Tamiya 1/35 M4A3 Sherman

A_J_Rimmer

SMF Supporter
Joined
May 14, 2024
Messages
467
Points
93
Location
North Wales
First Name
Arnold
Arnold,
My apologies very late to the party you are in safe hands with the advice you are getting. Your off to a great start and I will follow along if I may.

No need to apologise Paul, welcome aboard! Thanks Muchly, I'm pretty pleased with it all so far! There are indeed some splendid chaps on these here boards, I'm learning loads!
 

Jakko

Way past the mad part
SMF Supporter
Joined
Apr 28, 2018
Messages
11,121
Points
113
First Name
Jakko
Much like aircraft design, I'm sure what they thought was needed before the war turned out not to be the case quite quickly. I can easily see the case of a designer saying 'yes we'll put the shells there, so the loader can get to them easily'' without really knowing the consequences of that decision.
The sponsons are indeed a logical place for ammo stowage: there’re plenty of room there, and they’re easy to get to. All major German tanks, from the Panzer III to the Tiger II, stowed a lot of their main-gun ammunition in the sponsons, but nobody seems to call them “Jerry cookers” or “IMCOs” :smiling3:

What probably didn’t help in the case of American tanks is that the USA didn’t have any practical war experience at the time, and though they were sort of willing to listen to British suggestions, they didn’t exactly put all that much trust in British judgement in the matter. The reason for that was mainly that British tank designs of the 1930s/early 40s were not great, coupled to American tank doctrine being outdated (they tended to see the tank as an infantry weapon rather than one in its own right, so they kept sticking superfluous machine guns on it, for example). The British, OTOH, had both combat experience in modern tank warfare and the knowledge that their own designs were lacking somewhat. About the only concession the Americans were willing to make to British experience and practice, though, was to put the radio into the turret.

Much like them not fitting the seal-sealing fuel tank into the nose of the Hurricanes as a cost saving measure - who really knew the out come of that one.
It makes sense that they would try to cut costs, though, especially when the performance of the plane in actual warfare wasn’t known yet. I take it they put a self-sealing tank in later, though?
 

A_J_Rimmer

SMF Supporter
Joined
May 14, 2024
Messages
467
Points
93
Location
North Wales
First Name
Arnold
The sponsons are indeed a logical place for ammo stowage: there’re plenty of room there, and they’re easy to get to. All major German tanks, from the Panzer III to the Tiger II, stowed a lot of their main-gun ammunition in the sponsons, but nobody seems to call them “Jerry cookers” or “IMCOs” :smiling3:

What probably didn’t help in the case of American tanks is that the USA didn’t have any practical war experience at the time, and though they were sort of willing to listen to British suggestions, they didn’t exactly put all that much trust in British judgement in the matter. The reason for that was mainly that British tank designs of the 1930s/early 40s were not great, coupled to American tank doctrine being outdated (they tended to see the tank as an infantry weapon rather than one in its own right, so they kept sticking superfluous machine guns on it, for example). The British, OTOH, had both combat experience in modern tank warfare and the knowledge that their own designs were lacking somewhat. About the only concession the Americans were willing to make to British experience and practice, though, was to put the radio into the turret.


It makes sense that they would try to cut costs, though, especially when the performance of the plane in actual warfare wasn’t known yet. I take it they put a self-sealing tank in later, though?

Just the Radio? lol! Well, when has the US ever listened to us Brits! At least we knew enough to know our designs were lacking I supposed, but from what little I do know about British Armour, It's an entire subject all to itself!

Very interesting to know that this 'brewing up' thing that the Sherman was supposedly bad for is another of those 'fake facts'.

Yes they did - The Hurricanes (and the Spitfires to an extent) had a tendency to turn into roman candles if the front fuel tank was hit as it was located between the engine and the pilot. A lot of pilots were very badly injured and it's one of the the reasons why we got very good at plastic surgery during the war. They did learn their lesson though and sorted the tanks out on later marks - as a caveat, this is all facts in my head that I read a long time ago and someone probably going to come along and say I'm completely wrong... but I don't think I am lol!
 

Jakko

Way past the mad part
SMF Supporter
Joined
Apr 28, 2018
Messages
11,121
Points
113
First Name
Jakko
Just the Radio? lol! Well, when has the US ever listened to us Brits!
Well, it wasn’t the only thing, but on the whole American tank designers were not overly impressed with the British and ignored their advice more than they listened to it.

At least we knew enough to know our designs were lacking I supposed, but from what little I do know about British Armour, It's an entire subject all to itself!
The main advantage the UK had in tanks was that it had a much better idea of what would be needed in the future — by the start of the war they already figured that the 2-pounder gun would soon be obsolete so they started work on the 6-pounder, and once that was in production they drew the same conclusion as the Soviet Union: future tanks would have even more armour and so would need a bigger gun still, which became the 17-pounder. The Americans looked at the same intelligence information and came to a completely different conclusion from their allies: what they had now (ca. 1943) would still be good enough in the years to come. (American tank gun designers did see a need for a bigger gun, though, but were overruled, partly due to those faulty conclusions and partly for practical reasons.)

A book I already mentioned, Zaloga’s Armored Thunderbolt, goes into a good amount of detail about all of this. It’s a good example of how institutionalised thinking and NIH syndrome can lead to conclusions that are far from ideal, even when it’s pointed out by outsiders.

The Hurricanes (and the Spitfires to an extent) had a tendency to turn into roman candles if the front fuel tank was hit as it was located between the engine and the pilot. A lot of pilots were very badly injured
I bet — TBH, it’s one of those things that make you think, “Why didn’t they see that coming?” A fuel tank in front of the pilot sounds like it’s just asking for the pilot to get burn injuries, really … But it’s better for balance, of course, and that consideration probably won out.
 

Waspie

SMF Supporter
Joined
Mar 13, 2023
Messages
2,851
Points
113
Location
Portland - Dorset
First Name
Doug
I can easily see the case of a designer saying 'yes we'll put the shells there, so the loader can get to them easily'' without really knowing the consequences of that decision.
Sounds like UK procurement and design.
Probably designed by student designers, not checked and pushed through due to the pressure of war.
We did it with a few of our warship designs!!
 

Scratchbuilder

SMF Supporter
Joined
Jul 2, 2022
Messages
2,155
Points
113
Location
Luton
First Name
Mike
Thanks Mike, that's very much appreciated, and very much where my head is with this build. OOB, not correcting the issues etc. etc. I should get the construction finished soon, but the painting and weathering - that's going to be fun, especailly the figures and the weathering. But I don't want to go OTT with this build. Maybe just some general grime, streaks, dust and mud 0 I can kind of see how I want it, no idea how to get there - so I'll be asking advice. :smiling5: Funny, I've mudded up some small 1/76 stuff, but that was just a case of dark earth paint, acrylic medium and a citadel wash. This larger scale stuff I can see needs a lot more care - but I'd like to get it right, so I'm looking forward to learning some new techniques and investing some in some new products.

You may have only completed four, but from what I've seen they look awesome. But others, how they can turn our a huge amount of builds at such high quality - the mind boggles!

Thanks for your words though - much appreciated. I do think I've found a good place to hang out.
We will be here when you start the weathering to help you out.
 

Jakko

Way past the mad part
SMF Supporter
Joined
Apr 28, 2018
Messages
11,121
Points
113
First Name
Jakko
designed by student designers
You’re just described the KV:

1280px-КВ-1_у_диорамы_«Прорыв_блокады_Ленинграда»._Вид_спереди-справа.JPG


Seriously. The story of that tank’s design is such a soap opera that it’s almost hard to believe, not to mention difficult to do justice from memory — but in short, it’s a mix of ambition, envy, abuse of power, incompetence, and sycophancy. Off the top of my head: ambition of the KV’s chief designer to rise through the ranks of the Soviet Communist Party; envy of the T-34 design team; abuse of power to keep that team and its design down; incompetence in that the KV’s chief designer was a much more astute party politician than a tank designer; and sycophancy in such ways as naming the tank after the USSR’s Defence Commissar — who also happened to be the chief designer’s godfather or something. That incompetence is best visible in that he farmed the actual design work out to some engineering students — yes, students, who had not graduated from technical university yet.

There was a very good series of articles by Cookie Sewell in Military Modelling magazine some twenty years ago about the KV. The first went into great depths about the development and history, and then followed ones that showed how to build models of different variants.
 

A_J_Rimmer

SMF Supporter
Joined
May 14, 2024
Messages
467
Points
93
Location
North Wales
First Name
Arnold
Well, it wasn’t the only thing, but on the whole American tank designers were not overly impressed with the British and ignored their advice more than they listened to it.


The main advantage the UK had in tanks was that it had a much better idea of what would be needed in the future — by the start of the war they already figured that the 2-pounder gun would soon be obsolete so they started work on the 6-pounder, and once that was in production they drew the same conclusion as the Soviet Union: future tanks would have even more armour and so would need a bigger gun still, which became the 17-pounder. The Americans looked at the same intelligence information and came to a completely different conclusion from their allies: what they had now (ca. 1943) would still be good enough in the years to come. (American tank gun designers did see a need for a bigger gun, though, but were overruled, partly due to those faulty conclusions and partly for practical reasons.)

A book I already mentioned, Zaloga’s Armored Thunderbolt, goes into a good amount of detail about all of this. It’s a good example of how institutionalised thinking and NIH syndrome can lead to conclusions that are far from ideal, even when it’s pointed out by outsiders.


I bet — TBH, it’s one of those things that make you think, “Why didn’t they see that coming?” A fuel tank in front of the pilot sounds like it’s just asking for the pilot to get burn injuries, really … But it’s better for balance, of course, and that consideration probably won out.

Sounds like I might have to get a copy of that book! I doubt we've learned that much more these days - having worked in the defence industry, you wouldn't be surprised at the some the idiotic decisions I heard about. Gun mountings so bad on the Warrior upgrade it couldn't put three rounds in the same place - why? Political reasons for using a certain type of gun.
 

Waspie

SMF Supporter
Joined
Mar 13, 2023
Messages
2,851
Points
113
Location
Portland - Dorset
First Name
Doug
Sounds like I might have to get a copy of that book! I doubt we've learned that much more these days - having worked in the defence industry, you wouldn't be surprised at the some the idiotic decisions I heard about. Gun mountings so bad on the Warrior upgrade it couldn't put three rounds in the same place - why? Political reasons for using a certain type of gun.
Very diplomatic way of not saying 'back handers'!! :smiling3:
 

Jakko

Way past the mad part
SMF Supporter
Joined
Apr 28, 2018
Messages
11,121
Points
113
First Name
Jakko
Sounds like I might have to get a copy of that book!
I bought a copy a few years ago, And I’m not sure, but I think it may be somewhat difficult to get.

having worked in the defence industry, you wouldn't be surprised at the some the idiotic decisions I heard about.
Watch this series about the L85 rifle for more fun with that :smiling3:

 

A_J_Rimmer

SMF Supporter
Joined
May 14, 2024
Messages
467
Points
93
Location
North Wales
First Name
Arnold
So a little update - not much has been going on over the past week as I've been away for a bit for work and I've now had a flair up of an old foot problem, which means I have to keep my leg elevated - hard to do when you're sat at the bench.

First off - thanks for the recommendations on the books Gents - I shall look forward to reading them.


IMG-9574.jpg


And the model itself is pretty much ready for primer. I'm just in the process of building the stowage. I had one little incident building up the .50 cal, whereby the gun mount pinged off into the either. It must have gone directly into the mouth of the carpet monster, as I spent an hour trying to find it and couldn't. In the end I had to use the other one in the kit, which is too tall. It's not actually glued to the turret yet, it's just there for priming. I'll remove it to paint it.

IMG-9577.jpg


Questions for you all regarding the stowage that comes with this kit.

IMG-9578.jpg


How do you go about it? Do you attach it all to the Tank before painting, and just paint what you can in situ? Or do you paint the tank and stowage separately, and assemble it all before weathering?

Also, What do you do to make it look like it's not just glued to the surface of the tank? I can see from the Sherman in Action book a lot of the stuff on the rear deck was roped down using straps and ropes tied to the grab handles etc, but what about the front and especially the turret? Or am I over-thinking this?

Confused.
 

Jakko

Way past the mad part
SMF Supporter
Joined
Apr 28, 2018
Messages
11,121
Points
113
First Name
Jakko
In the end I had to use the other one in the kit, which is too tall. It's not actually glued to the turret yet, it's just there for priming. I'll remove it to paint it.
You could cut it down to the right height?

Do you attach it all to the Tank before painting, and just paint what you can in situ? Or do you paint the tank and stowage separately, and assemble it all before weathering?
I tend to attach this sort of stuff only after painting the vehicle and the stowage separately. This mostly because that way, things won’t get in the way of painting other things.

Also, What do you do to make it look like it's not just glued to the surface of the tank? I can see from the Sherman in Action book a lot of the stuff on the rear deck was roped down using straps and ropes tied to the grab handles etc, but what about the front and especially the turret? Or am I over-thinking this?
You’re not overthinking it :smiling3: On the real thing a lot of stowage was usually held in place with string, thin rope, steel wire, or anything else that was handy. The easiest way to do that on a model is to use sewing thread, preferably that already has the colour of typical string or twine. All you then need to do is tie it to things like the lifting eyes and/or brush guards on the lamps, run it over the stowage and tie the other end in a similar way.

The bags on the turret are somewhat unrealistic in Tamiya’s instructions. All but the earliest Shermans had tie-down loops on the back of the turret (a row near the top and one near the bottom), which is what you could claim the bags on the rear are attached to. However, American Shermans didn’t have any at the front and sides (the British welded on a top and bottom row of three each on the left front, though) but later in the war, many American tanks got modified in field workshops to have some kind of stowage rail there. Typically it was just a length of steel rod bent into shape and welded front and rear. This M4A3 in the winter of 1944–45, for example, shows one example of that clearly:

An M4A3 (75mm) W called 'Caballero' of 'C' Company, 69th Tank Battalion, 6th Armored Division knocked out in the Ardennes, January 1945. by Panzertruppen, on Flickr

This one (also an M4A3) has a simpler arrangement of just a top bar:

M4-Sherman_tank-European_theatre.jpg

(source)

The tank in the background on the left also has something similar, as you can see by the kit hanging off its turret as well. (The tank in the middle is an M4A3 with 76 mm gun and horizontal volute spring suspension, or HVSS, plus field-installed appliqué armour on the turret and hull front, which means this photo dates from 1945.)

They also appeared on the right side, usually more towards the back than on the left. On the left they were normally ahead of the pistol port, on the right they tended to be below the commander’s cupola.

These are very easy to add to a model if you have some copper wire, brass rod, or similar: just drill two holes through the turret, bend a piece of wire so it fits, and superglue it into place.
 

A_J_Rimmer

SMF Supporter
Joined
May 14, 2024
Messages
467
Points
93
Location
North Wales
First Name
Arnold
Thanks Jakko, that was just the kind of info I was after - I'm sure I can rustle up some wire to make it look more realistic. (And I had thought about painting the tank and stowage separately, but it's nice to have an opinion - thanks!)

What I find interesting about those photos is the mix of wheels on some of those tanks - Spoked, press spoked and solid. I guess they went with whatever was to had in the field. I wish I'd seen that in advance as I'd have done that for a bit of interest,

Caballero is the Tank I'm making.
 

Waspie

SMF Supporter
Joined
Mar 13, 2023
Messages
2,851
Points
113
Location
Portland - Dorset
First Name
Doug
Thanks Jakko, that was just the kind of info I was after - I'm sure I can rustle up some wire to make it look more realistic. (And I had thought about painting the tank and stowage separately, but it's nice to have an opinion - thanks!)

What I find interesting about those photos is the mix of wheels on some of those tanks - Spoked, press spoked and solid. I guess they went with whatever was to had in the field. I wish I'd seen that in advance as I'd have done that for a bit of interest,

Caballero is the Tank I'm making.
Not tanks, helicopters!! When operating in the field you fit anything even close as long as you can carry out the mission. We had some US helicopters come across to our commando carrier way way back and to say they were cobbled together was an understatement. But they flew, could fire their weapons - all a commander asks. Most of the Zues fasteners were missing, panels were held on with wire, those that couldn't were missing. Holes, we assumed bullet holes were simply taped over. If you saw how we repaired rotor blades you'd never fly in one!!!!
We Brits had a bigger problem with our vehicles. Father in law was REME out in Korea, his big whinge was always how all the Brit vehicles had different wheel sizes, tyre sizes right down to bolt sizes for our AFV's. No common ground. Unlike the 'Yanks' who could use a single item on differing vehicles so kept them going longer!!
 
Last edited:

A_J_Rimmer

SMF Supporter
Joined
May 14, 2024
Messages
467
Points
93
Location
North Wales
First Name
Arnold
Not tanks, helicopters!! When operating in the field you fit anything even close as long as you can carry out the mission. We had some US helicopters come across to our commando carrier way way back and to say they were cobbled together was an understatement. But they flew, could fire their weapons - all a commander asks. Most of the Zues fasteners were missing, panels were held on with wire, those that couldn't were missing. Holes, we assumed bullet holes were simply taped over. If you saw how we repaired rotor blades you'd never fly in one!!!!
We Brits had a bigger problem with our vehicles. Father in law was REME out in Korea, his big wings was always how all the Brit vehicles had different wheel sizes, tyre sizes right down to bolt sizes for our AFV's. No common ground. Unlike the 'Yanks' who could use a single item on differing vehicles so kept them going longer!!

LOL! Those are definitely not Helicopters I'd like to fly in! But I guess if they did the job. You helo crews are all nutters anyway! :smiling: ;)

I'm absolutely not surprised about the lack of commonality of parts, that would make life far too easy, Mind you if they were British AFVs I be the kettles were all interchangeable!
 

Waspie

SMF Supporter
Joined
Mar 13, 2023
Messages
2,851
Points
113
Location
Portland - Dorset
First Name
Doug
LOL! Those are definitely not Helicopters I'd like to fly in! But I guess if they did the job. You helo crews are all nutters anyway! :smiling: ;)

I'm absolutely not surprised about the lack of commonality of parts, that would make life far too easy, Mind you if they were British AFVs I be the kettles were all interchangeable!
Fortunately I only suffered peace time maintenance. But listening to some tales from aircrew and ground crews who operated down south on 82, they did some hairy repairs when peace time rules are superseded by war servicing. Totally different.
And as for kettles, if you boil something without it melting then it's brew time!!
 
Last edited:

A_J_Rimmer

SMF Supporter
Joined
May 14, 2024
Messages
467
Points
93
Location
North Wales
First Name
Arnold
Fortunately I only suffered peace time maintenance. But listening to some tales from aircrew and ground crews who operated down south on 82, they did some hairy repairs when peace time rules are superseded by war servicing. Totally different.
And as for kettles, if you boil something with it melting then it's brew time!!

Needs must and all that - says a lot for the bravery of the crews and the design of the aircraft, that they could take that.

Is there a time when it's not brew-time?
 
Top