Sherman ARV Mk.I
Conversion Set (for Dragon M4A4)

Legend # LF1105
Review by Peter Brown
While not as "sexy" as gun tanks, armoured recovery vehicles are a very useful addition to an armoured unit and also have lots of small detail items which makes them good model subjects.

Front-line tank recovery in the British Army in the later stages of WW2 was the task of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers detachments attached to armoured Regiments. For recovery operations under fire from small arms or artillery they had Armoured Recovery Vehicles on a scale of one per Squadron. These were based on the same Churchills, Cromwells or Sherman tanks the units used. To adapt them for their role, turrets were removed and the resulting hole plated over, various racks, boxes and bins were fitted inside and out for spare parts, oxyacetylene gear and special towbars. A simple collapsible A-frame was carried to lift reasonable weights using a block and tackle.

This first-generation series was known generically as ARV Mk I, an improved style with a fixed dummy turret and winch was known as ARV Mk II. To support Sherman units, only ARV Mk I types were produced, one or maybe two ARV Mk II were built for trials though these do not seem to have entered production and service while a number of American M32-series Tank Recovery Vehicles were taken into use as Sherman ARV Mk III. The majority of Sherman ARV were built on Sherman V M4A4 though of around 220 built 30 were on the Sherman III M4A2.

Legend's set is designed for use with one of the Dragon M4A4 kits, current issue "Firefly Vc" no 6182 is the most likely source though any of the older Sherman V or Vc kits could be used. With a suitable base M4A2 a Sherman III-based vehicle could be made, at present that would need a resin conversion as currently available plastic M4A2 kits are later production vehicles and ARV conversions were on older, small-hatch versions.

All the external parts for the conversion are supplied which follows the same lines as the original vehicle. Most of the parts are cleanly cast in cream resin, there are more than shown in the photo as some duplicated items were left out to fit the others in! The etched brass sheet gives various racks and brackets and there are two lengths of twine for towropes to go with the resin eyes. Wooden parts have good surface detail avoiding the appearance of something left out in all weathers for many years which some makers use. The round cover plate over the turret ring has with separate flaps which could be shown open or closed, but note that there are no interior parts provided.

Construction is straightforward, with new parts fitted to the basic kit hull. Instructions consist of colour photos of the parts laid out for identification and others of a completed model showing where each item goes. The set depicts a vehicle in travelling mode, with a little work it could be completed with the jib in use if you add your own extra cables and the small pulley block.

Colour and markings details are not included, they would most likely have been finished in SCC15 "Olive Drab" equivalent with the same unit markings as the tanks they supported and a blue-yellow-red REME arm of service sign using the same unit number. Photos in the Allied-Axis book 4 show these vehicles with some good record shots, in service extra items were often carried so check your references and raid your spares box.

Resin and etched parts


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
M4 Sherman
Wydawnictwo Militaria 13
ISBN 83-86209-09-7
M4 Sherman Vol.II
Wydawnictwo Militaria 99
ISBN 83-7219-057-7
Friendship ModelsThanks go to Ian Hanratty at Friendship Models who supplied the review sample

Page created 17 June 2005

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