1/48 IRON DIVISION UPDATED M4A3(W) SHERMAN UPPER HULL FOR HOBBY BOSS M4A3

kit #48005 US retail price $9.95.

A nicely done correction for the Hobby Boss M4A3(W) hulls.

THE KIT

The kit consists of 1 resin piece packaged in a plastic bag. No instructions are included.

Hobby Boss has brought 1/48 scale armor modellers three different M4A3's during the past couple of years. Like many of their Shermans, these three kits all have a variety of issues. One of them is the upper hull that is inaccurate in several ways. With this Iron Division upper hull, most, if not all of the upper hull issues have been corrected or at least made to look better.

The sample hull I received was free of warpage and air bubbles. Overall, the resin casting was very smooth. Some rough edges were noted at the bottom of the glacis where the differential cover would be mounted and along the edges of the sand shield strips. This will clean up in no time with a file or sanding stick. The driver/co-driver's hatch openings and the turret ring have a thin layer of resing flash. This can be cleaned up quickly with a Xacto knife. I actually just pushed the flash in the turret ring out with my fingers and ran a file over it. All of the weld beads are raised like they are supposed to be. However, I think those that attach the glacis to the sides of the hull front may be a bit overdone.

The Hobby Boss hull has several issues. After taking a few measurements off of a real M4A3(76)HVSS, I found that the Hobby Boss kit is about 2mm too long while the Iron Division updated hull is about 1mm too short. However, as can be seen in the photo, the Hobby Boss hull proportions are all off while the Iron Division proportions are much more acceptable.

Another area that is off on the Hobby Boss hull is the engine deck. The engine doors are about 2.5mm too wide on the Hobby Boss kit while the Iron Division update comes within .5mm. The extra width of the doors ends up throwing off the deck plates as well with the Hobby Boss ones being too narrow. Iron Division took care of this problem as well. Iron Division also made a few other corrections to the top of the hull. Casting numbers and foundry symbols have been added behind the driver's hatch. The front ventilator cover has been reworked and enlarged to more of a correct size. Weld beads have also been added just ahead of the forward fuel filler cap covers. These beads are missing on the Hobby Boss hull. However, the fuel filler cap cover for the auxiliary generator is missing from the Iron Division hull while present on the Hobby Boss one. The glacis plate of the Iron Division has improved detail on the fastner strip for the bow machine gun cover.

I test fitted the hull to the Hobby Boss lower hull and didn't have any issues. I recommend adding a couple of strips of styrene to the interior of the hull to give the sponson floors something to hold onto. As for the turret, you'll need to cut the locking tabs off of the kit turret ring along with some lite sanding of the resin opening to get a good fit. This took me all of two minutes to accomplish.


CONCLUSION

The updated hull is a vast improvement over the Hobby Boss hull. Although 1mm short, it is much better proportioned than the Hobby Boss hull and just plain looks better. The missing fuel filler cap cover is not a major issue and can be fixed by scraping off the kit one. Highly recommended.

REFERENCES

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

Mesko, Jim, Walk Around M4 Sherman Armor Walk Around Number 1; 2000; Squadron/Signal Publications; Carrollton, TX

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 "topgunmilitary". The Hobby Boss donor kit was purchased at


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