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Rumblestripe

Sherman II from 1/48 Tamiya M4A1

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Slightly late start for me as I have been unable to access my build area through my son and his girlfriend visiting over Christmas (and only now departing!)

 

OK, let's start with a look at what I want to build. Something like this...

el-alamein-tanks-lined-up.jpg

 

Purchased before I'd even considered entering a Group Build the Tamiya 1/48 Sherman M4A1 as the closest I could get to what I wanted to build. I should explain my rationale. I am trying to limit my builds to British Army tanks in 1/48 so I have already built the Tamiya Matilda and Crusader Mk2 and loved how they went together and the combination of size and detail (1/35the being a little big for me, 1/76 or 1/72 too small). Right so this is what I have bought.

39581789201_337cca22e5_z.jpg

I won't bore you with pictures of all the sprues in the kit. Needless to say the detail is superb and there is no flash to be found anywhere that I can see. Lovely.

So, I bought some upgrades...

27805236229_39a10ea5e1.jpg

I did briefly consider buying the resin hull conversion kit but discarded the idea when I saw the price was more than I paid for the kit itself.

But I did buy these

39581786561_161659d413.jpg

And downloaded a drawing from "The Blueprints Dot Com"

38685965725_3ae0d464d1_n.jpg

I had to re-scale them to 1/48 but a few minutes tweakery in Photoshop gave me plans that are a pretty good match for the Tamiya model.

 

Rather than make this post like War and Peace I will stop here and post my thoughts on what I need to do to transform an M4A1 into a Sherman II

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Pulling up a chair and getting comfy for this one :popcorn:

 

Regards, 

 

Steve 

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Nice project Rumblestrip, it's never to late to build a Sherman welcome aboard.

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OK, let's have a quick list of what I KNOW is wrong with the kit compared to a Sherman II...

 

1. The hull should have "Direct Vision" slots for the driver and his assistant.

 

2. Suspension, the kit comes with M4 VVSS suspension, the Sherman II had M3 type VVSS suspension

 

3. Additional stowage to the rear of the turret added in the field (IIRC) by British Army is missing.

 

Let's go through those problems one at a time and my proposed solutions to them

 

1. The Hull

 

First the good news, everything from the turret ring back looks correct. The hatches look the same. The bad news is the front needs some surgery.

So I think I can alter the hull with some simple surgery and filler to depict the DV slots. From looking at photographs, my guess is that (at least on the cast hulls) when the DV slots were removed, because there was a very real risk of injury to drivers from "bullet splash", they did not remake the casting so the basic shape is the same but they simply altered it to remove the slots. Reading the comprehensive reference websites like "Sherman Minutia" and "The Sherman Tank" does not help on this supposition but it seems logical to me that the path of least resistance would be taken in wartime particularly. 

Sherman Minutia Website

The Sherman Tank Website

Also the rib about the bow machine gun seems to absent from the Sherman II cf. the M4A1, a simple swipe of the knife will get rid of that. I could have bought the resin conversion kit but it doesn't look like value to me with so little alteration required. And if I do make a complete **** out of it it remains an option.

 

2. The Suspension

 

Let's look at the differences

 

2.1. The M4 VVSS Suspension

38685993955_ea8528df77.jpg

This is the kit suspension unit simply pushed together

 

2.2. M3 VVSS Suspension

38685969865_a0c0c6746d.jpg

Pretty dramatically different!

But the wheels and the geometry are the same as are the suspension arms though "solid" rather than err "ribbed"! So, I reckon this is a pretty straightforward bit of scratchbuilding. Again though if it goes badly wrong I can buy the resin conversion components if I fail. I used to do this stuff in 1/76 so there is no excuse for bodgery in 1/48 is there! This is the reason I moved to 1/48th to make this stuff "doable" without the aid of an electron microscope.

 

3. The Additional Stowage

I believe that this is the same "box" as fitted to the Crusader, indeed perhaps "cannibalised" from wounded Crusaders? Anywho, a relatively simple bit of plasticard construction.

 

So that's it! Or is it? Have I missed anything? Help!

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Good luck with this. These 1/48 Tamiya kits are somewhat addictive aren't they?

 

Don't forget the different tracks, Sherman II in the desert wore T49 rubber block track, you should be able to get the right look just by shaving the chevrons from the kit tracks and adding some extra plasticard thickness.

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9 minutes ago, bull-nut said:

Good luck with this. These 1/48 Tamiya kits are somewhat addictive aren't they?

 

Don't forget the different tracks, Sherman II in the desert wore T49 rubber block track, you should be able to get the right look just by shaving the chevrons from the kit tracks and adding some extra plasticard thickness.

Ah yes, I did know this! Yup that's my plan. Adding the PE "fenders" should minimise the number of treads that need altering.

 

4 minutes ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

Would a tenner (+£4 p&p) to Ian at Friendship be worth the reduced workload:  https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1-48th-M4A1-Direct-Vision-Upper-Hull-for-Tamiya-M4A1-M4-Wee-Friends-WVC48006-/312007320954

I think for fourteen squids (which is just slightly less than I paid for the kit on Ebay) it is worth trying to do the surgery, as I said, I can always buy the resin hull after I've mucked up the plastic one!

 

Thanks for the replies guys!

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I tried getting some bits, including that one, from Ian to build Cricklade of 'C' Sqn RWY alongside my Husky build, ordered on 27/12 with no sign of a parcel or communication from them after nearly 2 weeks. I'm wondering if they are having some issues. If so I hope that they aren't too serious.

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At last some news from the front...

 

Progress has been my usual glacial rate. That deadline is starting look a little err... close!

 

Anyhoo.

 

I have made good progress on re-engineering the suspension units to match the early M3 type suspension fitted to the Sherman 2. This is the result:

 

40367020901_f5392a7ff4_c.jpg

 

I'm pretty happy with the result. As you can see the white bits are the changes

 

25494821367_ef540760ea_c.jpg

 

The new idler wheel is plastic tubing of (slightly too small diameter) filled with white miilliput. The "spring unit was made from offcuts of plasticard with various diameters of plastic tube and rod to make the springs then this was used a master to cast a further five examples using "Blue Stuff" thermoplastic.

 

40321395492_b597cc1d16_c.jpg

 

The molds weren't perfect but the visible areas were deemed to be "good enough". From the two different moulds you can see that I tried two different approaches to producing the moulds. If anyon is interested I will expand on the use of "Blue Stuff" but I'm no expert this is my first attempt at using it.

 

38556440230_2a76c1da17_c.jpg

 

After the produced spring units were cleaned up the suspension unit was assembled

 

40321394142_cc82c9dfc5_c.jpg

 

Then the Idler Wheel was added followed by more fillets of plasticard to finish the suspension unit.

 

What's wrong?

 

Well, I have modelled the "Spring Unit" with a large radius bulge when it should be flat with a smaller radius bulge. The idler wheel is a little too small (0.5mm). And some of the small detail on the suspension arms is incorrect.

 

Overall though I'm pretty happy with the result

 

Coming next...

 

Let's stick some bits together.

 

One last thing. This is meant to be an early Sherman as at Alamein or just after. Am I right to omit the additional "cheek" plate from the turret?

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Nice scratch building rumblestripe, 

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Great stuff! Especially the Blue Stuff. I will definitely be looking that up!

 

Rearguards

Badder

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OK for the people interested in "Blue Stuff"

 

Blue Stuff is a thermoplatic that becomes (I guess) semi fluid when immersed in boiling hot water. When at room temperature it is similar in flexibility to a pencil eraser. I have also seen it referred to as "Oyumaru", whether is a similar product or an alternative banding for the same stuff, dunno? I bought mine from Green Stuff World on Ebay, a packet of 4 bars for just over a fiver. This is what you get

 

39509414795_7e72fc0216_z.jpg

Four bars of it

 

First job was to make a master. Because Blue Stuff is molten at temperatures under 100C this can be made from ordinary styrene. So this is the "spring unit" from the M3 suspension as fitted to early M4A1 and Sherman II tanks.

 

40361239092_f89475f8f2.jpg39509411155_7de6ddc7bc.jpg

 

26535022008_8f39d0ea18.jpg

 

So I took a single bar of Blue Stuff and popped it into a mug of water straight from the kettle. Fish it out of the water and it comes out sort of gloopy and mouldable. So I made a small mound of it and pushed the master down into the mould.

 

38594967780_022c2351e0_z.jpg

 

I sort of pushed and prodded the Blue Stuff to form a tight mould around the master. In a few minutes the mould is ready and by flexing it the master is released (no need for any release agent)

 

38594968410_955a2b8f41_z.jpg

 

Anyone familiar with Games Workshop products will be aware of their "Green Stuff" two-part epoxy putty, this may be better but I had some Milliput Fine to hand, so used that

 

25534052347_3b784b03ba.jpg

Some Milliput, yesterday

 

38594970670_213dc5c5d6_z.jpg

 

To speed up production and to further test Blue Stuff, I decided to make another mould. This time I placed the master on a flat surface and sort of poured and prodded the Blue Stuff down onto the master. This produced the flat topped mould in the picture below.

 

40321395492_b597cc1d16_c.jpg

 

The two moulds. You can clearly see the better mould was the first one which produced the lower spring unit. The problem is the Blue Stuff hasn't filled the gap between the two springs as this is invisible on the finished unit I didn't mind, but in future I would make sure that areas like this were filled with Blue Stuff first before forming the rest of the mould. As with all new techniques it's a learning thing, trial and error. When cleaned up and fitted into the altered kit parts this how it looks...

 

38556440230_2a76c1da17_c.jpg

 

A slightly cruel close up, this is 1/48th remember!

 

Hope this is useful to someone.

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Sticking stuff together.

 

With the new/old suspension units complete I was ready to assemble the lower half of the tank

 

38666556400_831195afcd_c.jpg

 

Superglue at the ready the composite metal and plastic chassis was assembled as per kit instructions and then my butchered M3 suspension was attached

 

38666558600_738a63ded7_c.jpg

 

39581183115_82c18542b2_c.jpg

 

Not looking too bad. The wheels are not completely flat on the ground, particularly the centre unit but I'm hoping that it won't look too obvious once the tracks are on and it is sitting on a scenic base.

 

To get a better idea of how it will look I gave it a "blow over" with olive green (actually "Vallejo Air Russian Green")

 

39766803284_ca7423985d_c.jpg

 

Two reasons.

 

1. Any missed patches of white plasticard or milliput will show up better than if I go straight to British Army desert camo

 

2. I reckon they would have been green coming off the production line so it makes any missed sandy bits green rather than white (which I'm pretty sure they wouldn't have painted them !)

 

26606290268_befd6a8ab2_c.jpg

 

Yep, quite pleased with that.

 

So we plonk the as yet un-altered body and partially alteret turret on to see how we're doing...

 

40433816762_c854b15365_c.jpg

 

You can see I have added a replacement metal gun barrel and built the additional storage locker (in plasticard) that the British fitted to Shermans in the desert. More on that in the next exciting episode when our hero takes a knife to that lovely Tamyia moulding)

 

Will he make it by deadline?

 

Watch this space...

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Those bogies look nice fitted and look fantastic with a coat of paint, you are exactly right they came off the production line OD green then painted yellow/pink once in the desert. I've got to do a little chipping around the hatches, with OD green to give a bit of a lived in effect.

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The OMG what have I done moment...

 

39969211754_5685cc9765_z.jpg

So, I have removed a large amount of plastic as carefully as I can with knive, files and abrasive sticks. The hull on the DV cast hull Sherman doesn't appear as "buxom" as the later models. I guess that the castings were altered to cover the slots rather than a whole new casting? That's my excuse anyway. I have reduced the bulges as much as I can and as you can see have cut into the hull to produce the recess for the DV visors. The DV visor is made in two pieces. This part is 30thou plasticard with a (guestimate) 40thou rod. This is stuck directly to the hull.

 

38868772700_427362be85_c.jpg

A further piece of 20thou plasticard is bent over the 40 thou rod and cemented into place. It is then filed flush with the top of the hull at the access hatches. The far DV visor has been filed to produce a better representation of the prototype.

 

38868772390_96fd6ae7ab_c.jpg

A bit of milliput to complete the shape.

 

Needs a dibble with abrasive to complete.

 

More soon.

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Nice job rumblestripe, looks like you OMG moment has paid off.

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That deadline is starting to look frighteningly close...

 

Ulp!

 

Final stage post surgery was to daub a thin layer of green on the DV visors and assess the result

 

40749598432_57b19622d2_c.jpg

 

This is rather a cruel close up but I think is is a reasonable depiction of the DV visors. The sharp eyed among you might notice the white plastic lifting rings that have replaced the kit items? No perfectionist tweak this, the carpet monster got one so rather than try to replicate the original I cut a thin slice from some plastruct tube and I think once painted will stand close(ish) inspection.

 

40749598922_1a15d77a68_c.jpg

I hope you agree!

 

So, surgery has been declared (pretty much) successful. I can now start the somewhat less stressful task of sticking together the lovely bits produced by Tamiya, which is rarely any less than satisfying. This completed (quicker than expected I must say, these really are lovely kits) I sprayed the whole model with a unifying coat of  Vallejo Model Air Russian Green.

 

40749599362_aa6e7fb712_c.jpg

 

Plan now is to spray with a suitable sand colour, then fit the tracks, paint and weather them, fit the sand shields and paint to match. Hopefully I will then apply the contrasting dark colour, markings , seal and weather...

 

In what? Two weeks...

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On 07/03/2018 at 21:54, Rumblestripe said:

38868772390_96fd6ae7ab_c.jpg

A bit of milliput to complete the shape.

Needs a dibble with abrasive to complete.

A bit late for this one, but you can save yourself a deal of effort with Milliput by using water and a damp tissue, brush, finger - or whatever - to clean up before it sets off.

MUCH less effort than abrading after, though that is an option.

 

Nice build BTW :)

 

 

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"I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by." Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt

 

Yup it looks like my geological modelling pace is going to fall foul of the fickle finger of time. So this is where I got to...

 

40184401665_6d36303bae_c.jpg

The basic build is (sort of complete) it looks like a Sherman II (I think)

41077845121_437a3ce917_c.jpg

A VERY clean Sherman II, admittedly...

39268714310_96ecbe4419_c.jpg

Here you can see the amended tracks. The uppermost link is unaltered but will be covered by the sand shields when they are installed.  (I have photos showing how this was done if anyone is interested)

39268714710_69ba1cb986_c.jpg

So near and yet...

 

Still to do, fit the sand shields, paint the disruptive camouflage pattern that was applied to these tanks, add some stowed "luggage", then add unit markings and weather the tank. I also have the improved .50cal machine gun to fit. Oh and it deserves a scenic base of some sort...

 

Realistically, I'm not going to make the 1st April deadline. Thanks for the encouragement and helpful pointers. If I do manage to do a bit more before the door slams shut on here I will update this thread. It has been fun and rest assured, I will finish the model, look out for it on the WIP and RFI Amour Pages.

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Looks fantastic rumblestripe, you've made some very nice progress. It would be nice to see this one in the gallery, failing that it would be just as nice to see her finished.

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Great Early Sherman :thumbsup: ... Did the same thing 20 years ago with an Tamiya early sherman combined with the running gear from a Tamiya M-3.

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