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Check Out Club Meeting: July 2011 Meeting

Featured In: July 2011 Newsletter

Oldie Moldie Series No. 001:
Tamiya’s M4A3E2 Jumbo Sherman
In 1/35 Scale
By: Neal “tanks fer nuttin” Izumi

When I picked up this kit, I was planning on a “fun build”, where I would not delve into any reference material (I had none!), use any aftermarket parts (I had none!), or do any major corrections (I didn’t feel like doing any!). Of course no sooner than it was known that I had this kit in my possession, a “Sherman Walk Around” was passed my way (Thanks Mark). Still, knowing nothing about the “Jumbo” variant of the Sherman immensely helped me in ignoring the major flaw in the kit, namely the sloped turret sides.

The kit was pretty basic by modern standards (i.e. by DML 750+ part kit standards), but on the flip side it was really easy to build. It was so easy in fact, that I started peeking into the “Walk Around” book to see what little details I could add. Keeping in mind that I wanted to have a stressfree build, I only picked out a couple of things.

The periscope guards were first up on the list, so some coated wire was bent into appropriate shapes and attached to the turret and hull locations. I also replaced the grab handles while I had the wire out. I had an Academy .50 cal machine gun which looked better than the kit one, so it was swapped out. A surplus DML sighting vane and MG bracket were also added to the turret. The small spotlight had a Grief lens added, and it was only recently that it was brought to my attention that it should have seated way back in the shroud, not like how I did it. Oh well, it was supposed to be a stress-free build.

The one itty-bitty detail that I added was the locking barb and release ring for the gun crutch, made from scrap sheet plastic and wire. They are really hard to see, but I really enjoyed making those bits.

The rest of the kit went together smoothly. I made a conscious effort to maintain a recess between the hull sides and appliqué armor, but again, I found out after the build that there should have been raised weld beads. Stress-free build, stress-free build… The last detail item was a wire antenna, which was added to the turret.

I airbrushed the model with Testors Model Master (TMM) Flat Black to start the painting process. TMM Green Drab was then airbrushed on in thin coats, concentrating on the centers of the various areas on the model. TMM Panzer Gelb was mixed in with the O.D. to get a lighter color, which was used to create highlights. A blast from a Tamiya Gloss rattle can prepared the model for decaling. The kit decals were used, going on without any problems. Gunze Mr. Mark Softer was used to eliminate any silvering. Following another gloss coat, the model was pin washed with a mixture of black and brown, then wiped down with a paper towel that was lightly dampened with paint thinner. This created some streaking, which my lazy butt told me was the end of the weathering process.

I did use some pastels mixed with Tamiya Acrylic Thinner on the kit’s rubber band tracks. The tracks fit nice and snug like the real thing, but without the terrifying idlerwrenching tension of an Italeri kit. They also had some pretty nice looking “duckbill” extensions appropriate for the Jumbo. Finally, the model was airbrushed with several light coats of Testors Dullcote. I added a touch of Flat Dark Earth into the flat coat and concentrated it on the lower surfaces, simulating dust. And that, as they say, was that.

Tamiya’s Jumbo Sherman has been eclipsed by the likes of DML and Tasca, but this was a simple build that was actually fun to do. Sometimes you need a stress relieving build to get the model mojo back, and old Tamiya kits provide just that.

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