1/48 "INTERMEDIATE" DRY UPPER HULL CONVERSION FOR TAMIYA M4A1

kit #48004 US retail price $8.95.

The M4 Sherman had many variations in hull and turret design during it's production run. IRON DIVISION, a division of Top Gun Military Apparel brings us a nice rendition of a dry stowage M4A1 upper hull for a very reasonable price.

THE KIT

The kit consists of 1 resin upper hull and 2 resin sponson fillers packaged in a plastic bag. No instructions are included as really none are needed.


Inside the bag is a very clean resin casting of a dry stowage M4A1 hull. It is already textured so surfacing material shouldn't be necessary. No air bubbles were present on my example. The turret and hatch openings are covered with a thin layer of resin but this was easily removed and cleaned up. Two sponson fillers are included and were free of any warping. The casting blocks they are attached to were simple enough to remove with a scribing tool. The blocks are mark "L" and "R" so you know which one goes where. The underside of the hull has a ledge that allows easy placement of the sponson fillers.

While clearly showing a relationship to the Tamiya upper hull, the Iron Division hull differs in several details, including the addition of the step between the driver and assistant driver's hoods; minor details added to the driver's/assistant driver's hoods; and locking levers added to all filler cap covers. The rain channel or "Grizzly Groove" on the engine deck has also been filled in. A final detail is the relocation of the forward tow cable bracket on the upper left side of the hull. After consulting reference photos of half dozen M4A1's manufactured by several different manufacturers, I found that the Tamiya one is placed too close to the turret ring. Iron Division corrected this and placed it in the right spot. I know this seems like a real minor thing but to me it shows how Iron Division wants to get things right!

The hull measures well with the drawings in Hunnicutt's Sherman and compares nicely with the Tamiya one. I test fit it on the Tamiya lower hull with the three piece differential cover. With just a bit of sanding on the front of the Iron Divison hull, everything fit fine. The hull rear plate, exhaust outlets and air cleaners all fit well too. After I cleaned up the openings for the driver/assistant driver's hatches, I tried out the Tamiya hatch covers and they fit perfectly. When fitting the Tamiya turret, you'll need to remove the locking tabs off of the turret ring to get it to fit. Other than that, it too is a drop fit.

CONCLUSION

This is another nice and simple conversion for the increasing number of 1/48 scale Sherman kits on the market. It is well done and nicely priced. Highly recommended!

For more reviews and another build of this kit, please see the following:

REFERENCES

Hunnicutt, R.P, Sherman, 1978, Presidio Press; Novato, CA.

Zaloga, Steven Modelling the US Army M4(75mm) Sherman Medium Tank Osprey Modelling #35; 2006; Osprey Publishing; Oxford, U.K.

My own personal photo collection


Thanks to Bob at Top Gun Military Apparel for the review sample. It can also be purchased on eBay. Their eBay i.d. is "topgunmiliary".


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