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Ian Shumsky

Dragon's 1/35 El Alamein Sherman MkII

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Right, so it is time to start yet another model without actually finishing the last one I started...

For this group build I will be attempt to finish Dragon's 1/35 El Alamein Sherman MkII (kit 6447). I am actually building this for my father-in-law as his father was a Sherman tanker at El Alamein, fighting with the Warwickshire Yeomanry. My father-in-law recently found some of his dad’s war photos, so it is my intention to build something similar to the left most vehicle in this photo:

el-al-sherman-000.JPG

(You can see some other photos on my Club website here.)

Before we get any further with this blog I have to say that I am a total Sherman novice with very little knowledge on the subject. I think that the Dragon kit is a pretty good example of the MkIIs used at El Alamein, but I welcome any and all comments on the blog with suggestions as to things I should change or fix.

I am planning to build this with the commander's hatch open, so I may need to scratch some sort of turret interior, but that will be for later in the blog. I have a set of RB Models .30 and .50 cal barrels I will be using, as well as a 75mm main gun barrel. I have found an old .50 cal from another kit which I will be used as the Dragon kit does not come with one. I will also be using a set of Bronco T51 workable tracks and a Eureka XXL replacement tow cable.

As reference I’ll be using Mushroom Model Magazine’s “Codename Swallow: British Sherman Tanks at Alamein”, as well as various internet sources.

So, without further ado, let us move on to the obligatory box and sprue shots!

Box Cover

el-al-sherman-001.JPG

The bits and pieces

el-al-sherman-002.JPG

Various sprue shots

el-al-sherman-003.JPG

el-al-sherman-004.JPG

el-al-sherman-005.JPG

el-al-sherman-006.JPG

RB Models replacement barrels and Eureka XXL cable

el-al-sherman-007.JPG

T51 tracks (8 sets of this... what am I letting myself in for?!?)

el-al-sherman-008.JPG

And now I’d better go off and start this!

Cheers,

Ian

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Welcome Ian, looks like we're building the same tank from different manufacturers ;)

Looking forward to seeing more from you :)

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Cheers guys. I made up the bogies at the Salisbury show yesterday and removed all the Bronco track links from the sprues. Will post photos tonight.

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Smudge, thanks for looking in!

Step 1 of the build is constructing the bogies. These are nicely detailed constructions that do require a little bit of cleaning up, mainly on the road wheels where the mould seam needs to be removed. Each bogie starts with 9 pieces:

el-al-sherman-009.JPG

With careful application of glue they can be made to articulate somewhat, however this isn't a proper working Sherman suspension as the parts rock rather than split. That said, keeping them loose at this stage means that when you do attach them to the lower hull you can make sure they are absolutely level.

As I spent a very pleasant day at the IPMS Salisbury show, I easily managed to get the 6 bogies made up:

el-al-sherman-010.JPG

Step 2 is construction of the drive sprockets and transmission housing. The sprockets each comprise of four pieces on their own sprue

el-al-sherman-011.JPG

Which go together with no drama.

el-al-sherman-012.JPG

Based on some, err, encouragement, I also started on the tracks by removing each part from the sprues and sorting them into their own pots, leaving me with this collection of dust

el-al-sherman-013.JPG

These still need a little clean up, but luckily I like football and there seems to be some on TV at the moment, so I'll start building the tracks up while some of the games are on...

Probably... :lol:

Cheers,

Ian

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Thanks! Have to admit there are two bits of this build I'm not looking forward to... The tracks and bending the front PE fenders! However, I can put them off for a while and carry on with the easy stuff! The second part of Step 2 is building up the transmission cover. All the parts are on a single sprue:

el-al-sherman-014.JPG

Assembly is once again simple and the parts fit well, however there is a gap between the main cover and the drive housings which needs filling:

el-al-sherman-015.JPG

I first tried Mr. Surfacer 500 to try and maintain texture, but it shrank somewhat when it dried and the join was still visible, so instead I used some Mr. Dissolved Putty which did the job much better. This was then covered with a little Mr. Surfacer 500 and textured. The lifting hooks were also added and touched in with Mr. Dissolved Putty. I've left the shackles off for the time being as I'm sure I'll knock them off and I'll also need to feed the tow cable into them later.

el-al-sherman-016.JPG

Step 3 is attaching the bogies and transmission cover to the main hull part

el-al-sherman-017.JPG

Unfortunately there are no easy locating points for the transmission cover so some careful placement is required. There was a hairline gap around the join so this was filled with the inside with some putty.

el-al-sherman-018.JPG

Step 4 is the detailing of the rear hull section and I should get that done tonight.

Cheers,

Ian

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Thanks Mish :)

I managed to finish off Step 4, the hull rear, tonight (though I did add the door handle after the photo was taken):

el-al-sherman-019.JPG

I also made a small start on Step 5 which is the first stage of detailing the upper hull. I'll be deviating from the instructions a bit here by fitting the hull halves together while there isn't too much detail on just so I don't end up breaking bits off! I'll also be be painting the inside black so it will be hidden when looking through the open commander's hatch. The painting will be done tonight and the two halves matched up tomorrow, then I'll follow up with rest of the upper hull detail.

Cheers,

Ian

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Nice progress, the dragon kit looks very nice. I hope to be able to put some picture of the tasca one tonight.

Why did you chose to glue the bogies before painting? I prefer to glue them at a later stage, to be comfy when painting and weathering the lower hull.

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Hi Mish, thanks :)

Nice progress, the dragon kit looks very nice.

It is nicely detailed and the fit is pretty good, but as usual the instructions are somewhat lacking. Dragon should really look at other manufacturers and do something about their instruction sheets!

Why did you chose to glue the bogies before painting? I prefer to glue them at a later stage, to be comfy when painting and weathering the lower hull.

No particular reason other than I don't think the VVSS bogies lend themselves to painting the road wheels separately as there is so much construction in that area. HVSS bogies are different and if doing them I would leave off the wheels and paint them separately. For the VVSS bogies I'll be spraying the whole model first, then hand paint the rubber in a dark grey as part of the detailed painting stage.

I'll see if I live to regret that decision!

Cheers,

Ian

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It is nicely detailed and the fit is pretty good, but as usual the instructions are somewhat lacking. Dragon should really look at other manufacturers and do something about their instruction sheets!

I know, the T-34 I have on the bench is a Dragon one, and unfortunately not one of the last out. It still has those horrible photo instruction sheet where it can be difficult to find even what has been glued in that stage.

No particular reason other than I don't think the VVSS bogies lend themselves to painting the road wheels separately as there is so much construction in that area. HVSS bogies are different and if doing them I would leave off the wheels and paint them separately. For the VVSS bogies I'll be spraying the whole model first, then hand paint the rubber in a dark grey as part of the detailed painting stage.

I prefer adding them at a later stage to have full access to the hull, so to weather it without having to dodge the bogies.

Are you going to paint it overall sand or with a splinter camo?

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Are you going to paint it overall sand or with a splinter camo?

Not sure yet! I'm building this as a vehicle from the Warwickshire Yeomanry - the Dragon painting instructions show this as an overall sand colour, however the “Codename Swallow: British Sherman Tanks at Alamein” illustrates the vehicles as having camouflage. One of my Club members has some detailed Sherman painting guides we're going to review, so I should have a better idea in a couple of weeks, though I'm very much open to suggestions! How are you thinking of finishing yours?

Cheers,

Ian

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Not sure yet! I'm building this as a vehicle from the Warwickshire Yeomanry - the Dragon painting instructions show this as an overall sand colour, however the “Codename Swallow: British Sherman Tanks at Alamein” illustrates the vehicles as having camouflage. One of my Club members has some detailed Sherman painting guides we're going to review, so I should have a better idea in a couple of weeks, though I'm very much open to suggestions! How are you thinking of finishing yours?

Cheers,

Ian

I think I will go with the overall sand C Squadron, 3rd Hussars, 9th Armoured Brigade, 2nd New Zealand Division, one of the options out of the box. I'm still a novice at colour modulation, and I don't feel enough confident to try a camo. I will give it a battered look, given the harsh conditions and the hard battle. I'm thinking of a small base with a sand dune, some sandbags and barbed wire in a corner, reproducing the winning push of the allies.

The idea is to ideally achieve a finish like this: Link to external forum, but using the decals from the kit.

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I do have a dio planned for my Sherman -- it'll be sitting next to an abandoned Italian Semovente with the British crew having a good look over it. The Semovente is now in the painting stage.

Thanks for the link -- that is a nice model!

Cheers,

Ian

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I do have a dio planned for my Sherman -- it'll be sitting next to an abandoned Italian Semovente with the British crew having a good look over it. The Semovente is now in the painting stage.

Thanks for the link -- that is a nice model!

Cheers,

Ian

Nice idea the Semovente.

My idea is to depict a real scene happened to my grandfather. During the battle he was wounded to an ankle and couldn't move, so he stayed put in a trench and let the allies pass. When the tide turned and the italians regained his position he was taken to an hospital and then back home. He told us that a tank had passed by his side (obviously he couldn't tell what tank it was and I was too young to investigate further), hatches closed and the driver/commander didn't see him (or pretended to). I dunno yet if I'll put his figure in the dio...

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My idea is to depict a real scene happened to my grandfather. During the battle he was wounded to an ankle and couldn't move, so he stayed put in a trench and let the allies pass. When the tide turned and the italians regained his position he was taken to an hospital and then back home. He told us that a tank had passed by his side (obviously he couldn't tell what tank it was and I was too young to investigate further), hatches closed and the driver/commander didn't see him (or pretended to). I dunno yet if I'll put his figure in the dio...

That is a good story -- looking forward to seeing it unfold at 1/35 scale!

Nice idea the Semovente.

Thanks :) Like yours, my dio is based on something that happened to my father-in-law's father. One of the photos we found showed and abandoned Semovente

el-al-sherman-020.JPG

So it seemed a good idea to tie the two tanks together in a scene. Depending how much time is left for the group build I may get the figures and groundwork included in this blog too.

Cheers,

Ian

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I don't think I'll have the time. My deadline is july 26th, as in that date I'll be moving to the holiday house and will not have bench time anymore until mid september.

Groundwork, sandbags, barbed wire will come at a later stage.

Nice picture, looking forward to seeing it in 1/35 :)

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I finally managed some bench time last night and made a start on the tracks! Result of a long evening:

el-al-sherman-021.JPG

80 pads in place! A full run should be 83 but I'm keeping a couple off to check for length. I also need to attach the guide horns, but that will be for another night ...

Cheers,

Ian

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Thanks Mish, Calum!

After another long session on the bench I managed to finish the second 80 pad track

el-al-sherman-022.JPG

I may try and get some of the guide horns on tomorrow, but we'll see... I'm trying to get these out of the way so they don't end up blocking the build later!

Cheers,

Ian

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