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Sherman Mk I Hybrid (Asuka 1:35 M4 Composite) ***Finished***


SimonL
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So this is going to be some firsts for me.

 

(1) Some limited modification to make a Sherman Mk 1 Hybrid from a M4 Composite kit.

 

(2) Having a go with loading it up with some stowage.

 

My starting point is the Asuka 1:35 kit of the M4 composite in its “China Clipper” boxing.


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So some sprue shots first, starting with the turret and top of the hull with some really nice cast surface detail.

 

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Several different sprocket types to consider, and some rather nice vinyl tracks.

 

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Two different J sprues (but this is well explained in the instructions). It is already apparent I will have plenty of spare bits left over at the end.

 

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This sprue includes spare track links, which combined with the appropriate racks on another sprue will allow me to fit them as per British Shermans.

 

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Three lots of this sprue with the road wheels - a bit of flash present on the open spoked ones.

 

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Couple more sprues, with a US Army figure that I won’t be needing for this build.


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A rather nice .50 cal, which I won’t be using, plus two sprues which to my delight provide the spare track link racks and British style fire extinguishers that I need.

 

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The infamous spongy rubber sheet that Asuka provides for the road wheel bogies, but this kit also has styrene spacers, which is what I will use.

 

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There’s actually three different types, the instructions say to use type A.

 

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This boxing comes with a nice extra bag of resin stowage. I won’t be able to use all of it, as it is clearly US Army gear, but I think the other stuff should be good for my purposes.

 

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I also have this sprue leftover from RFM Firefly which has some ammo boxes and jerry cans.

 

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I also remembered that I have a Bronco British Chaffee in the stash. I picked this up at a model show swap’n’sell for a very low price a few years back - and have not summoned up courage to build it yet. It does come with a nice figure of a British tanker with a mug of tea, and strangely a milk churn! I thought that might add a little difference. I also have a spare road wheel from the Airfix M3 Grant I made last Christmas which is reasonably similar to the road wheels I intend to use.

 

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As for markings, it looks like the British 33 Armoured Brigade were equipped with the Mark 1 Hybrid and there is a Star Decals sheet which as a 33 Armoured Brigade Mk 1 Hybrid on it. Sadly though this is currently out of stock from my usual suppliers, and while I could get it from overseas it may be a bit pricey/take a long time. I do have a collection of decals from the RFM kit that include some markings I could use, and my recent Stuart kit comes with some suitable tactical symbols, and of course I have the Allied star for the turret top from the kit. Maybe I could just make a “representation” of a tank in 33 Armoured Brigade?

 

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I have a sprue of the British style turret stowage box on its way direct from Asuka. According to tracking it was dispatched from Tokyo last Wednesday, so hopefully will make it in a few weeks.

 

I have bought some Vallejo 887 Olive Drab for the main colour.
 

I do have a few extra purchases I will be making:

 

Eureka XXL tow cable #3503

Aber 75mm barrel #35L-135

 

as recommended by @Kingsman

 

I think I also need to get a Type 19 Radio Antenna Base - so will need to do a bit of searching.

 

I think I’m all set to start!

Edited by SimonL
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There are several No19 antenna base sets available these days.  Heavy Hobby are the latest to announce some, 3D printed.  FC Modeltrend also do 3D ones which aren't bad but need some cleanup and are fragile.  I don't think MiG re-package these: all the 3D printed accessory stuff under the MiG banner is FCM product.  Accurate Armour and Panzer Art also do them in resin. Armorscale, Passion Models and Lion Marc do them in brass, but like is too short for assembling the "cage" from etched brass.........  Same with the Dan Taylor Modelworks offering, which is just the cage.  Although theirs is made in a single piece to bend up IIRC.

 

Having tried the FCM, Panzer Art and Accurate Armour versions (and given up on the Passion without even opening the packet.....) I prefer the Accurate Armour.  The FCM print is a little "hairy" and hard to clean up without breaking as the material is very brittle.  The Panzer Art set is nice, but the cage is moulded with the rim of the cage as the pour plug, so you're trying to saw off a hollow fragile tube and then clean it up.  AA's are moulded the other way up with an open rim.

 

The AA version.  They also give early and late type rubber bases, the later type having a screw clamp.

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This is what a new real one looks like.  In period photos they don't seem to be shiny natural metal as here.  But note the rubber ribbed insulator section.  On US SCR antenna bases the ribbed section is dark brown ceramic.

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Thank @Kingsman, it looks like BNA have the FCM ones at a very reasonable price. As I’m getting my other bits and pieces there I can probably save some postage. I realise belatedly that the Chafee kit has a Voyager brass etch set with it, which includes the aerial. However as you say, life is too short for that…

 

On another matter, from what I have read most of the composites were built by Chrysler - does that mean they will need the bolts on the bottom of the bogie castings adjusted as per the Firefly kit a built a little while ago?

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20 hours ago, SimonL said:

On another matter, from what I have read most of the composites were built by Chrysler - does that mean they will need the bolts on the bottom of the bogie castings adjusted as per the Firefly kit a built a little while ago?

Correct.  Chrysler built 1,676 Composites while ALCO only built 300.  ALCO production was only comparatively recently discovered.  The kit features appear to be Chrysler, logically as they were the largest producer.  China Clipper was a Chrysler tank.

 

It seems that Chrysler - or perhaps more correctly National Malleable Castings, who made most if not all bogies for Chrysler - switched from the cap screws to the more usual stud and nut to secure the bottom bogie section during Composite production.  Clear photos are annoyingly hard to find but available photos do seem to suggest this.  By the time of M4(105) and M4A3(76) production following on from Composites the stud and nut appears to have become the norm.  So I guess I would take whatever Asuka give you and not worry about it.

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Ok, couldn’t wait to the weekend, although somewhat perversely none of the following comes from the kit.

 

While reviewing the plastic I leftover from the RFM Firefly I found something what looked like part of an antenna base. Figuring I had nothing to lose I thought I would try the brass etch from the Voyager set I have for the Bronco Chaffee. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

 

So here are the tiny bits to start with:

 

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And here is my attempt. It’s rough, but perhaps will do.

 

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Looks better when given a coat of Tamiya Olive Drab as a primer. Presented here with some ammo boxes and jerry cans from the RFM Firefly spares. I also put the British tanker figure together from the Chaffee kit.

 

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He looks pretty nonchalant leaning up against the Firefly.

 

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Looking good Simon, you’ve done neat work on the antennae mount. I’ve got one of the dragon M4 PTO composites that I plan on building as 33AB vehicle at some point so I’m going to follow this one with internet to pick up some tips.

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Thanks @bigfoot, I must admit I took the photo from the best angle 🤣

 

The instructions recommend Tamiya Surface Primer for the vinyl tracks, and as it happened I had some left in a rattle can. I washed the resin stowage and the tracks in warm soapy water, rinsed them and then left them to dry overnight. This morning was nice and sunny outside so I managed to get them all sprayed.

 

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This task used up the last of the grey primer I had, but I still had a bit of white primer in a can as well which was enough to do the figure. He needed a touch of filler here and there, but looks pretty good now. I also painted the “spare wheel” with Vallejo 887 Olive Drab with Vallejo Dark Rubber for the tyres over a coat of Tamiya Acrylic Olive Drab. The antenna base also got painted with the Vallejo OD. The milk churn was treated to a couple of coats of Italeri Acryl Flat Aluminium.

 

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I made a start of construction with the sprockets and idlers - way more simple than the RFM Firefly. The kit provides three different sprockets and two different idlers, but indicates which ones to use (which from looking at the excellent Sherman Minutiae website would be appropriate for the tank I am building).

 

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I also made a start on the differential housing. The plastic is very hard but seems to work well with my usual Tamiya Extra Thin cement.

 

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That’s it for today. Have to sort dinner out now - I have a shoulder of lamb slow cooking in the oven.

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Worked on the lower hull today.

 

First I finished adding the towing lugs to the front on the differential housing. I had my first loss to the carpet monster when the little bit of plastic for one of the foot rungs pinged away. However a close look at some images on the fabulous Sherman Minutiae website showed them to be rather “flatter” in shape than the ones provided by Asuka. Turning necessity to my advantage I replaced both of them with some plastic strip which I carefully sanded to once glued in place to smooth off the sharp edges. While at the website I noted that Chrysler built composites didn’t have the “door stops” on the rear engine doors, and also only had single 

towing lugs, rather than double. This required some minor modifications to the rear face of the lower hull, which I did before fitting it to the hull.

 

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I then put the flat pack hull together. The instructions helpfully recommend a particular order, as well as warning it should all be done in one go. I also added the differential housing.

 

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The eagle-eyed amoungst you will notice that there is a different engine door handle. I managed to break one off, so used one from the spares box.

 

Just a quick dry fit of the top of the hull to see how it fits - the answer is very well.

 

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Not much to report today, other than look what turned up in the mail from Japan. Just about two weeks from ordering direct from Asuka.

 

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As well as the turret stowage box, there is also the other antenna base, so pretty happy with this. Just one bit of plastic off the whole sprue I won’t be using.

 

I also located a copy of the 33 Armoured Brigade decals and the Aber gun barrel from an online source in Europe with very reasonable postage. It may take awhile, but that’s ok.

 

 

 

 

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@Maddoxx77 it certainly is!

 

Made a start on the top of the hull. There are recesses for the air scoops at the rear of the kit hull, but the Sherman Minutia website says they should be mounted on top of the deck, not flush, for  composite and welded hull Shermans. With that information to hand, I I filled the recesses with plastic strip and filler before mounting the boxes with their photoetch mesh fronts. I also added the British style fire extinguishers. There is a bit of scratch down one side (possibly during removal from the mould?), which I have put a layer of Mr Surfacer on and will rub down later.

 

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I’ve also picked up this model ship rigging thread, which I think will be pretty good as rope for tying down the stowage (not that I’ve worked out how I’m going do that yet).

 

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That looks good. I used the towingcable thread from an old kit as rope. Works perfectly. I tied it to the rear lifting eyes and the backlight protectors. A little dot of superglue to secure the knot and you're set.

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It’s been a wet, soggy, grey sort of Sunday here in Perth - so managed to get a fair bit done.

 

Spent the morning on the top of the hull. To fix the gun barrel travel lock to the front, the instructions would have you drill three holes. Two are easy enough - there are dimples on the reverse as a guide, however the third requires measurement. Not trusting myself to get it right, I glued the little bit that was meant to go in the third hole to the travel lock directly (keeping a bit of sprue to act as a handle). I then trimmed that off and glued it in place.

 

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All the light guards, lights and siren went into place pretty easily.

 

I then started on the rear deck. This is just a dry fit to start with. Asuka has the lift handles on the engine hatch in the wrong orientation for a composite so I removed them completely. This area will be covered with stowage so no need to worry the hatch cover being blank (thanks again to the Sherman Minutia webpage but also this great build log on the another website https://www.track-link.com/forums/site_blogs/42559/flat)

 

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First bit of serious etch for this kit, which will be mounted in a place where it can’t be seen!

 

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Pretty clean job for me for once.

 

It was time to fit the top of the hull to the bottom, and with a bit of card it fitted pretty well, except for at the very rear of the sponsons on the underside. There was just the tiniest gap on each side which was dealt with by just putting a sliver of plastic card in each. 
 

I then added the sandshield mounting strips. On the RFM Firefly these are photo etch, and I found them tricky to do. On this kit they are styrene, probably overscale in thickness but I found them much easier to handle. I added a little cutout towards the rear on both sides as this seems to have been characteristic of Chrysler built composites, and is certainly visible in one of the images I have found of “Bury”.

 

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I added the pioneer tools to the rear of the tank. You can see here the position of the photoetch grill from above.

 

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Adding the appliqué armour was then very easy - I like the 1:1 positioning diagrams that Asuka provides.

 

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Moving on to the turret, I filled the hole for the sighting vane (at least I think that’s what it is), and also drilled out the hole for the mortar. The stowage box went together easily and was added to the back of the turret. All the other parts fell into place very easily.

 

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That’s it for this weekend.

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On 10/13/2022 at 8:49 AM, SimonL said:

Ok, couldn’t wait to the weekend, although somewhat perversely none of the following comes from the kit.

 

While reviewing the plastic I leftover from the RFM Firefly I found something what looked like part of an antenna base. Figuring I had nothing to lose I thought I would try the brass etch from the Voyager set I have for the Bronco Chaffee. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

 

So here are the tiny bits to start with:

 

p?i=27462e599082cca6f1159d3e197c7f6b

 

And here is my attempt. It’s rough, but perhaps will do.

 

p?i=f191cde820db36ce1e16bc2d310e51f0

 

Looks better when given a coat of Tamiya Olive Drab as a primer. Presented here with some ammo boxes and jerry cans from the RFM Firefly spares. I also put the British tanker figure together from the Chaffee kit.

 

p?i=be7c322e23795b69066cf5876f14fae8

 

He looks pretty nonchalant leaning up against the Firefly.

 

p?i=19a1d8896c44e56b906c04dbb6289d28

Simon

What solder and soldering iron are you using?

 

If you are using a single temp iron and electrical none lead flux core solder you will have no end of problems trying to assemble brass etched parts.

 

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If you have any questions please ask?

 

Happy to give advise.

 

Pete

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2 minutes ago, SimonL said:

Fabulous work there Peter! No solder I’m afraid - just superglue. Soldering is not something I have any experience with.

Ok that's good then.

 

Well if you do decide to try soldering some parts please ask?

 

Pete

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3 hours ago, SimonL said:

I added a little cutout towards the rear on both sides as this seems to have been characteristic of Chrysler built composites,

Nice work on that Simon. I have an etched set for the Firefly 1c from ET, and they include that feature on the sand shield strips. I'm definitely looking out for one of these kits when I'm up at Telford in a couple of weeks time.

 

John.

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1 hour ago, SimonL said:

Thanks John. I’m afraid I’ve been well and truly bitten by the (Sherman) bug. Already thinking ahead to the next one. Was thinking a British desert Sherman…

Well, Tasca/Asuka do a very nice early Sherman lll, (which I have in the stash) and an equally nice Sherman ll Direct Vision (which I've built). Dragon also do a couple of decent ones as well, so providing that they are available, you're spoilt for choice.

 

John.

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Not much done today! Using some scrap plastic I attempted to replicate the little bumps on the front glacis, as pointed out by @Kingsman in the Sherman super-thread (thanks!). The top one is the drain hole for the u-shaped vent, so I drilled a little indentation in it. At the same time I drilled out the drain holes else where on the hull.

 

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Thanks Roger. Today I spent time painting the base colours on the stowage. It looks a bit stark now, but hopefully subsequent washes will tone it down. I also played around with where the stowage might go.

 

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I also experimented with “roughing” up the surface of the turret to better simulate a cast texture. I roughly dabbed on Mr Surfacer 500 and once dry I was pretty happy with the effect. I think it will look ok under paint. I was a bit anxious, as I have never tried this before.

 

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Also a first for me, I attempted to sculpt a semblance of the turret stowage that is very apparent in photos of “Bury”. I had some Milliput in my modelling desk, can’t even remember buying it! It’s a bit crude, but hopefully will look better once I’ve added straps and some washes. The photoetch fret has some footmen loops which I can add to the turret for it to “hang off”.

 

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And that’s it for today. Next task is to start on the wheels and suspension.

 

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  • SimonL changed the title to Sherman Mk I Hybrid (Asuka 1:35 M4 Composite) ***Finished***

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