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Sherman M4A1 76mm 1/35 Dragon, Cologne March 1945


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As I consider my Panther 99.9% finished, I started a new tank.  Since I read about the Tank Duel in Cologne, where a Panther destroyed a Sherman, and then a Pershing destroyed the Panther, I decided to assemble the Sherman.  I found out what type it was (M4A1 76W), to which division, regiment, company it belonged (3rd AD, 32 AR, F Company) and the commander (2nd Liut Karl Kellner), plus a couple pictures and a video showing the back of the tank.  As there are no more pictures, and the tank number is not visible, I decided to go with what I had and assemble a Sherman as close as possible.  Some of the boxes, canvas, equipment, dirt, etc will come in handy to disguise the numbers.

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I chose Dragon´s Sherman M4A1 (76mm)w Operation Cobra 1/35 to assemble this Sherman, which could have been an early 76mm.  There are details that I can only guess, like the turret vent at the back of the turret, or the arrangement of fuel caps armored covers, so I decided to assemble it as an early 76mm without the turret vent nor the fuel covers around the engine vent cover.  The kit is nice, looks like Dragon added improved parts toi the original kit.  Metal cannon, correct wheels inside covers, and I have to find out what else, but it looks good (as you might have already realized, I am far from a Sherman expert, just learning).

Tog7fOGl.jpg

 

First thing I did was correcting the idler wheels, they are molded without the inner face of the wheel, looks like a toy wheel.  Good thing is, the kit provides the older kit wheels and I could cut the inner face and glue in place, correcting the issue.

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Then I corrected the number of fuel caps/covers on the engine deck, I chose the option of covering the original caps with welded steel squares, which I simulated with plastic sheet.  Here the first one already done, the other side would go next.

XwBRfRSl.jpg

 

How the idler wheels axes should fit in place, is still a mistery to me... first, the instructions show them backwards, with the bolts on the upper side, bolts should go on the lower side.  And then the fit is... well, they don´t fit at all,  I positioned them as close to reality as posible and  glued with CA.

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I substituted the pins of the air filters with wire, much closer to the real ones.

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Here compared to the ones provided in the kit.

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And started working on the boogies, parts fit pretty tight, need some trimming to insert wheels in place.  But no serious issues.  Applying  already a wash with yellow-white artist oils simulates quite nice fine dust, but it will get much more dirt later on.

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And by the way, it is not my intention to replicate the scene when the Sherman was hit, nope, I want to issue it as it would have appeared entering the city, similar to this picture below of another Sherman of the same regiment.

ARbRIOOl.jpg

Marco

Edited by Marco1965
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13 hours ago, Marco1965 said:

And by the way, it is not my intention to replicate the scene when the Sherman was hit, nope, I want to issue it as it would have appeared entering the city, similar to this picture below of another Sherman of the same regiment.

ARbRIOOl.jpg

Thats E3 i did that very vehicle myself a while ago.....E3 survived the war you can see her at Camp Patton Normandy where she is now a gate guard.

 

 

 

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Hey I saw your Sherman model before, gorgeous!  I hope mine ends up close in quality to yours!  I considered assembling 536 but in the end decided for the one hit by the Panther, I guess they looked pretty much alike!

 

Marco

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4 hours ago, zigster said:

I don't know, what Köln Panther got to do with your model though.

I don't think i stated that my Sherman had anything to do with the incident at the Cathedral ...... E3 was one of the Shermans that was used in Cologne during the fighting...shared the pics with Marco as inspiration....simple

 

6 hours ago, Marco1965 said:

Hey I saw your Sherman model before, gorgeous!  I hope mine ends up close in quality to yours!  I considered assembling 536 but in the end decided for the one hit by the Panther, I guess they looked pretty much alike!

 

Marco

If you don't mind Marco will follow along as this will be an interesting build..... 

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  • 1 month later...

Some advances, I fixed the front mudguards according to references.

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Added some evident external wiring from the siren into the hull.

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Opened the vent holes at the rear, it was noticeable that the vent lead nowhere.

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Much better.

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And although most of this area will be covered in canvas, and I don´t have clear reference, I opted to modify the turret to an early ventless turret.

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Currently working on the 0.50" cal. and supports.  The Sherman destroyed in Cologne had the machinegun stored and covered in canvas, so that is what I am trying to replicate.  Most of the detail will be covered so I am not focusing too much on tiny things here.

z5k8Bebl.jpg

Marco

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Great modelling,  some really worthwhile and yet inexpensive improvements!

 

I'll try and follow along, time permitting....

 

Good luck

Darryl 

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  • 1 month later...

So this is the first time in 45 years that I am going to paint a US WWII tank...  and of course I already read thousands of stuff about olive drab.  Well, I had a Model Master Olive Drab, and that is the one I used, simple decision.  The camouflage of the Sherman seems to have been the Olive Drab and Black one, which I applied freehand after priming with Mr Surfacer 1200 and applying some preshading.  Notice that PE guards for the lights and siren were added, and the metal cannon is really nice.  Hatches were positioned according to reference pictures of other Shermans entering Cologne.

 

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The stars decals were added, the one on top of the turret was quite difficult as the surface is not flat, but some key cuts, lots of DecalSet and some artist oil retouches were enough.  Although the instructions show the turret star pointing backwards, I learned that that is pre-1943 normative, and all the references that I found of Shermans in Cologne show the star pointing forwards.

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Vehicle number is an issue.  Nobody seems to know what number the Sherman destroyed in Cologne was. I know it belonged to the 3rd AD, 32 Armored Regiment, F Company.  Decals for that are provided in the kit.  But, the vehicle number, the 7-digit, is unknown.  And I think that the options provided in the kit are oversized, they look like very early format.  So I went to the spare box, and found some proper 10-inch, correct format numbers.  Second thing was issuing a reasonable number.  I got the range of numbers for these early M4A1 76, discarded the known ones, and by cutting individual numbers or segments issued a "probable" number: 3071204.  Most will be covered by the tree trunks that will hang on each side, anyway.

b48TFUUl.jpg

Marco

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This is coming along nicely mate ... I wouldn't worry too much about the 7 digit, E3 the one I modelled was renumbered at least once and as the war went on a lot didn't even bother to renumber ... I guess on the list of things to worry about putting new numbers on would have been low on the list of priorities, I have just been watching the footage of the engagement between the Sherman and Panther at Cologne and you can see that the numbers were not there also the Sherman in question is using log armour on the left side and a huge pile of stowage.

 

Great work so far...can't wait to see it finished. :goodjob:

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Posted (edited)
On 4/29/2022 at 6:06 PM, M3talpig said:

This is coming along nicely mate ... I wouldn't worry too much about the 7 digit, E3 the one I modelled was renumbered at least once and as the war went on a lot didn't even bother to renumber ... I guess on the list of things to worry about putting new numbers on would have been low on the list of priorities, I have just been watching the footage of the engagement between the Sherman and Panther at Cologne and you can see that the numbers were not there also the Sherman in question is using log armour on the left side and a huge pile of stowage.

 

Great work so far...can't wait to see it finished. :goodjob:

I have watched that video so many times trying to find more details, the number can´t be seen, that is for sure.  Wheathered, overpainted, covered by the logs, who knows.  I will apply lots of weathering and it will be quite faded in the end, and then covered at least partially by the logs...  For now, I started "enjoying" Dragon´s link-by-link tracks... oh man!

 

Marco

Edited by Marco1965
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On 5/5/2022 at 8:56 PM, Longbow said:

Try this site for more details…

 

https://anicursor.com/colpicwar2b.html

Dirk´s site is excellent, I wonder if anybody took pictures of the ko sherman afterwards, apart from the one showing the dead driver, and one showing part of the front, I don´t know any other.

 

But well, going on with the project. I started assembling the tracks... link by link, not difficult, but requires lots of patience.  No template to follow, nothing.  I finished the segments that touch the floor, some missing extension according to references, will start the upper segments leaving the curved ones at last. 

 

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Started working on the tow cable, too.  Cable looks really nice as provided in the kit, metal, good color. What I did not like much are the plastic tips, they only have half-cover for the cable, would have preferred to drill a hole for the cable to fit in completely.  But well, difficult to see once glued in place.

4KBkZygl.jpg

Marco

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  • 4 weeks later...

These link-by- link tracks are not for the faint of heart... I assembled the straight and the rounded segments using Tamiya Liquid cement.  For the curved segments, I shaped them around the wheels as I went on adding tracks. 

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I´ll assemble as many segments as possible before painting and weathering and install them last on the Sherman.

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And I corrected a detail that I simply forgot to add before: the metal railing that goes on the lower rim around the hull, where the sandskirts should have been attached (the skirts were not used on this type of Sherman, but the rails remained).  I should have scratch built them and glued in place before painting, but well, did not.  I issued each rail with thin plastic sheet, bored open the screw holes, painted them and glued in place.

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After retouching, applied gloss coat to start weathering.  Thank God was it possible to add this detail without damaging previous work.

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mC0SrWNl.jpg

Marco

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  • 4 weeks later...

I added the tools at the back (none of them will be visible after I put the canvas cover).  Glued the tow cable in place, nice that Dragon provides it in authentic metalic color, no need to paint it, as in other brands.

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Idler wheels should be metal, not painted, the right one is done, they´ll need retouch later. 

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PE parts for the tow cable supports are really nice!

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Applied a wash of artist oils diluted in mineral spirits, around 50-50 of light yellow and white.   Then some rubbing with AK Splash mud and thick mud, finally applying flat varnish.

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Some effects like the stains of fuel and rust were added using either artist oils or pigments.

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The wash gives the impression of fine dust accumulated in recesses.

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I went on painting and weathering the tracks, first Anthracit, then Burnt umber, some rust, rubbing AK Splash mud, yellow-white-grey pastels, and sealing flat.  Some retouches were necessary afterwards with anthracit in areas where the color was deteriorated due to rubbing.  The Sherman I am representing, circulated mostly on streets, so mud is limited to a thin layer around the suspension and tracks, no thick mud.   I assembled the link-by-link tracks in 4 long segments and 6 short ones.

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Gluing the track segments in place was easier said than done.  Nothing really difficult with the long upper segments, the difficult part was matching the front end to the track around the sprocket wheels.

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After some sanding, trimming and a lot of pressure, the track was glued in place around the sprocket wheels.

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And I hope that was the most difficult part of gluing the tracks in place, completing the lower segments and smaller ones looks easier, we´ll see.

Marco

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That's turning out really well. Nice work with the painting and weathering. Can I just point out one small omission? The track adjuster would have been sat over a tube welded to the rear hull, with a retaining pin through the top.

 

John.

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2 hours ago, Bullbasket said:

That's turning out really well. Nice work with the painting and weathering. Can I just point out one small omission? The track adjuster would have been sat over a tube welded to the rear hull, with a retaining pin through the top.

 

John.

Hi John, can you post a picture of that detail?

 

marco

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8 hours ago, Marco1965 said:

And I hope that was the most difficult part of gluing the tracks in place, completing the lower segments and smaller ones looks easier, we´ll see.

Don't we all just love link and length tracks!

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2 hours ago, Marco1965 said:

Hi John, can you post a picture of that detail?

 

marco

Hi Marco. I just had a quick look online and found this one. It's on a welded hull M4, but the principle's the same. At the top of the tube there is a hole which goes right through and a pin is inserted to keep the wrench in place.

DhL6hq4.jpg

 

HTH's.

 

John.

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4 hours ago, Bullbasket said:

Hi Marco. I just had a quick look online and found this one. It's on a welded hull M4, but the principle's the same. At the top of the tube there is a hole which goes right through and a pin is inserted to keep the wrench in place.

DhL6hq4.jpg

 

HTH's.

 

John.

Now I understand your point, John, thank you.  For this time, as all tht area will be covered in canvas, I'll pass issuing this detail, but keeping it in mind for future projects.

 

Marco

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The accumulated dust effect looks perfect!

 

7 hours ago, echen said:

Don't we all just love link and length tracks!

I know it sounds weird, but I really enjoy working with them. And I say this sincerely... :)

What I like the most is that I can precisely control the sag.

 

Vytautas

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2 hours ago, vytautas said:

The accumulated dust effect looks perfect!

 

I know it sounds weird, but I really enjoy working with them. And I say this sincerely... :)

What I like the most is that I can precisely control the sag.

 

Vytautas

   In my "vast" experience of 2 tanks (I assembled couple more but that was decades ago, soft plastic tracks), the first one had link-length track (Panther, Takom), which I enjoyed quite much, very easy, and it had the templates to assemble the tracks with the correct shape.  And the links would basically snap together, non-functional, but easy to assemble. 

   On the other hand, with this one, well, it is sort of "let´s be creative" type.  There is no way of putting the tracks and links together without actually gluing them, nor a decent pin to keep the parts in place to at least manipulate the parts while testing.  Neither is a template provided to guide you about the correct shape.  Having said that, you are right Vytautas, the big win is having the option of positioning them on irregular ground or simulating the sag (but Shermans don´t have sag, or mostly don´t have sag).

   So, why not buying a functional link by link, metal, superduper state of the art track... well because I think that the link by link looks good if correctly assembled, and I want to exchange some money for patience., and I like challenges.

 

Marco

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  • 2 weeks later...

After having installed the upper segment of the tracks, I encountered one of the most frustrating issues: upon completing the track, the final track needed to be like 2/3 of a track...🙄

Anyway, everything was already glued in pace, correct sag (or lack or sag, it is a Sherman), correct location of the tracks, segments around the wheels, etc.  and didn´t want to see my tracks with a crooked segment, no way.  So... as 2/3 are needed, filed one track to 2/3 width and inserted it in place. Done, both sides the same.

 

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I glued the links of the shorter segments in place, sanding them short until they fit properly.  Painted, weathered, and voilá, issue fixed.  The debris in the streets of Cologne will provide the final touches disguising the culprit shorter track segment.

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Then I had to backpedal because I had made a mistake assembling the 0.50" MG travel supports at the back of the turret.  I followed Dragon´s instructions for an M4A1 76mm WITH ventilator at the back of the turret, but I converted it to an M4A1 76mm without ventilator, which requires changing the MG supports as well.   I performed some minor surgery detaching and reattaching the supports and the result is now proper for the early M4A1 76mm.  Most of the MG and supports will be covered with canvas in the end, therefore I did not really bother adding details to the MG.

 

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And completed the commander and loader´s hatches.  It had bothered me all the time not having changed since the beginning the loader´s hatch external handle, represented as a simple plastic tab, well I ended up changing it.  Some might notice that the loader´s hatches are barely open and might say that those hatches in the early M4A1 76mm were either closed or open at a 90° angle.  But... I am assembling my Sherman with the loader actually pushing the hatches open with his head and arm, exactly as seen in a picture of another Sherman in Cologne, same time.  Nice detail from Dragon providing periscopes and visors in clear plastic, saves me the pain of discussing the color of those.

 

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And finally started looking for the logs that "my" Sherman carried on each side.  I managed to find the proper branches, many more than what I needed, no painting required, ready to use, "0" cost, no shipping.  On the picture below mi first tries, collected branches from different bushes, and I selected the one being held with the tweezers as the correct one.  Got all the others that I need already, immersed them in flat coat for several minutes, and they are now ready to get tied on each side of the tank.  I am really enjoying this part of the assembly (after the mess with the tracks!).

k5NPz8sl.jpg

 

marco

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