|Modeling the Sherman Tank in 1/72nd Scale|
|M4A3E2 Jumbo||Friendship Models
|Article by Stephen Brezinski; last updated 8 April 2015|
|Sold as the M4A3E2
Sherman Jumbo conversion set WVC72050 or as
individual conversion parts:
*Below I list the old part numbers followed by newer part numbers used by Friendship Models.
M4A3E2 Jumbo Upper Hull Conversion: WVC76079/WVC72081
M4A3E2 Jumbo Turret Conversion Set WVC76080/WVC72082
M3A3E2 Armored Transmission Housing (Final Drive Assembly) Conversion Set WVC76081/WVC72083
This preview examines the Wee Vehicles conversion kit of the M4A3E2 variant of the American Sherman tank of WW2. The M4A3E2 is commonly known as the Jumbo and was designed to be an assault tank with additional armor welded to the glacis and the hull sides, and an extra thick cast final drive assembly. The turret was based on the T23 turret but significantly thicker armored sides and gun mantlet.The M4A3E2 Jumbo was only built with the big-hatch hull and was initially armed with the 75-mm M3 gun but many were up-gunned in Europe with spare 76mm higher velocity guns. (See Sherman Minutia website for great coverage of the M4A3E2.)
In this historical photo we can see the edges of the additional armor plate welded to the hull sides and front. The final driver housing is much thicker than normal and extends forward almost to the face of the tracks. The gun mantlet has thicker slabs welded to it and is beveled at the lower edges, to clear the driver's hatches I believe. This Jumbo has the longer gun barrel of the 76mm M1A1 gun. The coaxial machine gun protrudes from the glacis plate indicating that the coaxial 30-calibre machine gun has been replaced by a .50 calibre gun. There are lifting rings, gun cradle and travel lock on the glacis, but no headlights. At the edge of the glacis we see the significant and wide weld bead attaching the supplemental armor plate onto the front and sides. Notice how the volute suspension arms are depressed from the extra weight of the additional armor. From this view I cannot tell which type of roadwheels are on this Jumbo but a typical type used on the Jumbo are the D52876 "closed spoke" style, with five spokes. The rubber block (T48?) track has Duckbill End Connectors which is common for Sherman Jumbos because of their extra weight and ground pressure.
The kit can be acquired as a full conversion (kit number WVC72050), or as individual conversion sets for the Upper Hull (WVC76079), the Final Drive Assembly (WVC76081), and the Turret Conversion set (WVC76080). I understand that Friendship Models will be releasing a set of roadwheels with depressed, weighted suspension arms.
At left in the above image is the Final Drive Assembly Conversion Set WVC72083 consisting of just one cast resin part with towing rings and molded in step. The part is well cast and appears accurate.
At the center is the upper Hull Assembly Conversion Set WVC72081 consisting of a cast resin hull, two white metal driver's hatches, and two white metal front mudguards.The Wee Vehicles hull appears to be based on the Dragon Models M4A3 hull, which is a good choice. To complete the conversion we will need the lower hull, handtools, lifting rings, and gun cradle (travel lock) from a donor Dragon kit.
At right is the set of M4A3E2 Depressed VVSS Suspension Set WVC 76121, consisting of six lower VVSS assemblies to replace parts from the Dragon, ESCI or Heller kits. (I understand that at this time, April 2015, this set is not yet available) Splicing in these new parts will require careful surgery with a sharp blade, unless you are using a VVSS suspension from an Eduard or Extra Tech M4. The additional weight of the added armor put quite a strain on the volute springs and the suspension arms lie almost horizontal. These replacement depressed VVSS suspension parts would also be perfect for a Sherman laden with sandbag armor.
The Jumbo Turret Conversion Set WVC 72082 is comprised of 13 parts: two resin parts, and 11 white cast metal parts. The label states it is for the Italeri wargame Jumbo kit 7520, but it should be fine for a scratchbuilt M4A3E2 conversion or with the older Eduard Jumbo kit.
From left to right we have a pale-gray cast resin turret and resin gun mantlet. Above the mantlet in cast white metal is the commander's all-round vision cupola, the oval loader's hatch and the round commander's hatch. To the right is a split hatch cupola with the two hatch pieces. Below this cupola are three small pieces: several fire extinguishers and a machine gun pintle.
At far right are metal gun barrels for a choice of the 75mm M3 and the longer 76mm M1A1. The gun barrel muzzles should be drilled out like with most plastic gun barrels; being white metal they should not be too difficult to drill.
My references show that the all-round vision cupola was the only commander's cupola used on the M4A3E2 turret. The loader used the oval hatch and I've seen no Jumbo turrets fitted with the split-hatch cupola. The prominent weld bead around the turret roof is very well done; this gives us an idea how thick the sidewalls of this heavy duty turret was. Both hatches are cast open. The turret looks pretty accurate in shape and detail. Important items to add are the machinegun storage brackets on the rear of the turret.
These conversion sets were purchased by the reviewer.
The Sherman Design & Development, Son of Sherman, Volume 1, The Ampersand Group Inc. (2013)
|Modeling the Sherman Tank in 1/72nd Scale|