Sunday, January 24, 2010

Project: 1/35 M4A3(75)W Sherman

The M4 Sherman was the standard battle tank of the US Army and Marines in WWII. When it came out it was reasonably powerful and armored, able to tackle German tanks of the era on close to an even footing. Although advances in gun technology on the German side would reflect poorly on the Sherman, it was reliable, available in large numbers, and able to get to where it was going.

The M4A3 was an effort to utilize the US industrial capacity to its fullest extent. It replaced the Wright radial engine with paired Ford truck engines, giving it a boost in horsepower as well as reliability (acceleration was smoother, for example, when compared to the Wright engine which "hesitated" when the accelerator was depressed all the way). The hull was later upgraded as well, eliminating the bulges for the driver and co-driver (thus enhancing protection) as well as containing the cannon stores in "wet" tanks filled with anti-freeze. This effectively reduced the tendency of the Sherman to burn when penetrated, and helped with crew survival.

When Tamiya came out with their M4A3 kit, the market was pretty thin on Shermans. The Tamiya kit was then a big leap forward, providing a reasonably detailed kit of an important tank. Over the years, other Shermans have been released that potentially supplant or exceed the Tamiya kit. But the nice thing about it is that it is available and easy to aquire. Out of the box it can be built into a reasonable replica.

For this project, I'm keeping it fairly simple: no aftermarket parts to speak of and just a few details added that are missing. The biggest detail missing on this kit are the 3 bolts on the bottom of the suspension bogies, an easy fix with some Grandt Line bolts. Other than that, however, I want to keep it simple.

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