Modeling the Sherman Tank in 1/72nd Scale
M4A1 Sherman Direct Vision Hull Friendship Models
Kit #WVC72017
Article by Stephen Brezinski; last updated 8 April 2015
M4A1 Sherman, Direct Vision Upper Hull, Conversion no. WVC7217A/WVC72017

*Above is the old part or conversion set number followed by newer part number used by Friendship Models.

This conversion kit covers the initial version of the cast hull M4A1, known by the British as the Sherman II.  This version has the direct vision (DV) small hatch driver's hood began construction in 1942 and actually came off the assembly line before the welded hull M4.  We can see this version with US Army, UK and Polish forces in North Africa and Italy in 1942 and 1943.  Many early ones would have the M3 type VVSS bogies with the return roller mounted directly over center of the bogies, and would have the 3-piece bolted final drive assemblies.

Kit Parts

The conversion set is comprised of three cast resin parts: the upper hull and front mudguards in resin and a set of cast white metal driver's hatches.  I believe the hull is based on the Dragon M4A1 kit.  The detail looks accurate to me and the cast texture of the hull is very, very, nice.  There is no welded-on appliqué armor plates, though these could be added on by 1944.  A lot of parts will still be needed from a plastic kit, such as headlights, lifting rings and headlight guards, an axe, shovel and air intake cover, etc (in addition to the turret, lower hull suspension).  The Wee Vehicles resin Early Riveted Hull, (Conversion no. 76086) will mate with this upper hull.  The driver's hatches are molded open and need the thin film of resin cut out.

The factory issued turret for this hull (not included) would be a low bustle type, with no welded-on appliqué armor plate on the right cheek, the M34 rotor shield with or without the side wings, and a split hatch cupola but no loader's hatch.  Appliqué armor and the wide M34A1 gun shield could have been added later during rebuilding and updates.

(At right in cast gray is a set of gear (a.k.a. stowage or kit) from Wee Vehicles that actually does not come with this resin M4A1 conversion but supplies a lot of the Sherman missing tools, plus fuel cans, water drum and British Army helmets.  This looks like kit I have seen on African and Italian theatre Shermans.  I understand that this set of gear will be released separately by Wee Vehicles in the future.)

This conversion set was purchased by the reviewer.

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Modeling the Sherman Tank in 1/72nd Scale