Unfortunately, many plastic manufacturers fail to provide a gun breech in the turret of their models. This is not a problem if you wish to model the vehicle with closed hatches, but once you decide to open them up you are left with 2 choices; either a large empty space in your model, or fill the cupola with a figure. A third choice does exist and that is to use a replacement AM part to do the job the manufacturer should really have done in the first place.
This omission is particularly true of some of the plastic Sherman manufacturers, and this replacement set no 135.110 from Resicast should do the job very nicely. The set has now been re-numbered under kit number: 35.2280.
The set is designed to provide one complete gun mount of either the M34 or later M34A1 gun for the Sherman 75mm Gun Tank. The kit that I am reviewing is an older set from the Resicast Pussy Cat range. It comes in the standard double zip bag with a photographic insert showing the 2 styles of gun mount you can make. Inside is an A4 sheet of instructions which should allow you to build the gun and mount with out any difficulty.
The kit contains both early M34 and later M34A1 gun mounts, with one breech block and associated fittings to fill that large space we all hate to see. Cast in a light cream resin the parts are well detailed and were free from any serious defects or air bubbles. M34 (early type)
The M34 rotor shield has the correct number of screws/bolts which shows the 4 sunken areas. You get 2 types of rotor shield for the M34, one with the barrel flanges and one without, so check your references. Both of these have a nice textured finish. Also present for the M34 mount is the shield for the .30 cal which is also provided with the kit. The Gun Shield (Part T9A) looks very accurate to me from all the pictures I have studied, and gives a good representation of the fitting. Additional detail is added in the form of Foundry Markings on the RHS of the shield.M34A1 (late type)
You get 2 Gun Shields for the M34A1, part T9P and part T9. The only difference I can see is that part T9 has no outer edge on either side of the shield, whilst part T9P has an outer edge on the RHS. Again, check your references and the fit of the parts geared to the model you’re building. Both have the correct number of bolt/screw heads and display Foundry Marking on the RHS of the shield.
The rotor shield has the correct angle and detail showing the 4 bolts above and below the barrel flanges, and has Foundry Markings with a nice texture and finish. Again, this looks very accurate when viewed against references.Gun Breech
The gun breech is nicely detailed with only a couple of small pour pins to remove. It comes complete with the shoulder guard and fits neatly into either of the gun shield mountings. You could glue it into place or make a simple U bracket to allow it to elevate. The breech has the basic details you would expect to find, but you may wish to add additional details such as the elevating rack and wheel, depending on your needs and preferences. As always, check you references if concerned about accuracy on this point. .30 cal MG
To accompany the set you get a replacement .30 cal MG. The only thing needed here is to drill out the barrel a little.Gun Tube
The set comes with a 75mm gun tube, the end of which has been pre drilled and compared against other kit barrels seems perfectly acceptable. You could, I imagine use the kit barrel if you wanted. Minimal clean up will be required on some of the parts to remove flash, and a sharp X-acto blade or razor saw to remove the casting blocks. Normal precautions when working with resin apply.
For more information on Gun Barrels, there is a good article by Kurt Laughlin over on Track Link which can be found Here
This is a very useful set of mantels that should fit most Sherman turrets, allowing you to model either the early or late configuration. Depending on your donor kit, you may need to use some filler around the Gun Shield or make minor adjustments to the kit. It's true, most manufacturers are now providing a choice of gun mounts in their Sherman kits, so this set may not be as necessary as when it was first marketed, but for me the plus is in the gun breech and quality of the finish.
This is not a must have set, but a set that offers the modeller, at a reasonable price, a fix/addition that modellers really shouldn’t have to do. I’d like to see the same for the 17pdr, 105mm and all the other Allied tanks that lack the breach feature, or better still for plastic manufacturers to include at least the basic breech feature in their kits.
The parts are crisp and cleanly cast with nice additional foundry detail that should paint up well.