The Pacific campaign of World War II is well documented in book, films, documentaries and models and has always been of interest to me as a subject for scale modelling.
After reading ‘With the Old Breed by EB Sledge I was in awe of just how gruelling and arduous the Pacific campaign was for the men of the fighting on the island beaches or in the jungle on the ground against a fanatical enemy. I had long wanted to compose a vignette or diorama with such a scene in mind and I wanted it to centre around a USMC Sherman.
When I came into possession of Academy’s old 1/35 M4A2 Sherman “U.S. Marines” kit I did a little research and soon learnt that the USMC modified their tanks for wading in jungle and applied a lot of improvised armour to their tanks. Many M4’s being up armoured with wood planking, sheet steel and old track links. This gave me a little room for artistic license and idea’s began to form.
This old Academy kit is pretty basic by todays modern manufacturing standards, but it still builds up well and a fine replica of the M4A2 Sherman can be produced. I searched through many photo’s of M4 Shermans in the Pacific and these are the ones that influenced me most:
I had the decals in my kit to produce “Nitemare II” as seen above so I chose to go with that option and I decided that I would place my Sherman on the beach in its finished setting.
Assembly of the hull, running gear and turret were all straight forward and the only modification was the wading gear.
I decided to cut down the wading kit stacks and fit the later reduced height version, some simple cutting and some photo-etched mesh from the spares box produced a satisfactory result.
The paint job was a simple one- I airbrushed the hull with lightened Tamiya O/D Green acrylics and used Gunze Dark Earth for the wood panels. The tracks were given an initial coat of metallic grey to prime them for weathering.
The fun bit! Weathering! For this project I really wanted to push the boat out with the weather beaten finish and produce a Sherman that literally looked like its been to hell and back!
The withering process was a s follows:
- Black and Brown Mig Ammo enamel wash over the model to highlight details.
- Dry-brushed metallic grey paint to edges of hatches and ride details.
- Sand pigment applied to the wheels and running gear.
- Tamiya weathering master dust applied to the rest of the vehicle.
Here is how the model looked after weathering:
Setting a scene and figuring it out……….
I purchased a good set of USMC tank crew figures and set out to improve on my figure painting skills. To be honest this is a modelling skill I struggle with so with each new figure project I strive to improve on the last one. I have begun using acrylic glazes to paint figures and I seem to be getting better results with this method. Here are the tank crew after painting:
The Beach: Now I had a vision in my minds eye of how I wanted to portray this scene I set about carving a foam display base and collecting materials for groundwork. I also took the opportunity to add a little stowage to the Sherman to provide more detail.
With a mixture of forest terrain, sand terrain paste and cut down palm trees I produced a somewhat desolate setting for our tank and her crew. I wanted to create the atmosphere of our tank crew finally coming to a stop after hours of fighting to take a beachhead and opening the hatches to look out and find…..
“There is nothing left……”
I hope you have enjoyed this vignette and hopefully it may have provide you with some inspiration to try something like this yourself. Until next time, take care and Happy Modelling!