by: Dale Harrington
This set is sold as a replacement suspension for the M4 Sherman family of
vehicles. One vehicle that would definitely benefit from this AFV Club set is the Tamiya M4 Sherman (kit #190). This kit is labeled as an ‘Early Production’
vehicle, but it comes with the latest style of the VVSS suspension. The mounting
points on the Tamiya hull look like they will take the AFV Club suspension
without too much problem. Let us see what is in the box.
This set comes with two nicely done ‘Type 1C, Fancy, smooth variation’ drive
sprockets (pointed tips, with cutouts). These are quite nice; the only real
problem is that four sprockets are needed. The other two, the ones on the
inside, next to the hull, are ‘Type 3, Simple plate’ drive sprockets. Everything
I have read states that the inner and outer sprockets should always be the same. Looking at a completed kit, the inner sprockets are almost always completely hidden, so this may not be a big problem, but it does show a certain lack of attention to detail. More on this subject later.
The road wheels included in the set are of the solid spoke type (six spokes).
The FRONTS are fairly nicely detailed. Not quite as crisp as the new Academy
kits, but better then the ‘stock’ parts with Tamiyas M4. Grease nipples are
present. Once again, AFV Club’s lack of attention to detail leads to problems.
There are no backs to these wheels. Maybe I am getting spoiled after seeing the
latest offerings from Academy, but I am getting rather tired of this. How hard
is it to mold six backs for these wheels? I have one more complaint, or rant.
And this one goes for all US road wheels. The real ones have the companies name
on them that made them. If they can put these on 1/43 scale model car tires, why
can’t they put these on 1/35 scale tires? Now this is probably being nit-picky,
but it would be nice. A matching pair of idler wheels are included.
The bogies included for this set are the ‘Type 2C-2-Intermediate raised roller
(pillow block)’ type. This is the suspension with the horizontal roller arm,
with a block underneath the return roller to raise it. This are molded with nice
casting numbers on them, and the three prominent bolts on the bottom are
present. The middle one is also the bottom attachment point, so make sure you
don’t accidentally cut it off when removing the bogie from the sprue. This type
of suspension was used starting in 1943, and was in use until the end of the war
on some vehicles.
THE REST OF THE STUFF
There are twelve pieces for each of the six complete bogies. One of these pieces
is a black rubber volute spring. I am not really sure if this is for a real
reason or maybe a left over from AFV Club’s tendency to make their kits rather
toy-like sometimes. The suspension is fully workable and you should be able to
pose it as you wish. I have heard that it does not move exactly as the real
thing does, but it is probably as close as you are going to get. Included in
this set are some nice final drive covers and hubs. The instructions and
painting directions (umm… paint the wheels ‘tire black’) are on the back of the
Adding this set to your Tamiya M4 would make a more accurate model, and the
fully adjustable suspension is nice. Since the wheels included with this kit are
of a later type, I would probably use the kits wheels, with this suspension. The
kit comes with the ‘Open Spoke’ (five spokes) type of road wheel, which would be
more correct for an ‘Early’ M4. There are a few problems with this kit, mainly
due to short cuts taken by AFV Club. This is a nice idea, it is just a shame
they did not put a little more effort into it. I would like to see Academy do
the same thing with their suspension from their M10.
Once again, I used MMIR’s “Modeler’s Guide to the Sherman” as a reference for
Copyright ©2020 text by Dale Harrington. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Model Shipwrights. All rights reserved.
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