In-Box Review
Sherman M4A3 (105mm) HVSS

by: Vinnie Branigan [ TEACHER ]

The Sherman is considered by many to have been the best Allied tank in service during WWII. It's story is complex, involving many different model types and variants, and many different armaments. The M4A3 itself was produced with both Vertical and Horizontal Volute suspension, this version from Dragon represents the HVSS model.

Please consider this as more of a preview than a review, since I'm no Allied expert, although I will attempt to point out one or two areas that don't seem to agree with references.

First, what you actually get in the box. As well as the 'Dragon card' containing a small transparent sprue, a set of Cartograf decals, wire tow rope, road wheel tyres, a large photo etched sheet and a pair of tracks, you also get eight sprues of light grey styrene and a separate hull. There is also a small black vac-formed tray containing an aluminium barrel and metal components for the suspension system.

Sprue A is the same one as given in the recently released Sherman Mk.III kit, minus the hull of course, since a new one is provided separately. Sprue B is new, containing the main turret, cupola etc., whilst sprues H & G are I think, new, but largely unused in this version. Sprue H interestingly has an unused two hatch turret on it, but I couldn't tell you if this is for a future kit or a past one since I don't get to see many Shermans!

The main interest in this kit will centre around the suspension naturally enough. I have absolutely no idea if this is the first representation by Dragon of HVSS, and therefore, although it's an in box review I decided to build one of the units and then people can make up their own mind. Be warned! They are extremely fiddly to make! I ended up winding the springs up more tightly, as it's the only way I could stop them coming out of the housing. They do work very nicely once made though, in exactly the same manner as the real suspension. The finished unit also matches references extremely well, apart from the brass tube (as seen in the photo) being too long.

There are other really nice features included, such as the newly-tooled T80 track, which is of course moulded in Dragon's cementable styrene, the raised welds all around the hull, the multlpart exhaust grating, fully-detailed hatches, inside and out, choice of drive sprockets (check your references!), and many other nice touches. As well as the aluminium barrel supplied, there is also a styrene one with rifling, it's just a shame that you can't have this if you choose to use the metal one. I would have also liked to have seen a choice of tools, with or without moulded on clamps, similar to what we're offered with the Axis kits.

I was concerned about the travel lock when the kit first arrived, since the box art illustration has it wrong, with the top of the lock sitting far too high, well above the hull deck in fact. I needn't have worried, since the one in the kit sits at the correct height.

The photo etch included in the kit offers the two front fenders, which will have to be bent to the correct curve, periscope guards, headlight guards, and a couple of small brackets, a lot less in fact, that was offered in the Sherman Mk.III, but still nice. As mentioned earlier, there is a transparent sprue that supplies periscopes which can just be masked off, and headlight lenses, should you choose to use them, and added to all this is a plethora of parts for the spares box, which should keep all Sherman fans happy!

marking options
There are four options provided for in the kit;
713th Tank Battalion, Okinawa 1945
67th Armoured Infantry Battalion, 13th Armoured Division., Austria 1945
20th Armoured Infantry Battalion, 10th Armoured Div., Germany 1945
752nd Tank Battalion, Italy 1945.

in conclusion
Well............ it makes me want to do another Allied vehicle! Seriously, there are some very nice touches indeed to this kit, and it deserves to be a popular kit, as I'm sure it will be! Highly recommended.

Another Allied kit from Dragon, in fact another Sherman.........but with HVSS! There is attention to detail displayed in this kit, and I'm sure it will turn out to be popular with both Allied and other modellers who fancy a change!
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 6354
  Suggested Retail: Unknown
  Related Link: Dragon Models Lyd.
  PUBLISHED: Nov 10, 2006
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Dragon Models!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Vinnie Branigan (Teacher)

Copyright 2021 text by Vinnie Branigan [ TEACHER ]. All rights reserved.


I know it stays there. It's still too long though. I meant the brass part on my model isn't staying there. :-) Vinnie
NOV 10, 2006 - 10:33 PM
OK ... I'm not sure I'm following all this. The tube is the right length. The bogies on my model are built and painted and match all of my references, including the photo I posted above. This shot from PMMS shows the AFV Club bogey and the Dragon bogey. The tube looks good to me.
NOV 10, 2006 - 10:58 PM
Thanks for the review Vinnie
NOV 10, 2006 - 11:07 PM
Here's what I mean. The brass part looks too long. Vinnie
NOV 10, 2006 - 11:17 PM
Vinnie, double check your bogey assembly. I think you have the volute spring inserted the wrong way. AFAIK (I have been wrong) the spring always points to the reservoir. Left side of vehicle has the reservoirs to the rear and the spring points to rear. Right side of vehicle has the reservoirs to the front and the springs point forward. The tube you are concerned about comes to about the end of the spring housing. If the spring is turned around, I think the tube will fall to about the end of the spring housing, and the tube will probably seem more correct in proportions. I hope this makes sense to you. If I'm wrong, I do apologize. Taylor...
NOV 11, 2006 - 03:09 PM
Thanks Taylor. I noticed that once I'd posted the pics, but happily, the whole assembly isn't permananetly fixed yet, it's held together with a prayer! I think I'll still be removing a couple of millimetres off the end of that tube though, and also wrapping some lead foil around the large spring to represent it's end, which isn't shown on the kit. It's something I really want to get on with and build, but unfortunately everything is on hold now until after Telford! Vinnie
NOV 11, 2006 - 03:16 PM
Good deal that it's still loose! I like your foil idea, sounds great. As for the tube, I'm sure you have a better eye for it, since you are seeing it in person. Welcome to the wonderful Sherman! Seems you are using up lot's of OD paint lately . Taylor...
NOV 11, 2006 - 03:41 PM
Vinnie, something else to watch out for when building the rest of the suspension units is that parts Q13 & Q14 have a tightening nut on one side which should face towards the wheel and not in towards the spring as you have it. It's an easy mistake to make I had to go back and take a few apart when I was building the Thunderbolt VII kit The high bustle turret sprue looks good and I think by substituting a 75mm gun and mantlet for the 105 and leaving off the rear vent cover it can be turned into a regular 75mm High bustle turret. Great times for Sherman modellers
NOV 12, 2006 - 03:07 AM
Vinnie, What did you make of the bogies? I had a bit of bother with mine. Seemed like I needed another 2 hands. Maybe it was my technique as I have been out of the game for a while and this was my first kit for about 12 months, (easy eight in sepia) Des
NOV 12, 2006 - 03:53 AM

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    Unassembled Suspension Bogey
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    Assembled Suspension Bogey
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