M4 Turret w/T40 7.2in Whiz-Bang Rockets
Kit #: 72C13 Preview by Doug Chaltry

<<Scan by Al Magnus>>
The Whiz-Bang rocket launcher was used in only limited numbers in Italy in 1944. This set from LEVA in intended to convert an early M4A1 Sherman into a rocket launching vehicle of the 755th or 757th Tank Battalions. You can see the parts as they come from the box in the above scan, and the completed kit shown in the photos below.

(photo by Stephen Brezinski)

(photo by Stephen Brezinski)

Overall this is a nicely done set, though with a few minor things needing to be tweaked. Firstly, the turrets that mounted this rocket launcher had the early M34 gun mount (with the narrow rotor shield), not the M34A1 as depicted here. Thankfully we have many choices to replace the rotor shield, both after-market or with spare parts from several different plastic kits. The turret included in this kit is an early turret with no loader's hatch, which is likely correct, though the photos I've seen don't show the turret roof to be sure. I would normally mention the commander's hatch being molded closed, but with the rocket launcher mounted on the turret, the hatch pretty much has to be closed, so... no complaints here.

The armored covering on the mounting arm that connects to the gun barrel isn't shaped exactly correct, but that is a very easy fix. Note that the piece included in this set depicts the prototype mount (as shown in Hunnicutt's book), but the mounting arm used in the field was attached to the barrel's armored side protectors, rather than to the barrel itself as Stephen has done in these photos. But if you do mount it in the correct position it will also have to be shortened somewhat, as it will stand too high off the turret (the launcher was actually mounted very close to the turret roof, which was the major complaint against this weapon from the troops). And finally, there should be some square armor plates attached to the outsides of the side mounting arms.

The mount arms and the box launcher itself are very nicely detailed, and as accurate as I can tell from the available photographs. It would have been nice had the rocket openings on the box launcher's front and rear been molded a little bit deeper, but that probably would have been quite difficult to mold.

As I said, I think this is a very nice set. It needs only a couple of minor modifications and additions to make it into a very unique addition to my Sherman collection.

Thank you very much to Alain Levesque of Leva Productions for this review sample.

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Article Last Updated: 29 January 2010