Tamiya M4A3 after-action report

2015-11-21 Time Log

Total time building 485 hours (that’s about 2.88 24 hour-a-day weeks).

Begin date September 11, 2014; end date November 21, 2015.



Kit #35250 – M4A3 Sherman


Set #2644 – Ford GAA engine and engine bay (out of production) (thank you, eBay!)

Set #283 – Sherman Super Detail set (photoetched accessories)

Tank Workshop

Set #TWS 0023 – Wet Stowage Interior

Tiger Model Direct (TMD)

Set #AR-0370 – Sherman Idler Wheels

Set #35-75015 – Bogie Track Return Skids

Set #35-75008 – Pressed Road Wheels

Set #35-70023 – Tie-Down Cleats, Small

Set #35-75001 – Commander’s Cupola and Hatch, clear

Set #35-75077 – Driver and Co-driver Hatches

Set #35-75043 – Exhaust Outlets

Set #35-75086 – Engine Covers w/Rain Deflectors

Set #35-75044 – Exhaust Deflector

Panda Plastics

Set #T54E1 – Individual track shoes and connectors

Archer Transfers

Set #AR35273 – Pin-Ups

Set #AR35209B – Gauges and Interior Stencils

Set #AR88005 – Resin Weld Beads


Set #LM10022 – Turned Aluminum 75mm Barrel

Set #RB013 – .50 Caliber Barrel, turned brass

Set #RB082 – .30 Caliber Barrels (s), turned brass

Lots of solder, wire, lead foil, paint (five different manufacturers), and sprue

(Don’t ask how much it all cost…)

My opinion

So…if I were to build another M4A3 I would not use Tamiya’s kit as the basis for it. It overlooks some things I don’t think they should have. Minor things like sponson bottoms (really? I find it hard to believe that someone hasn’t mentioned that to them), fins instead of grab handles, etc. The molds are old, having copyright dates from the 1980s. And yes, I get that it’s expensive to retool a model. It’s also expensive to have builders buy other manufacturers’ products, too. Making use of CAD/CAM could replace molds that are thirty years old more effectively, methinks. I can’t speak to the fit of parts with this build because I modified things fairly extensively; most of what’s in this build wasn’t intended to work with everything else in the build.

If I were going to do an M4A3 75(W) again, I’d find another hull as the basis for the build; Dragon and Asuka (formerly Tasca), come to mind. (Do what I should have done before I started, read kit reviews.) The New Tiger Models Direct offers many turrets, with/without loader’s hatch, pistol port, low or high bustle, etc. I think it would be easier than having to rework the Tamiya M4A3.

I hadn’t done a model in 24 years before starting this one. I wanted to brush the rust (okay, corrosion) off my skills and discovered that some of that rust couldn’t be brushed away. 41-year-old eyes worked better and 41-year-old hands were a LOT more steady. (Entropy never sleeps and aging ain’t fer pussies.) But what could be regained has been and although no model I produce will ever be 100% spot on, I’m pleased with the results.

And for 485 hours I managed to stay out of trubble. I think that might be a record for me…

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