The next Cyber-Hobby Orange Box offering is a Red Army M4A2(76) tank. A total of 4,102 M4A2 medium tanks were sent to the U.S.S.R. under Lend-Lease during WWII. To make the kit more valuable, the kit includes a fine 1/35 scale Maxim machine gun as well!
Opening the Box
This thin, side-opening Dragon box is filled with a nice amount of parts. The sprues are molded in light grey plastic and have some really detailed cast textures and weld seams.
The kit includes:
- Seven sprues
- One clear sprue
- One small cable
- Two small sheets of PE
- Two lengths of DS track
- One gun mantlet cover made of the same DS material
- One small decal sheet
They provide decals for two tanks:
- 2nd Tank Army, Berlin 1945
- 8th Guards Mechanized Corps, 1944/45
The first step is quite confusing. The step one figure is at the top of the page but the first pieces to glue are shown at the bottom of the page. Each wheel bogey consists of ten parts making for some nicely detailed sub-assemblies.
Step two completes the drive sprockets, and step three starts the construction of the lower hull. The bogeys are then glued to it. When building the driver’s hatches in step five, one of the pieces to be used in this sub-assembly is not listed. The part is A12 and should be glued in the center of the hatch.
Steps six, seven, and eight are straight forward, but there is a bit of a fitting issue between the upper and lower hull pieces as described below. There is a massive gap that forms in the front, right under the bolt strip.
I double checked the instructions to make sure everything was correct but couldn’t find anything wrong. So I squeezed the two parts together as much as I could and sanded down some meeting points in the back. All that, and there was still a bit of a gap. Vallejo plastic putty was used and the gap was finally filled.
All in all, there is a lot of really great detail on the upper hull and lots of nicely molded tools. In order for the tools to be glued on, there is a series of holes to drill, but that isn’t a difficult task.
Turret and Gun Assembly
Step 11 starts with the gun assembly. The kit comes with three different 76mm guns. One of these options is a single part, the second comes as a single barrel with a separate muzzle break. The third option is a 76mm gun in two halves. In the instructions it says to use the single piece barrel and separate muzzle break. In the long run, they would all look the same.
The .50 Cal MG mounted on top of the turret is really well detailed and consists of seven parts.
The turret assembly is straight forward with interesting detail. In the construction of the command hatches, five clear pieces are fit in to replicate the viewports. The top of the turret is then glued to the bottom half creating the nice weld seam well known on the 76mm Sherman’s.
The 76mm sub-assembly is then glued to the turret.
The builder has the option of using the mantlet cover or not. I chose not to, but to fasten it, you just slip it on. Very straightforward. The DS tracks are glued on and fastened to the model.
Finally, the last step is inserting the turret and fastening the cable. Other than the joining of the hulls, this was a very clean build.
Maxim Machine Gun
Now that the tank is finished, it is time to build this extra piece. There is not a dedicated step by step instruction sheet for the gun. It is a simple diagram of the finished product with lines labeling the different parts. When building it, the modeler has to go very slow and make sure that they are using the correct part and studying the diagram to make sure it comes out correctly. It is a small piece, but it has a lot of potential. Definitely a cool edition to this kit!
Painting and Finish
I first primed the model with Vallejo Matte Black Primer. This gave it a nice surface to work on.
Next, I sprayed the model with a mix of Tamiya Dark Green and NATO Green, making some areas darker and others lighter to let the black primer coat show through a bit. I then lightened the green mixture with Tamiya White and sprayed it in some of the areas giving it a faded, sun bleached look. The tools were painted with Tamiya Grey and Vallejo USAF Brown.
With the main painting done, I gave the whole model a coat of Future to give it a glossy surface before decals. The markings were applied with Micro Set and Micro Sol and another coat of Future was applied to seal the decals in.
With a glossy surface on the model, I started the oil washes and streaking. I used AK Interactive Rain Streaks for NATO Vehicles on the whole model and mineral spirits to create the streaking effect by pulling the brush down. I lightened the streaks with more mineral spirits.
I applied Burnt Umber oil wash to the recesses to help them pop and a darker brown shade wash was applied to the engine deck grate. The fuel stains were created with AK Fuel Stains product.
To get the dusty effect that I wanted, I mixed AK European Earth with mineral spirits and brushed it on the wheel bogeys and on the upper and lower hulls of the model. After it dried, I used a soft brush to rub the pigment away and give it a nice, dusty look concentrated in the crevices, where the crew might be stepping, and where the tracks have kicked the dust up.
I rusted the mufflers with Vallejo Iron Oxide pigment. I used the same Euro Dust pigment mixed with mineral spirits and brushed it on the tracks. Then a little was rubbed off. When the tracks were dry, I dry-brushed them with AK True Metal to make them pop. The whole tank was finished after a final coat using Vallejo Matte Varnish.
The Maxim Gun
The gun was primed with Vallejo Black Primer, painted with Tamiya Olive Green, and post shaded with Tamiya Olive Green lightened with White. The back of the gun was left black and so was the small barrel. This was weathered with the same AK European Dust and mineral spirit mixture.
Overall, this model was a joy to build. The part count was just right and the finished model came out looking great. The only issue for me was the gap in the front between the upper and lower hulls.
I can recommend this kit to anyone who is a fan of Shermans, or those interested in building a Cyber Hobby/Dragon Kit with a cool Maxim MG add-on.
Thank you to Dragon Models for providing this kit for review, and to IPMS USA for giving me the opportunity to build it!