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M4A3(105mm) VVSS Sherman w/Deep Wading

DML 1/72 M4A3(105mm) VVSS Sherman w/Deep Wading Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review February 2010 Manufacturer DML
Subject M4A3(105mm) VVSS Sherman w/Deep Wading Kit Scale 1/72
Kit Number 7330 Primary Media 143 parts (120 in grey styrene, 20 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; weld beads; etched brass air trunks Cons Etched brass air trunks
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $19.95

First Look

This new version of the DML M4A3 with 105mm howitzer makes its debut two years after its regular version. This is a slightly modified kit but now also includes the wading trunks for beach landings.

The model is an early production howitzer Sherman – VVSS suspension, 47 degree (“big hatch”) hull, high-bustle turret with loader’s hatch, early style exhaust deflector, and a “slide molded 105mm barrel.

The hull is a new mold piece and no longer has the holes in the bottom found on the earlier kit. 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 DML’s unique Sherman type where the bogie assemblies consist of a VVSS spring set, a bogie outer section with an “flat” return roller molded in place, a rear section, and a twin road wheel set with the rear section of the articulating arms. Net result is that with only four parts you get a nice, neat finished bogie assembly. The wheels are the “cast” (welded) 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. However, even though it is the VVSS version only the later commander’s “vision” cupola is included and not the early production “split hatch” one.

In the previous version the DML howitzer M4s all suffered from the same problem, regardless of scale: a too narrow mantlet. The previous kit had one 13mm wide where it should have been 14.3mm; this kit now sports a modified sprue and a mantlet 14mm even across (I can give them 0.3mm in this scale!) There are a few other tweaks but you would have to compare the kits together to find the differences.

The etched brass parts in this kit do not replace styrene, but provide both the upper and lower sections of the wading trunks, so the modeler has his choice on having it fresh from the beach or after the clumsy top sections have been removed. A set of headlight guards are also included.

Finishing instructions cover two tanks: B Company, 31st Tank Battalion, 7th Armored Division, Europe 1944 (OD overall with white stars and bumper codes); and, 3rd Armored Division, Europe 1944 (OD and brown spots - may be touch-up painting with white stars in three positions). A “targeted” set of Cartograf decals is provided.

Overall this is a better version than the original with its modified parts, and does show that DML will listen to the modelers.

Thanks to DML for the review sample.

Sprue Layout:

  • A 11 M4A3 details
  • a 34 High Bustle turret with 105mm howitzer fittings
  • B 41 Sherman hull details
  • C 32 Sherman mid-production VVSS suspension
  • D 2 M4A3 Wet Stowage hull
  • X 2 DS tracks - T48
  • Y 1 twisted steel wire
  • MA 20 etched brass