We will look here at set #LF1096 Sherman III (M4A2) early conversion based on the Academy M4A2/M10 kits and as this is similar to set #LF1097 with only additional rear hull parts to convert the Italeri M4A1 to the M4A2 configuration most comments will apply to both kits.
The set is optimised for the British Sherman III as used in the Western Desert and includes the full side sand shields and British type water cans and turret aerial mountings and consists of 112 parts in the usual light cream resin from Legend with an additional small etched fret, a short length of wire and metal 75mm gun barrel.
The quality of the resin casting is excellent with crisp well defined details without any blemishes of any sort and only the casting blocks to be removed which will take some care as they are quite large and intrude onto some parts as well but thankfully the resin used is softer than some other resin and is easy to work which does make the clean up task easier. As well as the casting blocks there is also fine resin film inside the hull and turret openings and again this is easy to remove.
There are numerous fine small parts included and it is usually easier to clean these up while still attached to their casting blocks for added support and care is needed when removing these small parts so they don’t disappear in the dreaded carpet black hole.
The set utilises many parts from the donor kits such as the lower hull, running gear and smaller details items and some minor modifications are required to the kit parts to fit but we will get to these shortly.
The main upper hull casting is very well done being perfectly square without any warping with well defined raised weld beads around the upper deck and on the glacis and correct shape for the radio port. The front crew hatch fairings are nicely done with the front vision ports having separate armoured flaps and fine castings numbers on the upper fairing and drainage holes in the turret, fuel and ventilator splash guards are represented by fine indented holes and the upper surface has a very subtle casting texture.
The rear hull has a cut-out for the Academy kit engine doors that will need some minor trimming to fit snugly and the rear hull plate is a separate part with care needed when removing the large casting blocks from the rear hull to ensure you don’t alter the angle by removing too much resin but some additional trimming will be needed on the outer hull sides as the angles bend the outer edges of the rear plate out slightly, you will see this when viewing the rear plate from above.
There are locating holes for the Academy kit fuel filler caps, fire extinguisher handle and ventilator cover behind the turret and you also use the kit tools and light guards front and rear although these could well be replaced with etched guards?
The tools can also be improved by using etched brackets or replacing with the nice tools sets from either CMD or Formations.
I don’t usually comment on what is not in a kit but there a couple of strange omissions from the etched fret, you get the side equipment/tarp attachment rail, storage racks for the British equipment and British style antenna mount but no head light guards or tool brackets, a couple of things that would have finished off the set nicely.
At the front is a new single casting of the early three piece transmission cover with raised bullet splash and includes subtle casting surface texture and well defined bolts on the attachment flanges and hull securing strip but doesn’t have the oil drain plugs on the undersides or any casting numbers which you can add yourself after referring to reference photos.
The Academy lower hull part requires the front lower extension to be removed and the side sponsons also need about 1mm trimmed from both sides to fit into the indentations in the resin hull but that is all that is needed and easily dealt with.
I found it better not to glue the transmission cover to the lower hull but wait till the upper hull is attached to the Academy lower hull to ensure the cover bolted strip lines up correctly with the upper hull as there are some small gaps with the bottom fit of the transmission cover/lower hull join which is a lot easier to deal with than an ill fitting upper bolt strip/hull join.
As mentioned there are etched parts to form the hull side mounting brackets and a front fender storage container and rear hull jerry can bracket for the additional British items included as well as the full sand shields supplied in segments for easier fitting and also allows you to leave a section off for a different appearance.
The hull crew hatches are very well done and represent the early hatches without the spring supports and include nice internal detail as well as separate periscope parts and pad lock brackets (these are very small parts and need care when handling) with the grab handles made from the wire included. The fit of the hatches to the hull openings is very good if you want to show these in the closed position?
Included in the set are the early M3 type bogies used on these early Shermans and are designed to use the Academy kit return roller and road wheels with seven resin parts for each bogie unit and this makes for some fiddley assembly. This is not helped by the basic instructions which just show the fully assembled units with part numbers shown but unfortunately they don’t show the actual assembly sequence and having a part incorrectly numbered doesn’t help either.
I have included an assembly guide here to hopefully help with the assembly and this starts with cleaning up the parts which is straightforward but watch the smaller parts 45 and 46, part 45 is shown fitted inside the return roller in the instructions but in fact should be positioned between the suspension arms to rest the volute springs on.
Firstly attach the rear bogie plate (part 42) to the front section (part 41) ensuring they line up parallel. Next fit the return roller bracket (part 26) along with the Academy return roller to the top of the front bogie unit (part 41) ensuring the bracket is positioned as far to the front of part 41 as possible (some trimming may be needed?) and add the volute springs to the underside of the bogie unit.
Next attach the pin (part 41) to the back of the front suspension arm (part
33) and position the Academy road wheels over the stub axles (note the axles
don’t go all the way trough the wheels as with the Academy kit) and glue
the rear suspension arm (part 34) to the central locating pins. The arms bow
in a little and you will have to hold the front and rear arms together till
the cyanoacrylate cures and finally just glue the suspension arms into the
upper bogie units ensuring the wheels are lined up evenly.
The fit of the bogies to the Academy lower is very straight forward without any modifications required.
The early low bustle turret has subtle cast surface texture with separate turret hatch with the ring having fine casting numbers and inner pad and latch details along with separate periscopes and latches on the doors with the grab handles from the wire supplied. The side pistol port is included with the turret casting and the weld seams are nicely done around the lower turret bustle with the lower turret ring as a separate part that required minor trimming for a good fit. There are again no casting numbers on the turret but these can be added as you wish applicable to the vehicle being modelled after referring to references.
The gun shield requires some trimming on either side to fit the turret opening and the metal barrel which has the early tip flare fits snugly into the early narrow rotor cover but this will have to be butt joined to the gun shield as no other attachments are provided and the coaxial MG barrel is also provided.
These are the usual full colour photos of the assembled sub-components with the parts called out by number corresponding to a parts layout photo showing the parts still on their casting blocks which makes identification easy.
For most cases the instructions are easy to follow but as mentioned above the section on the bogies was a little vague and you will need to take care with these.
Set #LF1097 Sherman III (M4A2) Early conversion (for Italeri M4A1)
This is basically the same set but with extra parts for the rear hull panel and exhaust for the M4A2 configuration as well as resin engine deck doors and fuel filler caps which are not separate parts in the Italeri kit.
This set is nicely cast with excellent details to represent the early DV Sherman III and the inclusion of the full sand shields and British style fittings will certainly please many.
The alterations and minor trimming during assembly is nothing out of the ordinary for resin sets and overall the quality of the resin castings made assembly straightforward.
The set will build into an excellent Sherman III as well as a normal M4A2 but you will have to find your own markings as none are included in the set.
We now have three different resin DV M4A2 conversion sets to choose from and each offers different features to give enough reason to get them all and what Shermaholic wouldn’t want too?
|SHERMAN A History of the
American Medium Tank
R.P.Hunnicutt. Presidio Books ISBN 0-89141-080-5
|Modeler's Guide to the Sherman
MMIR Special. Ampersand Publishing Company, Inc
Wydawnictwo Militaria 13
|M4 Sherman Vol.II
Wydawnictwo Militaria 99
Page created 27 February 2005