This project started with an internet photo and a messenger chat with my modelling friend Serzh in Russia. I’m not entirely sure how I came across an image of a proposed project to mount an 85mm gun into an M4A2 Sherman. There was only one drawing and the project was quickly cancelled.
In our discussions online, we determined the illustrator which proposed the project did not fully understand the interior of the Sherman tank. They did not allow enough room for the transmission hump and enough headroom for the crew nor for gun depression. Serzh proposed the solution would be to raise the roofline from the initial drawing. He roughed out a solution for the 85mm gun using the Zvezda M4A2 early but didn’t get very far with the model.
I picked up a Dragon M4A2 76(W) Soviet Lend Lease at the IPMS Nationals for a decent price and decided to base my version on this later M4A2 version. The casemate riser is made from .06” thick styrene sheet. It took a lot of dry fitting to get the styrene sheet to fit. The model was then detailed with parts from the spares bin that were left over from prior projects.
Commander’s T-34 copula – Royal Model
Commander’s Hatch, armored fan cover, headlight – various Dragon T-34 kits
Side vision ports – Dragon Su-76i
Gun Mount and driver’s top hatch – Dragon Su-100 from a partially started kit a friend had given me
Main Gun – Jordi Rubio. Horrible casting for the muzzle brake. It took a lot of work to clean this up.
Gun Shield – Leftover from ArmourScale 100mm D-10.
Driver’s Vision Port, Acorn Periscope, Tow Ring – Trumper KV-1 spares
Photo Etch – various and bits and scraps
I planned my build around the bits and bobs I had on hand. It was only later I did a little research and found out there was a test vehicle built to mount the 122mm D-25T into the SU-100. It was designated SU-122P and tested successfully enough but the crew, especially the loader was in an awkward position. The felt it would be a better solution if there was more interior space. Perfect this build resulted in a larger interior fighting compartment.
Once I had the basic components down, it was time to work on the details which mostly consisted of welds, hinges, more welds, and a little bit of scratch building. I consulted Son of Sherman for the M4A2 details, and I think I got most of it right. I guess. Shermans are a new subject for me, and it took a while to figure out the different hull variations, bogie details, small hatch vs large hatch, towing points, exhausts, lifting rings, FDA casting marks, etc. There are a few small items I’m not entirely sure about and may still visit them. I ended up researching three different tanks for this project; the M4A2, the SU-100 and the IS-2 122mm D-25T.
When I opened the kit, I was excited to see the DS Styrene tracks had not disintegrated as I’ve heard several stories about the material failing. But once I installed them on the kit, my enthusiasm was washed away. They don’t fit and are too springy to lay flat along the return rollers. I’ve ordered a set of Panda tracks. To add to the tedium, I plan to add C Channel grousers. The Soviet Lend Lease Shermans were not supplied with factory cast grousers. There is one photo in Son of Sherman showing a US field mod of cut C Channel welded on grousers and I figured this information would be passed onto the Soviet tankers. I’m still testing out different widths.
I've applied a pair of Panda Plastic T-49 tracks. These were tedious to clean up but went together quickly. I chopped small piece of Evergreen Styrene 0.125” U channel with a razor in a small miter box. There were carefully glued on to avoid gluing the end connectors to the track pads. Multiple pieces were omitted to represent the welded channel snapping off.
The stowage is a mix of aftermarket items. The Dragon Maxim MG was detailed with styrene and PE details. The tarps over the engine deck intake vent is based on period photo so is plausible.