1/48 M4A1 IMPROVED UPPER HULL CONVERSION FOR THE HOBBY BOSS M4A1 76MM TANK KIT

kit #48101 US retail price $7.95.

In 2006/07 Hobby Boss brought quite a few Sherman kits to 1/48 modelers. All of them had faults in one form or another. One of them was a M4A1(76), kit #84801. It had several faults with the turret and upper hull(see the PMMS review). With this new conversion, IRON DIVISION, a division of Top Gun Military Apparel has done a commendable job of correcting the faults with the upper hull.

THE KIT

The kit consists of 1 resin upper hull packaged in a plastic bag along with a small one page instruction sheet.


Upon opening the bag, I found a very clean one piece resin casting. No air bubbles were present on any of the exterior surfaces. Resin flash covered the turret opening, driver/assistant driver's openings and engine deck opening. These were easily cleaned up with a Xacto knife and files.

The Hobby Boss kit suffers from several detail problems which have been corrected on the Iron Division conversion. First off, the Hobby Boss hull sides angle out approximately 5 degrees from the vertical when they should be about half that. The Iron Division hull has taken care of this issue with the sides being less angled but still not vertical. Because of this, the sponson floors of the Hobby Boss lower hull must be trimmed by about 1mm on each side per Iron Division instructions in order for the conversion to fit. Also, when fitting the upper hull, make sure to trim off the upper half of each air cleaner(part D5) as the upper hull won't fit properly if the complete part is used. The shortened parts will be hidden once the exhaust deflector is fitted.

Another thing that has been corrected by Iron Division is the poorly shaped bulges for the driver/assistant driver's periscopes. On the Hobby Boss hull, the contours are very sharp when they should be rounder and smoother. Iron Division has addressed this problem.

There are two small details on the Iron Division hull that could be changed. Granted they are minor and most people will ignore them but, here they are. First, like the Hobby Boss kit, the filler cap covers have too much of a "dome" shape to them. They should be a little bit flatter. This can easily be taken care of with some lite filing. The other detail has to do with the engine compartment vent/grouser covers. The Hobby Boss ones were poorly shaped and too big. Iron Division has reshaped them nicely and resized them. However, they are positioned too far forward and should be moved back approximately 1mm back from where they sit.

I test fit several of the kit parts with the conversion. The engine deck needed a little bit of trimming to fit the opening in the Iron Division hull. The turret ring required the locking tabs to be removed in order for it to fit. Both the driver/assistant driver's hatches needed a bit of trimming/sanding as well. However, I noted that the fit for these two parts on the Hobby Boss upper hull was also poor. The differential cover fit fine once it was cleaned up.

CONCLUSION

Iron Division has done the 1/48 Sherman modeler another favor with this conversion. This hull is a marked improvement over the one provided in the Hobby Boss kit. Highly recommended!

REFERENCES

Franz, Michael, U.S. WW II M4/M4A1 Sherman Medium Tank, Tankograd Technical Manual Series No 6001; 2005; Tankograd Publishing; Earlangen, Germany

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 "topgunmiliary".


HOME ALLIED PHOTO GALLERY AXIS PHOTO GALLERY

NATO PHOTO GALLERY FORMER WARSAW PACT PHOTO GALLERY NON-ALIGNED NATIONS PHOTO GALLERY REVIEWS

NAME THAT AFV QUIZ FUTURE CD RELEASES LINKS ARCHIVES COMMENTARY ABOUT ME