Sexton II with CDP Tracks (Canadian Dry Pin Tracks) - Smart Kit
Dragon, 1/35 scale
Reviewed by Cookie Sewell
|Stock Number and Description||Dragon Models Limited 1/35 scale ‘39-‘45 Series Kit No. 6793; Sexton II with CDP Tracks (Canadian Dry Pin Tracks)- Smart Kit|
|Media and Contents:||514 parts (500 in grey styrene, 10 etched brass, 4 DS Plastic Track runs)|
|Price:||pre-order price US$54.99 via Dragon USA Online|
|Review Type:||First Look|
|Advantages:||Nice alternative to the first kit of this vehicle in styrene; makes use of proven components from previous DML M4 medium tank kits|
|Disadvantages:||Unsure if this is a WWII era vehicle or not (see text)|
|Recommendation:||Highly Recommended for all Commonwealth “gonners”|
As I noted when the first Sexton kit was released in December 2012, while the US had provided the American M7 105mm HMC (“Priest”) to the Commonwealth forces, it was not popular due to the fact that 105mm was not a standard British caliber and they preferred the 25-pdr gun/howitzer as a standardized weapons system. So experiments were carried out to adopt the same concept and layout of the M7 Priest to use the 25 pounder on a Canadian Ram chassis (basically the same M3 chassis used for the M7).
The new hull incorporated British design concepts (driver on the right, not the left) and fittings to include British radio sets and mountings for Bren light machine guns vice the “pulpit” for the M2 .50 caliber which had given the Priest its nickname. Keeping in the same line (showing a good sense of humor!) the new gun was nicknamed the Sexton. Production began at the Montreal Locomotive Works (Canadian branch of the famous ALCO works, who built medium tanks in the US) in late 1943 and provided some 2,150 self-propelled guns to the Commonwealth forces. Easy to service and maintain, they remained in service into the 1960s with some Commonwealth forces.
While the directions offer the hallmarks of a very late production vehicle – “upswept” trailing bogies with “spoked” welded road wheels, “solid” drivers, welded idlers, cargo rails on either side of the engine deck, the kit does provide for the earlier “flat” return roller M4 style bogies, the noted CDP tracks with correct pattern drivers, and other detail differences.
I am no expert on Sextons, but it would appear if this kit has some late-model features they can be removed with relative ease to backdate the vehicle to anyone from production serial number 126 onward. These apparently include the stowage bins at the rear of the hull which were added during the production cycle but are not seen on all wartime Sextons. Also, there are no Bren guns provided for the hull even though the mount bases are present.
The model uses the hull from a DML M4 early production version with binning molded onto the floor. The kit also comes with the large sprues for the M4 generic suspension with different styles of wheels and “flat” bogies plus the add-on sprues for the “spoked” wheels and “upswept” bogies. The DS Plastic tracks are two-piece runs in this kit, which may make them easier to shorten than some of the one-piece runs. Unlike the helpful hints in their 1/72 scale kits DML does not tell you how long they have to be to give a tight but correct fit, so the modeler will have to trial and error (these usually run a bit long and have to be shortened, but as the plastic can be cemented together with styrene cement it usually is not difficult to fix).
The basic parts for the 25-pounder come on one sprue from the Mark II kit and on one of the Sexton sprues, and while all styrene they look quite serviceable.
The interior parts are fairly complete, but the ammunition lockers in the right rear section of the open hull come closed so “in action” posing will take some scratchbuilding or after-market bits.
A considerable amount of detailing is provided for the engine deck, such as all of the pioneer tools (more than on a regular tank), cable reels, stowage boxes, and etched brass strapping and engine air intake. This is over a very shallow spot on the engine deck, and some modelers may wish to open it up to provide greater depth.
Design credit goes to Hirohisa Takada, but I know several others also participated in the research and design work on these kits.
Four finishing options are provided: 86th Field Regiment (SP) RA (Hertfordshire Yeomanry), 2nd Army, Northwest Europe 1945 (S233996, white stars, flash number 147, Bc); 5th Field Regiment (SP) RHA, 7th Armoured Division, Northwest Europe 1945 (S234682, flash 76, red jerboa, Hh); 1st Artillery Regiment, Motorized, 1st Polish Armoured Division, France 1944 (S234087, black and green camouflage, white stars); 23rd Field Regiment (SP) RCA, 4th Canadian Armoured Division, Northwest Europe 1945 (CS234155, flash 76, A7, “Roger”). Markings are on a nicely done Cartograf sheet.
Overall this is a bit nicer kit than the first Sexton offering and gives more flexibility for making a wartime vehicle.
A 22 Sexton - hull and internal details
B 84 Sexton - interior parts, driver’s position, shields and details
B 54 M7 Priest - transmission cover, transmission, internal components
C 40 Sexton - 25-pdr barrel, internal and external details
C 30 M4A1 DV - rear hull plate, doors, details
C 24 25-pdr Mk II - cradle, breech, recoil mechanism
D 19 M4 - “lifted” bogies, spoke wheels, CDP drivers
R 30 M4 PTO - transmission cover, final drives, hatches, details
V 98x2 M4 – all-in-one VVSS basic suspension components (plus 24 bolt heads)
X 1 M4 - lower hull pan
Z 4 DS Plastic Canadian Dry Pin tracks
MA 20 Etched brass
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.