|KIT:||Dragon 1/72 M4A2 (76) VVSS Sherman|
|NOTES:||Optional Photo-etch parts and wire tow cable.|
The M4A3(76)W version of the Sherman was an M4A3 tank, with the 76mm gun and wet stowage for ammunition. The M4A3 was a The VVSS designator means this version had the “Verticle Volute Suspension System”, which is the system that mounted the roadwheels. (Later models has the HVSS, where the “H” stood for horizontal.)
The 761st Tank Battalion:
The 761st Tank Bn was the first African-American armor unit to enter combat in Europe after D-day. They were known as the "Black Panthers" after their unit's shoulder sleeve insignia. Their motto was "Come out fighting". Later referred to as the Black Panther Tank Battalion, the 761st was attached to the XII Corps' 26th Infantry Division, assigned to Gen. George S. Patton Jr.'s Third Army, and committed to combat on Nov. 7, 1944. They served in continuous action with distinction from then until the end of the war. They fought in France, Belgium, and Germany, and were among the first American forces to link up with the Soviet Army (Ukranians) at the River Steyr in Austria.
Dragon has recently released a number of very nice armor kits in 1/72 in their “Armor Pro” series- most of them of German subjects. Now, they’ve turned their attention to an Allied subject- the M4 Sherman tank.
The kit is molded in light gray styrene. There are about 100 parts on four sprues, each individually bagged, plus a separate upper and lower hull. The upper hull and turret are molded using Dragon’s slide mold technology. Also included in the kit is a small fret of PE parts, and a separate piece of metal wire.
The builder has the option of replacing the fenders, tool rack, and light guards with the optional PE parts. (The parts they replace are pretty finely molded to begin with, too!) The instructions clearly call out where the kit parts need to be modified if you’re using the PE versions.
The tracks are rubber band style, similar the to vinyl tracks found in 1/35 scale kits. The tracks are molded in “Dragon Styrene”, a special glue-able material that also allows for fine detail. This style of track is a good choice for a Sherman, as the tracks should be pretty tight, with minimal sag.
Overall, the moldings look terrific. The detail is very fine, and the parts are well molded. The road wheels have detail on both the front and back. The tools are molded on the hull, but look very good- better than the ones molded into the hull on the Tamiya 1/48 scale Sherman I built last winter.
The turret is well detailed as well, with a subtle cast texture. Two gun barrels are provided, one with, and one without a muzzle brake. The turret’s 50 caliber gun is well done, too, with a separate mount, ammo box, and handle.
The hatches are all separate pieces, and have nicely molded periscope details. You can pose the model with the hatches open if you want, but there is no interior, and no figures, so I’m not sure many builders will do that. Unlike the hatches on the 1/48 Tamiya Sherman, there are no ejector pin marks on the interior surface of the hatches.
The instructions are printed on glossy paper, in color. A full sprue diagram is shown, and the color and decal info is printed in color as well.
The decals are printed by Cartograf, and look to be very nice. My sample is thin, and everything is printed in register. There are decals to do four different vehicles:
(1) The box art tank in Olive Drab and black, from the 761st Tank Bn- the “Black Panthers”, Germany, 1945.
(2) A tank in overall olive drab from the 760th Tank Bn, Italy, 1945.
(3) A tank in OD, green, and black camouflage from the 19th Tank Bn, Belgium, 1944.
(4) An overall OD tank in captured German markings- “Beute panzer”.
Highly Recommended. When I saw this kit on the shelf in the local shop, I grabbed it, and I’m very pleased. For a long time, Sherman builders have not been well served, and now finally there is a terrific kit at a great price. One caution—these kits have as many or more pieces, and smaller ones, than the equivalent 1/48 scale tank. This is a very well detailed model, one that has some tiny pieces, and will need some care to properly assemble it.
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