|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
When comparing the M4 Sherman series to other tanks, one can easily say that it came in probably more variants and sub-variants than any other American armored vehicle before or since. A testament to its longevity is that, though considerably upgraded and modified over the original, the Sherman was still being used operationally thirty years after the end of WWII.
Though outclassed by similar German tanks, the Sherman was built in much greater numbers and was reliable enough to defeat more powerful and more heavily armed and armored enemy tanks. In the Pacific, the Japanese never were able to produce a quality tank and even the most modest of Sherman variants was more than adequate to handle Japanese tanks during the few times they met in battle. Their greatest asset in the Pacific was as infantry support against enemy positions.
Dragon has done a considerable number of Sherman variants and I believe has the market pretty well gauged in this regard. The really nice thing about Dragon is that they are willing to upgrade items in a kit that may not have been totally accurate. Their willingness to listen to others in this regard has put them in pretty high standings amongst armor builders. This particular kit is no exception when it comes to new mold bits. Taking a cue from the Dragon web site this kit features:
Completely accurately composite hull with cast texture is newly tooled
- Newly designed angle of rear hull based on actual Army schematics
- Newly molded front hull with accurate shape
- Newly molded driver's and radio operator's hatches w/interior detail can be assembled open/closed
- Newly tooled one-piece DS T-48 tracks
- Newly tooled one-piece transmission cover with cast texture
- Bolt detail on transmission cover realistically rendered
- Newly molded welding seams like the real one
- Slide-molded gun barrel
- Two options of turret was designed based on actual Army schematics
- Separate pistol port hatch that can be assembled open or close
- The bolt connecting plate for the gun shield attachment looks completely integral after assembly
- Rotor shield newly designed according to Army schematics
- Accurate gun shield with fine bolt details
- Cupola is molded in detail
- Commander's hatch with periscope assembly
- Loader's hatch and cover of periscopes can be assembled open/close
- Gun travel lock can be modeled in travel or combat modes
- Hull side plates are accurately reproduced, with a correct horizontal upper edge
- Fuel caps with interior detail can be modeled open or close
- Siren molded in detail
- Finely rendered headlight and horn guards
- Sprocket molded in detail
- On-vehicle tools delicately recreated
- Layout accurately reproduced on-vehicle tools
Instructions are standard Dragon with Gunze and Model Master paint references. The well drawn illustrations show the options available (which are mainly open or closed hatches. There are five markings options, all in Olive Drab. The box art tank is from the 44th Tank Battalion at Limon in 1944, Next is a 763rd Tank Battalion, 56 ID vehicle on Leyte in 1944. At Manila in 1945 was the next option, from Co B, 44th Tank Battalion, and the last one with large sergeant's stripes on the side is also from Manila but with C Company. The decal sheet is well printed and should work well.
So here you have it. Another Sherman, this time from the Pacific theater, which should be a nice change from all those northwest European ones. As usual, these tend to go rather quickly so get yours while you can.
Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours at your local shop or on-line retailer.
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