by: Mark Millard [ ]
Originally published on:
introductionThe M4 was used by US, British, Canadian and Polish forces. Those used in Normandy had a welded hull with a flat frontal plate and used the T51 tracks with VVSS suspension.
This new release from Dragon represents the M4 version of the Sherman used in the D-Day landings in 1944. It utilizes some parts from older versions as well as several new parts. This kit has over 330 parts and features new parts for the upper hull, turret, mantlet, engine deck as well as one-piece Dragon Styrene tracks.
contentsWell packaged in the familiar Dragon top opening box, the sprues arrive in individually sealed bags with the Dragon card holding the more delicate parts along with the decals.
Included in the kit are the following:
• 10 sprues in gray styrene
• 1 sprue in clear styrene
• 1 semi-tub hull
• 1 upper hull
• 1 photo etch fret
• 1 pair of Dragon Styrene track runs
• 1 metal cable
• 1 decal sheet consisting of markings for two vehicles
The instructions are the usual confusing line drawing type. I am personally not sure which ones I prefer. The photo instructions have their advantages while these are much more detailed.
reviewTaking a look at the kit from the bottom up:
The suspension features the VVSS (Vertical Volute Spring Suspension) and you have a choice of two types of wheels with either five spokes and lightening holes or six raised ribs on solid wheels.
For me the tracks are a treat. They are made from the now familiar DSS (Dragon Styrene) material. They are newly tooled on the T51 pattern. Personally I do not see the need to go through the headache of assembling individual link tracks for a vehicle that used live tracks with no slack. Others may see it differently and may wish to purchase some aftermarket individual link tracks. These tracks are able to be glued with normal plastic cement. I prefer Tamiya Extra Thin personally. They take normal model paint very well and I have never had a problem with the glue not holding or the tracks breaking. The tracks are packaged individually in a plastic cover. This is slightly different than the plastic and thin cardboard packaging in the recent past. My review sample’s tracks appear to be in perfect condition with no signs of warping or damaged to the teeth. I have not had a chance to size up the track runs to check on the fit yet. Usually you can adjust the idler tension to accommodate for the tracks being too loose, but if necessary you can also remove a link or two, then re-attach the run together with model cement again.
The brand new upper hull depicts the M4 version. There are some very nice weld seams included. The hull features two armored plates in front of the driver and radio operator’s hatches. The hatches can be left open or closed as there is interior detail and periscopes present. There are three separate armored plates provided for the hull sides. There is a choice of three separate transmission covers on the hull front.
The front and rear fenders are depicted in photo etched parts.
Engine Deck Area:
The engine deck is brand new for the M4 and includes a mesh screen for the air intake made from photo etch. The side engine ventilator covers also have photo etch mesh screens. The engine hatches can be made open or closed but there is no engine included so you will have to source an aftermarket one if you want to.
The tools have molded on clasps. If you so desire, you can scrape off the molded clasps and use the included photo etch ones for more detail. There is a form included to bend the tow cable (made from the usual stiff wire).
The turret is a new slide molded version with a nice cast effect. It has additional armor plating to protect the gunner.
The commander’s hatch has split doors that are detailed inside and out. The periscopes are made of clear plastic. There is a 50 cal. Browning machinegun mounted behind the commanders’ cupola and features the Dragon standard hollowed out muzzle, separate hand grips and an n ammo box comprised of three pieces.
The gun barrel is a slide-molded affair with a hollowed out muzzle end. Only some minor cleanup work will be required with molding seams.
A decal sheet is made by Cartograf is included. It features markings for the two vehicles shown in the instructions, both using an olive drab color scheme. If you want to model a different tank, you will have to source your own aftermarket decals.
•The first one is “Cannon Ball” shown on the very nice box art. It is from the 70th Tank Battalion on Utah Beach on D-Day. It features the low visibility green stars as well as the other unit markings.
•The second is “Tonto” of 37th Tank Battalion. It features an Indian head painted on the sides. It features white stars and registration markings.
conclusionThis is a welcome addition to Dragon/DML’s Sherman family, and though I am not an expert on this subject, I'm looking forward to getting this one on my bench. A build log will be started shortly on the Forums to evaluate this kit further.