1/48 IRON DIVISION RIVETED EARLY M4 LOWER HULL FOR TAMIYA KITS WITH 3 PIECE BOLTED FINAL DRIVE #48023

US retail price $10.95.

THE KIT

This resin conversion kit consists of six parts: lower hull; differential housing; and four axle stubs in a plastic bag. No instructions are included.

Early on in their production and depending on who the manufacturer was, M4 and M4A1 Shermans were produced with both welded and riveted lower hulls. Those produced by Baldwin and Lima Locomotive works had welded lower hulls while those produced by Pressed Steel Car(PSC) had riveted ones. PSC produced riveted ones until approximately March 1943 when they converted to welded lower hulls.

This latest lower hull conversion kit from Iron Division is molded in their now familiar white resin. My example was nearly free of all resin flash and air bubbles. Rivets are found in the correct places along the lower sides of the hull. However, photographic references show that the rivets on the hull sides are placed incorrectly. The ID hull has vertical rows of rivets forward of both the middle and rear bogie stations like on a M3 Lee/Grant. However, PSC Sherman hulls have only a single vertical row of rivets and that row is just forward of the rear bogie station. Most modelers will probably sand off the forward row and leave the rear row in place. Die-hards can carefully scrape off the rear row and change their position.

Like all of the previous ID lower hulls, the rear plate is molded onto the lower hull. The details on the engine compartment access doors and idler bracket look good. Some modelers may want to replace the solid handle on the engine compartment access doors with one made from wire. One thing that needs pointing out is the joint where the bottom edge of the rear plate meets the edge of the hull. ID has cast this area as a round shape. However, on PSC lower hulls, this area is angled like the Tamiya and previous ID lower hull releases. Furthermore, no rivet detail is provided on the belly plates.

Assembly with the Tamiya and Iron Division M4/M4A1 upper hulls will be relatively straight forward. The modeler will need to add sponson covers to get a proper fit and a small bit of sanding will be required to fit the differential cover to the hull. The differential cover itself is a clean, one piece casting with the towing lugs cast onto it. It also has foundry/casting numbers which are not found on the Tamiya differential covers.


CONCLUSION

I have been very spoiled by the quality and accuracy of many of the previous Iron Division releases. However, this one was a bit of a let down. If you want a Sherman with a riveted lower hull in your collection and donít mind scraping off the front row of rivets then this should be fine for you. Die-hard Shermanaholics will probably want to buy one of the other Iron Division lower hulls and add the rivets themselves as those kits have the correct angle on the lower rear. Recommended with reservations.

REFERENCES

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

Franz, Michael, editor U.S. WW II M4/M4A1 Sherman Medium Tank Tankograd Technical Manual Series #6001; 2005; Tankograd Publishing; Erlangen, Germany

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

My own personal photo collection

The photos of the real PSC Sherman used in this review are courtesy of Joe DeMarco. More of this tank can be seen at M4A1 PSC


Thanks to Bob at Iron Division for the review sample.

PLEASE NOTE THAT AS OF SEPTEMBER 30, 2008, IRON DIVISION WILL NO LONGER BE PRODUCING 1/48 ARMOR ITEMS. ORDERS FOR THE 1/48 SCALE LINE WILL BE ACCEPTED UP UNTIL SEPTEMBER 21, 2008.


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