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Sunday, 25 January 2015

Ace in the hole! US Marine Sherman

Hi Everyone, my latest piece is a USMC Sherman named Colorado, and is based on a vehicle that fought in the Battle of Tarawa, and today I'll talk a little bit of history, and how I built the model. 

For this build I had to make a few compromises, as no one makes the M4A2 variant used by the Marines (To my knowledge), and due to time constraints I was restricted in how much work I could do to modify an existing kit. As such I decided to use Warlords plastic M4 model, and remove the applique armour, partly as it was simple, and partly because it was a good excuse to add the plastic Sherman to my collection!

I picked Colorado as my subject as she had a particularly interesting history, landing on Red Beach 3 at Tarawa she was hit by an Anti Tank gun, but continued to operate, and even caught fire at one point. Never the less, she continued to function and by the end of the first day was the only functional tank of the 4 vehicles in 3rd platoon. More info about the Battle of Tarawa and the Shermans that took part can be read here at Tarawa on the web

The kit couldn't be simpler to build, and I left the .50 cal machine gun off as the real vehicle didn't carry one, and also added an  aerial from jewelers wire. 

I've left the hatches open as at some stage I'll have a commander peeking out. I completely assembled the model prior to painting, however left off the tracks and suspension until after painting was done. 

 To remove the armour plates on the sides of the hull and turret I used a fine razor saw to carefully trim them away, then sanded the area smooth with increasingly fine grades of sandpaper.

 To paint Colorado I first gave an overall coat of grey auto primer then left the model to dry for 24 hours. Once the primer had hardened I sprayed Vallejo 896 Extra Dark Green into all the areas of shadow and recess. After this I then sprayed 887 Brown Violet over the entire tank. On top of this I sprayed 886 Green Grey over the upper areas of armour plate, and also all the upper surfaces. I then mixed increasing amounts of white paint into the green grey and misted these onto the upper areas of plates and details to really make them stand out.

After giving the model a couple of hours to dry I Mixed up a glaze with Pledge multisurface floor wax and brown violet and misted this lightly onto the tank to tone down the highlights and key all the colours in. The model was again put aside to dry for a few hours.

At this stage I used a sponge dipped in some gun metal paint to apply chipping to areas of wear and tear, and painted the elephant logo and name of the vehicle on the side of the hull. Despite the pounding Colorado received the photo's don't show an massive amount of wear and tear, surprisingly, so I kept mine relatively clean, just a bit dirty and chipped. 

The tank was now ready for weathering, so I applied some very thin Burnt Umber Oil Paint into the recesses of the tank, and the next day used Vallejo 217 Desert Sand texture paint to add the dirt and grime, by painting it on fairly thickly then quickly whiping it away again to leave streaks of dirt on the areas of most wear. At this stage the tank was done!

As always more of my work can be seen here at Volley Fire Painting. Next time I'll aim to get my next squad done, and I'll talk about my squad weapons selections! 


  1. Nice job, i always find it fun to try and fluff out the elements of your army.
    My upcoming US Airbrone force includes an m18 Hellcat of the 705th tank destroyer battalion. But i am miles from the research on it, let alone figuring out how to paint it!.
    Keep up the good work

  2. Thanks! I think the research adds so much more to it. Once you do a bit of reading it makes you want to learn the rest of the history of the force, and gets addictive!

  3. Turned out great Andy! The weathering looks spot on - really has a "Jungle" feel about it.

    1. Thanks Kevin! I'm extremely pleased with it, I do love me a Sherman though!