M4A3 Sherman(76)W Battle of the Bulge
The ubiquitous Sherman has been put into plastic by many manufacturers over the years with many making an assortment of variants, to include Academy. Academy has now launched yet another Sherman: this time the M4A3 76mm (W) version, complete with T-48 tracks and extended end connectors (i.e. duckbills). This kit represents an M4A3 (76mm) (W) with welded hull and powered by a Ford GAA V8 engine.
Brief history: The early Shermans coming off the assembly lines were equipped with the 75mm medium velocity gun. However, the U.S. Army Ordnance Department knew they needed to develop a mounted gun with greater firepower than what was currently available at the time. Circa June - July 1942, the Ordnance Deaprtment began development of the M1 and M1A1 76mm gun. The current turret for the M4 series would not accommodate this new gun, so the T23 turret was modified to fit this new high-velocity 76mm gun. January 1944 saw the first standard production 76mm gun and was mounted on the M4A1 hull and by July 1944 M4A1 Shemans, equipped with the 76mm gun were in France in time for Operation Cobra. As Sherman production continued, M4A2s and M4A3s were being fitted with the new 76mm high-velocity gun.
Academy provides modelers with the typical black and white line drawing instruction sheet, complete with paint recommendation chart. At first pass, the instructions appear to be straightforward, with no major sub-assembly sections overrunning the pages.
Academy includes a second 'instruction sized' sheet that illustrates marking (decal) and painting options.
Sprue A (Upper hull and related detail parts.)
All the weld lines around the upper hull have a molded in texture, however there is a slight concave to the trenches.
Here, are the only two locations (on both sides) where the weld lines sit 'proud.' All the weld markings, though in a slight 'trench', looks quite good throughout.
The periscope guards and the rear tail light guards are commendably thin. Nice effort Academy.
Sprue a x2
(Road wheels, drive sprockets, bogie housing)
The bogie arms on Sprue a are the straight arm or intermediate standard type.
(Machine gun, ammo boxes, tools and fuel caps.)
(Cupola, hatch, periscope guards and periscopes.)