Monday, December 15, 2014

Time out: Italeri M4A1 Sherman 'Calliope' 1:72 kit - part 2

Top hull assembly...

With the tough parts on the M4A1's lower hull and undercarriage nicely settled, I began work on the top hull. 
The M4A1 is a refined tank compared to the early production models. It has curvier lines compared to the crude M4 that was produced in 1942 by five different contractors and about 6,784 of these tanks had rolled out from the assembly line to serve in North Africa during World War II.
The Italeri kit, I must say, is made of quality plastic. It's solid and not as flimsy as I had expected.
I began with the turret assembly and worked on the 75mm gun. 
These came in two parts and the tip of the gun was a real tough piece to work with.
It didn't fit well and to set it correctly, I rolled the gun barrel on its side to get an even surface.
That was the best  I could do to resolve the issue..

Actual photo of the M4A1's hull

Later M4 Sherman tanks has a gun mount on its forward hull
With the Italeri 1:72 kit, there is an option to assemble the turret with it's commander's hatch opened. The kit is supplied with a miniature figure and I found that a tad too hard to paint, so, it's hatch closed!
After completing the turret, I began the top hull assembly by cementing its tools like the tank's shovel and bars.
The 30-caliber gun turret on the bow of the hull was easy to mount. Since this is a small kit, the details are pretty impressive. 

Fitting the upper hull 

The hull, revealing the tank's engine compartment

Hull and turret assembly before applying weathering 
Applying weathering to the starboard side of the upper hull
Dealing with small parts..

I have to be extremely careful with cutting the small parts, some as little as 3mm in length.
The plastic cutter I used was too big for this small kit, so, I used my cutting blade and sliced off the parts one-by-one.
To make sure that these are not all over the place, I bought some trays from Daiso and called them my Work In Progress (WIP) trays.
It works wonder as I am able to pick up the parts with a pair of modeling tweezers.
The small parts have to be gently lifted from the tray. If you apply too much pressure the parts will slip off and worse case, it will fly off the jaws of the tweezer. You simply launch the little part into oblivion.

Tweezers comes in handy when it comes to fitting extremely small parts
Putting it together and adding the final touches...

I spent the whole day assembling the Italeri 1:72 M4 Sherman kit in my reading room.
With the upper hull completed, the following step, was to glue together the tank.
And finally, when it takes shape, what's left to do, was to apply the decals on the tank.
This is pretty straight forward. There's little details on the tank with the exception of three stars on the forward, starboard and port side of the hull. 

The nearly complete M4A1 Sherman medium tank
A decal on the port side of the tank
The completed tank with weathering on its undercarriage
Perspective in size: 1:72 M4A1 and the 1:48 M4
Final touches includes a 50-calibre M2 Browning (Ma Deuce) machine gun on the commander's hatch. 
This was painted in gun metal finish and weathered with the Tamiya weathering master kit. Even for a small gun measuring no more than 1cm, the details were amazing. There's a magazine box that comes with it, but I felt that it was unnecessary to assemble it.
Rather than painting the exterior tool, I applied weathering on them to give it that worn out look.
As for the "Calliope" rocket launcher, I didn't assemble it because the M4A1 was good enough to display on its own.
After completing this kit, I was rather suprised with the finish and what I have been missing out after all these years.
One thing is for sure: there are more interesting 1:72 Shermans out there and I am pretty excited at the prospect of modeling them!
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