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Armor/AFV
For all military ground-force modelling subjects.
Italeri M4A3(76) - sort of
kunjuro
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Philippines
Member Since: October 27, 2013
entire network: 335 Posts
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Posted: Sunday, April 15, 2018 - 11:42 PM UTC
Hey folks. I decided to start a build log of my current WIP - an Italeri M4A3(76) Sherman which was erroneously labeled an M4A2 Jumbo. Well, sort of. I made the mistake of attaching the rear of the original M4A1/M4A2 included in the kit... I realized this too late when prepping the model for primer. I didn't have instructions for the kit so that also contributed. The gigantic rear exhaust hides most of it anyway so I decided to live with the error.

in just the first few steps in building the thing, I immediately realized the major advantage that tamiya had over italeri - good fit. The turret on my kit had its brackets that was supposed to latch on to the hull molded too short. The damn thing flapped about loose. So I took some sprue and jammed it on the brackets to lengthen them. Once the glue set, it was a pretty decent setup.



When I fit the lower and upper hull together, I discovered that there was a huge gap between the transmission cover and the upper hull. Sigh. Out came tamiya's grey putty and some tape. Furthermore, the hull was warped - the suspension system sliiighty bowed out. Hence, I couldn't get the wheels level with one side of the hull to the other. When I slapped the tracks on, I put some weight on the hull to lessen this effect. It is less noticeable so I decided to live with it.



What is worse is the fact that the "workable" suspension bowed under pressure from the unsurprisingly stiff tracks. I tried to use a set of spare tamiya m4 early tracks (T48) but I put them aside and just decided to go with the kit's tracks.



I also noted that the cast parts of the kit (turret, transmission cover) was as smooth as a baby's arse.


So, I used an old trick - tamiya extra thin cement applied on the surface, and a hard bristle brush pushed on the wet surface.




Finished the assembly and applied the primer. I liked how the cast effect turned out. I squished the turret halves together after applying heavy dosage of tamiya white cement to create a seam to hide the gap. Used a nail cleaner/burr to lessen the seams on the turret and dull the cast effect. I also used it to make small indentations on the hull.




Here she is now. I realized that I had misplaced the turret roof MG. Gonna look for it tomorrow. Not to worry - I did not like the look of the thing anyway PLUS the base holding it looked.... frail and skinny. I took out the MG from the tamiya m4 and am considering using it. I also have academy's US MG set which I might crack open to replace the entire sub assembly. Anyway, leaving it at that for today. Would highly appreciate suggestions or comments. Thanks folks.
GeraldOwens
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Florida, United States
Member Since: March 30, 2006
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Posted: Monday, April 16, 2018 - 02:04 AM UTC
The step on the gun barrel was only present on postwar Italian Army M4A1 Shermans. You need to sand it out, if you want to depict a wartime US tank.
kunjuro
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Philippines
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Posted: Monday, April 16, 2018 - 09:04 AM UTC

Quoted Text

The step on the gun barrel was only present on postwar Italian Army M4A1 Shermans. You need to sand it out, if you want to depict a wartime US tank.



Thanks for the info Gerald. I knew that the step on the barrel was inaccurate - but I didn't know that it was an actual thing on post war shermans! I thought Italeri just made an honest mistake with the barrel rather than copying it from an existing tank (sorta like Tamiya's error with the T-72 kit). I had considered sanding it down but I felt like I would not be able to do a good job and end up with an oval shape. I also didn't want to waste an AM barrel on a mediocre kit. I also had the same problem with the Academy M4A2(76) I had just finished.
tankmodeler
#417
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Ontario, Canada
Member Since: March 01, 2004
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Posted: Tuesday, April 17, 2018 - 12:28 AM UTC

Quoted Text

I knew that the step on the barrel was inaccurate - but I didn't know that it was an actual thing on post war shermans! I thought Italeri just made an honest mistake with the barrel


You are correct. The step is not a "thing" in real life, just on the one M4A1 76(W) VVSS that Italeri patterned their original M4A1 76mm off of and then used that turret on your model. The stepped area is where the original gun tube was demilled by cutting it through and where the Italian museum camouflaged the cut using sheet metal.

There were no actual 76mm M1 gun tubes with a step. Ever.

Paul
kunjuro
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Philippines
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Posted: Tuesday, April 17, 2018 - 08:03 AM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text

I knew that the step on the barrel was inaccurate - but I didn't know that it was an actual thing on post war shermans! I thought Italeri just made an honest mistake with the barrel


You are correct. The step is not a "thing" in real life, just on the one M4A1 76(W) VVSS that Italeri patterned their original M4A1 76mm off of and then used that turret on your model. The stepped area is where the original gun tube was demilled by cutting it through and where the Italian museum camouflaged the cut using sheet metal.

There were no actual 76mm M1 gun tubes with a step. Ever.

Paul



So that solves it. Thanks for the informative post

I haven't gotten any free time to spend painting the kit sadly. Our dog got Ehrlichiosis and we've been spending time and energy trying to nurse her back to health. There was also a power outage recently. Hope to get some more time this weekend. Also planning to add stowage all over the thing as practice. Have accumulated a lot of scrap stowage, bags, boxes and such from other kits.
tankmodeler
#417
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Posted: Tuesday, April 17, 2018 - 08:04 PM UTC

Quoted Text

I haven't gotten any free time to spend painting the kit sadly.


Real life.

Always getting in the way of modelling.
165thspc
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Kentucky, United States
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Posted: Tuesday, April 17, 2018 - 08:16 PM UTC
Better to glue that first bogey in a fixed position. Otherwise the "spring" of the stiff rubber band tracks will cause the first road wheel to rise up unrealistically.

"As we all live and learn."

Nice job!
bat-213
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Posted: Thursday, April 19, 2018 - 01:19 AM UTC
it seems as though you did a great job on a bad kite .good for you ,I have never built a Sherman but I will soon I hope I do as well as you did .
165thspc
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Posted: Thursday, April 19, 2018 - 07:51 PM UTC
Also I usually try and hide a chunk of plastic wedged between the idler wheel and the tank body. This to keep the stiff tracks from bending the idler wheel in towards the tank body. (Sometimes this does not happen till months later.) A chunk of mud will hide the wedge.

I have been known to drill all the way through the transmission housing and install a brass tube axle to mount the drive sprockets on. Again to help support the suspension against it's never ending battle with those wonderful "flexible" rubber band tracks.
Garrand
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Pennsylvania, United States
Member Since: October 27, 2009
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Posted: Thursday, April 19, 2018 - 09:51 PM UTC
I built the Italeri M4A1 a while ago, and replaced my tracks with ones from Asuka, back when they were still selling them separately. That solved a lot of problems!

Damon.
kunjuro
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Philippines
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Posted: Saturday, April 21, 2018 - 10:05 PM UTC
Thanks for all the feedback folks. Our dog is still sick, but she doesn't look like on the brink of death anymore.

Anyway, got some free time during the weekend. Here's my progress with the kit. Basecoat on + did a bit of detail painting. Still need to paint the roadwheels and glue the suspension down so they sit straight against the tracks. I'm considering the suggestions you've given in trying to brace the idler wheels VS the tracks. I'm really worried with its stiffness. I also had to touch up some slight damage at the front. A bit of cement splashed on it :/ Hoping that subsequent weathering hides the fact.













Here she was before painting. I tried doing the black and white technique but I eventually hid most of the contrast when I put the post-shading on it.





I applied the decal (pilfered from a Tamiya M4 which was turning into a shelf queen) over the tamiya olive drab acrylics without a gloss coat. With a bit of mark setter, it settled decently over the cast effect and a matte coat hid most of the decal film. I think it looks decent enough.





I'm also considering adding stowage to the kit using the bits and pieces I have hanging about. I really appreciate Tamiya and Academy's effort in adding these things to their earlier kits (Dragon, take note!) though Tamiya seems to have eased a bit with their generous policy.



Here's a final shot beside her sister kit, an Academy M4A2(76). I will probably not add the same level of dust on the hull and running gear... we'll see.



Anyway that's it for now. Thanks for looking!
kunjuro
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Philippines
Member Since: October 27, 2013
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Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2018 - 08:03 PM UTC
Short update on the M4A3(76) 1/35. Added dust and mud on the running gear. Not sure yet how much mud I ought to add to the superstructure and front hull. Avoiding putting scratches as the Olive drab paint was really resistant to that in real life. Added some streaking too but they're a bit faint which is fine by me... as I added quite a bit haha.