DML 1/35 U.S. M4A1 DV - Smart Kit First Look
|Date of Review||November 2008||Manufacturer||DML|
|Subject||U.S. M4A1 DV - Smart Kit||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||6404||Primary Media||379 parts (310 in grey styrene, 44 etched brass, 22 clear styrene, 2 DS plastic, 1 length of twisted steel wire)|
|Pros||Virtually new kit with all but four sprues replaced; nicely done components augur more variants to come, including M3 series vehicles||Cons||Some minor quirks here and there|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$57|
Having just released the Commonwealth version of this kit as the “Sherman El Alamein” (DML Kit No. 6447) DML has now released a dedicated US version of the Early Production or “Direct Vision” tank.
The American versions first saw combat in North Africa in early 1943 as part of the 1st Armored Division. While their baptism of fire was inauspicious, the tanks proved themselves useful and reliable, and were the first of the many thousands which followed.
This kit is a virtual twin of the earlier Sherman II kit with the exception that it drops the E sprue British stowage bin and adds two new ones, one for the cast/machined driver rings which are provided in four parts and one for the rear handrails/brackets on the engine deck. The etched brass loses 20 parts, mostly the side skirts and brackets. The rest is the same to include the the basic detail sprue, the early model low bustle turret, and the clear styrene.
As with the Sherman II kit the turret is familiar to most Shermaholics but for the record consists of the basic turret with several options, including a choice of M34 gun mount without “ears”, M34 mount with “ears”, add-on armor protection for the coaxial machine gun with the M34 mount, or the M34A1 mount. This variant, however, uses just the straight M34 mount.
The hull is completely new top and bottom, and a “slide molded” three-piece transmission cover is also new to the family. Specific details are provided to give two options to the grouser bin vents at the rear of the hull and either an open or closed set of engine access doors at the rear of the hull with two styles of “locking door” (but no interior components). The kit comes with the early “square” air cleaners as well.
While cyber-hobby.com is advertising two versions of the M3/Early M4 style suspension, this kit comes with the identical variant used in Kit 6447. After checking my photo collection of these bogies, they are an exact match for some found on the preserved M3 Medium Tank with the Virginia Museum of Military Vehicles, so while they may or may not be the most widely used variants they are correct and nicely done. The model also comes with the same DS plastic set of the early T41 rubber pad tracks with non-reversible pads; while they appear to be a bit thin, this is apparently correct and one reason the reversible T51 links were adopted soon after the war began.
As noted the brass set for this kit is far smaller and only covers the fender tips, light guards, grouser vents and engine vent, and tool tie-downs and straps. The new design headlight guards (e.g. easier to fold and install) come complete with a folding jig as a separate part on the hull sprue.
Finishing directions and markings are included for only two tanks: “Hannibal” from H Company, 66th Armored Regiment, 2AD, Operation “Husky”, Sicily 1943 (two-tone sand and olive drab with white stars and rings); and “Honky Tonk”, H Company, 1st Armored Regiment, 1st Armored Division, Sidi Bou Zid, Tunisia 1943 (olive drab with yellow starts , 48-star flags and markings). A nice but targeted sheet of Cartograf decals covers these vehicles.
Technical assistance is credited to Pawel Krupowicz.
Overall, this is the “other shoe” of the direct vision M4A1 kits and will appeal to American modelers as well as the die-hard “Shermaholics.”
Thanks to Freddie Leung of Dragon Models USA for the review sample.
- A 96 M4A2/A3 hull details
- B 63 M4 series low bustle turret with M34 and M34A1 gun mounts
- C 29 M4A1 DV stern plate and air filters
- C 22 Clear styrene
- D 31x2 M3/Early M4 suspension
- F 11 M4A1 DV engine deck details
- G 28 M4A1 DV hull and hull details
- H 11 M4A1 DV three-piece transmission cover
- K 1 Early M4A1 bolted lower hull
- S 1 twisted steel wire
- V 4x2 Early “open” type drivers
- X 3 Brackets
- Z 2 T41 track type DS plastic track runs
- MA 44 etched brass