Tamiya M4A3 after-action report.

2015-11-21 Time Log

Total time building 485 hours (that’s about 2.88 24 hour-a-day weeks).

Begin date September 11, 2014; end date November 21, 2015.

Vendors:

Tamiya

Kit #35250 – M4A3 Sherman

Verlinden

Set #2644 – Ford GAA engine and engine bay (out of production) (thank you, eBay!)

Set #283 – Sherman Super Detail set (photoetched accessories)

Tank Workshop

Set #TWS 0023 – Wet Stowage Interior

The New Tiger Model Direct (NTMD)

Set #AR-0370 – Sherman Idler Wheels

Set #35-75015 – Bogie Track Return Skids

Set #35-75008 – Pressed Road Wheels

Set #35-70023 – Tie Down Cleats, Small

Set #35-75001 – Commander’s Cupola and Hatch, clear

Set #35-75077 – Driver and Co-driver Hatches

Set #35-75043 – Exhaust Outlets

Set #35-75086 – Engine Covers w/Rain Deflectors

Set #35-75044 – Exhaust Deflector

Panda Plastics

Set #T54E1 – Individual track shoes and connectors

Archer Transfers

Set #AR35273 – Pin-Ups

Set #AR35209B – Gauges and Interior Stencils

Set #AR88005 – Resin Weld Beads

M&M Models

Set #LM10022 – Turned Aluminum 75mm Barrel

Set #RB013 – .50 Caliber Barrel, turned brass

Set #RB082 – .30 Caliber Barrels (s), turned brass

Lots of solder, wire, lead foil, paint (five different manufacturers), and sprue

(Don’t ask how much it all cost…)

My opinion

So…if I were to build another M4A3 I would not use Tamiya’s kit as the basis for it. It overlooks some things I don’t think they should have. Minor things like sponson bottoms (really? I find it hard to believe that someone hasn’t mentioned that to them), fins instead of grab handles, etc. The molds are old, having copyright dates from the 1980s. And yes, I get that it’s expensive to retool a model. It’s also expensive to have builders buy other manufacturers’ products, too. Making use of CAD/CAM could replace molds that are thirty years old more effectively, methinks. I can’t speak to the fit of parts with this build because I modified things fairly extensively; most of what’s in this build wasn’t intended to work with everything else in the build.

If I were going to do a M4A3 75(W) again, I’d find another hull as the basis for the build; Dragon and Asuka (formerly Tasca), come to mind. (Do what I should have done before I started, read kit reviews.) The New Tiger Models Direct offers many turrets, with/without loader’s hatch, pistol port, low or high bustle, etc. I think it would be easier than having to rework the Tamiya M4A3.

I hadn’t done a model in 24 years before starting this one. I wanted to brush the rust (okay, corrosion) off my skills and discovered that some of that rust couldn’t be brushed away. 41 year old eyes worked better and 41 year old hands were a LOT more steady. (Entropy never sleeps and aging ain’t fer pussies.) But what could be regained has been and although no model I produce will ever be 100% spot on, I’m pleased with the results.

And for 485 hours I managed to stay out of trubble. I think that might be a record for me…

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