M4A1 75mm Gun Combat Tank with Applique Armor

Formations Models #F015 M4A1 (75) Sherman with Applique Armor
and Italeri #225 M4A1 (76) Sherman model kits

Copyright (C) 2004 & 2014 Jim Lewis/GunTruck Studios
All Rights Reserved Worldwide

Page Two


Awards & Honors

Not needing to be overly concerned with neatness, I applied the Apoxie Sculpt generously to the seams underneath the sponsons. I had plenty of time to work with it, so speed wasn't a great concern either. I let the Apoxie putty setup for a few minutes and then smoothed out the excess with a wet finger.

I left the model alone for about an hour and then smoothed out the area some more with a medium grade sanding stick to the finish in the photo at right.

I don't mean to rave about either the Formations Model product or Apoxie Sculpt too much - but - I enjoyed working with both on this project quite a bit. I experienced no problem to complain about, and that's pretty remarkable for the first time using a new product.

After working and sanding the Apoxie Sculpt so fast, I left it alone to dry overnight - hoping that I didn't mess up by being too eager to work with it. To my relief, I discovered it setup fine the next day. I can honestly recommend Apoxie Sculpt to novice modelers used to working with 2-part putty systems.

Formations Models Horizontal Return Roller Bracket Suspension

Quite pleased with how quickly and cleanly this conversion project was going, I moved into putting together the all-important bogie truck subassemblies. I still hadn't permanently joined the two hull halves so that I could continue handling the model during construction. In retrospect, they fit together so snugly (no tape needed to keep them together once the Transmission Cover was glued into place) that I didn't need to be so cautious.

Formations Models provides the bogie trucks in single pieces - welcomed by me - with very nice detail present. These were the only pieces in my conversion set where I can say I spent a fair amount of time in cleanup. Formations' casting is complex and the cleanup of flash is minor. Dimples are present representing the mounting points for the return rollers on the opposite of the bogie truck - I enhanced these bolt holes a little more with a few twists of my pin vise. In cleaning up the return rollers, it is easy to sand them out of round profile. Proceed slowly. The return rollers in my conversion set were out of round, and I did spend time to get them back into shape.

It might have been more expedient to cut them away and use Italeri rollers instead. I really appreciated the two piece suspension parts provided by Formations - but - I wouldn't have minded getting the return rollers separately. Three pieces to put together wouldn't have been bad at all!

Deviating from the suggested Formations instructions meant that I did not trap my Road Wheels/Arms inside the bogie trucks. This allowed me to paint them separately and then attach later. To allow the Road Wheels/Arms to rock like in the original Italeri kit, I inserted a length of Evergreen styrene rod (#232 .080" Rod) to replace the pins in the Italeri parts. The new rod sits in the cup underneath the Italeri Volute Spring (Italeri Part #B3) and is easy to drop into place during the end assembly before mounting the track runs. Formations Models resin Track Skids are thin and pleasing to the eye - and they provide a couple extras in case you slip-up during removal from the pour gates. Slipping them into place neatly wrapped up modeling the suspension. Of course, the Italeri "rocking" motion isn't strictly accurate, the arms on the real examples move independently, dampened by one of the vertical volute springs. You could go all the way here and use AFV Club's suspension arms to post your tank treads in action. I was thrilled with my kit and didn't feel the urge to go that far.

Before closing up the Hull, I painted the insides of the rear hull underside as well as the tops of the Air Cleaners and Engine Deck Screen to make sure I got adequate paint coverage on the dissimilar parts. I made the Engine Deck Screen by first cutting a pattern out of 3M Post-it Notes paper and then used that to trim out brass micromesh sold by Scale Scenics (#652-3501).

Formations M4A1 Hull with Applique Armor - Hull Fittings & Little Bits

Take your time - again - in separating the thin Fenders from the resin pour gates and carefully remove the resin flash. I test fit mine several times to the Hull to make sure what I was removing in cleanup was indeed what I was supposed to be removing.

Formations Models' conversion kit provides you a nice length of wire to model the Latch Pins for the Armored Fuel Caps (Parts #B1). I opted to use .015" solder instead because I had a #80 pin vise drill bit handy. Removing the Armored Fuel Caps from the resin pour gate wasn't as tricky as I thought it might prove - but Formations provides extras in case you mess up along the way. You only need five for this conversion.

High on the "cool factor" chart, Formations also provides you an option to attach the infamous "Comb Device" (Part #G8) to your model's Transmission Cover. You know I couldn't resist! I highly recommend cleaning up the delicate "Comb Device" while still attached to the resin pour gate - and to trim it away carefully afterwards. I launched mine high into the stratosphere and fortunately rescued the piece in the nick of time before it was lost to the Carpet Monster forever.

I cleaned up all the Lift Rings and Tow Clevises while still on the resin pour gates successfully before trimming them away. I drilled out the end of the .30cal bow Machine Gun Barrel with a #80 bit and then with the point of my X-Acto Blade. I opened up the Machine Gun's mount (Formations Part #E6) and Italeri's Armored Cap with a 1/16" drill bit to accept the Formations .30cal Machine Gun Barrel cleanly. Keeping the 1/16" drill bit out, I also cleaned out the resin flash on the delicate Tow Cable Clamps (Parts #K4) and inserted the Tow Cable Eyes (Parts #F4) to make sure they slid in and out easily.

I cleaned up a little resin flash from the Headlights (Parts #F5) with a couple of twists with a 1/8" drill bit. Formations Models conversion kit includes two MV Products Lenses for inserting into the Headlights in the end assembly. Very nice touch! With the Tail Lights (Parts #K2) Formations instructs you to remove the bottom mounting portion cast into these parts.

Unfortunately, I trimmed too much away and didn't feel comfortable with the result. I super-glued short lengths of scrap styrene .040" rod to the Tail Light post and drilled corresponding holes where they'd eventually locate on the Upper Hull. These were easy to insert in the end assembly and set to an acceptable height. The Siren/Horn (Part #G2) is cast on the round end of the back. Trimming it away from the resin pour gate created an undesirable flat spot. I filled this spot with a good sized drop of super glue, dropped a spot of accelerator on the super glue, and then carefully spun the Siren/Horn between my fingers against a sanding stick to restore the blunt, rounded profile. I sat back and called it a day.

All content Copyright (C) 1998 - 2019 Jim Lewis, guntruck.com, guntruck.us, guntruck.org, guntruck.net and GunTruck Studios.
All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

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