M4A3 (Tamiya) Build #25 – Final Painting Begins

A long-term project is interesting. When I start I don’t really think much about the end. That’s not to say that I don’t have a direction, intention, and goal, because I do. But I don’t think about its completion because with something long-term, if I spend too much time thinking about the finish I can overwhelm myself with all that needs to be done, and really…during the project, I’m not at the finish. I focus on whichever step towards completion I’m presently working on. I figure if I do that, the finish will mostly attend to itself.

And then one day I realize, sacred excrement! I’m almost FINISHED! That awareness always seems so sudden. Well…


When using an airbrush, the force of the air coming out of the brush can blow small items off the bench. My way around that is to use double-sided tape to hold the piece in place, in this case it’s the loader’s hatch because I need to paint the pad on the underside of the hatch:

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The blue masking tape works very well if I’m painting a room. IT ABSOLUTELY SUCKS FOR MODELING! To paint the rubber sections of the tracks (rubber black again), I had to mask off everything else. Well. There are about five hours invested in just getting the intercoursing tracks masked. No, I didn’t think it was particularly complex to mask because it shouldn’t be. However…the fornicating, sodomizing, tape refused to stick to anything other than what I did not want it to stick to. I spent hours pressing the tape back down. Hours. And even then, once I had the track paint mixed, again I had to press the tape back down. But I persevered and got them painted:

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Below you will see two end connectors that I did not want the tape to stick to. This time the tape really stuck and when I gently pulled the tape off, I gently pulled the end connectors off, too. Not an insurmountable problem, but annoying anyway:

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The underside of the hull, exhaust ducts, and areas where the sponsons meet the hull were painted flat black. Later I will mist Tamiya’s XF-62 Olive Drab over these areas:

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Areas that I want to appear darker were then hit with Olive Drab:

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I’ve discovered a fool-proof way to discover which small detail parts you still need to add. Paint the area where they need to go first. Shortly after you do, you’ll remember what you still need to add. In this case it was the commander’s gunsight (in front of his hatch opening) and the travel lock for the .50 caliber (1.27mm) (behind the roof vent). They’re easy to spot; they’re not painted:

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Since I’m going to have to paint pretty much everything else with my custom mixed Olive Drab, I’ll hit those brass parts, too. Before I do that, I need to fill in the small bubbles that were left in the puttied co-driver’s hatch area that I didn’t see until I had it in primer:

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With that taken care of, I misted the custom Olive Drab onto the bottom, the sponsons, and the back:

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To keep from handling paint before it’s set, I mounted the small parts on the (INTERCOURSING) blue tape instead of the double-sided tape. I did the loader’s hatch with the double-sided tape because the Olive Drab has had months to cure and I wasn’t worried about leaving paint behind when I removed it. Such won’t be the case this time. And since the SODDING blue tape has (repeatedly) shown it doesn’t hold firmly, that will make getting the freshly painted parts off, reversed, and the other sides painted easier. Because I wasn’t going to be able to handle things, yet I would still need to move them so I could get complete paint coverage, I painted them on a turntable:

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For all the difficulties and problems I encountered in this build, right now is the biggest problem. Leaving things alone until the paint cures! Because with a few minor exceptions (machine gun barrels, for example), the next step is to assemble all the parts:

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