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TWS #0014 T23 Sherman turret - Oval Hatch

Tony Leung

The Tank Workshop #0014 "T-23 Oval Hatch with Aluminum Barrel". Price: USD13.60 plus shipping and handling Nine Resin Pieces and One Aluminum gun barrel.

 The T-23 turret with the M1A1 L/53 76mm gun was originally designed for an experimental American medium tank design also known by the same designation "T-23". Coincidentally, the T-23 turret had the same 69 inch diameter turret ring as the 75mm gun armed Shermans. Combat experience had revealed that the 75mm gun armed Shermans were inadequate in dealing with German armour . So as an expedient measure to up arm the Sherman, the T-23 turret was mounted onto both the late model M4A1 cast hull and late model M4A2 and M4A3 welded hull Shermans. These late model Sherman hulls had the 47 degree slope and wide hatches for the driver and co-drivers. The 76mm gun armed late model Sherman tanks made their combat debut in the battle for Normandy. The Soviet Union did get some late hull M4A2s with VVSS and T-23 turret combination. There are pictures of these vehicles in Vienna.

The Tank Workshop resin turret represents a late version of the T-23 turret, which has the oval loader's hatch and late model commander's vision cupola. The contents are packed inside a thick zip-lock plastic bag. Parts break down as follows: hollow moulded turret, turret ring, mantlet, machine gun post for turret top, turret pistol port cover, loader's hatch, three small pieces forming the MG rack on the back of the turret bustle and one turned aluminum gun tube. The modeller will have to add the Tamiya kit's commander's cupola and the 0.50 MG to this turret. A small 3D line drawing is included to illustrate where the parts should be located on the turret. The gun tube provided is without the muzzle brake. The Tank Workshop's resin turret was designed for use with the Tamiya M4A3 Sherman kit. The Tamiya mid production M4 cannot be used "as is" with this turret because T-23 turrets were only mounted on late cast and welded hulls.  There is a fair degree of flash and excess resin to remove from my sample. I have dry fitted the turret ring to the Tamiya M4A3 hull and found it was a flush fit. But the fit between the turret ring to the turret itself is a different matter. The turret ring also forms the very bottom edge of the turret itself. The bottom of my turret appears to be slightly warped (not quite round) and, hence, it will not fit flush with the turret ring. I will need some putty and a bit of bending of the turret under heat to correct this. Air bubbles were also present on my turret around the area of the gun mantlet. However, the bubbles are underneath the surface so have not caused any pitting. The gun mantlet area will require a bit of clean up of excess resin to get a good fit of the mantlet onto the turret itself after the flash is removed.

Other details worth mentioning about this resin turret is that cast number "1582" is moulded onto the left side of the turret as well as some rudimentary interior detail to the inside of the turret wall by the commander's hatch in case the modeller wishes to leave the commander's hatch opened. That is quite thoughtful of Tank Workshop.  In summary, this is a very simple conversion for any beginner who want to try his hands on resin conversions as it doesn't require any surgery to the base kit. However, as with any resin product, there is the inconvenience of having to remove excess resin from the pour plugs and flash without making the mistake of removing too much. For who just want a T-23 turreted Sherman in their collection and don't want to go the aftermarket conversion route, Dragon Models has released two kits of the late model M4A3 76mm (W) HVSS. One kit was is boxed under Dragon's "39-45" series which represents a late model Sherman with turret and front glacis applique armour and earlier style T-66 tracks for the Horizontal Volute Spring Suspension, while the second kit is boxed under Dragon's Korean War series with the later T-80 tracks for the HVSS. Both kits have the late model T-23 turret with a muzzle break on their 76mm gun. Aside from the Dragon kits, Italeri has a late model M4A1with the earlier style T-23 turret where the old commander's ring hatch is used and no muzzle break is provided with the gun. The Italeri kit has the old VVSS and rubber block tracks. But the Tank Workshop turret would be the way to go for those who want to build a M4A3 76mm (w) out of the good old Tamiya M4A3 kit.

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