Finally Dragon has
brought out the standard M4, the most common US version, but it’s
not that simple. The way the kit is built, it is restricted to a
wader version only. More on that later.
The Turret A sprue is the same as all the other 75mm gun turret
kits Dragon does, including the cheek armour.
The other half of sprue A gives the hull details (as seen on the
M4A1 kit), with exhaust, air filters, grousers & rear doors.
The transmission housing is the one piece round type most likely
to have been fitted to “Cannonball” (the vehicle on
the box top artwork). If you decide to make a ‘non-wader’
version, the vent cover is still included to help with the reconstruction.
Also included are the appliqué armour with weld seams. This
is from the M4A1 cast hull & not to be used. There are other
parts for appliqué armour supplied on the next sprue.
This sprue (originally made for the M4A4 & Firefly kit) contains
the correct appliqué armour, plus a spare 3-piece transmission
housing if you decide to build a different version of the M4.
Sprue E is also originally from the Firefly kit and contains the
hull rear and Appliqué Armour for the Co-drivers hood, plus
the bolt strip that sits above the transmission housing. This one
has raised bolt details (rather than recessed bolts, which is a
spare item on another sprue if your option needs it). You also get
a spare Firefly radio box with this sprue. I'm not really sure why
this whole sprue was included, as all the parts needed are actually
on others sprues? So it can go straight to the spares box!
Another generic sprue seen in nearly all the Dragon Sherman kits.
This contains the MG, lamps & visor guards, tow & lifting
hooks, barrel cradle & spade.
Standard wheels which are correct for ‘Cannonball’ with
2 styles of sprocket .
Here is where the issues start. The hull front has strips where
the lifting hooks go, which are seen on Sherman III’s but
not so common on M4’s; BUT “Cannonball” does have
those strips so they are correct for that model.
The rear is the problem child
here. Instead of a modular system on the engine deck were you could
have a standard M4 filter cover or a wader stack base, it is just
a moulded on wader stack. So, if you want to build a standard M4,
some surgery is needed (unless you wait and see if Dragon brings
out a Standard “non-wader” M4 kit).
Keith Buntting has solved
the problem by cutting the whole engine deck out & replacing
it with the Trumpeter engine deck (in the lighter grey plastic).
The Trumpeter kit also has open spoke wheels for a Sherman if you
want to model “H-2, Hurricane” another Famous M4 with
waders. (This tank is not supplied in the kit decals, but Bison
decals have it in their US Shermans in Normandie set ). http://www.angelfire.com/pro/bison/72009.html
The kit also has the T48 “rubber chevron” tracks (the
most common tracks for US Shermans in Normandy) and also a metal
The “cherry on the top” for this kit is the full etch
waders, but on further inspection it looks like there are no tabs
on the edges to glue together, I would recommend gluing flat or
‘L’ shaped strips along some of the larger edges to
have something to glue against. Also if you are adding the Waders,
don’t add the air filters to the rear of the tank as they
will get in the way when you start to installing the rear wader.
The Decals are for 3 vehicles
1. Co. C (“Cannonball”) 70th Tank Battalion, Utah beach,
Normandy, France, D-Day 1944. This is the only one that carried
the waders. Timothy
Lau points out that decal 24 is wrong and that decal 26 is to be
used on both sides of Cannon
2. Co. C 756th Tank Battalion, Monte Cassino, Italy 1944.
3. 37th Tank Battalion, 4th Armored Division, Brittany, France,
A nice touch with the decals is that there are also green stars
to give the impression of over-painted white stars with fresh OD
paint. Also for the Monte Cassino version they have added white
unit markings & another decal you put over the top with a ‘speckled’
OD green to create chipped or worn out markings.
Lastly, if you are building “Cannonball”, there are
some additional brackets that you will need to scratch as this particular
vehicle was originally fitted with a “wiz bang” rocket
so the brackets on the turret sides need to be still there as are
two suspension drums on the hull front.
Pro’s – All the usual nice details & no scale issues.
Con’s – If you don’t like etch, there are no alternative
plastic waders. (With the new slide mould technology I think the
wader in plastic would have been a better option.) So, surgery will
be needed. The rocket fittings are missing for Cannonball.
Overall another great and recommended kit. If you are wanting a
standard ‘non-wader’ M4 then you would be best to wait
and hope Dragon brings out a standard M4 later. Now bring on the
Two pictures of “Cannonball” and details of the rocket
fittings can be seen on the Allied Missing Lynx site. See the two
links below (Thanks to Filipe Cunha and Steve Zaloga).
Another good reference is Cheehong Ahn’s 1/35th M4 kit.
Good reference books for this Sherman kit are:
‘Shermans in Action’, Squadron/Signal publications Armor
No. 16 (This book also includes a picture of the Monte Cassino Sherman
Concords ‘US Tank Battles – France’ and ‘D-day
Tank Warfare’. Zaloga/Balin (Good selection of Shermans with