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Chrysler A57 Multibank Engine

Resicast, 1/35 scale

Reviewed by DC Shoemaker

Catalogue Number and Description: Resicast 35270 - Chrysler A57 Multibank Engine
Contents and Media: Photo-etched frets and multi-media accessories
Scale: 1/35
Price: Available from specialist hobby retailers worldwide including Mission Models
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Excellent detail; outstanding casting; designed for Tasca's M4A4 engine compartment
Disadvantages:  
Recommendation: Highly Recommended to experienced modellers



Resicast kits and accessories are available online from Mission Models
 

FirstLook

By 1941, Chrysler and the US Army were in trouble over engine supplies for the M3 Lee/Grant and M4 Sherman tanks. Designed to use inexpensive and readily available aircraft radial engines running on high-test gasoline, these engines were now in great demand for training aircraft, and the engine makers were unable to meet the requirement. Someone at Chrysler had the brilliant idea of bolting five 90 hp 6-cylinder automobile engines together onto one crankcase to produce an engine that would produce about 400 hp on regular gasoline and fit in a slightly lengthened M3A4 or M4A4. Curiously, the engine configuration was exactly the same as the Chrysler star, as you can see in the photo.

This strange engine was so successful that 7,999 M4A4 tanks were ultimately produced, along with several hundred M3A4s. The Army used some for training in the US, but considered them too complex for combat use. By far the largest proportion went overseas under Lend-Lease to Britain and China. The British considered them complex, too, but took them anyway, and in fact most Firefly tanks were converted from M4A4s.

There is any number of engine sets for Shermans, including the Continental R975 radial and the US Armyís preferred Ford GAA V8, but now for something really different, from The Belgian company Resicast comes a Chrysler A57 Multibank engine with 78 resin parts for the Sherman M4A4 and Vc Firefly. The engine kit number is 35.269. Contact Resicast for price and ordering details at http://www.resicast.com/. I paid about $45 for mine, with shipping, and you most certainly get your moneyís worth.

Iíve never seen a better set of castings from anyone, with minimal flash. The 20-page fully illustrated instruction booklet is exemplary. Included are pictures from the US Army manual, similar to the photo here, giving an excellent over-all feel for the finished engine. Thereís also a separate two-sided sheet showing each part and its part number.

Following are some of the pictures of Resicastís test shot. The product supplied looks exactly the same but for the color of the resin. Not shown are two flexible resin water hoses, which make the connection to the radiator much easier.

The finished engine is designed to be a drop-fit for the Tasca Sherman Firefly kit, which Iíve not seen. With very minor trimming it fits Dragon/ DMLís M4A4 and Firefly kits, of which there are several versions. Install the engine, open up the engine deck, and wait for the audience reaction. With its five carburetors and complex plumbing, it brings a diorama alive with something new and different.

Resicast also make an M4A4 engine compartment interior set, kit number 35.270, with 28 resin parts and 3 etched panels, seen in the photo, which would be useful for a diorama showing the engine out for maintenance. This was an all too often experience with the A57, since the lower sparkplugs could not be reached otherwise.

While this might not be the best resin kit to begin with, if you have a little experience this well-designed and engineered kit should be no problem.

Highly recommended.

Reference:

Sherman, A History of the American Medium Tank, by R.P. Hunnicutt, Presidio Press, 1978.
 

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Text by DC Shoemaker
Images Copyright 2007 by Resicast
Page Created 29 July, 2007
Page Last Updated 29 July, 2007