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Tamiya M4A3(75)W U.S. 3rd Armored Division
Totalize
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Posted: Saturday, October 22, 2011 - 03:50 PM UTC
Hi Guys,

Well, while working on my M4A3E8 of the U.S. 4th Armoured Division I received a set of Tank Workshop Dished road wheels I had ordered for my Tamiya M4A3(75)W Frontline breakthrough edition that I was planning to build at some point in the future. However, I also received a few of the remaining Foramtions M4A3 exhaust deflector/sponson combos and with all these cool add-ons I decided I would take a break from E8 build/vignette and dive into the M4A3(75)W.

Here's the kit:




After reading some history on the U.S. 3rd Armoured Division I decided to do one of their tanks that took part in the capture of Cologne near the end of the war.

As i learned from Mike Canaday, the 3rd Armoured Divison was known to add applique armour to the glacis and turret of their tanks from other destroyed tanks. This practice began just before their asault on the Siegfried Line in September 1944, Some tanks added Additional armour to their glacis and turret while others just added it to their turrets. For my project i am going to add some applique armour to just the turret. Also, the 3rd Armourd Division was a relativey big proponent of Camouflage and often painted their tanks in Olive Drab and Black, a process they started during their Operation Cobra days back in France.

Here's a picture of an M4A3(75)W during Operations in Cologne. Note that it has some applique armour on it's turret, probably taken from a destroyed Sherman, but no applique armour on the Glacis. I am going to loosely model my M4A3 after this tank.



Totalize
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Posted: Saturday, October 22, 2011 - 04:11 PM UTC
Here are some pictures of the build up thus far prior to adding Mr. Surfacer, casting marks and sighting vane to the turret.






[img][/img]




More pictures to follow tomorrow on my successes and challenges putting this kit together.

Cheers for now.
Totalize
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Posted: Sunday, October 23, 2011 - 01:42 AM UTC
Building an older kit like this had it challenges no doubt. Probably the biggest two issues for me was the fact that the gun mount is incorrect for an M4A3(75)W as well as the loader’s hatch. For the gun mount Tamiya includes one with the bolt strips along the left side of the mount when in fact the gun mount for this tank (as well as the 105mm versions) did not have this strip of bolts. Consequently, the opening for the mount was too wide for the correct mount. To correct this I added widening strips as seen in Steve Zaloga’s book modelling the M4(75) and finished it off with some automotive filler. I then scrounged the correct mount from one of my Dragon kits which you can see in the pictures and added this part to the kit. I am pretty pleased with the result but let me know what you think.
As for the oval loader’s hatch it is too big for this kit. The hatch represents the 24 inch version that was seen on the T23 turrets (M4A1(76W), M4A3(76)W, M4A3E8) while the M4A3(75)W had its own 20 inch hatch. In terms of scale this roughly equates to a 2-3mm differential. While for some this is a big deal I decided I could live with the loader’s hatch as is as it doesn’t look out of place. If you wish to correct this minor issue then you would have to get a resin turret or a Dragon or Italeri turret. The Italeri turret has the correct loader’s hatch size but apparently lacks the detail of the Tamiya kit part.
The Tamiya turret also does not have the cast in cheek armour. To model this I used Herve Charbonneau’s diagram for modelling the cast in cheek armour as well as Steve’s Zaloga’s technique.
Here’s the link via Tim Streeter’s excellent site Modelling the U.S. Army in World War II.
http://www.usarmymodels.com/ARTICLES/Sherman%20Corner/turretcheekarmor.jpg
If you do not wish to do this you can source a resin turret. Tiger Models make a nice high bustle turret with loader’s hatch and cast in cheek armour.
Another minor annoyance with the Tamiya kit is that it does not have the tow cable retainer hook/clamp that is typically located on the front left of the tank near the driver’s hatch and casting marks. Tasca also does not include this which I find odd since these were standard on Shermans. I would normally use a resin part for this but formations are the only one that I am aware of that offered these and they are no longer available. So, I simply fashioned one out of apoxie sculpt.

I have always wanted to model a Sherman with a stowed MG and given the opportunity with this project I went for it. This particular tank has the late MG stowage configuration with the Barrel holding clamps located on either side of the turret. The more common configuration I believe was the earlier type with the clamps located on the turret top with one on the bustle and the other between the commander’s and loader’s hatches. The new Dragon M4A3(75)W has this configuration.

I benerally do not like the PE periscope guards on the market today and Eduard's are no exception as they are all flat metal while in reality the actual periscope guards were metal bars. So, I decided to fashion my own out of copper rod. Talk about a pain the butt to do but in my view they look much better than the PE ones.

For the applique armour add-on that was common on 3rd Armoured Division tanks I used an old Tamiya Sherman turret and cut it up for this purpose.

M4A3(75)W tanks had ptroduing metal bars near the rear lifting rings to act as supports for the heavy engine doors on the deck when opened. The Tamiya kit of course does not have them so I added some from Plastic stock. I tried a change of pace for the welds and used apoxie sculpt instread of automotive putty. You can see where I also tried it on the rear left of the tank for the welds but decided the automotive putty would be faster to do so I switched.

As is common the shell ejector port on the Tamiya tanks requires the area around it be built up. Here again I used my trust automotive putty. FInally, I added some stowage bars to either side of the tank from brass rod. Many Sherman's depict this infield modication for stowing haversacks etc.

I still have to add the tow cable but will do that next.

In terms of add-ons here's my list.

Dished Wheels: Tank Workshop
Towing shackles on rear port lifting ring: Formations
Exhaust Deflector and Sponsons: Formations
Photo Etch: Eduard M4 Sherman Photo Etch set
Sand Shield Strips: Tasca Spares from my Tasca M4A3E8 kit. For the rear strips i scatched these from Evergreen plastic card.
Front Fenders: Tasca spares from my Tasca M4A3E8 kit
Late Style Sherman Split Hatch Cupola: Tasca Spares
Stowed MG: Tasca MG set
Sighting vane: Tasca spares.
Front Lifting rings: The new Tiger Models 47 degree lifting rings
Barrels: .30 Cal and 75mm Gun are from RB Model
Welds: Automotive putty, the red stuff.
Casting symbols: Archer Transfers
Bolts on vvss suspension: Grandt line
Front right drive sprocket. Tasca Spares. During a hamfisted moment I snapped off some of the teeth from the Tamiya part rendering it useless.













Totalize
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Posted: Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - 11:24 PM UTC
Back again with another update.

For the camo scheme I used Tamiya acrylics. I sprayed on the OD base coat using a mixture of XF62 and XF60 in a 60:40 ratio. I then added the black camo stripes with a mixture of XF1 and XF2. I used my Iwata airbrush for this process but then went over the stripes with my badger airbrush which has a finer needle and spray line to tighten up the pattern and eliminate the OD/Black overspray. A process which was quite time consuming. After that I added some light post shading/fading of both colours to the camo scheme. For the running gear I used Tamiya Khaki drab. Steve Zaloga does this on a number of his US armoured vehicles and I like the look once the weathering is applied so I thought I would do it on this tank. The Stowed .50 and bow .30 MG's were painted in a dullish grey to represent the fact that these weapons received a parkerized finish by browning which was grey in colour not black as is often represented.

The on board tools of Shermans were often provided by the factories either in their natural wood colour, painted in black or Olive Drab.I chose to model the tools painted in Olive drab but with the paint worn away to reveal the natural wood colour of the tools. I used the hairspray method to show this. For the leather straps I used lead foil and buckles from the Aber buckles PE set.


Hope you like what you see. Any comments or questions would be most welcome. Really.



















Dangeroo
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Posted: Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - 12:53 AM UTC
Dave, can't believe no one's posted here yet! Seems the A3/75 doesn't spark a lot of interest...

Great work so far! Lots of scratch work and updating. I used the Formations update when I did mine a few years ago. of course now there is the DML one with improved details. Your painting is first class as well, especially the tools.

Keep it up! Cheers!
Stefan
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Posted: Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - 01:23 AM UTC
Dave - I'm also surprised no one has commented on your model. The corrections you made to the kit to "accurize" it are impressive. Thanks for posting the list of AM items you used as well. That sort of info comes in handy down the road when you're doing your own build.

Your paint work is excellent. The camouflage looks good, but I really like the stowed MG. What Tamiya color (or mix) did you use for that? I'm not sure I've seen anyone use the hairspray method on tools before, but that's a great idea. Just another way to add realism to the model, so hat's off for that.

Question about your use of a different color (Khaki Drab) for the suspension. Does that reflect a real difference in how the vehicles were painted or is it to achieve a "grounding" effect?

ivanhoe6
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Posted: Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - 04:31 AM UTC
Me too Dave ! I can't believe that no one has commented on this gem. So many little details on this. The stowed MG, nice ! Chains on the gas caps. What I really liked was the board used for the front stowage how it was bowed to show the weight of the load, a very nice touch ! The only thing I'd do different would be is to paint the gas can a different shade of OD it gets a little lost. Just my $0.02 worth. I wish I could do as well ! Thank you for sharing !!!!
Tom
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Posted: Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - 11:13 AM UTC
Dave,

A really nice subject! I have an interest in 3rd AD tanks after reading the book “Death Traps”, (sorry, I can’t remember the authors name sitting here). It’s a really great book, written by an officer that was in charge of keeping track of combat losses. Part of his duties was to inspect knocked out tanks and determine if they could be repaired. You would be surprised at how many tanks where knocked out, and then put back in service.

Great looking paint scheme, I think it turned out well!

On a side note about the Parkerizing. There were two different Parkerizing solutions used during WWII, The first one gave a flat black appearance up until about late 1943. After that, the other solution would give the gray color results. At least that’s the way M1 Garands were finished.

Being your M4A3 was manufactured during 1944, the gray park works graet!
Totalize
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Posted: Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - 12:43 PM UTC
Stefan:

Thanks very much for checking out the build. I was a bit surprised too but not shocked that no one posted. After all we are dealing with an older inaccurate Tamiya kit, and a generally less popular subject in relation to German Armour.
Nevertheless, I wanted to show that the Tamiya kit despite being of the 1990's vintage can still be turned into a very accurate tank. Thanks for the postive comments. I do plan on getting the DML M4A3 which has the early MG mount on the bustle though it too is innacurate with respet to the grousers on the rear hull which have to be cut off. I beleive it is the same hull as that from their M4A2 PTO.

Bill:

Thanks very much for having a look at the build. The fit of the Tamiya kit is very good, Very straight forward build. The upgrades to make it accurate were not difficult just time consuming but it was fun.

For the colour mix on the Stowed MG, I created the Parkerized grey colour using a mix of Vallejo paints. I wanted to give it a dull grey, slightly blueish colour to match a picture I had seen of one and so chose to use Panzer Aces German Tanker Black which is has a black grey colour to and Model Air Luftwaffe colour RLM 78

The Khaki drab is not an official colour for the suspension. It would have been painted the same colour as the tank but I wanted to try this colour as I seen it done on Steve Zaloga's Shermans and it looks like worn OD once the weathering is applied.

Tom:
Thanks very much for having a look. As for the bowed wooden board on the front. I thought this would make a nice touch as I have often seen pictures of Shermans with this board on the front hull and the are often bowed from having to support spare road wheels, tracks etc. Since my tank has been in the field for a few months given the time line of its action in Cologne I thought it would be appropriate. As for the gas can this is a good point. I will look at painting it a different colour.

John:
Good to hear from you again. Thanks for checking in. The 3rd AD and the U.S. First Army was not as flashy or headline grabbing as Patton's 3rd Army but they got the job done and achieved as much success as Patton's boys.
Thanks for additional tips on parkerizing of the MG's. I tried to replicate this colour as seen on an M4A3(75)W from the Patton Museum



Joel_W
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Posted: Thursday, November 03, 2011 - 07:36 AM UTC
Dave, What a super conversion build Paint came out great too.
maxim37
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Posted: Thursday, November 03, 2011 - 08:33 AM UTC
HI Dave
I have been following the tamiya m4a3 wip from your starting post.I like working on older kits and these builds tax the modellers basic skills and not just open a box and voila a new model without any hassle!.Tamiya kits are basically sound and what many of us grew up on from the 80s onwards.Your build looks great to me and your attention to detail is spot on.Im working on a kitbash at the moment of two dragon kits.Ive taken the m4 normandy kit and a vc firefly turret and im making a british rolled hull 1c firefly.Ive got a few tamiya shermans that will go on superdetaiilng jobs like you have done.
Keep up the good work as it inspired me to keep working on my golden oldie kits!!!.,All the best from Richard.
Totalize
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Posted: Thursday, November 03, 2011 - 12:28 PM UTC
Hi Richard,

Thanks very much for ttaking the time to check out the build and comment.
Indeed some of the older Tamiya stuff looks really good when updated. MInd you they approach and sometimes even surpass what you would pay for a more updated kit like the new Dragon M4A3(75)W but their fun to do and I also see it as a means of improving my scratch building and other modelling skills.

Hope to see some of you work here.

All the best.
Dave.
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Posted: Sunday, November 06, 2011 - 06:27 PM UTC
@armour_dude – Dave,

Had Bill ‘BillGorm’ Gormley not sent me an email message linking me to this page I would have missed this build. Most Excellent!

You've done your homework and we can all stand to learn from the information you’ve kindly provided through your effort on this build. Your modeling and photography skills are top notch. Thanks for listing all of the items that you have used on this build and thanks for posting and sharing your build here.

Bill is currently working on a build were he has over sprayed the tools with the base coat and leaving them this way was an option with the resulting paint being chipped away from use just as you've done on your build. I somewhat understand about the hairspray method but my question is what brand of hairspray are you using? Some hairsprays work and some don't. Could you explain your personal process including the type/color of paints used on your tools? It would be much appreciated.

Waiting for more updates,
~ Eddy
rfbaer
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Posted: Monday, November 07, 2011 - 01:43 AM UTC
I totally missed this one, and I'm a big fan of doing older kits AND Shermans......
I like the result a lot, periscope guards look great. I too don't like the PE parts, but making my own from wire is beyond my ability, so I use the plastic parts in the Academy and Italeri kits.
All the other adds and improvements bring this one up the same standard as any new kit, well done!
Aside from the potential to make a good model from the Tamiya Shermans, they're getting affordable as well. I picked up four, three different boxings, at a recent show for $10 each, too good to pass up.
pseudorealityx
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Posted: Monday, November 07, 2011 - 09:26 AM UTC
Since it's been brought up a few times in this thread....

For Sherman periscope guards, after trying my own using rod, I have decided that the PE ones are good for the general construction. However, the big thing I do is once I've glued them in place, I "paint" them with thinned putty. It beads up on the flat surfaces, and gives a round profile, and I think it scales well compared to the plastic options.

Sherman looks good Dave.
Totalize
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Posted: Monday, November 07, 2011 - 02:13 PM UTC
Hi Eddy

Thanks very much for checking out the build and thanks for Bill Gorm for sending you the link.

The hairspray I use is Tresemme extra fine mist hairspray. It's used by other U.S. modellers so you shouldn't have a problem getting it in the U.S.

As for my technique it's pretty straightforward. In this case for the basecoat/wood colour I used Vallejo Desert Yello and Buff but you can use other colours if you wish such as some of the Vallejo flesh tones. I then sprayed on the Hairspray with my airbrush insuring good coverage. The product says extra fine mist but on models and especially tools like these if you spray them directly from the can its like spraying them with a firehose hence the use of the airbrush. Once dry I sprayed on my Tamiya OD. Once this was dry I used a small stiff paint brush and water and lightly scrubbed the tools concentrating in small areas so as not take a big chunk of the paint off in one big swipe.

If I had any suggestion regarding the top/final colour that will be removed I would suggest a paint that drys fast such as an alcohol based acrylic like Tamiya. I say this because you want the final layer to dry quickly and not react with the hairpsray which I believe has a high water content. I have personally used a high water content based, longer drying paint like Lifecolor over the hairspary and I got a cracked/crackling effect and it was ugly. No such problems with Tamiya paint. It goes on nice, dry's almost right away and no crackling. Enamels would probably work just as good but i have not tried them.

Hope this helps.
Totalize
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Posted: Monday, November 07, 2011 - 02:21 PM UTC
Thanks for checking in Jesse.

Great suggestion and an alternative to fashioning one's own periscope guards using copper wire.



dioman13
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Posted: Tuesday, November 08, 2011 - 03:04 AM UTC
Upon seeing this Sherman I was amazed at how beautiful it came out. Then when I looked through the pics again what caught my eye was the tools and leather straps. Excelent job over all, but they really stand out so much that I was wondering how you got the leather so thin and perfict, look most convincingly real.
BillGorm
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Posted: Tuesday, November 08, 2011 - 04:04 AM UTC

Quoted Text

As for my technique it's pretty straightforward. In this case for the basecoat/wood colour I used Vallejo Desert Yello and Buff but you can use other colours if you wish such as some of the Vallejo flesh tones. I then sprayed on the Hairspray with my airbrush insuring good coverage. The product says extra fine mist but on models and especially tools like these if you spray them directly from the can its like spraying them with a firehose hence the use of the airbrush. Once dry I sprayed on my Tamiya OD. Once this was dry I used a small stiff paint brush and water and lightly scrubbed the tools concentrating in small areas so as not take a big chunk of the paint off in one big swipe.

If I had any suggestion regarding the top/final colour that will be removed I would suggest a paint that drys fast such as an alcohol based acrylic like Tamiya. I say this because you want the final layer to dry quickly and not react with the hairpsray which I believe has a high water content. I have personally used a high water content based, longer drying paint like Lifecolor over the hairspary and I got a cracked/crackling effect and it was ugly. No such problems with Tamiya paint. It goes on nice, dry's almost right away and no crackling. Enamels would probably work just as good but i have not tried them.



Dave - Thank you for the detailed explanation. Do you think the method would work as well if I decanted a small amount of hairspray and brushed it on? I don't see why not. How long did you allow the hairspray to dry before applying the top coat? And how long did you allow the top coat to dry before you started in with the brush and water? I'm using Tamiya paints.
AgentG
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Posted: Tuesday, November 08, 2011 - 05:49 AM UTC
Absolutely nothing wrong with using one of Tamiya's moldy oldys. You did this one proud.

I like the Tamiya kit for USMC armor as well. All the modifications are easily done and look good afterwards. The Tamiya base kit is a good foundation and any inaccuriceis are easily fixed or covered up.

G
Totalize
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Posted: Wednesday, November 09, 2011 - 02:57 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Upon seeing this Sherman I was amazed at how beautiful it came out. Then when I looked through the pics again what caught my eye was the tools and leather straps. Excelent job over all, but they really stand out so much that I was wondering how you got the leather so thin and perfict, look most convincingly real.



Hi Bob,

Thanks a bunch for taking a look at the build and posting your comments.
The straps were made from Leadfoil cut to the width of the buckles then slipped through them and through tie downs and wrapped around the tools and glued in place.
Totalize
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Posted: Wednesday, November 09, 2011 - 03:01 AM UTC
[/quote] Dave - Thank you for the detailed explanation. Do you think the method would work as well if I decanted a small amount of hairspray and brushed it on? I don't see why not. How long did you allow the hairspray to dry before applying the top coat? And how long did you allow the top coat to dry before you started in with the brush and water? I'm using Tamiya paints. [/quote]


Bill, I have never tried painting the hairspray on but I don't see why it would not work if you do it sparingly. I allow the hairspray to dry to1-2 hours. For the top coat the Tamiya paint drys very quickly after spraying it on but you I usually leave it on for about an hour before attacking it with the water.

Hope this helps.
Totalize
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Posted: Wednesday, November 09, 2011 - 03:07 AM UTC
Wayne,

Thanks for having a look and taking the time to comment.

The Tamiya kits go together very well and I have enjoyed the project thus far. The downside is their inaccuracy. DML does a much better job in this area though they are not compeltely accurate as well. Take for instance their latest M4A3. While you can pick them up fairly cheap the add-ons to make them accurate puts them in the price range of the Dragon or even Tasca kits. However, I find it rewarding to take an old dog like the Tamiya kit and teach it a few new tricks.
AgentG
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Posted: Wednesday, November 09, 2011 - 10:22 AM UTC
I used the very same kit to model a USMC 4th Tank battalion vehicle on Iwo Jima. After all the sandbags, wood side armor, spare track links and chicken wire you can't see the basic tank, much less any inadequecies!



G
Braille
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Posted: Wednesday, November 09, 2011 - 03:48 PM UTC
@armour_dude - Dave,

Thanks for the very detailed reply it is much appropriated. I will be using your method for the tools on my build for the Panther Campaign. I have a few IDF Shermans in the stash to do and I will be using some of your techniques on these builds too.

Waiting for the next update on this build, no rush!
~ Eddy