Thursday, December 11, 2014

Time out: Tamiya 1:48 scale M4 Sherman Medium Tank (early production) - part 1

The "Fury" experience..

"Fury" with Brad Pitt as the leading man is one of 2014's finest films..
So, what do I do when I don't cycle or go eating? I go to the movies. Well, at least I made an effort to entertain myself.. 
I made a beeline to the box-office to secure a ticket to the IMAX theater. 
The film shown in IMAX 2D was "Fury" and it's about a World War II US tank crew in the European campaign.
The movie's namesake: is actually an M4 Sherman medium tank. The story tells about it's battle-hardened crew who took in a rookie tanker and I must say that Fury was one of the best war films I have ever seen on the big screen.
After the credit roll was shown, it was time to head home.
But, before that, I made a pit-stop at a hobby store in the basement of 1 Utama.
There, I found a Tamiya 1:48 kit.
It was an early production M4 Sherman.

The only Tamiya model kit I could get hold of
An impressive kit in a small package

Traditionally, Tamiya produces their military miniature kits in 1:35 scale. This is slightly larger than the 1:48 kits and has more details in terms of the kit's features and armaments.
On the early production Sherman M4, what struck me was an aluminium chassis for the tank. This gives it some heft and what I am not used to seeing: are the plastic tracks for the threads. And this proved to be a real pain to assemble in the later stage.

Initial stages of building the M4 Sherman
Tamiya spray cans: a gift from the Gods!

I used to hand-paint my kits. This requires a lot of thinner to get an even coat on the hull of a tank.
For a finer finish, advanced modellers use the air brush. This is basically a constant pressure of 20 - 30 psi to get an even coat of paint on the surface of the kit. For realistic finishing, airbrushing came highly recommended.
The closest ever I came t airbrushing, was a Testors aerosol air brush kit. Which was a major disaster. Why? Well, if you keep the propellant constantly on, the nozzle will freeze. 
So, the way out of this was the Tamiya spray paint.

Tamiya's spray can for plastic kits
Steady hands for an even coat..

The spray can made life really easy.
A couple of runs and I can see the results. I get the hull sprayed and then worked on the kit's chassis.
Smaller parts are sprayed, then touched-up with a fine modelling brush.

Parts of the turret was touched-up with an acrylic-based paint

The main hull and turret assembly nearing completion
The waiting game..

With the hull assembled, what's left to do, was to work on the chassis and its undercarriage.
This proved to be a pain because there's no supply of Tamiya's XF-1 Flat Black acrylic paint.
To make things worse, there are only two hobby shops in the Klang Valley. The other way out was to risk buying stuff on-line through a store in Skudai, Johor. But that's just too risky for a bottle of paint...

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