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M4A3(76)W VVSS Sherman

DML 1/72 M4A3(76)W VVSS Sherman Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review May 2006 Manufacturer DML
Subject M4A3(76)W VVSS Sherman Scale 1/72
Kit Number 7271 Primary Media 129 parts (99 parts in grey styrene, 27 etched brass, 2 tan DS plastic track runs, 1 length of twisted steel wire)
Pros Amazing amount of detail in a 1/72 scale kit; very nicely done with new parts breakdown showing it was not pantographed; DML discovers weld beads! Cons "Not German"
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $11.95

First Look

In this day and age many modelers greet a new Sherman kit with the same sort of lackadaisical attitude that non-German modelers greet another Tiger kit – nice, but not my cup of tea. But this little gem is something new, a really great model of a late-model ("Wet" stowage) Sherman with a unique way to breakdown its parts and a really great looking kit.

First off, DML is to be congratulated for FINALLY discovering the hull weld beads on Shermans! No trenches, just petitely raised weld beads all around the upper part of the hull. That alone makes the kit worth investigating, for it is the first one so far to get it right.

The model is an early production version of the late Sherman – VVSS suspension, 47 degree ("big hatch") hull, T-23 style turret with commander's vision cupola and loader's split hatch ring mount for the .50 caliber machine gun, early style exhaust deflector, and choice of either an M1A1 gun with thread protector or the later M1A1C with muzzle brake; both of the latter are "slide molded" so they have hollow bores.

The hull has two odd holes in the bottom which appear to have something to do with the preassembled variants (perhaps the base mounts for the pre-assembled ones; they are too small for screws). Barring that, the upper hull is again "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.

The suspension is unique, as it does not copy that of the larger Sherman kits. The bogie assemblies consist of a VVSS spring set, a bogie outer section with an "upswept" return roller molded in place, a rear section, and a twin road wheel set with the rear section of the articulating arms molded in place. Net result is that with only four parts you get a nice, neat finished bogie assembly. The wheels are the "cast" type with covers in place; likewise it comes with solid (e.g. matching) idlers and "solid" ring drivers. The tracks are T48 type with rubber chevrons.

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. (Note that everything with a casting number except the mantelet has one, even though you will need a jeweler's loupe on some of them!) 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 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.

Markings and finishing instructions are provided for four vehicles: 761st Tank Battalion (The "Black Panthers," an African-American unit), Task Force Rhine, Germany 1945; 760th Tank Battalion, US 5th Army, Italy 1945; 19th Tank Battalion, 9th Armored Division, Belgium 1944; and a captured Sherman, Aschaffenburg, Germany 1945.

Overall this is a really decent rendering of a Sherman, and I can only hope that DML goes back now and fixes the "trenchline" welds in their 1/35 kits!

Thanks to DML for the review sample.