M4A3E8 lower hull and suspension, Extratech
upper hull with cast resin turrets.
For years I’ve been seeing models of Paper Panzers, and have
even built one myself; so why not a Paper Sherman, one of the most
common and important AFVs of the 2nd World War?
ago when I built the Eduard M10 tank Destroyer kit I noticed the
extra upper hull included with the kit and first got my idea of
a modernized what-if Sherman hull with sloped armor on all sides,
along with an up-gunned turret. For the project I had to wait for
decent HVSS bogies and track to be produced. A great thing about
a theoretical AFV is that you get to detail and paint it however
you wish and no one can tell you its wrong; you can produce a model
that is more truly yours!
with the welded and well sloped M10 hull I opted for the late Sherman
HVSS suspension bogies and wide track. Then, I had to decide on
a turret and armament, something more powerful than the 76-mm M1
started with the lower UM hull (above) from UniModel’s M4A3E8(105)
kit. I already have the better Dragon (DML) version of this tank,
so did not mind sacrificing the UM model up for parts. In hindsight
I wish I’d used the DML or Trumpeter M4A3E8 suspension bogies
as they have better fit and are easier to work with.
are the assembled HVSS bogies. The center horizontal spring assembly
parts were difficult to fit and several are uneven. The small return
rollers above and behind the bogies were a difficult fit. A horizontal
white styrene strip is installed behind the differential cover to
support the Eduard kit M10 upper hull.
areas of the side hull have been blocked off and a strip of differential
housing bolts taken from a DML kit installed. The UM kit relies
on an etched brass strip to represent the bolts holding the differential
housing on, and the bolts on the Eduard M10 hull are not as realistic.
The track is installed and represents the all steel T-80 track for
the HVSS suspension. When assembling the UM sprocket wheels halves
I found the teeth did not align, so I had to cut the sprocket wheel
apart and align the halves by eye. The track links were a little
too short and did not fit well in the sprocket teeth.
view of the underside shows the exhaust deflector at the rear; the
deflector prevents us from viewing the diesel exhaust pipes. What’s
most important in this photo is that it shows the small blocks of
styrene on each side of the HVSS bodies to support and keep them
straight. The attachment points for the UM kit bogies are so small
and the bogies so wobbly I felt I had to do this. This is not an
issue with the Trumpeter HVSS bogies I have also used.
this stage we have the Eduard model's upper M10 hull test fitted.
The engine deck is for the diesel-engine tank. The upper hull will
not be affixed to the lower hull until after initial painting. Notice
that the turret ring of the Eduard M10 hull has been reduced in
diameter to accommodate the turrets I plan on using.
and additions to the hull included bullet deflector strips around
the hatches and fuel caps like on the Sherman hulls, driver hatches
and gun travel lock from a DML M4A3 kit, and scratchbuilt lifting
rings fore and aft. A fabricated bow machine gun mount was made
using styrene tube. To replicate weld seams along the armor plates
I scribed grooves and superglued in thin polyester thread pre-stiffened
with white glue. The twisted thread resembles an in-scale weld bead.
rear view shows the tools mounted on the rear of the hull. Most
of the tools are extra from DML kits. Note also the armored antenna
pot on the right side by the co-driver's hatch.
When it came to turrets I was torn between which one to use and
the armament. I finally decided on two turrets from extras I had,
mounting two different guns hypothetically used by my late war Sherman
variant of the 1947-1948 period to combat those paper E50 and E75s:
one armed with a British 17-Pounder for a tank killer Sherman, and
one armed with a 90-mm gun all-round gun.
had an old LEVA
Productions T23 turret that has some nice features but suffers
from being too squat, too low. Mating this to an extra T23 turret
bottom from a DML kit would fix the problem of being too low and
create an extra large turret, perfect for a turret armed with a
90-mm gun. The turret has the new-Sherman all-round vision commander’s
cupola, but the old split-hatch loader’s hatch; a larger hatch
was needed because of the larger breach and recoil of the 90-mm
or 17-Pounder gun.
is a rough mating of the LEVA T23 turret to the DML part which has
been sanded and cut down some to mate with the resin turret. Yes,
I know the loader’s is the older style split hatch, but my
excuse for using it is that the large breach of the 90-mm gun necessitated
the larger hatch.
turret parts are attached with super glue gel and filled with Squadron
green putty. After sanding smooth, everything will be blended in
together with Mr. Surfacer 500. At right I have mated a 90-mm gun
barrel to a scratchbuilt gun mantlet based on my imagination. The
gun barrel is from a Trumpeter M26A1 kit and has a bore evacuator
near the muzzle break.
turrets to be used are assembled except for fine detail parts. The
turret mounted on the tank is the LEVA-DML turret coated with Mr.
Surfacer 500 primer which also replicates a cast texture. On the
turret bustle is a storage bin and box.
lower left is my second turret which is a resin copy I made of the
venerable though imperfect Revell M4A1(76) kit turret many years
ago. This turret will mount the 17-Pounder gun. The turret has the
same type of hatches as the LEVA turret but different proportions.
Large casting numbers have been added to its right side behind spare
track links. Angle brackets have been added to the turret rear for
storing items such as the 50-caliber machine guns.
the lower left corner of the rear plate we see a small white box
which represents a telephone box for outside infantry to talk to
the crew inside. Tools and fitting locations are generally based
on the M10 Tank Destroyer. On the turret we can see some casting
numbers: sprue part numbers sliced off and attached with white glue.
Yes, I know the number 2 is crooked and they are overlarge.
resin-copy Revell T23 turret mounted on the hull with a 17-Pounder
gun barrel taken from a UM kit. From this view and with this turret
and gun I think this is a good looking and imposing tank.
modified LEVA turret and 90-mm main gun test fit on the hull.
is a close-up of my M4A7E8 showing the etched brass headlight guards
and the differential housing coated in Mr Surfacer 500 to replicate
a cast texture. A tow cable made from fine string coated in white
glue; the front end of the tow cable will be affixed to the nose
after the top and bottom halves have been glued together.
weather-cover around the mantlet has been replicated with tissue
soaked in white glue. This canvas cover around the mantlet and attached
to the turret was seen on late and post war Shermans and Pershing
The rear of the tank prior to painting shows the M4A3-like exhaust
deflector, infantry telephone box, the handtools and the fuel cap
guards made with white strip styrene.
M4A7E8 with the 17-Pounder main gun & Revell turret: The Model
Master acrylic olive-drab basecoat has been applied with soft edge
camouflage stripes of dark gray to represent the OD and black camouflage
scheme common to Europe in 1945. Gloss acrylic has then been brushed
on in preparation for decal markings. Highlighting is with Tamiya
Weathering Master which is essentially woman's cake makeup and applied
with a foam applicator.
After the decal markings, an acrylic dullcote is applied and the
paint pigment applied both wet and dry. When the wet pigment is
applied wet, it adheres better and then can be brushed out with
a stiff paintbrush.
The completed M4A7E8 here mounting the Revell turret and 17-Pdr
gun mounted on a base to represent a city street. A US Infantry
figure is for scale.
completed M4A7E8 here mounting the modified LEVA turret and 90-mm
main gun. My personal preference is for the larger turret with the
I regret and admit that the heavy mud in the track covers lousy
fit of the track links on the sprocket wheel. Individual track
links have their place in some models but on a Sherman good band
tracks, like Dragon produces, are my preference in this scale.
The UniModel tracks here did not fit together well and are too
thin for accurate T-80 track. Studying the photo, I also see that
I have not yet painted in the headlight lenses.
I am glad I finally did this pet project, though it did not come
out as fine as I hoped it would. A large part of my disappointment
in the final model is my choice of using the UM kit lower hull
and HVSS suspension and the LEVA and Revell turrets; I should
have used the Trumpeter or Dragon M4A3E8 donor kit for parts but
was too cheap. :-)