue, brass and decals from that
It should be noted that the US Army did use some M4A4 tanks, but the
only ones used in combat were in conjunction with Nationalist Chinese
forces in the CBI theater. The American use was primarily confined to
the Desert Training Center at Indio, California, with tanks used there
being rebuilt and sent overseas to Commonwealth forces. The book
"Tanks are Mighty Fine Things" clearly shows color photos of M4A4s
with the 7th Armored Division in training, as well as awaiting
rebuilding before overseas shipment.
The kit basically combines the A, B and C sprues from the Firefly kit
(details and mid-production VVSS suspension, with welded road wheels
and "straight" return roller arms with pillow blocks) with 26 parts
adapted from their M4A1 kit for the turret, as well as the two DS
plastic British pattern steel chevron (T62 style) track runs.
The hull is beautifully done with "Slide Molding" providing the
side details as well as the top and front/rear ones, including very
petite weld bead details (less casting numbers!) and other niceties
such as the fender/sand shield mountings. The turret likewise has been
"Slide Molded" as has the gun barrel which has a hollow muzzle.
Everywhere one looks are fine details such as bolts, screw heads, weld
bead, etc.
All of the armored applique panels are included, three hull, one
turret and true to its Firefly roots the patch over the bow gun port.
Again, the trailer hitch was molded in the stowed position on the side
of the rear doors, but unless you are planning on using an ammo trailer
that is pretty minor. All of the crew hatches and the pistol port are
separate parts and can be shown open or shut. There is no interior
detail in the turret.
The transmission cover is the "bolted" three-section type with
separate bolt flanges, which is normal for portraying this component,
and has a choice of cast in or etched brass "ears" for the tow
shackles. Other etched brass components include the taillight lenses,
light guards, part of the tool brackets, and in the RP (right puny)
department, the locking tabs and ears for the hatches. (These are maybe
0.5 x 1.0 mm.)
Surprisingly DML has not included the fenders/sand shields for this
model of the Sherman, as they were more commonly used by Commonwealth
tankers than Americans. Considering it would be a good idea to use
etched brass for this, the omission is a bit odd. They do, unlike their
1/35 scale brethren, include the .50 caliber M2 heavy machine gun for
the commander's cupola ring mount.
Painting instructions and markings via a nice Cartograf sheet cover
four vehicles: RHQ 13th/18th Royal Hussars, Normandy 1944; 1st Chinese
Provisional Tank Group, Burma 1945; 1st Motorized Artillery Regiment,
Polish 1st Armoured Division, Falaise Gap 1944; and Free French Army,
Marseille 1944. Oddly, sources indicate that the one British tank
modeled may have been a Sherman III (M4A2) and not an Sherman V (M4A4),
which is a major goof. All tanks appear to be in olive drab. At least
there are no silly "captured" options with this kit!
Overall, other than the one error in markings this kit continues the
string of "hits" for small scale armour modelers with a U!
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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