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M4A3(105mm) HVSS Sherman

DML 1/72 M4A3(105mm) HVSS Sherman Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review May 2007 Manufacturer DML
Subject M4A3(105mm) HVSS Sherman Scale 1/72
Kit Number 7313 Primary Media 201 parts (172 parts in grey styrene, 27 etched brass, 2 tan DS plastic track runs)
Pros Amazing amount of detail in a 1/72 scale kit; very nicely done with new parts breakdown; DML discovers weld beads; HVSS now with T80 tracks as well Cons Retains earlier mistakes from VVSS version of this kit
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $14.98

First Look

Hot on the heels of their "Thunderbolt VII" M4A3E8 76mm kit (No. 7302) we now receive a new 105mm howitzer version from DML. It is different from Kit No. 7274 in many ways but retains one unfortunate error.

The new variant model is a late production howitzer Sherman – HVSS suspension, 47 degree ("big hatch") hull, high-bustle turret with loader's hatch, early style exhaust deflector, T80 twin-pin steel faced tracks, and a "slide molded" 105mm barrel.

This kit uses the "wet stowage" hull which is absent the odd holes in the bottom of the VVSS ones. The upper hull is "slide molded" in one section and has the mounts for the side shields on it with bolt holes clearly visible. The smaller tools (e.g. mattock, tanker's bar, and axe) are molded in place, but the remaining ones are separate. Oddly enough the kit does not include the late model "split" exhaust deflectors found on this vintage of M4A3.

The suspension is the new and revised HVSS one that consists of the six bogies for the HVSS suspension with each bogie requiring eight parts – a "bicycle" formed by two wheels and the bogie frame, two outer wheels, two spring sections, a joiner for the articulated sections of the bogie, and a mounting to attach them to the hull. Wheels are detailed on both sides.

The turret consists of a top and bottom with the pistol port molded in place, but the cover left separate. This is again a "slide molded" part to get the detail resolution. The turret is quite complete, with a very nicely done machine gun with parallel heat jacket at the rear of the barrel and separate spade grips. The commander's "vision" cupola is provided and nicely molded.

The etched brass parts replace some of the detail parts provided in styrene, such as the front fender tips, the rear luggage rack, and some of the tool racks. The parts are called out on the directions with blue for parts to be trimmed or removed and a mustard color for the brass parts to be installed; this is quite helpful as the directions are thankfully in black and white and parts are thus much easier to see.

Unfortunately this kit still replicates the too narrow mantelet of the 1/35 scale kit as well as the previous VVSS kit. But unlike previous DML efforts, this is the first one to include the same error noted in the larger kit. In 1/72 scale the mantelet 14.3 mm wide; but on the kit it is exactly 13mm. Ergo, it is approximately 9% undersized and unfortunately DML did not take the original criticisms to heart and fix it.

The applique armor sprue from the M4A3 76mm HVSS kit is included for the new hull rear and fenders. DML missed an opportunity here to include parts for the flamethrower version used later in the Pacific or Korea.

Finishing instructions cover four tanks: 713th Tank Battalion, Okinawa 1945 in OD with sand temporary camouflage; 67th Armored Infantry Battalion, 13th Armored Division, Austria 1945 (OD overall); 752nd Tank Battalion, Italy 1945 (OD overall); and 20th Armored Infantry Battalion, 10th Armored Division, Germany 1945. A "targeted" set of Cartograf decals is provided. I do wish they had included USMC markings for Korea as a change of pace, though.

Overall this is again a nice kit of the howitzer Sherman but once more the too-narrow mantelet detracts from its accuracy.

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

Sprue Layout

A 11 M4A3 details a 32 High Bustle turret with 105mm howitzer fittings B 40 Sherman hull details D 66 HVSS suspension E 16 M4A3 HVSS details and applique armor G 2 M4A3 Wet Stowage hull Y 2 DS tracks - T80 MA 27 etched brass

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