In-Box Review
Sherman M4 DV Hull
M4 Direct Vision Upper Hull
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by: Alan McNeilly [ ALANL ]


The Formations M4 DV Hull was designed for use with the Tamiya M4 or DML M4A1 75mm as donor kits. Alternatively you could assemble this with a variety of Formations AM parts.

The M4 DV hull depicts an early production model. These were built by the Baldwin Locomotive Plant. Although an early production type, many of the vehicles were remanufactured with the DV slots welded up and appliqué armour added with examples seen in both Italy and NWE. The M4 DV was also used by the British in Normandy and these vehicles are often misidentified because of the additional armour welded over the DV slots.

Baldwin continued to build Direct Vision hulls through to the end of the M4 production at their facility. Later tanks can be seen with later one piece transmission covers and later suspension units. In building any conversion it is recommended that you consult your references as to finish as there are many possibilities with this set.
The Set

I don’t consider myself any kind of Sherman expert so I will tell you what you get and what I think of the quality of the items that come with the set. I have built one of the Formations conversions before in the form of the M4A1 DV and found it to be excellent to work with. I have no doubt this one will be the same.

The set comes packed in the standard Formations packaging, a large zip bag containing 5 further zip bags of parts along with a 2 page A4 sheet showing the build instructions on one side, and outlining the history of the tank which is a nice addition. All the parts are cast in a light cream resin, and appear to be free from any air bubbles or serious defects. The parts are all numbered to correspond with the build diagram, so assembly should be straight forward.
Upper Hull

The upper hull is excellently cast showing the weld seems and detail where you would expect to see them. The fillers in the turret ring, engine deck and front hatches are quite thick, but as such should help prevent any warping in the hull, and will need to be removed and the openings cleaned up, but this should not be a major job with a sharp X-acto blade or razor saw. When cleaning up the engine deck be careful not to cut away the two edges that will support the engine deck.

As far as I can tell this is an excellent part, cast to the highest of standards and giving a 1st class representation of the M4 DV Hull.
Associated fittings

Separate drivers hatched, periscopes and associated fittings are provided along with the DV port covers. All these parts have good, sharp and clear detail, and providing you add some crew should be fine to be modelled open or if you choose no crew then in the closed position.
The drivers hatches provided are the early type without the support spring.

The engine deck looks nicely cast and there should be no need to remove the casting block, as this should drop into the hole in the upper hull. As normal, test fit everything first to make sure you have a good fit. You get a good selection of standard Sherman parts, fuel caps, 2 MG barrels, front and rear fenders, lifting hooks and eyes and rear tail lights along with a coil of brass wire.

In short you should have everything you need to make a good representation of the Early M4 DV Gun Tank. As regards fitting to the donor vehicle, depending on what donor kit you use you may have to do some slight trimming, but if you’ve bought this kit then that is something you would expect to have to deal with on any conversion set. Normal precautions apply when working with resin.

For an alternative and more expert view on the set, see Terry Ashley’s review on PMMS.

There are no etched covers for the air (grouser) intake boxes, but apart from that I think you should have everything you need to build a 1st class vehicle. The casting is excellent, you have sufficient variety of generic parts and, providing you refer to your references and take your time, this conversion should be well within the capabilities of most builders.

Highs: This set offers an interesting alternative to the standard M4 Sherman. The casting is excellent and the detail delightful.
Lows: Not for the absolute beginner and there is always cost to be considered.
Verdict: Highly Recommended.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: FO94
  PUBLISHED: Apr 04, 2009
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom

About Alan McNeilly (AlanL)

Greying slightly, but young at heart. I've been teaching adults off and on for most of my life. Left the services in 85 and first started modelling in about 87 for a few years. Then I had a long spell when I didn't build anything (too busy) and really just got started again during the summer of ...

Copyright ©2021 text by Alan McNeilly [ ALANL ]. All rights reserved.


After Note: I spoke with Rob at Formations when looking for the price of the kit. The kit is currently being re-evaluated with a view to checking the fit for the new Tasca and DML lower hulls but should be back on the availability list in about a month, with any necessary adjustments made. Al Thanks James. I see the I didn't find this helpful person is around again. Do we know who this is as I would hazard a guess that it's the same person all the time and as he never leaves any comments I'm getting a bit fed up with it. This started when I did my very first review on the watch makers eye glass!!
APR 03, 2009 - 09:45 PM
Very thorough review, Alan. I could tell from the opening sentences what it was about and whether this item would be useful to me. I appreciate the clarity.
APR 04, 2009 - 09:10 AM
Hi Bill, Thanks for the comments and glad you found it useful. Al
APR 04, 2009 - 12:41 PM
Good review Al, and just as importantly good photos! Wouldn't sweat the DFTH person though; the review is clearly helpful and if they thought otherwise they would be entering a posting here to explain why, right? Brad
APR 04, 2009 - 01:09 PM
Three things came to mind when reading this: 1. Perhaps they only model German or modern stuff. How would the review help them? 2. If there is something wrong about checking the "not helpful" box, remove the rating option altogether. Otherwise, you have to live with the fact that there will be some people who don't find it helpful. 3. Why do you even care how people vote? KL
APR 04, 2009 - 05:02 PM
Hi Brad, It's a good set as usual from Formations. Bought if for a conversion to a British M4 DV which after much searching and questions it appears they had in plenty in Normandy although the DV slots had a welded plate over them and were subsequently being identified as ordinary M4s. Al
APR 04, 2009 - 09:22 PM
Three things came to mind when reading this: 1. Perhaps they only model German or modern stuff. How would the review help them? 2. If there is something wrong about checking the "not helpful" box, remove the rating option altogether. Otherwise, you have to live with the fact that there will be some people who don't find it helpful. 3. Why do you even care how people vote? KL[/quote] Hi Kurt, In answer to your points: 1. I don't particularly have a problem if someone doesn't find it helpful although it would be good if they said why not and then one might change of alter the style. I can't think why a German Armour modeller would read a review on an Allied kit and then say it wasn't helpful. (still it takes all sorts). 2. That's not within my control although I would like to see the buttons linked to a post that people had to comment in as that would be helpful to the reviewer. 3. I don't care what people vote, it's a free world, but this has been going on for some time and would appear to be just one malacious individual with little better to do and that I do find annoying. If they added anything constructive that would be OK, good or bad wouldn't matter, but to snipe away in the background is IMHO pretty low and in an odd way de-values the manufacturers product. Most of the reviews I do are home purchases, I bought them, took the time to research and photograph them and write the review which is soundly from a customers point of view. That takes a fair bit of time and effort. I am not an expert and if I get something wrong then I'd be the first to say thanks for the info. This is an open forum so they could comment if they wanted and I have in fact invited them to do so on several past occasions and the opening post by James also invites people to do just that. I doubt however that they will ever do so, so in that sence I don't care at all, I'm just drawing the actviities of this individual to peoples attention, they then can draw their own conclusions. Thanks for the input, appreciated. Al
APR 04, 2009 - 10:07 PM
Hi Guys, for those who might be contemplating a British M4 DV, here's a link to a thread I ran on ML about it. Read down the thread and all will be come clear. Cheers Al
APR 06, 2009 - 06:57 AM

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