|Kit # 99021||
Preview by Stephen Brezinski - sbrez(at)comcast(dot)net
The M4A2(75) was the diesel-engine variant of the M4 series with a welded hull and 75-mm medium velocity 75-mm main gun. Except for the engine deck and rear plate it looks externally like the M4 with the Continental radial gasoline engine.
The M4A2 was built mostly for export, lend lease, and served with UK forces, the Poles and the Soviets and others. They did serve in combat with the US Marines in the Pacific, and with the US Army within the United States for training.
Boxart: What is supposed To Be In the Box.
The artwork shows turret and hull lifting rings, lights and light guards, and a long strip along the bottom of the sponson for mounting sand skirts, all of which are not included on the actual model.
The Sherman is painted in a sharp-edge camouflage of olive drab and tan sand color common to North Africa or Italy. The markings are for a US Army M4A2 so my guess it represents a training tank in the US Southwest?
The turret is a basic low-bustle Sherman turret with a split-commander’s hatch and no loader’s hatch. The hatch is molded open. There is no gunsight and no coaxial machine gun showing in the mantlet. The 75-mm gun muzzle should be drilled out. There is no bottom to the turret bustle. The left side pistol port is separate but I noted no locator hole or marking to show us exactly where it is placed. (We could perhaps build it as one of the M4 turrets produced without a pistol port?)
The upper hull part looks pretty accurate for an M4A2, though I have read that the additional filler cap just to the rear of the engine deck grill is a late M4A2 feature and may not be present on this mid-production M4A2. On the rear engine deck corners are the tall teardrop shaped grouser compartment covers that are particular to the M4, M4A1 and M4A4 variants, not the M4A2, the M4A2 had a flat oval shape plate grouser compartment covers.
The driver hatches are molded shut, which is typical of gaming models. Though there are side hull appliqué armor plates there are no supplemental appliqué plates in front of the driver’s hoods; these typically went together.
If you look at the rear of the lower hull we see that this is the rear for the M4 and M4A1 Sherman with double doors to the engine compartment. A correct M4A2 has no doors here but does have a large twin muffler and exhaust, as correctly portrayed on the Italeri M4A2 wargame model.
There is no sponson floor with the lower hull at upper left as there is with the Italeri M4A2 wargame kit. The roadwheels are the 6-spoke solid wheels. The one-piece suspension and track parts are similar to the Italeri kit’s but at least the Armourfast track has visible guide teeth.
There is no additional painting or marking guide other than the box cover art, and there are no decal markings included within the model.
An etched brass fret can supply many small details like light brush guards and AA machine gun parts. Some parts can be taken from the extra parts present on some Dragon Sherman kits. Hull and turret lifting rings can be replicated with copper wire. With the simple suspension this kit has, it could have used sand skirts to mask the suspension and to represent a British or UK M4A2 in North Africa or Italy? For a challenge you could consider using separate VVSS bogies, tracks and sprockets from other M4 kits to upgrade the model.