There are two sets which I’ll cover together as they are basically the same except for alternate bogies and road wheels with both sets having 153 parts in dark olive green plastic plus some poly caps and a sheet of thin rubber.
The first Early set #35-007 has one set of bogies with straight roller arm and raised roller supports and two sets of road wheels, open spoke and solid spoke pressed with rear inserts for complete wheels. There is also a choice of separate track skids with the early revised skid and final skid type which are moulded quite thin and include the retaining bolts, well three of them as the inner front bolt is missing probably due to moulding constraints but is easily added.
The second Late set #35-008 also has one set of bogies with the later raised roller arm and again two sets of road wheels, solid spoke pressed and smooth dish both with rear inserts and just the later style track skids.
Both sets have three types of drive sprockets included with the Revised
Fancy Smooth, Fancy Smooth variation, and later Simple Plate sprocket
with two types of idlers wheels, the open spoke and solid spoke pressed which
Also included is new final drive housing plates and drive sprocket axles with the drive sprockets attached by the poly caps trapped between the sprockets halves.
The detail on the road wheels, idlers and drive sprockets is excellent with fine crisp details that include the grease plug and relief valve on all the road wheels and idlers with fine bolt head details on the inside of the drive sprockets. The bogie units don’t have any noticeable cast texture and there are fine casting numbers included but these vary in position depending on manufacturer and period and they also include the three bolts on the bottom of both bogie units.
The actual solid spoke wheels feature twelve small rivets around the insides of the rims and these are provided in the sets moulded onto the sprues which you have to cut off and position around the wheel rims yourself. This is quite some delicate job that will need a very sharp blade to carefully slice off the rivets and then patience and care to position each with a small dab of liquid cement around the rims.
Only enough rivets are provided for the outside wheels of each bogie unit but it would be difficult to see them on the inside wheels anyway and given the amount of work to add them this will probably save you from going completely blind after doing the outside wheels.
Alternate parts are provided which consist of small inserts to the rear of the bogies that allow them to be mounted on any of the Dragon, Italeri or Tamiya Sherman hulls with the instructions showing minor alterations needed to the drive sprocket and idler wheel mounts of each kit with the work needed being well within the skills of most modellers. The Academy kits aren’t mentioned in the instructions but as the bogie attachments is similar to the Tamiya kits they could also be used on these kits without any problems.
The instructions are easy to follow with exploded view drawings similar to Tamiya instructions and include the assembly of the suspension units and of attaching the bogies to the Dragon, Italeri or Tamiya hulls.
The bogies fully articulate after assembly due to the separate lower suspension arms that trap the road wheels between them and are then in turn trapped between the inner and outer bogie halves. The upper suspension arm is in one piece as are the volute springs with three small sections of rubber sheet you cut from the larger sheet provided being added to the top of the volute springs that give the ‘spring’ when the suspension is depressed.
The separate track skids allow you to fully eliminate the join seam between the two bogie halves, but this was much smaller that on a lot of other kit bogies and won’t take much to deal with but you will have the drill the four bolt holes on the front of the bogie units as with all other kit bogies.
There were no traps while assembling the bogies but it did help to lightly glue the rubber pads to the insides of the inner bogie unit to keep them in place (I used white glue) while fitting the lower suspension arm/road assemblies and outer bogie half. The design on the bogies and suspension arms allows both wheels to be depressed at the same time and not just rock back and forth as with most other suspension sets included the separate AFV Club set.
Two very well detailed VVSS suspension sets that while a little on the expensive side offer excellent details and a variety of bogies/road wheel/drove sprockets arrangements that should cater for most situations. The inclusion of parts to adapt them to most currently available Sherman kits is also a nice bonus and these sets should be welcomed by Sherman fans.
See HERE for a comparison with the AFV Club VVSS Suspension set and other kit suspension units.
|SHERMAN A History
American Medium Tank
R.P.Hunnicutt. Presidio Books ISBN 0-89141-080-5
to the Sherman
MMIR Special. Ampersand Publishing Company, Inc
|M4 Sherman Walk
Squadron Signal Publications ISBN 0-89747-410-4
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Page created 22 October 2004