Saturday, May 17, 2008

As luck would have it.....

I was searching the web for images of M4's, and I found my way to Toadman's Tank Pictures when I came across a review of Iron Division's Resin replacement hull (48006/48007) for the Tamiya 1/48 scale M4/M4A1. While I was going to use the Tamiya hull, the replacement hull also was sold with solid or three piece transmission cover. Toadman, aka Chris Hughes, gave the parts a thumbs up. He also had a review of Iron Division's low bustle late turret. However, it was solid cast, and the gun cover was wrong for Hurricane.

I was aware of Iron Division, as they produce so 1/72 scale Sherman conversions I've been meaning to buy, but haven't gotten around to it yet. So I went on over to
Top Gun Military and while looking around noticed a new lower hull, 48017-Resin Lower Hull with Sharp Nosed Final Drive. What caught my eye was this version of the cover included cast stamps/serial numbers. The price was reasonable so I added it to my order. While I was there I did a little more shopping, and found a new product line, Xtra Detail Series. The series currently consists of four low bustle 75mm, in various configurations, an early/mid high bustle, and a 105mm mid production. The turrets are hollow cast with separate parts for copulas, hatches, periscopes, etc. Again the price was fairly reasonable so I added it to my order.

The hull parts have pretty good detail, much more detail than the Tamiya die cast part. The is a bit of casting flash and some minor bubbles, typical of resin cast parts, but nothing major.

The one piece transmission cover has a nice subtle cast texture, and you can see the casting symbol and serial number of the manufacturer.

The turret has lots of parts many optional depending on the version your doing. Over all it's a very nice part, but I'll have to do a little work with the cheek armor, as the undercut is a little indistinct, and it doesn't blend well enough into the turret at the rear, nothing major.

The turret also has a subtle texture. The casting numbers on the turret roof look pretty good, as does the weld bead around the ventilator. I'm not sure if the number are corret for the turret nuber though.

Overall, I'm fairly impressed with Iron divisions parts, and think I'll be getting a few of their 1/72 conversions.

Friday, May 16, 2008

and something a little different

A friend in my local armor club gave me a Tamiya 1/48 scale M4 Sherman last year as a gift. I've been debating what to build since I was given it and decided it would be good blogging material. Sure it's technically not "braille scale," but it's my blog and I can do what I want!

I decided I would build an M4 called Hurricane, which was used in the allied landings at Normandy. Hurricane was in H company, 66th Armoured Regiment, 2nd Armored Division. There are a couple of well known pictures of Hurricane, and I can't decide whether I want to model it during D-Day with the wading stacks or after D-Day during the bocage busting days when Hurricane sported a two tone paint scheme.

Hurricane had some interesting features for an M4. It has a late model low bustle turret, without a pistol port, and loaders hatch, and with the thickened cheak armor incorperated into the right side of the turret. It also has open spoked wheels, which are included in the Tamiya kit, and a solid drive sprocket which is not. It also has a sharp nose transmission cover which is also not in the kit.

There are a couple of good articles on correcting Tamiya's 1/35 scale M4 kit, on Tim Streeter's
US Army Models website. Since Tamiya's 1/48 scale kit is more or less a scaled down version of its bigger brother, the articles are extremely helpful. The turret in the Tamiya kit is an early production, low bustle turret. To make it a late model the pistol port must be filled on the left side of the turret, and the cheek armor needs to be thickened on the right side.

Steve Zaloga also covers this modification in his Osprey book, "Modelling the US Army M4 (75mm) Sherman Medium Tank." It's a great book, nd as usual I will steal borrow his research. So armed with all of this great information, I broke out the Evergreen plastic and Apoxie Sculpt, and went to work.

The gun shield in the kit is also incorrect for Hurricane, so you need to cut off the flange on the left, then cut the gun shield to widden it, and insert a plug to make up for the width of the flange you cut off.

While I was at it I cut off the molded on tools using my handy dandy
JLC razor saw.

Back after another break

The wife and I went to New Zealand for three weeks in March to vist family, and I just haven't had much time or inclination to model or blog. We had a blast while we were there, and I got to play photographer. Among the thousand of pictures taken were at the Warbirds Over Wanaka airshow, so check back soon if you're into vintage aircraft, armor, etc., and I'll post a few pictures, and a link to my smugmug album.

Now on to the model blogging! First up are a few pictures of the T34/76 model 1942, alittle further along. I still have to do the weathering, add the figures and other details.

Next up are a few pictures of the Stug III, painted and decaled. Again it's wating on weathering, figures and decals.

Finally, there is Dragons M4A1 76mm. I've detailed the turret similar to the way I did with the M4A3, and tried to make the detail around the pistol port look better.