u m m a r y
Media, Contents and Price:
||Dragon Models Limited 1/35 Scale
‘39-‘45 Series Kit No. 6283; Dragon Expo 05 Special – M4A3E8 Sherman
"Major Albin F. Irzyk"
|Media and Contents:
||722 parts (680 in grey styrene, 20
etched brass, 18 clear styrene, 2 turned brass, 1 turned aluminum
barrel. 1 length of twisted steel wire)
||price estimated at US $31-34
||DML has combined its reasonably good
HVSS suspension with the new parts from its series of M4A2 and M4A3 late
||T80 tracks may be incorrect as well
as fiddly to assemble
||Highly Recommended to all
Shermaholics and American armor fans
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When the terms "tank battalion commander" and "4th Armored Division" are used
together, the one name most fans of US military history immediately come up with
is Creighton Abrams. Abrams commanded the 37th Armor Battalion in Europe from
its landing in the summer of 1944 up until March 1945 when he was bumped up to
take over Combat Command B. But the other primary tank battalion of the
division, the 8th Armor Battalion, was no less accomplished (the last battalion,
the 35th, got less press coverage than the other two, but as with all elements
of the 4th , was heavily involved during the course of operations in the ETO.)
For this year's "Dragon Expo" in Atlanta, DML released two special limited
release kits to commemorate the even, one German and one US. The US one was the
command tank of Major Albin F. Irzyk, commander 8th Tank Battalion, 4th Armored
Division, in December 1944 during the Battle of the Bulge. This compliments
their previous release of "Thunderbolt VI", Abrams' command tank at the same
time (DML Kit No. 6255.) While not as famous as Abrams. Irzyk was another
"straight-shooter" and wound up wounded twice in action, and being awarded the
DSC, two Silver Stars, and four Bronze Stars.
The model is a "shake and bake" kit, but with the recent quality of DML moldings
that is far from a bad thing. They have basically combined their recent M4A2/A3
kit sprues with the suspension components from their E8 suspension kits and
released them as an early production M4A3E8. These tanks were beginning to be
issued to the 37th and 8th Tank Battalions just prior to the Battle of the
Bulge, and photos show them in service with those battalions.
The kit includes the new hull and turret sprues from the M4A2/A3 kit with the
extra engine deck sprue for the A3, as well as the early production A3 exhaust
deflector sprue. It comes with the complete fender and skirt arrangement for the
A3 with HVSS, but as both the 37th and 8th appeared to have removed them prior
to issue, this is just fodder for the parts box. Also new are two turned brass
76mm APCBC rounds, which were (from other sources) one of the great shocks to
the Germans at the Bulge, as they found out the hard way that at combat ranges
they could – and did – penetrate the glacis of a Panther tank.
I only have one problem with the kit: I cannot find a firm answer to either
support or deny the use of the T80 double-pin steel faced chevron track on the
model. All of the extant photos show M4A3E8 tanks during the Bulge with T-66
single pin tracks. These were issued with the first production runs of the tank,
but due to reliability problems as well as a preference for double-pin "live"
track they were short-lived in the field. Since DML is the only one that I know
of to make a styrene T66 track, I was quite surprised to find the model fitted
with the T80 tracks. While the former are one of the best sets made by DML and
are easy to assemble and fit, their T80 tracks are a pain, as the guide teeth
are separate (to provide the correct "hollow light bulb" shape) and must be
individually attached to the track links, which is a very tedious chore for both
cleanup and assembly. Add the fact that each track link has two big ejection pin
marks on it and this is about a 15 hour job for the tracks alone.
Decals are provided for the tank as used at the Bulge. While issued with nice
big shiny white stars and registration numbers, they were painted out at the
same time the skirts were removed to avoid presenting the Germans with aiming
points. The model replicas that with the painted out stars and numbers, and
provides correct bumper codes – e.g. HQ-1 – for Irzyk's tank.
In summary this is a nice, upgraded kit, but as noted it is a limited production
one so any Sherman fan may want to snap it up on sight.
Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
Review Text Copyright © 2005 by Cookie
Page Created 03 September, 2005
Last updated 03 September, 2005
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