M4A3(75)W - ETO
Reviewed by Cookie Sewell
|Stock Number and Description||Dragon Models Limited 1/35 scale ‘39-‘45 Series Kit No. 6698; M4A3(75)W - ETO|
|Media and Contents:||523 parts (463 parts in grey styrene, 38 etched brass, 21 clear styrene, 1 twisted steel wire)|
|Price:||Pre-order price US$47.95 via Dragon USA Online|
|Review Type:||First Look|
|Advantages:||Answers modelers’ requests for a “straight big hatch 75 Sherman used in Europe”|
|Disadvantages:||Constant stream of variants confuses casual modelers as to subject|
|Recommendation:||Highly Recommended for all US Sherman fans
One long-standing gripe by modelers was that DML had done a large number of Shermans and variants on Shermans, but they had not released a new, state-of-the-art straight-up standard production M4A3 75mm Wet Stowage Vertical Volute Suspension System Tank. This was the most common tank in Europe after the invasion forces had established a firm foothold, and as such equipped all but the two “big” armored divisions (1st and 2nd, each with three regiments of M4 or M4A1 tanks).
DML took their product-improved M4 sprues and added a new turret taking up not one but TWO sprues and provides it with the best bits from other kits, such as their impressive 13-part M2HB machine gun. This one adds a set of DS plastic T54E1 steel chevron tracks with extended end connectors to boot. Personally, I do wish they had provided two sets as not all modelers want the extended end connectors. But these are nicely done and will make most modelers quite happy. The DS plastic has proven to be easy to deal with, hold great detail, and also is more amenable to painting than vinyl. It also solves the one bugaboo most modelers have with DML kits, namely the three-piece single link VVSS tracks.
This kit comes with the latest versions of the hull with raised weld bead detail, two different bogie styles (either “straight top” return roller mounts with pillow blocks or “upswept” return roller mounts), five-spoke welded steel wheels or pressed steel welded wheels, either “sculpted” or flat driver toothed rings, and the early model exhaust diffuser.
Some of the sprues show different parts counts indicating some new “tweaks” to them have been introduced, and the overall effect is quite impressive.
This kit comes with 38 brass parts, some of which are options for plastic parts (such as the tie-down loops on the turret, as this one comes with them as injected molded parts as well). Due to improved molding techniques, DML has only included injected periscope guards, which may not stand well with some modelers but others are more than content to live with as they are less prone to going “airborne” when the model is completed.
Technical consultant is Pawel Krupowicz.
Oddly, only two different finishing options are provided: 10th Armored Division, Trier, Germany, 1945(olive drab with an odd “white mouse” symbol on the turret and “you name it”
serial number block); and 11th Armored Division, Andernach, Germany, 1945 (olive drab, white 113 or 114). A number jungle with armor triangles and a targeted sheet of Cartograf decals are both included.
Overall, while the lack of options for finishing this most common of late model Shermans is odd, it is a nice kit and should answer the mail.
A 96 M4A2/A3 Late upper hull with A2 engine deck
B 65 High-Bustle Dual Hatch M4 turret with choice of cupola
B 35 75mm gun barrel, M34A1 mantlet, turret details
C 21 clear styrene
D 16x2 Five-spoke wheels and upswept VVSS bogies
G 24 M4A3 engine deck and VVSS details
H 26 Early T23 style turret
J 12 M2HB machine gun and accessories
S 1 Twisted steel wire
V 86x2 Pressed steel wheels and straight VVSS bogies
Y 2 T54E1 plastic T48 tracks with extended end connectors
Z 1 Lower hull pan
MA 38 etched brass
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.