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M4A4 Sherman

DML 1/72 M4A4 Sherman Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review December 2006 Manufacturer DML
Subject M4A4 Sherman Scale 1/72
Kit Number 7311 Primary Media 175 parts (122 in grey styrene, 51 etched brass, 2 DS plastic track runs)
Pros Nice clean complete model of M4A4/Sherman V tank with some optional bits in the kit Cons Overdone brass sheet, some question on markings accuracy
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $13.98

First Look

As with many other DML kits, they have now released a straight Sherman V kit (but under the odd release designation of M4A4) to complement their earlier Sherman VC Firefly kit. As can be expected, this model uses all but the turret sprue, brass and decals from that kit.

It should be noted that the US Army did use some M4A4 tanks, but the only ones used in combat were in conjunction with Nationalist Chinese forces in the CBI theater. The American use was primarily confined to the Desert Training Center at Indio, California, with tanks used there being rebuilt and sent overseas to Commonwealth forces. The book "Tanks are Mighty Fine Things" clearly shows color photos of M4A4s with the 7th Armored Division in training, as well as awaiting rebuilding before overseas shipment.

The kit basically combines the A, B and C sprues from the Firefly kit (details and mid-production VVSS suspension, with welded road wheels and "straight" return roller arms with pillow blocks) with 26 parts adapted from their M4A1 kit for the turret, as well as the two DS plastic British pattern steel chevron (T62 style) track runs.

The hull is beautifully done with "Slide Molding" providing the side details as well as the top and front/rear ones, including very petite weld bead details (less casting numbers!) and other niceties such as the fender/sand shield mountings. The turret likewise has been "Slide Molded" as has the gun barrel which has a hollow muzzle. Everywhere one looks are fine details such as bolts, screw heads, weld bead, etc.

All of the armored applique panels are included, three hull, one turret and true to its Firefly roots the patch over the bow gun port. Again, the trailer hitch was molded in the stowed position on the side of the rear doors, but unless you are planning on using an ammo trailer that is pretty minor. All of the crew hatches and the pistol port are separate parts and can be shown open or shut. There is no interior detail in the turret.

The transmission cover is the "bolted" three-section type with separate bolt flanges, which is normal for portraying this component, and has a choice of cast in or etched brass "ears" for the tow shackles. Other etched brass components include the taillight lenses, light guards, part of the tool brackets, and in the RP (right puny) department, the locking tabs and ears for the hatches. (These are maybe 0.5 x 1.0 mm.)

Surprisingly DML has not included the fenders/sand shields for this model of the Sherman, as they were more commonly used by Commonwealth tankers than Americans. Considering it would be a good idea to use etched brass for this, the omission is a bit odd. They do, unlike their 1/72 scale brethren, include the .50 caliber M2 heavy machine gun for the commander's cupola ring mount.

Painting instructions and markings via a nice Cartograf sheet cover four vehicles: RHQ 13th/18th Royal Hussars, Normandy 1944; 1st Chinese Provisional Tank Group, Burma 1945; 1st Motorized Artillery Regiment, Polish 1st Armoured Division, Falaise Gap 1944; and Free French Army, Marseille 1944. Oddly, sources indicate that the one British tank modeled may have been a Sherman III (M4A2) and not an Sherman V (M4A4), which is a major goof. All tanks appear to be in olive drab. At least there are no silly "captured" options with this kit!

Overall, other than the one error in markings this kit continues the string of "hits" for small scale armour modelers with a U!

Thanks to Freddie Leung of Dragon Models USA for the review sample.

Sprue breakout

  • 26 75mm early turret
  • B 33 machine gun and fine details
  • A 33 M4A4/Firefly details
  • C 30 Mid-production VVSS suspension