Dated: March 17, 2009
I would like to submit some pictures to ETS of a Late Hull M4 (105) made by converting an Armoufast M4A3 (105) by using the upper rear hull from Armourfasts M4 or Firefly kits. Many gamers tend not to fully understand the role of the 105mm gunned Shermans as will be witnessed by the fact that they tend to be committed to action as normal tanks. In fact their role was quite different. They would follow behind the normal tank troops, stopping and choosing favorable firing positions along the way once the leading forces had joined action. The leading troops would call upon these Shermans to provide rapid fire support as needed, such as smoke or HE which they would deliver in an indirect way just as normal artillery would (like the M7 Priests, only much closer to hand and much faster response time).
These tanks also carried a very effective HEAT round capable of taking out any of the larger German tanks, although given low velocity of the gun, the chances of hitting anything in direct fire mode, dropped of rapidly beyond 500 yards. The 105mm gunned Shermans replaced the M8 Stuart based 75mm tanks in the close FS role from August 1944. Only late hull M4A3 and late hull M4s were ever produced in mass production carrying this gun (although an M4A4 and Early M4 did serve as prototypes).
Only 549 M4(105)s entered lend lease stocks and these all went to the British who deployed them in Italy . The rest were for the US , however many of both types did filter into French hands as replacements for their M8s. Likewise the UK did hand some of their late hull M4(105)s down to commonwealth forces operating in Italy (notably New Zealanders).
Here are the pictures:
Shows a convert M4 (105) next to the original Armourfast M4A3 (105)
Shows the two upper hull sections. The upper front from an M4A3 armourfast kit, the upper rear from an armourfast M4 or Firefly kit. Behind is an assembled model. Note to get there, you have to remove the extra side armour and skirting from the original M4 upper hull rear. This was done with a belt sander in short bursts to avoid overheating and thus melting the plastic. Once sanded down, the two halves were joined with strips of plasticard. Here I would comment the plastic used by Armourfast sticks very well to the plasticard, so if you not align it correctly, you will have a very hard job getting it apart again. The gap was obviously filled with filler, and the sides sanded even more going through the grades of wet'n'dry papers from 120 to 400 grit.
Completed model in US colours. Oversized cocktail sticks were used to make the wooden side protection, sandbags are clay and sculpted, as is the load on the rear. Towing cable is cut from cheap jewelry. Note the turret has the early commanders hatch and cupla (taken from a firefly kit although can be swapped over with an Armourfast M4A3 (75) W kit).
The drawing which inspired the conversion
No, I have not received a batch of unknown Armourfast M4 (105) test sprews! The completed US model with two further conversions. These will be for the British and French (awaiting transfers). I think I will eventually do a fourth for the New Zealanders.
Back to back, right the converted late hull M4 (105) next to the original M4A3 (105)
Side by side, right the converted late hull M4 (105) next to the original M4A3 (105)
Top views, right the converted late hull M4 (105) next to the original M4A3 (105)
The completed US model in daylight.
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