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Foghorn Leghorn

Heller 72nd Sherman M4

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When I committed to the GB I thought that, by the time it started, I'd have some spare time to do so modelling but it hasn't worked out that way. So ...

 

Plan A: 1/35th M4A4 ARV conversion. Scrapped due to lack of modelling time

 

Plan B:  Buy something for  £10 and do a quick build. Scrapped, spent the funds on something else

 

Plan C:  Back to Plan A. Scrapped, there's no way i can finish it in time.

 

Plan D:  S*d it, back to plan B. Buy a kit for less than £10 and deal with the financial  consequences later on ...


So that's where I'm at. After a recommendation from SleeperService and Sgt.Squarehead I've got the 72nd Heller M4.

Due to said lack of modelling time, I think I'll revert to my childhood days (some say I never grew out of it in the first place) and do a quick build. We've all been there in our younger days, you buy a kit, rush home, rip open the box and just build it.

 

However, I also plan to use it as a paint mule. I've always had problems painting dark green armour as it always ends up lifeless and one dimensional. I've tried oil dotting, filters, oversprays, modulation, pastels etc and none have really worked for me. Anything other than dark green and I'm fine, which is a bit of a problem consdering the amount of WWII British Armour I've got in the stash.

 

I'm also going to use my cheap phone as a camera. The final pics will be done with a 'proper' camera but using my phone will speed things up.

 

So, here's the obligatory kick-off pic:

 

m401.jpg

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You are going to be pleasantly surprised once that shrink-wrap comes off.....There's a lot more on the inside than they show on the outside.  :coolio:

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3 hours ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

You are going to be pleasantly surprised once that shrink-wrap comes off.....There's a lot more on the inside than they show on the outside.  :coolio:

 

TBH I'd prefer to do Heller's M4A2  but this was 50% cheaper. With the kit breakdown as it is, the idea of converting it to an M4A2 is mulling over in my head. Why the hell can't I just build OOB, I'm as mad as a box of frogs :mental:

 

 

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Fairly confident that I can provide all the parts you would need to convert it, you may need to fettle some of them (engine deck & exhaust is likely to be UM unless there are spares in Dragon's boxes, which I doubt).....Let me know.  :coolio:

 

PS - I'd build it OOTB TBH.....It's just such a sweet little kit. 

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3 hours ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

PS - I'd build it OOTB TBH.....It's just such a sweet little kit. 

 

I think you're right Sarge . Follow the KISS rule :)

 

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These 1/72 kits are looking very nice, I may be tempted to pick one up. Welcome aboard Foghorn Leghorn, looking forward to your build. I live my life using the KISS method, it works a treat.

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Do it!  :thumbsup:

 

I've had a good look at this kit now and the only real pain I can see is the mould seam on the inner faces of the track return skids, cleaning them up might be harder than replacing them, either with plastic card (not ideal but I've done it myself and it looks OK) or brass (better solution and I can send you a jig to bend them on).....This offer is open to the next eleven 1/72 Sherman builders who feel the urge to PM me.

 

Dan Taylor Modelworks do a set for £5.50, designed for the Heller M4A2 (irritatingly for you) that has etched return skids & other detail parts and a couple of (distinctly British & Commonwealth) resin bits: 

 

http://www.dantaylormodelworks.com/sherman-enhancements-172-311-p.asp

 

If you decide to go this route I will swap your unwanted M4 bits for M4A2 bits from my Heller kits and I believe I can offer limited help with British decals too.

 

 

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7 hours ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

Do it!  :thumbsup:

 

I've had a good look at this kit now and the only real pain I can see is the mould seam on the inner faces of the track return skids

 

Dan Taylor Modelworks do a set for £5.50, designed for the Heller M4A2 (irritatingly for you) that has etched return skids & other detail parts and a couple of (distinctly British & Commonwealth) resin bits:

 

If you decide to go this route I will swap your unwanted M4 bits for M4A2 bits from my Heller kits and I believe I can offer limited help with British decals too.

 

Yes ... I've discovered that  return skid problem already ... <_<

 

Tempting stuff from Dan Taylor but i must resist the the dark side that is "braille scale". I might take you up on the offer of brit decals in the future but for now I'll build the M4 OOB and then wait until the M4A2 (hopefully) gets discounted. The Heller kits are a great source for spare parts though, especially as the M4A2 has 2 sets of tracks.

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Time to rip off the shrinkwrap and this is what's inside.

 

m402.jpg

 

Initial impressions were good. Then reality sank in. It's the Airfix style blue-grey soft plastic. :puke: Also there was mould alignment/flash/seam problems on the suspension sprue, giving me plenty of sanding to do, with the added bonuses of sink marks and ejector pins.

 

I spent an hour filing and sanding the suspension bits. The return skids were a headache as my needle file couldn't get in the gap between the skid and top of the bogie so I had to use a scalpel to scrape the area away. On the plus side there's some nice detail on the bogies.

 

m404.jpg

 

At this point I headed for the turret. Me, follow instructions? Don't be stupid, I'm a man. The turret assembly is well done and a good fit, I was also impressed with the detail on the cupola hatch with inner and outer detail. But I really wish they hadn't tried to be clever with the barrel, they moulded the end as a separate piece to make it hollow and it's a tiny little bogger (it's under the knife blade).

 

m403.jpg

 

 

I would have preferred a solid barrel so I could drill the end out. And the tip is also bigger than the barrel it glues onto so it's going to be difficult to sand and keep it to shape. And while we're on the turret, the pistol port fits great (into 2 holes which need to be opened up). but why didn't they do the same with the cheek armour on the right? That'll need some research before fitting but, once again, there's good detail to be seen on the turret.

 

m405.jpg

 

 

 

Neil

 

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detail looks very nice!

 

that is 72nd after all!

 

nice to see another "classic" Sherman!

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Agree about the add on gun barrel part.....Italeri do the same with their sherman barrel, it's a silly idea, most modellers know what a drill is and how to use one.  :rolleyes:

 

Great progress and trust me, that's as good a 1/72 Sherman kit as you'll find right now, you can buy Dragon and get a teeny bit of free etch if you want, but the plastic is no better looking and the fit is worse (and the tracks may spontaneously crumble to dust).  ;)

 

PS - If you want some etch periscope guards & such I can probably find some?

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I have spell on 72nd models every now and then,  i think this looks like a nicely detailed  kit, although a bit of clean up work which is not easy in 72nd, that gun barrel is the same build up as my  academy calliope, ive been sanding it for england tonight, a prime tommorrow and if i dont like it, it going to be a metal 75mm barrel ordered. 

Glynn 

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Aye up Neil,

 

Great work so far. Looks like a nicely detailed kit.

 

Regards,

 

Steve

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13 hours ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

PS - If you want some etch periscope guards & such I can probably find some?

 

For the moment I'll pass on that thanks, me and etch don't get on in 35th, let alone 72nd. However, if I break the plastic guards I might get back to you :) Actually on that point, do you want the leftover spares from the kit when I'm finished?

 

9 hours ago, Hewy said:

I have spell on 72nd models every now and then,  i think this looks like a nicely detailed  kit, although a bit of clean up work which is not easy in 72nd, that gun barrel is the same build up as my  academy calliope, ive been sanding it for england tonight, a prime tommorrow and if i dont like it, it going to be a metal 75mm barrel ordered. 

Glynn 

 

Like you, I dip into 72nd aircraft and armour for a bit of light relief, but I'm finding this has more detail than some 35th Shermans I've seen :confused:

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Nice start Foghorn Leghorn, I'll be intrested in seeing this kit come together as Sarge has been mentioning this kit.

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looking good for a little un  :hypnotised:

 

beefy

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28 minutes ago, Ozzy said:

Nice start Foghorn Leghorn, I'll be intrested in seeing this kit come together as Sarge has been mentioning this kit.

 

Got to say it's a super little thing, especially as I only paid £6 for it. I'd say £10's a fair price if you want a braille scale M4 and I'm beginning to change my mind on the plastic too. It looks like that hideous soft blue/grey Airfix plastic but it can't be as it has finer moulding and is easier to work with. Yep, I'm impressed, fiddly little sucker though.

 

11 minutes ago, beefy66 said:

looking good for a little un  :hypnotised:

 

I've heard that before somewhere ... :hmmm:

 

Yep, really detailed and I'd say it's not a beginner's kit. TBH I've seen worse detail on some 35th stuff

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12 hours ago, Foghorn Leghorn said:

if I break the plastic guards I might get back to you :)

The kit only comes with light-guards IIRC, I meant the brush-guards for the periscopes: 

 

DSC00141.JPG

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11 hours ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

The kit only comes with light-guards IIRC, I meant the brush-guards for the periscopes: 

 

You are correct, light guards only. Ah, right, brush guards :doh:

 

I'd normally say yeah, I'll give them a go, but they'd be a waste of good detail for me as the suckers would ping off at some point, ham fisted comes naturally to me. It has made me think of my 35th Sherman stash though, might need to invest in some generic brass sets for exactly that kind of thing.

 

BTW, that's damn fine work on the periscope guard, looks bigger than 35th, what's the scale?

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I'm finding the kit's a bit of a curate's egg, generally an excellent fit but beware of flash, ejector pin and instructions. But it's not a kit for the beginner, if you follow the build sequence you could run up against fit issues, the nose/drive housing is a case in point. Anyway on with the suspension.

 

The bogies are ... fiddly but they fit very well. However ... inside one of the bogie halves is a pin, highlighted red on the right hand side. This can interfere with the fit of the 2 bogie halves if it has flash on it. I discovered much later on that it shouldn't be there at all according to the instructions. AFAICT  it's a knockout pin as it seems to serves no purpose to the construction of the bogie, but it's so substantial you think it needs to be there.

 

m406.jpg

 

Once built the bogies look der biz. And be careful with these assemblies as they're not handed, you can therefore end up with all left or right sided bogies, another problem that could catch out the beginner (or even the seasoned modeller), luckily I noticed just in time but it was a close call :) Anyway guys, stand to attention for a picture.. sarge may be watching.

 

m407.jpg

 

I then moved to the upper hull. There are 3 parts to the engine deck and with option A (which I'm building) the instructions told me to use part D9 (the part shown below the hull in the pic). I thought to myself: 'that's not standard' and then I realised D9 was only for use with wading trunks (which option A had) so I used the normal engine deck part D3 (listed only for option C). Again, the parts fit is excellent.

 

m408.jpg

 

The back end of the kit is really busy with some very small bits and a pair of fish tail exhausts with hollow(ish) ends, which would be impressive in 35th let alone 72nd. Sadly you won't see them when the Sherman is the right side up. You'll also see some gaps to be filled but the fit on the under-hull sponsons is excellent.

 

m410.jpg

 

I joined the upper and lower halves and then added on the nose/drive housing. Adding it at this point avoids any fit problems rather than doing it earlier on as the instructions suggest. And finally a pose of the progress so far, though there's still some extra armour to put on. I may add some weld beads to the driver's addon armour plate, not sure yet. The barrel has been sanded down (not perfect but good enough) and the suspension will be added later on after painting has begun.

 

m409.jpg

 

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Damn that's a fine looking little model!  :coolio:

 

Nice catch on the bogies, I'll keep your comments in mind for when I turn to my own.

10 hours ago, Foghorn Leghorn said:

BTW, that's damn fine work on the periscope guard, looks bigger than 35th, what's the scale?

I think that one's 1/16 or possibly bigger.....It was difficult to find a picture of a model periscope guard that wasn't microscopic, because they're, errr, microscopic!  I've got a bunch of spares as I don't fit 'em to wargaming models for fairly obvious reasons.  :winkgrin:

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How the kit joins the sponsons and lower hull is better than on the academy kit I'm building, very nicley put together 

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Good start Neil.I quite fancied this kit before opting for a bigger scale, after seeing this I might have to grab one!

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Here she is with most of the bits added, and a lot of them were tiny fiddly bits. The lifting eyes are superb, very fine moulding and you get 2 spares which is a nice touch. Either that or other versions of this kit have more lifting eyes. The bolt detail on the nose is lovely and the turret antenna is incredibly small and even has 'coil' detail. The add-on armour could do with weld detail but it would slow the build down.

 

Previously I moaned about the cheek armour not having locating points , I didn't need to worry as it'll only sit in one position, though it looks a tad too close to the mantlet.

 

m411.jpg

 

Closeups like this also show you stuff you miss in the real world, that flash around the mantlet needs to be trimmed

 

m412.jpg

 

Note the barrel, I eliminated the join at the tip but it's ended up a bit tapered but I can live with it

 

m413.jpg

 

I stuck on some sprues (for handles) then sprayed Hycote Primer and Tamiya OD for the base coat.

 

m414.jpg

 

m415.jpg

 

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Looks fantastic with a coat of paint on.

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