Kit Preview : 1/76 MMS M4A3 76
I am a big fan of MMS models. They are very precise and offer an interesting range of subjects. Moreover metal holds an advantage over resin as it doesn't warp! The level of detail is good, on the level with a Matchbox kit, ie details and stowage are molded on, not separate. Hooks, handles and other small details need to be added.
This model represents the next to last Sherman used by the US Army. It sports a 76mm gun on a late model hull with angled hatches and a 47degree slope, but still with the older VVSS suspension.
Hull and Turret components
The lifting eyes on the four corners are molded solid. I will probably replace them.
Large join lines on both upper hull sides have been sanded off. You can see the same lines on the lower hull.
One piece track (front)
One piece track (rear)
2 barrels are included, with or without muzzle). No headlight brushguards are provided.
After assembling the hull and tracks, the model just didn't look right. Sitting side by side with a Fujimi late M4 HVSS and an Airfix M4, the MMS model sits too high. Its ground clearance is a couple mm too high. Checking against 1/76 drawings, all becomes clear, the one piece track is a 3 mm short, mainly between the idler wheel and the last road wheel. In consequence, the front bulkhead is also too short, since it is sloped it doesn't come down enough.
After staring at a good number fo pictures and drawings, and comparing the track with other M4/M3 kits in my stash. I have found a reasonable fix which avoids extending the metal track.
add 40 thou plasticard to the bottom of the hull to reduce ground clearance.
Do not align the rear idler wheel with its locating hole. Instead, align the sprocket wheel with the hull. Use a picture or a drawing to locate the position of the sprocket respective to the hull. Sand off the locating pins on the rear face of the idler and sprocket wheels. Make a note of where the 6 track locating pins align on the hull bottom. Make 6 notches on the hull. CA the tracks in place carefully. Make sure to leave a space between the track and the hull.
Now fot he hrad part. The transmission housing needs to be extended and rebuilt. It's a cast housing so I think sanded putty will be OK.
This is what you get if you follow the instructions.
This drawing shows where the sprocket wheel should be.
This is what you have if you move the track forward. The idler wheel is not where it should be but is does not alter the shape of the tank so much.
This shot explains it all.
The bottom of the tank with 40 thou plastic card. It looked funny sitting too high, like an armored gazelle.