M4A2 Early Hull Conversion
1:35 CMD Set # CMD-29
Review by Terry Ashley

This update/conversion set from CMD has been out for a while now but is well worth having a look as it provides quite a complete conversion for a DV hull M4A2 with only the suspension, tracks and turret required plus many of the smaller parts such as lights, tools and lifting eyes for other sources.

The set consists of 26 resin parts (in my set) while the box top and parts layout diagram in the instructions also shows rear exhaust parts which weren’t in the set I received but I presume they should be?

The quality of the casting is excellent with virtually no casting blocks on any of the parts except for some of the smaller parts, this does mean there is some minor cleanup along the edges of the hull parts and some minor resin film on the lower hull but this is very easy to remove with light sanding or quick pass with the trusty X-Acto #11.

The set gives you a complete lower hull which includes the lower hull tub with excellent bolt head and panel details on the bottom and sides with the bogie mounting plates included as well as details on the bottom of the sponsons and internal engine bay walls on the upper rear hull with the casting being perfectly square without any warping.

The suspension units will have to be found elsewhere and the early bogie sets from Tiger Model Designs would be just the ticket but you could use later VVSS sets as some M4A2s were retro-fitted with these bogies but the DV A2s were mostly seen with the M3 type bogie units.

At the front is a one piece casting of the early three piece transmission cover without the bullet splash plate and includes nice cast texture and join lines down the middle of the bolted flanges holding the three sections of the tranny cover together, there are also subtle casting numbers and drain plugs on the undersides with separate axle stubs and side attachment brackets and at the rear are separate idler wheel mounting brackets and axles.

The upper hull is also a single large casting which is perfectly square without any warping and has separate crew hatches at the front and a separate engine deck which also has separate doors with very fine outside louver details. The front crew hatches are the early style without the support springs and have separate periscopes and periscope cover flaps and can be assembled with or without the periscopes fitted and the turret protection strip at the front of the engine deck is the earlier bolted angled steel strip with all the fuel filler caps being cast in place but you will need to add the rear right side ventilator cover from the spares box.

The details on the upper hull are very good with subtle cast texture and raised weld seams around the upper hull and on the glacis as was the case with early M4A2s and separate armoured flaps for the direct vision slots with vision port details on the front of the driver’s hoods and other small details such as drain holes on the rear turret and fuel filler splash plates but not on the front ventilator surrounds while at the back the angle of the rear plate is correct for the M4A2.

Other parts included in the set are the front and rear fenders but as mentioned all other details will be needed from other sources and probably the easiest would be the Tamiya M4 (kit #35190) as the rear hull casting includes the indented locating holes for the tools from this kit as well as for the front and rear lifting shackles and head and tail lights and hull machine gun, you can also use the rubber block track and turret from this kit but another option would be one of the available resin early turrets which include the initial M34 gun mount and tools from the separate CMD set #CMD34 or the Formations set #F018.

The fit of the upper and lower hull parts was very good but you may need some minor trimming and test fitting will show any adjustments needed while the front transmission cover was also a good fit but again test fitting for any minor adjustments that may be needed, note that the bolted section of the transmission cover sits slightly proud of the front hull glacis plate.

The instructions which are an important part of resin sets consist of five double sided letter sized pages with history notes on the M4A2 production variations to give you and idea of the parts in the kit and if you want to add other parts for later versions and text construction notes for the kit as well as a parts layout diagram for easy location of the parts and some photos of the kit under construction to show the location of the main parts.

Additionally there are reference photos of the rear M4A2 to help with the construction and to add any extra details as you wish and overall the instructions were easy to follow as the set is really not that complicated and most modellers tackling a resin kit such as this will probably be familiar with the location of most parts anyway.

A very well cast and detailed conversion set that is quite comprehensive as it provides both the upper and lower hull parts and the notable feature is the minimal cleanup needed on the parts and also the good fit requiring only minor trimming during assembly and offers a slightly different hull configuration from other conversion sets available as well as being the early DV hull.

Highly recommended.

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SHERMAN A History of the
American Medium Tank

R.P.Hunnicutt. Presidio Books ISBN 0-89141-080-5

Thanks to Bill at Chesapeake Model Designs for the review set.

Page created 8 February 2005

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