Well, first let me say that I am not an expert on the M4A3 Sherman, nor will I pretend to be. I certainly know there are many modelers out there that know ten times more about the Sherman tank than I do, and many of them have been of great assistance to me during this build. Nor do I have an extensive library of reference books on the subject. I used two books I owned and internet sites for my references. Of course Armorama.com, and it’s members were the most helpful, and as always more than happy and willing to answer many questions, and point out details I missed, and supply more material than I could ever incorporate into this model. And I’d like to start out with a big thank you for all the help, and encouragement. Hopefully I won’t say anything to offend anyone in my descriptions of the building process, or techniques used. Some of the things I did or techniques I used maybe old hat, to some, others maybe new to you, but none are extremely difficult to do, just maybe a little tedious or time consuming. Nothing I did was extra ordinary or out of the realm of the average modeler.
Now that we have established that I certainly do not pretend to be an expert, lets establish that I also don’t consider myself to be an outstanding modeler, but rather just someone with a lot of experience. That can be easily read as someone whose been building models on a more serious note, since his discharge from the Navy, way back in the days of wooden ships and iron men! OK, maybe not that long, but pretty close.
The basic kit used is Tamyia’s M4A3 Sherman, Kit number: 35250, it comes molded in a dark olive plastic, with glueable tracks.
First thing I did was check for the tweaks list for the kit over at Tim Streeters’ site, US Army Models.com
and downloaded it, and printed it up. I also downloaded and printed up the template for closing off the sponsons from Tom’s site. I then downloaded and printed up all the photos of the M4A3 over at Chris Hughes’ (Toadman1) site. My two reference books, both Squadron publications, “Sherman in Action”, and the “Sherman Walk Around”. Checking the many threads on Armorama.com, I came up with many other detail photos, posted by many other members, and printed these up also.
Off to the workshop, OK, off to work, since this is where I do most of my building. Working the midnight shift, alone, in a boiler room allows for such past times. (I’m also writing this on the time clock. Does that make me a paid professional writer?)
I first started by rubber cementing the sponson templates to a sheet of .20 plastic sheet, and cut them out. After assembling the upper and lower hull pieces, a little bit of trial and error got a fairly decent fit. It wasn’t perfect, but a little mud added later on would cover any imperfections. So far, not too difficult to do, for myself, or any average modeler, in fact, there will be nothing in this article that is beyond the skill level of the average modeler. I then filled in the large recesses on the hull and transmission covers for the headlight guards, with some small pieces of plastic strip, and CA glue. I trimmed and sanded them smooth in preparations for making the headlight guards, etc. Making these will be covered later in the article.