171 parts (110 in grey stryene,
57 etched brass, 4 tan DS plastic track runs)
retail price estimated at US $13.98
Clearly best Sherman kit in this scale;
detail rivals 1/35 scale kits; provides the modeler with the ability to
make the model as detailed as possible
Photo-etched details are now bordering on
the ridiculous in regard to size and usability
Highly Recommended for all "Shermaholics"
and WWII US armor fans in small scale
Dragon continues to amaze with what they can do with their moldings,
and this latest 1/72 scale effort is truly impressive. As many "Shermaholics"
– die-hard US M4 Medium Tank fans – will note, it is a
"mid-production" M4A1 cast hull Sherman, with 75mm M3 gun in the
full-width M34A1 gun mount, with a "low bustle" turret without a
loader's hatch and "split hatch" commander's cupola, "soft" cast
hull transmission cover, VVSS suspension with flat-top return roller
mounts and pillow blocks, pressed steel welded wheels with "solid"
disk drive wheels and pressed steel welded idlers, and a choice of
T48 rubber chevron or T49 "three bar cleat" tracks. Or, at least
something close to that, as many modelers have different names for
the various components. Suffice it to say it is very nice and very
The overall level of quality in this kit is truly amazing, as it is
better than any of the current 1/35 or 1/48 scale kits in regard to
its overall accuracy and amount of detail. Since DML has promised to
redo many of their older Sherman kits, it is hoped that this level
of detail will be put into those kits.
Take, for example, the turret. It comes with an large number of
add-on parts, as well as a "slide molded" pistol port on the left
side which does not have to be puttied into the side and is open, so
the modeler may leave it that way or close it. All viewers and
vision devices are separate items, and the modeler also has a choice
of either styrene or etched brass covers and guards for the devices.
The M34A1 mount comes with a correct base unit, screw-mounted frame,
and mantelet, as well as a hollow-molded gun bore.
The hull has sponson floors molded in, as well as a large amount of
extra details that are added on. If the etched brass is used, it is
one of the most complete hulls around, as it comes with the little
seen and seldom modeled screening that covers the exhaust pipe exits
under the back edge of the hull top. All fine details such as light
guards may be replaced with etched brass; only the fenders here are
left as styrene parts.
The suspension is well done, using a bit of trickery where the bogie
mounts are molded in two parts and the wheels are molded on as part
of the rear suspension arms in one assembly. The vertical volute
springs are separate (one unit) and the return roller is molded to
the front half of the bogie unit. When assembled, the fiddly modeler
may want to drill tiny holes in the front of the bogie unit to
simulate its "reversible" feature but that is about all it needs (or
perhaps an etched brass track return guide at the top.) The drivers
come with two different "teeth" patterns, a "fancy" ring on the
interior and the "solid" one on the outside, so future suspensions
may come with different outside rings. Once installed, the inside
cannot be seen so it is a moot point. The same is NOT true of the
idler, which shares the failing of most 1/35 scale kits of not
having a backing to it.
The model comes with TWO sets of tracks, a first. One is the very
common T48 rubber chevron tracks, most commonly seen during this
period on 3rd Armored and 4th Armored Division M3 and M4 chassis
based vehicles. Until MG Harmon passed out an order late in the fall
of 1944, most 2nd Armored Division tanks, for example, had T51
smooth rubber tracks. The other set, while lovely, is the much rarer
T49 steel "three bar cleat" track, which was less common on tanks
and found more often on support vehicles in US service.
All tools are separate parts, and the model comes with two essential
options for this version of the Sherman: add-on applique armor
panels for the hull and turret, and a very delicate "Culin" hedgerow
cutter with five blades for the bow. The latter is all etched brass,
but very nicely done; however, it will probably have to be soldered
to get sufficient strength to the parts.
The etched brass here goes from the useful (such as the grouser
vents and the aforementioned exhaust surround screening) to the
ridiculous, such as lock hasps for the hatches that are very hard to
even see on the fret. The main problem with parts this small is
getting a sufficient "footprint" to attach them to the model without
having them vanish into a blob of epoxy or ACC cement.
Four finishing options are covered: D-32 "Derby" from 2AD, Normandy
1944; "Aide de Camp", A Company 741st Tank BN, Omaha Beach, June
1944; "Battling Bitch", 7th Armored Division, France 1944; and one
unidentified vehicle, Southern France 1944. All except "Derby" are
straight olive drab; the other is shown in brown over OD but I think
it has been found to have been using the 1st Army Group black and OD
Overall this is a really good kit that bodes well for future
releases in this scale, and basically "sunsets" most other M4