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.
Kit #35250 – M4A3 Sherman
Set #2644 – Ford GAA engine and engine bay (out of production) (thank you, eBay!)
Set #283 – Sherman Super Detail set (photoetched accessories)
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
Set #T54E1 – Individual track shoes and connectors
Set #AR35273 – Pin-Ups
Set #AR35209B – Gauges and Interior Stencils
Set #AR88005 – Resin Weld Beads
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…)
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…