Jim Lewis’s 1:35 Tasca M4A1 Sherman Tank

Originally shown here on Modelers Miniatures & Magic 11 years ago, back on 1/24/2009, I thought this piece by artist Jim Lewis would be great to update to today’s showing standards…

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I wanted to post some photos of a project I’m working on right now. Tasca’s 1:35 scale M4A1 Sherman is presently the best scale Sherman Tank model on the market. It’s expensive and accurate, so I don’t think it will become a donor kit for Sci-Fi model project parts, but fills the bill nicely for serious Sherman fans. I didn’t go overboard with in-progress construction photos because this kit is basically engineered like previous Sherman kits – no new ground here. The typical things Sherman modelers replace/add/correct are also called for in building this kit too.

The biggest letdown in the kit, if you can call it that, is the lack of cast texture detail on the hull, turret and transmission cover. Tasca includes some very subtle detail cast into their kit, you can just see it in photos of the BNP (bare naked plastic) model built up – but it will disappear when painted. So, I resorted to cutting away most of the fixtures and molding on the hull for later replacement after I textured the sand casted areas found on the real tank. I did this with Gunze Sangyo Mr. Surfacer 500. It is ugly when you do this, but the effects show up nicely during the painting and weathering stage, and after you’ve done a couple, you can nail the technique down and get the right texture the first pass. All missing weld bead detail was done with acrylic gel medium.

After texturing, I had to add brass tie-downs – operable ones – because I planned on using them to literally stow the gear on the model tank with them. I used photoetch brass chain for the Headlight Plugs and Lynch Pins on the Armored Fuel Covers that were not provided in the kit. I applied the major casting company foundry marks found on this version of the Sherman tank – accurate to the production batch ( second batch – #165 thru #1408 ) and foundry (Pressed Steel Car Company) that put it together for the US Army.

I wound up replacing the Pioneer Tools with aftermarket versions, and made the fixtures for holding them on the model tank with thin foil. This adds an air of realism to the miniature, and allows for finishing them separately.

The base color coat shows the texture of the Mr.500 application, a 90% thinned coat of Tamiya XF-59 Desert Yellow over a XF-1 Flat Black primer coat. The camouflage color is a 90% thinned coat of Polly Scale #F505224 USAAF Olive Drab painted in the broad bands typical of the 756th Tank Battalion as they fought in the Italian Campaign, Battle of Cassino. For plain-jane OD Sherman Tanks, these are interesting schemes for modelers to go with.

“… My God – it’s full of stars …”

The National Symbols and codes/unit identification are airbrushed at low pressure through Lion Roar and Eduard regulation-sized photo etch stencils using Tamiya XF-2 Flat White. There are still some large tactical codes left to add to the Turret – as if it weren’t already covered with markings. This is what attracted me to do up a tank from this battalion. If you notice, the customary National Symbol on the front of the tank is not there. This is roughly the beginning of when Sherman crews began removing the big stars because of how well they worked out as aiming points for German tankers. Sure, the front star is gone – but the Turret screams out for Gunnery practice. I just had to do one…

The Registration Number is accurate for the range of such Sherman Tanks produced in this particular batch from Pressed Steel Car Company. I just can’t tell you that USA 3015543 was actually tank number two, First Platoon, “C” Company in the 756th Tank Battalion. My reference library is good, but not that good…

Jim Lewis
GUNTRUCK STUDIOS

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Jim Lewis

USA

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JAPAN

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