Monday, March 25, 2013

M4A3 Dry Stowage (Improvised Assault Tank)

I came across these interesting photos while surfing around on the internet a couple of years ago. I always like them and thought it would be a really Kool build for a why Not!

The photos appear to be an M4 Sherman that has been modified with the addition of armor plates thus making it into an Improvised Assault Tank (IAT).  It is well documented that certain US Armor formation would cut up the hull plate armor of disable tanks, both American or German that could not be repaired and then weld them on serviceable tanks for add protection. The above photos shows additional armor was added to the front glacis plate and transmission cover but what makes this Sherman  unique is the additional armor on the front half of the turret. It would appear that a disabled M4 turret was cut into sections then wielded on to the turret for even better protection. While there are several photographic examples of added armor to the glacis plate these are the only photos I have seen of this type of modification to the turret.

Then in August of 2012 while attending the open house at the VIRGINIA MUSEUM of MILITARY VEHICLES I came across the museum's beautifully restored and running M4A3 dry stowage example. 

Later that afternoon I found the long out of projection MP Models M4/M4A3 conversion kit at one of the vendor tables.  For only five bucks I though it was good price and should work in providing the basic element for an early M4A3 project, so I picked one up.

The concept behind this kit was to provide the model builder the basic parts needed to convert existing kits into examples that where not available in kit form. An excellent idea that I wish current manufactures would follow. After careful inspection however I was unhappy with the level of detail provided by this kit.  The detail was soft and inaccurate in places, also ejector pin markings where badly placed. Lastly the bottom edge of  the rear lower hull plate with the engine access doors was angled and not rounded as is the case with the dry stowage M4A3.

 I chose not to use MP kit on this build and instead to add the conversion details myself.  I decided to combined these two ideas into one over all model project.  While this may not be totally "accurate" I figured it was an excellent way to produce an interesting subject.

Before I begin any new build I like to conduct a "photo analysis" of my primary reference images This method is good for identifying details that I wish to include on the finished model. 

For this build I will need to use a 47 Degree hull will the small driver and assistant driver hatches and  an rear deck for the Ford GAA gasoline engine.  After a quick search through my spare parts bend I discovered there was more then enough parts. No donor kit would be needed and all the parts for this entire build will come from my spares.  An old Tamiya M4 Sherman would supply the 47 degree hull and turret while an even older Dragon Models Imperial Series M4A3E8 kit would provide the engine deck.

After cutting the engine deck from the Dragon M4A3 I then fitted it to the Tamiya M4 hull.  Using the engine deck and rear hull plate as one unit also helped in setting the correct angle of the rear hull plate. The angle of the rear hull plate on the M4 was at 10 degrees where the angle on the M4A3 was at 22 degrees.

That's it for this installment next up I'll tackle closing off the open sponsons, building up and detailing the lower rear hull and mating the upper hull to the lower hull.

Thanks for stopping by!!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Box

Apparently I was a good little boy as Santa (my loving wife that is) brought me a gift I never thought I could possibly get!!

Its called the "Work Box" and is available form the The Original Scrapbox. This thing is beyond Awesomeness!!
And closes up into a rather nice looking piece of furniture when needed...

This is great if you don't have alot room but when opened up all the way still measures around 9 feet in length. Also you will have to put it together...but really if your a model builder then that's not really a problem, is it?  It even comes with a CD that shows you the entire process and took me about six hours over two nights. The only thing I added that was not included was a LCD light just above the work area (not shown).  Lastly this item is not cheap so that should be considered, but I'm totally beyond happy with this Work Box.

Below are some basic stats from the  The Original Scrapbox web page.

Full Dimensions:
Closed - 36" W x 31" D x 72" H
Opened - 108" W x 18" D x 72" H
Table Top - 36" W x 24" D
Included Canvas Tote Sizes:
(3) 6" width x 12" length x 12" high
(16) 12.25" width x 12.25" length x 3" high
(10) 12.25" width x 12.25" length x 5.5" high
(30) 3" width x 12" length x 3" high
(22) 5.5" width x 12" length x 4.5" high
Total: 81
Included Clear Zipper Pouch Sizes:
(2) 13" x 13" Large
(6) 13" x 6" Medium
(12) 6" x 6" Small
Total: 20