sabato 17 aprile 2010

M4A3 (76) W VVSS Sherman (1/72 scale)

Hi people, its a long time since I posted some new stuff on my blog. I an very happy to see that many of you became followers and I wish to thank you all for your support. I'm sorry I couldn't write more, but at this moment there are lots of changes going on in my life.

One thing remains the passion for modelbuilding. The fifth tank I finished for this collection is a Sherman. The famous main battle tank of the US Army and Marines in World War 2. Some 50'000 Shermans were built during the war - more than any other single German tank, only the Russians built the T-34 in greater numbers!

Till recent years the Sherman wasn't as popular as the German tanks were. Many model producers preferd to make German subjects cos' they got more attention by the customers. I don't know what the reasons are for this trend but, we can all guess. The German panzers had cool camouflages and were generally seen as better armoured and better armed than the Sherman. In my opinion the M4A1 with the cast turret and cast hull looks really cool-original and there is no other WW2 tank that looks similar to it.

I chose again my model from Dragon's new line of 1/72 tanks. The quality and detail of these plastic kits is truly amazing and unique + you get all the photo-etched brass you need to super detail your beast without having to spend extra money on a separate costly aftermarket set.
I bought the first 1/72 Sherman version that Dragon relesed, the M4A3 (76) W VVSS. I built this baby straight out of the box with no problems and was very pleased with the detail, moulding and fit. Some parts are so small and brittle that you have to pay lots of attention not to brake certain parts while handling them. I broke and lost the grips for my 50 Cal. turret machine gun and had to scratchbuild it back. Dragon could give us this part in photo-eched medium and speed thing up for us, oh yeah and the only thing this kit is missing is the flexible antenna base stump for the turret which I also scratchbuilt.

I wanted to make a camouflaged Sherman instead of the usual olive drab monochrome finish. The tank I chose was from the 761st Tank Battalion “Black Panthers”. This was one of the first African American units to fight in the war under the command of General Patton. The unit started to fight in France and aided the 101s t Airborne Division in Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge. They faught their way through Germany and were among the first Americans to meet the Russians in Austria.

The model was painted by hand with Testor acrylics (olive drab and black). After the camouflage was painted and the decals applied I gave it two layers of filters (brown-orange tones). The next step was to make a mixture of very diluted earth tones with Tamiya acrylics and water. Once the mixture was on the brush I would scratch backwards the brush (which was held 5 cm from the tank) to create a splashing effect on the lower and a dotted-rain stain effect on the upper parts of the Sherman. Then I proceeded to create vertical rain marks with the same mixture. Next I panted on scratches and small rust stains with Vallejo acrylics. The last steps were to apply Mig pigments for dust and dry mud effects and oli-paint washes for the spilt fuel stains. I finally added some metal shine to angles and metal tools with a B2 graphite pencil.
Sometimes simple and rough camouflages give an extra touch of realism to a scale model, maybe more than very complex and elaborate camouflage scheems. Just my opinion. Thanks for reading, stay in touch!


I decided to add a measuring instrument in the first photo so that all of you that aren't familiar with modelbuilding in general can get an idea of the actual size of the tanks that are pictured in my blog. This particular tank is roughly 8 cm in length.