Academy M4a3 (76)W May 23, 2018 3:00:31 GMT
Post by alexb on May 23, 2018 3:00:31 GMT
This was built over on Armorama for their Workhorses Campaign. I finished her for over there so I figured I'd post it over here.
Academy's M4a3(76)W is a M4a3 Sherman depicts the standardized M4a3 Sherman. It's armed with the 76mm gun in the later T23 turret with oval loader's hatch. Like all 76mm armed Shermans, it's wet stowage. It's a VVSS tank and Academy included an extra sprue of late VVSS housings. This one comes with rubber chevron tracks with duckbill extensions. This kit has a lot of extras for your spares. Instructions are in two booklets.
This is noted as part of their "Battle of the Bulge" kits. Markings are for six vehicles, of which half would be considered Bulge oriented. The remainder are based in Italy 1945 and one is a captured tank in German service.
The VVSS suspension, drive sprockets, and idlers are pretty typical of most Shermy kits. The kit comes with late VVSS parts so make sure you use the correct ones. Road-wheels are two-piece deals. They are keyed so be careful or they are wobbly. The kit comes with cast wheels and earlier style drive sprockets and idlers.
The lower hull is typical and goes together fairly well. Add the bottom hatch, rear hull sponson extensions, and front mount tabs for the drive sprockets. The rear panel was pretty straightforward.
The upper hull front...the trans case fit is okay. There's a slight gap on the curve but the final drive will cover this. The center periscopes are seperate. Lift rings and lights are pretty basic, though placement for the horn is a bit vague. The kit comes with PE guards but they stick them in the decal pack and I didn't see them until after I added the styrene ones. The upper and lower hull fit is pretty good.
The upper hull rear...added the fuel caps, lift hooks, etc. Academy leaves the engine deck open so they can use this on for several welded hull Sherman kits...like the diesel powered M4a2. The rear exhaust vent covers have some nasty gaps on the sides. I filled those with strip styrene. It's funny because their M4a3 with the 105mm howitzer and dozer blade has a different exhaust cover and doesn't have the gaps. The kit doesn't have a cleaning rod.
The T23 turret...Academy got a bit fancy here. Most of it works and goes together quite nicely. The side hatch looks like it too low on the turret side. The kit comes with the muzzlebrake barrel. Speaking of the barrel, it's a two-piece deal and requires a good bit of cleanup to take care of the seams. And another issue is the gun depression...it doesn't have much...the gun will not depress any further so posing it in the gun rest will require some work.
Assembly is coming to an end. Mounted the VVSS. The turret will require modifications. Academy placed the ring tabs on the sides, just like the knockouts. They want you to cut off the molded tabs and add some replacements at an angle. They fit horribly.
So time to paint. The marking/scheme options included a winter camo tank from 709TB, Colmar France, January 1945. I dug around and found a colorized picture of the probably vehicle. Do you see the problem? The actual vehicle is an earlier T23 turreted vehicle with the round loader's hatch. The kit uses the later turret with the oval hatch. It also has the earlier drive sprockets.
I caught the hatch deal after I began adding the white. I liked the look so I decided to stick with it and just say the camo is inspired by the photo. It should be noted I have since found a picture of a late turret Shermy with overall white camo so it might get a facelift at some point.
The white is very bright compared to the OD. I figure a few washes will take care of that and help tone it down a bit.
One of the things that jumps out from the picture is the mud buildup on the suspension. I used Sculptamold. I placed a dab of it on each wheel and spun it. That let the wheel push it into the wheel and leave a bit on the suspension.
I painted the mud Light Earth. The tracks were added. They are tight and pull up on the front pair of wheels.
Assembly is coming to an end. There's some cleanup...the barrel, the side hatch, etc.
I pushed ahead without taking alot of pictures. The driver's and HullGunner's hatches were added. Rear stowage is cut styrofoam covered in tissue paper and PVA glue tarps. The jerry cans came from the kit's accessories sprue. That comes with lengths of spare track and a pair of rear mounted track racks. The problem is the lengths are for the steel cleat tracks. The racks are for solid smooth rubber block track links. The kit's tracks are rubber chevron with duckbills additions. The inspiration pic has the rear racks. I took the racks and added the chevrons using strip styrene.
Add the tow cable, .50 cal, etc. The inspiration pic had no markings so were used. There's probably some other stuff I added but I forget at the moment.
And that's it. The kit isn't bad but it isn't awesome either. Academy did some nice things with this kit and they made a few errors. The plan is to eventually give it a crew and a simple base inspired by the inspiration picture. I might hold off and repaint it at some point. That hatch thing will drive me nuts.