is a document used by the United States Army which goes by its printing reference
number as Form DA 2404. It is used to list the daily check faults on vehicles
and as such is usually called either a 2404 or "gig sheet." Essentially
the majority of kit reviews or build reviews many modelers write or see is pretty
much along the same lines, albeit some are more finicky than others as to what
they write up as "gigs".
years fans of the Sherman tankmore properly the US Army M4 Medium Tank serieshave
been doing this to one kit or another for many reasons. And nearly every major
and several minor manufacturer has done a 1/35 scale ShermanRevell, Monogram,
Tamiya, Italeri, Nichimo, MP Models, Dragon Models Limited, and Academy with Sherman
based kits either coming out or available from AFV Club and Trumpeter as well.
All have been written up for their flaws, mistakes or simple "gigs"
and as a result have keep "experten" on the Shermans (and a few real
knowledgeable people like Steve Zaloga and Joe Demarco) busy sorting them out
for more than 25 years.
major problems that are usually noted with the kits are these:
turret shapes are wrong, or wrong for the version being modeled
weld beads are wrong, as they show up as "trenches" rather than weld
bead which stands proud of the surface
wheels come with no backing detail and are too thin
tracks are not correct, either wrong width, wrong design, wrong patter, or too
the details for a specific variant are not correctexhausts, vents, fenders,
grilles, or hatches are not put in the right place (the culprit usually being
research of an incorrectly restored vehicle.)
has taken much of the criticism of their kits to heart, and even though they have
produced the arguably best Sherman kits to date, they have constantly been "gigged"
for some or all of the above errors. Now they have come back with a vengeance
with this first in a new series of M4 series tank kits, and most of the "gigs"
have been "worked off" or eliminated.
subject of the new kit is the last WWII M4 tank used by Colonel Creighton Abrams
after he took off Combat Command B of the 4th Armored Division. It represents
an early production M4A3 with the horizontal volute spring suspension, better
known as either HVSS or "Easy 8" after its test designation, single-pin
T66 cast tracks, a 76mm gun with muzzle brake in the later version of the T23-derived
cast turret, and ordnance designed and fitted appliqué armor panels.
not labeled as a "Smart Kit" like the new Panther Ausf. G, the new M4A3E8
kit uses a minimum of multimedia partsit comes with a sparse brass sheet
of only 11 items for use as the fenders for the wider HVSS suspension and track,
a turned aluminum barrel, and 12 springs and six brass tubes that may be fitted
to the suspension to permit it to "operate." While I personally am not
a fan of "frou-frou" features like this, at least it is a better and
more scalelike way to approach it than the toy-like vinyl or rubber fittings used
in some other kits from other manufacturers.
name of the game with this kit is "slide molding" which permits DML
to get more onto the model in the right places and with less distortion. The lower
hull pan now sports a lot more detail than past kits, including the assembly notching
used on the real vehicle and other niceties. The upper hull FINALLY sports something
no other kit has done up until nowRAISED weld bead instead of trenches where
the welded hull assembles. This by itself will win the affection of many "Shermaholics"
who tired of having to constantly fill and reshape the weld beads.
turret is an evolution of the recent moldings from DML, and is again "slide
molded" with texture, built-in pistol port mount, and the subtle angles of
the original cast turret captured far better than past efforts by all companies.
bogies are very complex, but are detailed on all sides and look quite impressive.
Each one consists of two seven-piece subassemblies (the tires are separate) and
a 12-piece center assembly using the springs and brass tube to provide for spring
operation of the bogie if carefully assembled. There is no "non-working"
option so care will have to be taken to get the parts aligned correctly.
is the "early model" and comes with the original "three-vane"
exhaust deflector at the rear of the hull as well as the T66 single-link tracks.
While DML had a great set of T66 tracks that they came out with ten years ago,
the new ones are "Magic Track" and snap together. Each one has four
tiny ejection pin marks on it, partially to permit the correct molding of the
center guide horn as hollow; but they stand "proud" and will be easily
trimmed off. (The real ones were short-lived as they proved fragile; if you want
to go with the late war T80 tracks, the AFV Club ones would be your best bet as
they are less fussy than the old DML ones that need their connectors drilled out
and center guides glued in place.) Suffice to say that they did not opt out for
what appears to have been the wrong T80 tracks as they did with their DX05 "Allen
F. Irzyk" M4A3E8 kit last year (to which this kit is only related by generic
type and not moldings).
kit is the first one that captures subtle details (usually not seen) such as the
APU exhaust (part B35) under the left sponson. (I don't highlight that as all
DML Shermans have always had sponson floors, unlike some other kits.) The idlers
are also detailed on both sides and nicely done. Also, DML has engineered the
proper fittings for the tow shackles at the front of the hull with the double
of the rest of the details are new and nicely doneeven the tools are more
substantial than in past kits. All gun barrels are hollow-bored and all "glass"
is provided with a clear plastic viewer or lens.
one major grouse some will have with this kitas with the "Smart Kit"
Pantheris that it is engineered to only use a small amount of etched brass.
In this kit that translates to only two itemsa complete set of fenders (albeit
with styrene braces) and a bracket for the additional .30 caliber Browning used
by Abrams. (Note that the directions do not really cover the specific fit for
"Thunderbolt VII" as opposed to other late war M4A3E8 tanks, but do
show it in the finishing instructions.) All of the "normal" etched partsbrackets,
viewer guards, headlight and taillight guards, etc.are all very thin and
petite styrene moldings. (I feel there will be a cyber-hobby.com "Upgrade"
set coming...) However, there are more than enough etched sets available to please
the most demanding soul, and for those who do not like etched metal this kit will
more than meet the need.
finishing options are provided: "Thunderbolt VII" with all of its upgrades
and fittings, 4th AD Germany 1945; another 4th AD tank, Germany 1945; 35th Tank
Battalion, 4th AD, Bastogne 1945; and 41st Tank Battalion, 11th Armored Division,
Germany 1945. All are basic OD with the minimal amount of codes and lettering,
which is a bit odd as at this stage of the war many of the vehicles began to sprout
full sets of lettering, coding, numbers and stars. One would have though DML would
have selected one of them, but they chose to go with "minimalist" subjects.
this is another great effort from DML, and while some will no doubt complain about
the lack of etched brass, the fact of having a great and solid base kit is of
more interest to the average modeler and will be more appreciated in the long
DML "works off the gig sheet" on past kits with CORRECT weld beads and
"slide molded" turret shapes; back detail on all wheels; very detailed
parts breakdown to HVSS bogies; correct period T66 tracks
May not be enough etched brass for some modelers
Highly Recommended for all US Armor fans and "Shermaholics"
to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
A 96 M4A2/A3 Late upper hull with A2 engine deck
B 37 Late T23
C 18 clear styrene
D 8 Appliqué armor panels
M4A3 engine deck and VVSS details
H 24 Early T23 style turret
J 24 Road
K 4 Idler tires
Q 35x2 Drive wheels
Q 48x3 HVSS road wheels
X 1 Lower hull pan
Y 160 Magic Track - T66 links
11 etched brass fenders
MB 12 steel springs
MB 6 brass tubes
MB 1 turned