Modeling the Sherman Tank in 1/72nd Scale
 
Sherman 105mm Gun Mounts

The Sherman 105mm gun mount never received much attention in this scale until Dragon released their two plastic kits. Although there had been some versions of the 105mm-armed Sherman available in both plastic and resin prior to the Dragon kits, I think the expectation was that the Dragon kits would be perfect, so their inaccuaracies were immediately jumped on.

The scans below show each rotor shield side-by-side, making clear which kits actually have the most scale-accurate pieces in this line-up. Below the rotor shield comparison, I provide comparison scans of the 105mm gun barrels.

Rotor Shields

It hasn't been easy coming up with accurate measurements for these parts, since I have very few drawings of the 105mm gun mount, and the ones I have are contradictory or of questionable accuracy. Based on the only nice set of drawings I have (from the Militaria i Fakty magazine), it appears that the rotor shield should be 14.3mm wide without the bolted rim (which was used for attaching a canvas cover to the gun shield), or 14.6mm with the rim. Dragon is the only kit that has this feature.

Dragon M4A3 (105) Dragon M4A3 (105) HVSS Eduard

13.5mm

14.0mm

13.2mm
HäT UM Al.By

14.5mm

14.1mm

12.9mm
ARMO Commanders MR Models

15.0mm

13.9mm

15.0mm

Notes:

The Dragon kits have overall the best detail and contours, though they are both a bit small. The early M4A3 (105) VVSS kit has a smaller shield, which Dragon improved upon for their later kit, the M4A3 (105) HVSS, enlarging the piece a small amount, though it is still a bit too narrow. These are the only pieces here that have the bolted rim for attaching a canvas cover for the gun mount.

The Eduard shield is the smallest of the plastic shields, and is probably the only plastic piece I would not use without trying to improve it a bit. Perhaps adding some plastic card to the outer edges and contouring it to shape with a little putty would do the trick. The gunsight aperture needs to be opened up.

HäT - Very good for a wargaiming kit. Just a hair wide, which some sandpaper can fix. Drill open the apertures and you'll have a very nice shield.

UM's rotor shield is a little bit larger than the others, and though it lacks the cast surface texture of the Dragon parts, it's a pretty decent piece itself.

Al.By's shield is one of the first provided to us long ago, and unfortunately is quite poor. It is the smallest one in the bunch, and is quite poorly shaped. The gun barrel was molded onto the shield as a single piece, so I cut it off for this comparison. You can see how misshapen the base of the gun barrel was.

I aplogize for the scan of the ARMO shield. As you can see, the barrel is molded integral with the shield, but this is such a nice piece that I didn't want to cut it off. Size is just a bit too wide, but nothing that can't be remedied. Very nice detail and cast texture as well. It looks almost identical to the MR Models shield.

Commanders' was also a very old conversion, and like the Al.By part, is not accurately shaped. It actually looks like a 17pdr shield to me. The shield was molded onto the turret face, so I removed it for this scan.

The MR Models rotor shield is the largest in this line-up, being a bit too large, actually. Sanding some resin from the sides should take care of that problem. It has a very nice cast texture and the detail is very good too.

Gun Barrels

I measured the length of the gun barrel that extends outside of the collar on the rotor shield. The correct measurement should be 18.0mm.

Dragon M4A3 (105) Dragon M4A3 (105) HVSS Eduard

18.2mm

18.2mm

18.0mm
HäT UM Al.By

18.6mm

18.4mm

17.9mm
ARMO Commanders MR Models

18.7mm

15.3mm

18.8mm

Notes:

Most of the barrels are a little bit too long. For most of them, one can simply sand a small amount off from the tip of the barrel, if you even want to; their measurements are quite close to correct. The barrel from the Dragon kits (same piece comes in both kits) is a bit too skinny in my opinion. I think the fatter barrels of the other kits are more accurate. For the MR Models piece, I think that the little metal nub at the base, where it was cut from the remainder of the aluminum rod, is adding the extra length. Just drill a little hole in the resin socket to accomodate it, and it should be the perfect length. The Al.By and Commanders barrels are simply awful.

 

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Modeling the Sherman Tank in 1/72nd Scale