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 Sherman...so why Not!
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!!