|Sherman M4 105mm HVSS|
|Review by Simon Barnes||Unimodel Kit No. 375|
The long awaited Release of the UM Shermans is finally here and was it worth the wait?? personally I am not so sure, yes you get a lot of spare parts and the ability to make most versions and two turrets, 3 sets of fenders, 3 engine decks, 4 lower hull rears and 3 upper hull rears and an almost correct gun mantle but the very nature of the kit with it trying to be everything doesn't work for me, which is a shame as I normally like the great kits that come from UM.
The Lower hull is a multi piece type consisting of two sides the transmission housing and the optional rear plate, care will have to be taken to fit the transmission housing to eliminate the gaps
As can be seen the good news is that the Tools are separate and an M4A2 engine deck is also included, and if anyone can identify the left hand engine deck I would be grateful as I can find no reference to it. The nice touch to UM kits is that you get formers on the sprue for the PE, in this case they are for the light guards.
The generic upper hull, the engine deck drops into place and the appropriate rear end is glued on, care will have to be taken to get a good fit ton reduce the amount of filling and sanding to be done, the join lines are rather large, what is not apparent is that it is the rear parts that are angled. the hull itself is vertical. All hatches are moulded open, but the hatches themselves have the detail on the outside, with the inner face being perfectly flat and devoid of detail. 3 types of fenders are included, all are for the HVSS suspension with the left ones having the sand shields fitted.
Both the early and late turrets are provided, with the hatches again being devoid of any inner detail with the exception of the early commanders hatch having the representation of the periscope on the inner surface. The MG mounting is incorrect, with only the Dragon kit getting this feature right.
Given that the mantlet is 1033mm wide and that the measurement wasn't messed up when measuring or when enlarging the originals then the mantlet should be 14.333333 wide, the four measure as such
UM = 14.1mm
Hat = 14.8mm
Dragon = 13.6mm
Eduard = 13.1mm
there are two sprues for the suspension along with the L&L track, the actual suspension units comprise of 11 parts including the wheels, I am not sure how they fit together, some of the detail looks to be a bit soft in places, besides the complicated suspension, the instruction call for bending the guide horns and track connectors to an angle of 15 degrees on 10 of the single links so that they fit around the idler properly.
The extensive PE fret, although it looks hard to work out what is what on it, the fender braces all have a groove on the outside to represent the U shape of the braces, the bolt detail between the transmission and the hull is also PE as is the surround for the hull MG, one odd one is that the rear stowage rack is part PE and part plastic, why not just full PE ?
Decals are provided for 1 vehicle from the 750th Armoured Btn in Belgium in 1944.
I am not sure what to make of this kit, it seems to be a very mixed bag, it has some nice details and then again it is missing a lot of the finer hull details found on the Dragon and to a certain extent on the Trumpeter kits with the hull being devoid of any weld marks or panel join lines whatsoever. with the kit costing as much as a Dragon kit here in the UK, and with Dragon about to release their HVSS suspension the only plus on this kit are the L&L tracks(for those that want them) and the better sized mantlet and the fact that it is a M4, which I am sure Dragon will do at some point.
M4 Sherman in Action Squadron/Signal Armour No 16