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Armoured Brigade Models 009 Sherman Suspension w/ Horizontal Return Roller Bracket

Andrew Dextras


The first Sherman tanks used a suspension system known as the Vertical Volute Suspension System, which was
carried over from the M3 medium tank series. The earlier versions of this suspension had a return roller mounted
directly above the main bogie body and had seven inch diametre volute springs. Experience showed that this
suspension design was not able to cope with the increased weight of the Sherman tank series, especially the
longer, heavier multi-bank engine variants, as this led to spring failures. To rectify this situation, a new, beefed up
heavy duty suspension bogie unit was designed incorporating 8 inch diametre volute springs, a top mounted skid
plate and a trailing arm return roller. The return roller bracket was designed so that a bogie unit could be used on
either side of the vehicle by simply flipping the return roller bracket to the opposite bogie face. The first "heavy
duty" suspension units used a horizontal return roller bracket and shortly thereafter it was deemed necessary to
raise the return roller assembly. This was done by adding a thicker pillow block for the return roller. Eventually the
return roller bracket was redesigned with an angled raised roller arm assembly.

The Kit

Not including Dragon’s M4A1 "early" kit (now out of production), every Sherman tank available in injection
plastic includes later type raised return roller bracket type bogies. For many of us wanting to build a 1943-44
vintage Sherman (and especially Commonwealth Sherman Vs) the only available option has been to heavily
modify the existing bogies or just build them as is. Although the later type bogies would be acceptable in most
cases, it is very hard to find photographic evidence of certain Shermans (ie: Firefly VCs) with these later type
units. Not to fear, Armoured Brigade Models has the solution for Shermanaholics.

The ABM horizontal return roller Sherman bogies are crisply molded in a light cream resin and are very similar in
quality to the products made by CMD. They are neatly packed in a sturdy box and all parts are packaged in small
bags. The instructions are three 8-1/2" x 11" pages filled with detailed steps and photographs. This is refreshing as
many full vehicle resin kits have less complete instructions for far more complicated kits. The bogies are very
detailed including the 4 correct holes in the bogie front face, 4 skid plate retaining bolts, 6 return roller assembly
retaining bolts, 2 bracket plugs and 3 suspension gudgeon bolts. The bogies were produced by a variety of
manufacturers and the ABM bogies represent a sub-type which had a vertical channel in between the return roller
assembly mounting points. The bogies include a variety of casting numbers, even some inside the main bogie
assembly which will never be seen by even the most fanatical flashlight wielding uber-judge. Assembly is very
straightforward and cleanup is minimal for a resin kit due to the very small casting plugs and non-existent flash.
The kit comes complete with a full set of pressed type wheels with detail on both sides, grease nipples, relief valve
detail and are the only wheels I’ve ever seen that have the correct 24 rivets on each rim. One of the kit’s more
interesting points is the option of adding the thicker pillow block assembly to create the later raised roller unit.

In summary, this is a very high quality, well researched and easy to assemble kit. An absolute must for anyone
interested in producing an accurate 1943-44 Sherman.

Armoured Brigade Models
PO Box 35163, Westgate P.O.
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1Z 1A2
e-mail: acpabmsid@igs.net


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