Kit Preview (WVC72017)
II, Direct Vision Upper Hull, Conversion no. WVC7217A/WVC72017
the old part or conversion set number followed by newer part number used by
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.
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.
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.)
Kit Preview (WVC72019)
Canadian Ram Mk II Kangaroo "Early" APC (Including interior)
Wee Vehicles Resin Conversion 72019
This review covers the Friendship Model's Kangaroo armored personnel
carrier (APC) based on the Canadian Ram Mark II tank. I find it interesting
that the US designation for the Ram tank is the M4A5. Kangaroos were based on
several vehicles. This version was the Ram tank with the turret removed. My
research tells me that there was no purpose built seating for the infantry it
would carry. See your references for details and history of the Ram and
kit consists about 19 pale gray, cast resin parts, and six cast white metal
parts. Casting quality appears good though I do see a few round air bubble
balls on the interior (though these could be painted to look like footballs
[Soccer balls]?) This conversion hull does not include the VVSS suspension
bogies, sprocket and idler wheels or track. Based on historical photos this
vehicle typically used the VVSS bogies and track like that used on the M3 and
M4 Medium tanks. (I have seen post-war Rams on display that are fitted with
the Canadian dry-pin (CDP) track and sprockets.)
In the above
photo we have the lower hull at far left with the driver's area on the right
side (opposite that of the Sherman and Grant tanks), drive shaft, transmission
and other interior features. In the Kangaroo the ammunition racks for the
6-Pounder or 2-Pounder guns have been removed.
In the center
is the upper hull featuring the armored fuel caps similar to those on the M3
and M4 Mediums, some molded-on tools, and bolt holes for the removed turret
race. Behind the turret ring is a rectangular air intake similar to the M3
Medium, but no armored cover like that on the M4. On the forward left side of
the hull is the ring for the machine gun cupola, like that fitted atop the M3
Lee Medium tank. The driver's visor is molded closed and appears similar to
that used on the M3 Medium.
At far right,
starting at top is the driver's steering levers, a separate and additional
drivers visor in case you wish to open up the driver's visor, and two interior
fire extinguishers made in white metal. Below these parts and cast in white
metal are two 30-cal. machine guns that mount on the turret ring and the
machine gun body for the cupola.
Next down are
two extra cupola turret hatches, one in resin and one in white metal, and
another cupola hatch portrayed folded open. (Be aware, and I am not sure, but
these extra hatches may not always be included in this kit.) Below the
hatches art two bulb-shaped, cast-resin exterior fire extinguishers that mount
on the hull behind the turret; these are common on British Shermans and
Fireflies and Canadian M4A1 Grizzly tanks.
Next down are
the two engine exhaust stacks like those used by the M3 and very early M4 and
M4A1 Medium tanks. Between the exhausts is an extra, optional light. An
interesting thing I have read about these large exhaust stacks is that they caused
the rear engine decks to get so hot that the leather straps holding down tools
could catch fire. For this reason the exhaust system was changed on the M4A1
On the next
resin pour plug down are additional and optional lights and the headlight guards
that have to be carefully cut free. The pour plug below this features a round
gunner's seat for under the MG cupola that needs a pin or wire to be installed
on, and an air filter that goes in the U shaped recess on the hulls left side
with the angle to the bulkhead.
The lower and
last pour plug holds the MG cupola and a cupola hatch. I appear to have lost
the machine gun barrel for the cupola MG but this can be replicated from some
 Ram Tank Registry of Canada's Tank ramtank.ca
 Service Publications
Kit Preview (WVC72050)
M4A3E2 Sherman "Jumbo" in 1/72 scale
Friendship Models Wee Vehicles Resin Conversions from Wee Friends
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
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 76-mm higher velocity guns. See the
Sherman Minutia website
for great coverage of the M4A3E2.
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 almost 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 76-mm
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.
lifting rings and a gun cradle, 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 the 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
The kit I
understand 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,
In the above photograph, at left 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
In 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 and lifting rings, and gun cradle (travel lock).
At right is the
set of M4A3E2 Depressed VVSS Suspension Set WVC76121, 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
Turret Conversion Set WVC72082 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 color 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 a choice of metal gun barrels for a choice of the 75-mm M3 and the longer
76-mm 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
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 giving 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 machine gun
storage brackets on the rear of the turret.
 sherman minutia
 The Sherman Design & Development, Son of Sherman, Volume 1, The Ampersand Group Inc. (2013)
Kit Preview (WVC72088)
II, Early Riveted Lower Hull, Conversion no. WVC76086/WVC72088
the old part or conversion set number followed by newer part number used by
The early M4,
M4A1 and M4A2 Sherman hull were built with the riveted lower hull as we would
find on the M3 Medium tank that came before it. Though listed as for the
Sherman M4 and M4A1, with a little modification this lower hull would mate with
the early production M4A2 with DV driver's hoods. If used with an M4A2 upper
hull you may wish to change and correct the rear engine plate and the bottom
access hatches and fittings particular to the diesel engine M4A2. Despite
having the 3-piece cast final drive assembly, this lower hull is too short in
length to convert to use with an M4A4 model kit.
set is comprised of three gray colored cast resin parts. At the top we have
the driver and co-driver (radio operator) seats. Below is the lower hull
showing the rudimentary interior of a drive shaft, the transmission and final
drive. The interior gives something to see when we model the hatches open.
You may wish to add the driver's controls, ammunition in the sponsons, radio
etc. I advise not to use the ESCI (Italeri) M4A1 interior parts as these are
for a late wet ammunition storage M4A1, this Wee Vehicles hull is an early M4A1
with the dry ammunition storage in the sponsons.
On the rear is
an accurate M4 and M4A1 rear plate with the engine access doors. No white
metal or etched brass parts are included.
appears very good. The rivet detail is good and the accurate. I will plan to
use this with the Wee Vehicles M4A1 DV hull, a Leva Productions low bustle
turret or a turret left over from a Trumpeter M4 kit, and 1-piece early VVSS
suspension from Wee Vehicles or from M.G.M.
Preview samples of the not yet released depressed bogie suspension & stowage set supplied by Ian Hanratty of Wee Friends.
The other preview samples purchased by the author.