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BlobMan

What tracks did M4a1(76)W mainly use?

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I've been looking over the internet and I can't find anywhere that just lists the types of tracks and on what variants they were used. I need to know which type the M4a1(76)W used.

Please help.

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There were few set relationships between M4 types, factories and track types, except that the T62 and T54E2 ("cuff") types were factory-fitted only by Chrysler.  Factories were generally supplied with whatever was available at the time, although Chrysler made the T54E2 themselves and the T62 was only supplied to Chrysler.

 

I'm presuming you're talking VVSS not HVSS?  T80 steel chevron is the probable answer for HVSS. I don't ever recall seeing an A1 on T66 tracks. 

 

The original HVSS T41 plain rubber blocks went out early in M4 production when rubber ran short: nearly a (US) ton of rubber was needed per pair of tracks.  All-metal types then took over mid-war but by 1944 rubber types such as the T48 rubber chevron were coming back.  US Army then had a preference for the T48.

 

All M4A1(76) were built by Pressed Steel Car, so this model exhibits less factory and sub-contract supply variation than some others.  Period photos of HVSS M4A1(76)'s mostly seem to show the T48 rubber chevron track.  "Official" photos at Aberdeen etc all seem to have T48s fitted.  However, the T49 3-bar cleat and T74 V-cleat steel types are also seen in service and very occasionally the T51 plain rubber block (which gave little cross-country traction).  Don't forget that worn tracks would be replaced with whatever was available, including second-hand sets from disabled tanks, so factory, Stateside Tank Depot or shipping shots are the only sure way of knowing how they left the factory.  Very very occasionally you see tracks on M4s made of different link types.  They were of course all fully interchangeable.

 

So, on balance of probability I would say T48 rubber chevron is most likely for an M4A1(76).

 

Out of interest, whose kit are you using?  I'm guessing Dragon as the Italeri one and its re-boxed clones are pretty naff.  Both have the early turret with the large round loader's hatch, so may not have had the rear turret ventilator: the first 450 or so didn't.  None of the Op Cobra tanks had it, so Dragon goofed that one.  The first 380 or so large hatch no-vent turrets had the original M1 gun with the smooth muzzle, which Dragon did get right, and the rest after March 44 had the threaded collar M1A1C.

 

Online, pretty much anything you need to know about Sherman variants and features is here: http://the.shadock.free.fr/sherman_minutia/.  In print, I can heartily recommend the Son of Sherman book.  But it's not cheap, even in softback.

Edited by Das Abteilung
correction

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8 hours ago, Das Abteilung said:

Out of interest, whose kit are you using?  I'm guessing Dragon as the Italeri one and its re-boxed clones are pretty naff. 

I am doing the Italeri one, and your right it's pretty naff. The track in the kit is pretty terrible.

 

8 hours ago, Das Abteilung said:

Online, pretty much anything you need to know about Sherman variants and features is here: http://the.shadock.free.fr/sherman_minutia/

I had seen that website a few times but it doesn't load for me. Does it work for you? Am I doing something wrong?

 

Thank you for the help by the way. Much appreciated. :thumbsup:

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Well it always works for me.  Maybe something to do with your biscuits or whatever they call these things😁.  What browser thingy do use use?  I use Chrome.

 

The M4 Force is strong with Pierre-Olivier who runs the site.  You need to find some way of getting on there.  It is the best condensed M4 ready-reference on the web.

 

The tracks are the worst part of the Italeri kit, which is saying something.  Far too stiff.  There are many opinions on after-market Sherman tracks.  For rubber-block types there is little or no point buying metal tracks like Friul.  For which you need deep pockets: you can get a whole Dragon kit with their indy link tracks for the price of a set of Fruils.  Personally I like the Bronco plastic indy links, but many don't.  They do the T48, T49 and T74 - all potentially appropriate.  Plus they do separate extended end connectors.  But expect to pay £12 or more a set.

 

The suspension bogies need to be glued up solid once you have them attached and on a flat surface.  Although replacing the tracks will help stop them being pulled up at front and back - and the idlers being bent - by the stiff kit tracks.  I don't know what wheels the kit gives, but plugged cast spoke are probably most appropriate.  You could replace them with a Tasca/Asuka or AFV Club replacement set, but more £££.  The hull and turret need cast- texturing and the tools need replacing.  As does the main gun and the M2 Browning.

 

Personally, I would say to pass over the Italeri kit and go get a Dragon.  You can pick them up for £30-40.  But for that you get a metal barrel, some etch, indy link tracks and an all-round superior kit without resorting to any after-market parts.  And loads of parts for the spares box.  You could certainly spend a lot more than that doing-up the Italeri kit.

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2 hours ago, Das Abteilung said:

What browser thingy do use use? 

Chrome, it's probably something with the cookies, I'll have a play around with the settings to try and get it to work.

 

I've got the italeri one because it was annoyingly the only 1/35 sherman in the store. I've set to work adding texture to the hull and I'm pretty happy with it. I've got a metal barrel on order and hopefully that will arrive soon. 

2 hours ago, Das Abteilung said:

I don't know what wheels the kit gives, but plugged cast spoke are probably most appropriate. 

The kit has the spoke wheels like this:

 

p1.jpg

 

3 hours ago, Das Abteilung said:

You could replace them with a Tasca/Asuka or AFV Club replacement set, but more £££.

I don't really have much money to spend because I'm an unemployed 16 yr old. How much would they be?

 

I'm thinking about getting the ModelKasten t 48 tracks because it is a similar price to the bronco ones and comes with the duck bills. I also spotted a detail set for the m2 on the turret roof which I'll probably get.

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Hey, I'm 56 plus a couple and I'm still broke!  Modelling might have something to do with it ...........

 

A set of Tasca/Asuka bogies is usually about £25, but you do get their vinyl tracks included.  An AFV Club suspension set is a lot less: there's a set on eBay now for £16.  It comes with the pressed spoke wheels, which are appropriate here.  But as I said, you can get away with the kit bogies if you change the tracks for something less stiff.  Others may disagree.

 

PSC actually used all 4 roadwheel types on A1(76)'s.  Not exactly helpful.  Until about October 44 they used the welded spoked type shown here, but also used the pressed spoke type as well.  Then came the welded plugged spoke type (like these but with the holes filled with plates with a small hole) and the solid disc type.  Solid discs are the least common wartime Sherman wheel type, if only because they appeared last.

 

This picture has a large-hatch turret with a rear vent and the M1A1C gun (ignoring the rubbish drawing of it!).  So it isn't one of the first 450 off the line: somewhere between 450 and about 2350, when the loader's hatch shrank.  But it still has the horizontal return roller arms, which I believe the kit has.  So yes, the welded spoke wheels in the kit are OK for that configuration.  It probably shouldn't have the vent cover between the drivers' hatches, but if you leave it off you'll have to fill the circular hole in the middle of the horseshoe-shaped slot.

 

You might be able to rescue the Browning with a detail set (ET Model?) but it's pretty poor.  A brass barrel would help: RB is cheapest but perhaps not the most accurate - certainly good enough.  And you get handgrips and a cocking handle.  Remember that the excellent is the sworn enemy of the perfectly acceptable and that Pareto's Rule applies: the last 20% accuracy will cost you 80%!  The Academy US MG set actually has some very nice 0.30 and 0.50 MGs and mounts in it and is reasonably priced: less than a pair of Tasca Brownings. And you get enough for several vehicles.

 

Did you get the right type of gun barrel?  Only the type with the muzzle collar is appropriate here.  Too late for smooth muzzle and too early for muzzle brake.  DEF Model do all 3 and are reasonably priced.  Aber are too expensive to bother with.  RB only do the muzzle brake version.  So it would have to be the DEF version.

 

Note that this picture has a British No19 set antenna base, incorrect for a US vehicle.  The triangular cage on the turret roof behind the hatches.  US antennas had a spring base, wider in the middle.  There are a few after market brass bases that would work: RB, Panzer Art, Aber to name 3.

Edited by Das Abteilung
addition

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3 hours ago, Das Abteilung said:

A set of Tasca/Asuka bogies is usually about £25, but you do get their vinyl tracks included.  An AFV Club suspension set is a lot less: there's a set on eBay now for £16.  It comes with the pressed spoke wheels, which are appropriate here.  But as I said, you can get away with the kit bogies if you change the tracks for something less stiff.  Others may disagree.

I think I'll stick with the ones the kit provides, they don't bounce like real suspension but they look good enough.

 

3 hours ago, Das Abteilung said:

You might be able to rescue the Browning with a detail set (ET Model?) but it's pretty poor.  A brass barrel would help: RB is cheapest but perhaps not the most accurate - certainly good enough.  And you get handgrips and a cocking handle.  Remember that the excellent is the sworn enemy of the perfectly acceptable and that Pareto's Rule applies: the last 20% accuracy will cost you 80%!  The Academy US MG set actually has some very nice 0.30 and 0.50 MGs and mounts in it and is reasonably priced: less than a pair of Tasca Brownings. And you get enough for several vehicles.

The RB one is cheap as chips and looks good enough, so I'll go with that.

 

3 hours ago, Das Abteilung said:

Did you get the right type of gun barrel?  Only the type with the muzzle collar is appropriate here.  Too late for smooth muzzle and too early for muzzle brake.  DEF Model do all 3 and are reasonably priced.  Aber are too expensive to bother with.  RB only do the muzzle brake version.  So it would have to be the DEF version.

Having looked at it I foolishly got the smooth muzzle variant, so I'll need to cancel that order and get a refund.

 

3 hours ago, Das Abteilung said:

Note that this picture has a British No19 set antenna base, incorrect for a US vehicle.  The triangular cage on the turret roof behind the hatches.  US antennas had a spring base, wider in the middle.  There are a few after market brass bases that would work: RB, Panzer Art, Aber to name 3.

Buying one of those feels like spending way to much money for something so small when I could scratch build it and it look the same from any distance other than 2mm away from your face.

 

Again, many many thanks for your help. Very much appreciated. :thanks:

 

Oh and also, the camouflage schemes and decals in the kit are, frankly, poo-poo. Do you know if there are any websites where they have like a bunch of camouflage schemes and aftermarket decals for various tanks?

Edited by BlobMan
addition

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8 hours ago, BlobMan said:

The RB one is cheap as chips and looks good enough, so I'll go with that.

Agreed.  I've bought loads of the RB ones, although I did pick up a few Orange Hobby cheap.  People argue over the length and shape of the cooling jacket.

 

9 hours ago, BlobMan said:

Having looked at it I foolishly got the smooth muzzle variant, so I'll need to cancel that order and get a refund.

Not necessarily. True, it isn't correct for Bonnie.  But you could add a collar from some plastic or metal tube, or even wrapped lead foil. 

 

Or you could eliminate the turret rear vent and do an earlier vehicle.  The MG stowage pintle goes directly on the turret rear.  One of the Op Cobra units (2 AD?) had black-camouflaged M4A1(76)s.  Here's one below, although knocked out - and the photo is printed reversed!!  Lots of interesting details.  Mixed welded and pressed wheels with pressed idlers and "plain" sprocket.  T48 tracks with extended end connectors.  Flat return roller arms.  No exhaust screen.  Smooth muzzle gun. No turret rear vent. Early loaders hatches that only opened to 90 degrees.  Logs were commonplace to detonate Panzerfaust rounds early.  Looks like some sort of gun barrel rest on the rear deck. I suspect this was a shipping piece that someone kept (they were shipped with gun rear) as the official barrel lock was at the front.  You can make out the camo, which seems to be soft-edged in the photos I've seen.  No side stars, but probably one on the engine deck.  Not a huge amount of stowage.  Not a bad subject.  There were about 450 built in this configuration and almost all went to Op Cobra units post D Day, so you have some licence.

9 hours ago, BlobMan said:

Buying one of those feels like spending way to much money for something so small when I could scratch build it and it look the same from any distance other than 2mm away from your face.

 

Some fine soft wire wrapped around a thicker rod or wire works.  Go raid your local craft store.  Hobbycraft or The Range if you have either near.  Lots of gauges, types and colours of wire there for not much ££.  And surely it's our duty to pass on knowledge?  I hate the "look it up for yourself" brigade.

osnic69.jpg

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