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1/35 MENG M4A3(76)W Sherman


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That's a damn great job on the M2, Matt. 

Jawdroppingly impressive.


I tried to assemble the M2 belt this way myself a few years back - really don't remember the PE set I used.

Suffice to say, I wasn't up for that, and opted for resin ammo belt instead, which is the next best thing.



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Thank you all very much!


Been busy with spring cleaning round home but got a little work done that seemed like a good idea. 


There's still a bit of work to do on the Sherman so I don't want to glue the delicate .50cal onto the turret until right at the end. So what to do with it in the mean time? And how do I keep from damaging it? I mean, again. I made a little protective box from styrene I had on hand. The lid is simply a friction fit. 



There are also a couple posts to limit how much the gun can rotate. 



A simple build but an important one. 




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  • 2 weeks later...



For the last couple weeks I've been working on one aspect of the model that I was both excited for and quite nervous about. The heavily worn white wash. Primarily the work has been carried out with the hair spray technique. My initial plan was to do hair spray and then paint about two or three times then start working with a brush to make finer adjustments. The great thing about using hair spray and Tamiya paints is you can start work on the next layer or even chipping as soon as the previous coat is dry to the touch. The downside is that since its so dang easy to do I couldn't help but keep doing layer after layer after layer. Continuously trying to tweak and fine tune things in the hope I'd get it all looking exactly how I'd like. I think about 6 layers in I probably liked the worn white wash the most. But, I continued. Thinking the next layer of paint and hairspray would be the one to get it spot on. I think I must have done about nine or so layers of hair spray and paint by this point. Interspersed between my non stop hair spray and chipping sessions I also applied some highly thinned Vallejo white and off white applied with a fine brush for what some like to call mapping or rendering. Sometimes the hardest thing to know is when to stop. And I think I would have been happier with my white wash if I had stopped trying to "fix" it much earlier. 




I think about half way through the white wash layers I also touched up the olive drab in a few select places with a fine airbrush. Just in places I felt the OD should be more prominent. Those areas were the top surfaces of the turret and the top corners of the glacis. 



If this was any other model I likely would have just stripped the paint off and started over entirely. I've done it many times before and I'm sure it'll happen again. But that would mean redoing the art work on the hull sides and likely damaging the tools on the  rear deck, so paint stripping was out of the question. 


The main gun however, I really didn't like how it looked anymore and I could easily repaint it. So I did. I sanded it and repainted the OD including both darker and lighter shades as I did before. Then I restricted myself to only two rounds of hair spray and chipped paint. The highly thinned Vallejo white and off white mapping was reapplied via brush and here we are. 



Funny thing is, I actually spent several days practicing my white wash process on a scrap model and felt pretty confident when I finally decided to tackle the Sherman. What is it they say about the best laid plans? 



The olive drab on the rear deck was looking kinda dull after all the work spent on the white wash so I pumped up the contrast by airbrushing some highly faded OD. Great thing about using an airbrush that can do pretty fine work is I didn't have to mask anything. 





Some white wash drips were applied with a brush under the rear of the turret and along the front of the transmission cover. 



While I'm not thrilled with how the heavily worn white wash looks, I think it's ok. Every model is a learning experience and this one is no exception. And as the artwork next to my work bench says (a quote from Adam Savage's book) "perfect is the enemy of done". 






Edited by M_Sinclair
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Personally I think the white wash is looking great Matt. I particuarly like the runs and dribbles under the turret and transmission cover.


I've also been slightly disheartened with white wash finishes I've applied in the past when looked at in their raw state, but once they've had additional weathering everything blends together in a more natural way.



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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks guys! Yeah I think it will look even better once the weathering can start to tie it all together. 


The Sherman was set aside for a little while as I wanted to get my Tamiya Spitfire done. You can see it here if you wish. 



But back to armour. 


I've begun watching the excellent YouTube channel Night Shift and one of the things he does over there is periodically using real dirt/grass for weathering. This is something I've done long ago but felt it would be fun to try again. So this past weekend I went to a local park with some containers I picked up from Dollorama and collected whatever I thought might come in handy. The dirt was left to dry in the sun for a couple days but should be ready to use now. 



I know I said the white wash was done but the more I looked at it, the more I felt it would benefit from a little more attention. So I sprayed on one final coat of hairspray down the hull sides and sprayed on a little more of my custom dirty white wash paint but just in a few areas, focusing on where I felt I had removed too much. Then I felt it was ok to remove the masking from the various vision blocks. I then applied via paint brush some very heavily thinned white wash mixed from varying amounts of Vallejo 71.001 white and 71.119 white grey. The ratio of the two was constantly changed as well as almost constantly tweaking the opacity. As soon as a few areas of paint was brushed on I would then immediately clean my brush, get it nice and damp and use that to blend and work around the fresh paint. Once the blending was done I could then use a toothpick to chip and scratch the fresh paint. This technique was really fun and easy to do. 









I didn't like how much white wash had been removed in the previous round of chipping so I this time around I tried to make much finer chips/scratches and really focus on areas the crew might cause the paint to wear. Some chipping was also done with some small sponges and olive drab but most of that wound up being covered up or reduced with more brush painted white wash. 


Along with all that, I painted and installed the two piece brass .30cal bow machine gun from Master (item GM-35-004). 



I had planned to use the kit supplied tow cable from Meng but after cutting it to length following the measurement provided in the instructions I found it was several centimeters too short. I purchased a replacement tow cable from Eureka and it looks great on the tank. I think I made the new tow cable slightly too long this time but I can always cover the end on the deck with stowage. The tow cable clamp that secures it to the rear deck is molded to the kit supplied tow cable end so I made a new one from some styrene and stretched sprue. The cable was painted Vallejo heavy charcoal 72.155 and then drybrushed with Vallejo medium gunship grey 71.097 along with a tiny bit of dark rust applied to the tow cable here and there. Looking at period reference photos of Shermans there was definitely some variety in how the cables were stowed, in particular how they were stowed at the front of the tanks. And while most cables were fairly straight I did see some that had some interesting bends and curves to them. Maybe these were tow cables that had been used?





I'm pretty happy with how it's coming along. 




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On 4/17/2022 at 1:34 AM, Patrykd said:

Don't forget to paint characteristic strap (bare metal) around the barell which was tipical for 76mm american gun

I was planning to add this detail. But while I do have many reference photos of 76mm armed Shermans, only two had the strip of bare metal you mentioned. All the other period photos I have show Shermans with 76mm guns painted entirely in olive drab with no strip of bare metal. Add to that the paint guide in the kit and the box art show this Sherman not to have that feature. So since the bulk of my reference showed that feature to be far less common then I initially expected, I chose to omit it. 



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Tracks are on and weathering has begun. 



A combination of real dirt and various pigments were used to create the mud/dirt on the lower parts of the hull and running gear. Excess dirt was removed with a stiff brush where needed. The pigments were mixed to further vary tones and application was both wet and dry. What you see is the result of many layers. The inside faces of the track teeth were painted with AK 3rd Gen AK11212 Gun Metal while a pencil was used on the return rollers, road wheel sides and idlers to indicate worn metal.  



The tracks are mostly free of mud as this tank would have been going through snow fairly frequently at the time I am trying to depict it. 



The weathering of the lower areas was done almost entirely before the tracks were installed for ease of access. 



The upper surfaces of the hull and turret have also seen weathering with pigments and real dirt. 




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Really nice to see the muck and the mud on the upper surfaces........so often we forget the mud clogged boots the crew would have tramped all over the place when climbing on and off the vehicle ...you really have done a lovely job on this, well done mate :goodjob:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks guys! I have questioned my sanity once or twice on this build. 


The two parts of this build I was initially most intimidated by were the white wash and the planned conversion of the tank commander. Well the white wash is done and now, so is the tank commander. 


So the tank commander is from the really great Tamiya US Tank Crew Set (35347). The figure is terrific but I wanted to have him posed as if he had just been looking through his binoculars prior to moving out. So I had to make a new right arm using wire and I grabbed a hand that would be appropriate from my spares box. Likely an old Dragon item. 



The arm started to be shaped with my 20 year old box of Milliput. And since the figure was meant to be wearing the distinct US tanker helmet, he didn't have any ears molded on his head. In the only photo I have of Lt Col Abrams in WWII, he was wearing a steel pot helmet. The helmet and binoculars came from Miniart's US Weapons and Equipment set (35334). I sculpted new ears and a little hair from Milliput. This is my first attempt at a major figure conversion so this was all new territroy for me. I made my own sculpting tools by shaping a couple toothpicks to different shaped points and then hardening them with some thin CA. They worked really well and I'm sure I'll be using them again in the future!





Sculpting his sleeve was definitely trickier then I expected. Hats off to the talented figure sculptors out there! Though while it was tricky to try and get the wrinkles to look somewhat natural, it was also pretty fun! The green putty for his sleeves and other details is not Greenstuff, but rather AK's version of the exact same product. For sculpting smaller details, AK's greenpower is wonderful to use. And it was in stock at my local hobby shop when I needed it!



Along with adding details that were removed by the conversion process, I also wanted to enhance details like the various seams on the jacket. They are pretty heavy handed, but again, this is my first time doing this sort of thing. I also sculpted a triangle to represent his Armoured Forces embroidered patch. 



The leather strap on his helmet was enhanced with some thinly cut Tamiya masking tape. 









Some Tamiya paint for a primer. Sculpting looks pretty rough at this stage. But wow check out how detailed that face is from Tamiya!



Leather strap for his sidearm was again cleaned up with some Tamiya tape. 



After many hours of painting, I'm calling him done. I tried to implement what I've been learning from watching figure painters on YouTube like Squidmar. Again, this is breaking new ground for me but I'm very excited by the possibilities of exploring both sculpting and more advanced figure painting techniques. 


I think I must have painted his face about four times to get it to this point which to me felt, satisfactory. The patch on his shoulder was finished off with a great 4th AD decal by Alliance Modelworks.







Tankers got pretty dirty maintaining their machines so I tried to weather his jacket appropriately. 





I couldn't help but briefly add the .50cal for a photo. 







So that's what I've been up to the last few weeks. Till next time. 








Edited by M_Sinclair
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