AFV Club set #AF 35029 VVSS Suspension set.
The set represents the Intermediate Standard type with straight roller arm and Solid Spoke pressed road and idler wheels but these have open backs without any rear inserts.
The rubber section of the road wheels is quite thick and could do with being shaved down to about half the thickness and as mentioned the backs of the road wheels are hollow as are the Tamiya kit Solid Spoke wheels while those in the Tasca set and recent kit wheels from Dragon and Academy have rear inserts which really do make the wheels look that much better.
The AFV Club bogie units are nicely detailed with cast texture and casting numbers included although these vary in position depending on manufacturer and period and also include the three bolts on the bottom of the bogie. The upper track skid is very thin compared to most plastic skids and includes the four retaining bolts although they are moulded as part of the bogie unit and there is a large seam to be filled after gluing the inner and outer bogie units together but nothing too difficult to deal with.
The lower suspension arms have separate outer sections that can articulate after assembly and to aid this the Volute springs are in soft vinyl that compresses when the arm is pushed upward but due to the solid upper arm section when one arm moves up the other moves down, not exactly like the original but does allow some animation of the suspension unit.
The hull mounting plate is included with the inner bogie half and overall these build into nice straight roller arm suspension units but are let down by the hollow wheels and there is no instructions or parts to allow these to be used on other brand kits with doing the modifications yourself.
|AFV Club Bogies||Tasca Bogies|
The new Tasca VVSS suspension sets are clearly the nicest sets now available in plastic with nice details and the inclusion of the rim rivets for the solid spoke wheels which have not been on any other VVSS set, but the cast texturing and shape of the AFV Club bogie faces are slightly better than those on the Tasca sets although the road wheels of the AFV Club sets is there biggest minus.
Kit VVSS suspension assemblies:
A quick look at some recent kit bogie units sees a big improvement over earlier kits with as mentioned about both Dragon and Academy offering rear inserts for the Solid Spoke pressed road wheels but strangely the Solid Spoke idler wheels in the Dragon kits still have open backs and this is the wheel where the inner face are most easily seen, the Academy and new Tasca set are the only plastic kits to date that has rear inserts for the Solid Spoke idler wheels.
Academy M4A2 (kit
#13010) See kit review for full details.
The set has straight roller arm with raised roller support bogies with solid spoke pressed and open spoke road wheels and idler wheels with rear inserts for both the road wheels and idlers. There are two drive sprocket types, the Revised Fancy Smooth and Simple Plate and the bogies have separate track skids with a choice of early and later types but no attachment bolts.
Dragon M4A2 (kit
#6188) See kit review for full details.
Has a choice of the later raised roller arm or earlier straight roller with raised roller support bogies with solid spoke pressed and open spoke road wheels and idler wheels with only rear inserts for the solid spoke road wheels but not the idlers.
Only one type of drive sprockets is included, the Fancy Smooth variation and the bogies again have separate track skids but no attachment bolts.
Both suspensions sets have nicely detailed bogie units with casting numbers
in different positions as well as the three bolts on the bottom of the bogie
The lower suspension arms are movable in both but can only rock back and forth like the AFV Club units while the new Tasca units are able to articulate independently.
The Academy suspension units are probably the best ‘in kit’ suspension units available and many have hoped they would release these as separate kits like the AFV Club and Tasca sets for further choice when building other Sherman versions.
Other kit VVSS suspensions:
I will now list the type of VVSS suspension included in other Sherman and Sherman based vehicles for reference.
This will just describe the makeup of the suspension units to give an idea of what is in each kit.
Kit #1394 M-12 155mm GMC
Kit #1393 M-10 GMC
Kit #1397 M-10 ‘Duckbill”
Kit #1395 M-36 GMC
All kits have the same suspensions as kit #13010 described above
Kit #AF 35024 M-10.
Kit #AF 35039 Achilles Mk.IIc.
Kit #AF 35S07 M-10 “Wolverines”.
All include the suspension set #AF 35029 as described above.
Kit #203 M-32 Tank Recovery Vehicle
Kit #204 Kangaroo
Kit #206 M7 Priest
Kit #225 M4A1 Sherman
Kit #253 M4A2 Sherman ‘Jumbo’
Kit #288 M4A3 Sherman with Calliope
Kit #6389 US Marines M4 Sherman (See kit review for full details).
All kits have bogies with later raised roller arm, no bolts on the bogie bottom and quite thick track skids with no bolt heads. Two drive sprockets are the Fancy Smooth variation or later Simple Plate with open spoke road and idler wheels. The suspension arms can rock back and forth after assembly.
Kit #35122 M4A3 Sherman
Kit #35139 M4A3E2 ‘Jumbo’ Assault Tank
The above two kits have bogies with raised roller arms and suspension arms that are fixed in place and without the three bolts on the bottom of the bogies while the track skids are quite thick and lack retaining bolts. The road and idlers wheels are the solid spoke pressed type with no rear inserts for either and later Simple Plate Drive sprockets.
Kit #35190 M4 Sherman Early Production
This kit has the same fixed suspension, road wheels and drive sprockets as the above kits as above but also include open spoke road and idlers wheels and Revised Fancy Smooth drive sprockets for choice.
Kit #35250 M4A3 Sherman 75mm
Has the same fixed suspension with raised roller arm bogies as above with solid spoke pressed and smooth dish road wheels without rear inserts and just solid spoke pressed idler wheels again with no rear inserts. Two types of drive sprockets is included, the Revised Fancy Smooth and later Simple Plate.
Kit #35251 M4A3 Sherman 105mm Howitzer
Has the same fixed suspension with raised roller arm bogies as above with only solid spoke pressed road and idler wheels again with no rear inserts and two types of drive sprockets, the Revised Fancy Smooth and later Simple Plate.
As can be seen the standard of the suspension units have improved with recent kits with the Academy kits probably having the best “stock kit” suspension units with the AFV Club sets loosing points for the oversized rubber tyres and open back pressed solid spoke wheels and as mentioned the new Tasca sets are clearly the best currently available for the suspension types in the sets.
It would be good if Academy and Dragon were to release their later suspension sets as separate sets as per AFV Club and Tasca to give Sherman builders a wider choice without having to buy a full kit just for the suspension.
Page created 24 October 2004