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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Bolt Action - Building and Painting USMC Shermans

Hey guys, Tobu here and speaking of TANK BATTLES I’ve got some pics of a couple Shermans I finished recently for my Marines. I wasn’t originally planning on making a guide when I was building and painting these, but hopefully the pics I took along the way are enough to get an idea of what went on!

I have always loved the look of USMC tanks – makeshift camouflage and armour, weighed down with stowage and fitted-out with wading kits for amphibious landings. So, I thought it time to make some of my own.

Sherman #1

I began with a Warlord M4A3 Sherman which I had previously purchased and painted up for my ‘Battle of the Bulge’ themed US Army (my first foray into Bolt Action!). I had never really been happy with the paint job I gave it, so thought that I would start over. Also, it gave me an excuse to convert the main gun to a 105mm howitzer (‘cause, you know, howitzers and stuff).

I wanted to up-armour this Sherman. I started off with wooden armour on the sides made from popsicle sticks, but after I had finished this I felt it needed something more. This was a 105mm close-support Sherman that would be taking a beating and I imagined that the tank crew, on that long ship journey to the Pacific Theatre, would have been thinking long and hard about how to add any extra protection they could get their hands on. So, I cobbled up some side skirts out of some square bases I had lying around (from the Perry Desert Rats kit). I cut the skirts to shape using a hobby saw. To finish off the look I (tediously…) added rivets, cut from thin cylindrical plasticard. The 105 itself was simply a piece of plasticard pipe.  

I added some stowage from the Warlord USMC plastic kit and some wooden crates and bags that came from a stowage set for the 28mm Wild West game ‘Dead Man’s Hand’. 
Sherman #2

The second Sherman came from JTFM via Patch. To add some salty Marine flavour I added a Company B Wading Kit as well as some sandbags and stowage from the JTFM ‘Allied accessory pack’.
The tanks were undercoated with Vallejo US Olive Drab Surface Primer (73608) via airbrush.

Now, I wanted to get a cool camouflage pattern going, so I decided to try the ‘Blu-tack technique’. Basically, you cover painted areas with blu-tack (or similar) and then spray over the model with a different colour – when you peel the blu-tack off you have preserved some of the original colour underneath. You can do this with spray cans, but I used an airbrush. I was planning on a three-colour camouflage pattern and the airbrush meant that I didn’t need to do the blu-tacking in two stages. This is because the airbush is controllable enough (even in my reasonably clumsy hands) to spray in between two strips of blu-tack. The first colour I applied was Desert Tan (122), followed by Mud Brown (037).

I kind of messed up though. I decided to highlight with the blu-tack still in place. This meant that when I peeled it away I was left with stripey ‘borders’ between the base colour and the highlight. I debated starting over, but figured that it kind of just looked like an additional colour in the camouflage scheme so just let it be the end. Highlights were done by adding Sand (075) to the Tan and Brown base colours above in two stages. Green highlights were done with US Grey Light (045) mixed with a tiny bit of the US Olive Drab primer that was used for the undercoat.  Highlights were also done with an airbrush, but you could do this by hand if you had the patience.

On to painting the stowage now, and anything green was painted with Vallejo Brown Violet (887). Wooden parts were painted Flat Earth (983). Metal parts and the tanks’ tracks were base-coated German Camo Black Brown (822). The Sandbags got a coat of Green Ochre (914). I then painted a watered-down wash into the crevices of the tanks with Army Painter Strong Tone wash. Scratches were painted on the chassis with Dark Grey (994).
Give the stowage and tracks a wash with Army Painter Strong Tone wash and then reapply the stowage colours above, sticking to the raised areas. Highlight the scratches at the bottom of each scratch with USAF Light Grey (121). Mix up a paste of Vallejo Natural Umber pigment with some Vallejo Pigment Binder and apply generously to the tracks.
Add some Iraqui Sand (819) to your Green Ochre (914) and Flat Earth (983) in a couple of stages to highlight the wooden parts and the sandbags. Highlight the green stowage with Khaki (988). The metal parts are highlighted by gradually adding US Blue Grey (114) to the base coat of German Camo Black Brown (822).
I added a ‘bird’s nest’ anti-Japanese-trap-thingy to the top of Sherman #2 for some more Marine Flavour. It was made by wrapping Gale Force 9 barbed wire around a thick paint brush. I then glued a few brass rods to the inside of this and stuck it on top of the hatch (painted using the method for metal parts above). I superglue'd some rope made from sewing thread across the stowage to make it look like it was strapped down. Lights and glass, plus some of the tarpaulins were painted with the glass and ‘camo helmet cover’ schemes respectively – covered in my earlier USMC infantry painting guide. A second layer of pigment, using Vallejo Light Sienna was applied to parts of the tracks and hull. Finally, I painted on the Allied Star markings, as well as a few little phrases (painted because try as I might I can’t use transfers…).
Hope you enjoyed, and please share your Tank-related Tips and Tricks on the forum!

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