Here is the start of the review. I'm not an expert on the M4 or at building. This review/build will mainly focus on how the kit goes together for the "average" builder. Any tips, advice, direction will be appreciated.
First, photos of what you get. The box.
The instructions are very brief and crowded, but I should be able to make sense of them.
The photo etch sheet is very nice. Too bad I don't have a form for molding the light guards.
I don't know if the kit decals are accurate. They are nicely printed but don't include any serial numbers or other data.
One clear sprue from the M4 A2/A3 set.
The hull from the M4. It has tabs marked on the upper front corners to trim for the fit of the composite upper hull.
A new "R" sprue marked M4 PTO. The hull appears to be nicely textured. Plastic fenders are included. Applique armor for this hull is also included. The front hatches appear to be a new molding, as well as the drive assembly being molded to the forward hull piece. There is casting texture added to this part as well. The fit issues with the drive assembly and transmission cover seem to have been fixed for this kit.
Next, one "B" sprue for the M4, with the high bustle turret, with no lower ring (Dragon Care is sending mine in the mail).
Two "D" sprues for the M4, with the open spoke wheels and raised return rollers with casting numbers molded on.
Another "B" sprue M4 with the low bustle turret and ring, mantlet and mantlet cover, and main gun.
"C" sprue for the M4A1 DV, with rear hull piece, air cleaners and another main gun, "E" sprue M4 75mm Normandy, with applique armor and "F" sprue M4A1 DV with the upper rear deck details.
Two VVSS bogie sprues with the six spoke wheels, lower bogie assembly, drive sprockets, spare track links, and straight return arms. There are four small bolt heads for each of the return blocks, but they are not indicated on the instructions. There are also twelve small bolts molded to the side of the sprue.
One "A" sprue M4 A2/A3, with tools, hull MG, fuel caps, drive housings, rear hull plate and rear deck plate for the A2/A3 variants.
Rubber chevron track lengths without EEC in DS. They are nicely molded.
The molding looks very clean on all parts, even on the VVSS sprues, which are in better condition than on my M4A2 PTO. The new drive assembly on the "R" sprue is really nice. I am happy so far with what was included in the box.
I do with Dragon had included the turret ring for the high bustle turret. Also, either a .50 cal or .30 cal MG to mount on top would have been nice, as there are lots of photos showing them in place. Considering all the extra parts included in the box that won't be used, I don't know why they didn't include something that I would have used. It still bothers me that no gun breech is included, or a working ball mount for the hull MG, as these are standard on the German tanks. Finally, is it greedy to ask for two sets of tracks like I have in the M4A2 PTO? (I did get two turrets after all). I have reference photos showing composite hull tanks with the EEC T48track, T51,also with EEC and T49 track.. Maybe Cyberhobby will come out with a special kit for the earlier single hatch w/o the pistol port, or an Okinawa flame tank.
I will start the build on this as soon as possible. The wife has me working on a 1/1 scale woodpile right now, with a fence and a chicken coop to follow. She mocked my apparently sagging physique and indicated that I need to spend a little more time outdoors working, and less time indoors hunched over a table (in my defence, at least I'm not eating junk food. There is probably less plastic in this kit box then in a Twinkie box, and my mind is still getting exercise.)
Updates will follow.