201 parts (172 parts in grey
styrene, 27 etched brass, 2 tan DS plastic track runs)
retail price estimated at US $14.95
Amazing amount of detail in a 1/72 scale
kit; very nicely done with new parts breakdown; DML discovers weld
beads; HVSS now with T80 tracks as well
Retains earlier mistakes from VVSS version
of this kit
Recommended for all Shermaholics and 1/72
Hot on the heels of their "Thunderbolt VII" M4A3E8 76mm kit (No.
7302) we now receive a new 105mm howitzer version from DML. It is
different from Kit No. 7274 in many ways but retains one unfortunate
The new variant model is a late production howitzer Sherman – HVSS
suspension, 47 degree ("big hatch") hull, high-bustle turret with
loader's hatch, early style exhaust deflector, T80 twin-pin steel
faced tracks, and a "slide molded" 105mm barrel.
This kit uses the "wet stowage" hull which is absent the odd holes
in the bottom of the VVSS ones. The upper hull is "slide molded" in
one section and has the mounts for the side shields on it with bolt
holes clearly visible. The smaller tools (e.g. mattock, tanker's
bar, and axe) are molded in place, but the remaining ones are
separate. Oddly enough the kit does not include the late model
"split" exhaust deflectors found on this vintage of M4A3.
The suspension is the new and revised HVSS one that consists of the
six bogies for the HVSS suspension with each bogie requiring eight
parts – a "bicycle" formed by two wheels and the bogie frame, two
outer wheels, two spring sections, a joiner for the articulated
sections of the bogie, and a mounting to attach them to the hull.
Wheels are detailed on both sides.
The turret consists of a top and bottom with the pistol port molded
in place, but the cover left separate. This is again a "slide
molded" part to get the detail resolution. The turret is quite
complete, with a very nicely done machine gun with parallel heat
jacket at the rear of the barrel and separate spade grips. The
commander's "vision" cupola is provided and nicely molded.
The etched brass parts replace some of the detail parts provided in
styrene, such as the front fender tips, the rear luggage rack, and
some of the tool racks. The parts are called out on the directions
with blue for parts to be trimmed or removed and a mustard color for
the brass parts to be installed; this is quite helpful as the
directions are thankfully in black and white and parts are thus much
easier to see.
Unfortunately this kit still replicates the too narrow mantelet of
the 1/35 scale kit as well as the previous VVSS kit. But unlike
previous DML efforts, this is the first one to include the same
error noted in the larger kit. In 1/72 scale the mantelet 14.3 mm
wide; but on the kit it is exactly 13mm. Ergo, it is approximately
9% undersized and unfortunately DML did not take the original
criticisms to heart and fix it.
The applique armor sprue from the M4A3 76mm HVSS kit is included for
the new hull rear and fenders. DML missed an opportunity here to
include parts for the flamethrower version used later in the Pacific
Finishing instructions cover four tanks: 713th Tank Battalion,
Okinawa 1945 in OD with sand temporary camouflage; 67th Armored
Infantry Battalion, 13th Armored Division, Austria 1945 (OD
overall); 752nd Tank Battalion, Italy 1945 (OD overall); and 20th
Armored Infantry Battalion, 10th Armored Division, Germany 1945. A
"targeted" set of Cartograf decals is provided. I do wish they had
included USMC markings for Korea as a change of pace, though.
Overall this is again a nice kit of the howitzer Sherman but once
more the too-narrow mantelet detracts from its accuracy.
A 11 M4A3 details
a 32 High Bustle turret with 105mm howitzer fittings
B 40 Sherman hull details
D 66 HVSS suspension
E 16 M4A3 HVSS details and applique armor
G 2 M4A3 Wet Stowage hull
Y 2 DS tracks - T80
MA 27 etched brass