M4 Sherman
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Kit                                           : M4 Sherman Early Production
Manufacturer                        
: Tamiya
Scale                                        : 1/35
Paint                                        : Tamiya, ModelMaster and Humbrol
Accessories                             : None
Reference Material                 :  

History:

The Sherman was a medium tank used during WWII by the Allies. The M4 went into production in mid 1942, this some 5 months after the Cast hull M4A1 went into production. Although heavily out gunned by the Panthers and Tigers, reliability, mobility and sheer numbers brought success during the war. 

The M4 Sherman saw action on all fronts during the war and was in action until the end of the war. This was however not the end of the Sherman as it was adapted by many countries after the war and in a number of variations. 

The kit:

This is a Tamiya Kit and as per normal the Quality is what one has come to expect from Tamiya, There is little to no flash on the kit and the detail is excellent. It is however lacking in interior detailing and one will either need to insert the commander figure or keep the Hatches closed, there are however many aftermarket accessories for the interior if you wish to take this route. 

Construction:

Lower Hull: 

Very little cleaning up is required here.

In step one you need to choose which of the transmission covers will be used. The cast one piece cover ended up in the spares, but at the end of the day I think I should have used it but to late now.

Step 2 was the assembly of the Rear panel once again no surprises here and everything fitted like a glove.

Being a bit different I sprayed the entire hull in Olive Drab XF 62 mixed with 20% white.

I also sprayed all the wheels and bogie parts pre-empting the next step.

Step 3 is the assembly of the wheels, once again you are required to make a choice here on the type of road wheel that will be used, either pressed or spoked, and here I went for the spoked option, just looked better, next was to fit the bogies to the lower hull, once again very boring as everything fitted excellently.

Lower Hull done  

Upper Hull: 

This being stage no 5 saw the fitting of the engine covers which was actually quite quick as there is not much to it, just clean up and glue. Here you also need to add the figures if you are going to use them, I chose to keep the hatches closed here; the figures can also be added much later in the build, that is until you join the two hull halves. Stage 6 sees the addition of the additional hull parts i.e. hatches lights etc. I this stage I decided to add the exhaust after the build was complete. I did however paint the exhaust though. 

Exhaust painting: 

What I done here to give the exhaust a but of texture was paint the part with very runny model cement and made sure that it was well covered and wet, I then dipped the part into baking soda and let it dry, the excess baking soda was then brushes off and the part left to dry overnight this left a fine rough texture on the part, I then painted it with rust and dry brushed it with 3 lighter shades, one would say that this was a waste of time as the part is hidden, I was actually experimenting a bit here. 

Step 7 called for the addition of the Tools. I skipped this stage as I will be adding the tools at a later stage.

Upper Hull Done 

Turret: 

Step 8 calls for the assembly of the Main gun, nothing major here, I didnít even apply paint to the parts that will be on the inside of the turret as all the hatches are going to be closed, if you are going to add the commander I would paint as called out in the plans.

Just follow the plans through stages 9 and 10 as there is nothing serious here, If however you are not going to add the Commander and want the Hatches open you will need to do a bit of work in the interior if the turret as the parts supplied in the kit are very basic and there is also very good reference material on the internet as well as good aftermarket parts. The barrel needed a bit of work around the joints to smooth them out and bring more reality to the gun, you could also purchase an after market barrel from one of many manufacturers out there. 

BEWARE Part number E3 is very delicate, I assumed the on the knees position 3 times from here on in as it kept breaking off, Guess what, it has finally gone to tank heaven, I will have to manufacture a new one now.

Turret Done. 

From here on in it is the home stretch, From here I jumped to step number 12 and added the fenders \ mudguard as well as the additional armour to the upper hull and the turret., At this stage I painted the upper hull and turret in the 80/20 olive drab white mix. 

This was followed by a heavy coat of clear matt spray, Testors dull coat. (Which is now finished and I canít get more), At this point I applied a coat of gloss varnish but only to the areas that were to receive the decals, once dry the decals were applied. After a day I applied another coat on Matt Varnish. This was followed by a burnt umber wash applied to the Whole tank Upper and Lower hull as well as the turret. Once this was dry it was followed by a Black wash that was applied to the crevices, wells, wheels and bogies. Once dry the model was sprayed with another coat of dull coat, once this was done a dry brush of 60/40 was applied to all raised areas on the tank, this included the upper hull, lower hull and the wheels.

At this point the 2 hull halves were joined, if you did not add the figures when called out previously now is the time to do so as these cannot be added after the hull halves are put together. 

Final Finishing

All that needed to be done at this point was to Paint the tracks, tools and Stowage.

The tracks were painted as follows:

Firstly a coat of rust coloured paint was applied, here you can choose any colour that you feel resembles Rust. After this a light coat of Matt Black Paint was applied donít worry if the entire surface is not covered, this was followed by a dry-brush with Testors Steel Enamel paint

Lastly the pads on the tracks were dry-brushed with Matt Black Paint ( remember that some of the Shermanís had rubber pads on there tracks (choose wisely). Don't forget to paint the  spaces between the teeth on the sprocket wheel in a steel colour as the paint will wear off here. 

The tools were painted as called out in the plans, The steel parts were painted with Humbrol Metal Cote Polished Steel and the handles in a wood colour paint, here you can use your imagination as well, due to the fact that wood appears in many different colours. This was followed by a stippling of Burnt Umber artistís oil colour, this to impart a dirty finish,( I used Model Master Wood for the handles which is very light (I would not recommend using a dark wood colour if applying Burnt Umber as it will become to dark. 

As for the stowage, nothing special here just painted as called for in the plans, followed by a wash and a dry-brush.  

After all the painting was complete the Tracks, tools and stowage were fitted to the tank. 

For final finishing I applied a dusting of Mig Pigment mixed with alcohol by airbrush, after it had dried a brushed off the excess with a firm brush. I then added the final wash of black to the seams and around the hatches.  

Conclusion 

This is a very well put together model that can be assembled by a beginner or a experienced Modeller. Although there are numerous after market sets available for this kit it is not entirely necessary to obtain these because detail on the model is quite accurate and effective. Also all the stowage is included in the kit.

 

   

 

       

 

Yours in Modeling

 

Graeme