Once the Bottom and sides were detailed it was time to mount the M3’s VVSS suspension. For the suspension I used the functional Resin M3 VVSS suspension system that I already had developed. Unlike the Shermans VVSS the M3’s, (which were evolved from the M2’s) were lighter than the sets for developed for the Shermans. Because the suspension is functional when the model is placed on uneven terrain the suspension will contour and flex with the terrain giving for a very realistic feel. In addition to the VVSS suspension I had to tool up the early open spoke Idler wheels. Once the molds and castings were created they were mounted to a set of my resin M4 series idler mounts. As with my other builds I used my lock pin system which keeps the wheels secured to the model, but allows the wheels to spin freely. To mount the model’s sprockets were a little more complicated and required more work. First the tank’s molded in 3 piece transmission cover needed to be reworked, etch lines, and fasteners were added to the flanges, tow eyelets were added to the outer two units, mounting blisters were added to the transmission top corners, and an allover cast texture and cast numbers was added to the entire housing. Completing the cover was the addition of two Panzerwerk.com M4 series final drives. The kit supplies you with a set of very nice ABS early open spoke VVSS sprockets. To mount the sprockets to the panzerwerk final drives I had to turn away a recess in the rear portion of the sprockets, which was facilitated with a lathe. After the sprockets were mounted I turned my attention to the tank’s rear wall. I started with the fabrication of the engine hatch. While I was tooling up the masters for the engine hatch I wanted to add the interior hatch detail. Even though I will not be building an interior on this model I wanted to add the detail to the hatches in case I was to build an interior model in the future. To aid with the interior detailing of the engine hatch I was able to freeze and capture a scene from Sahara where Bogie and another cast member are working on the engine. Once the hatches were added the rest of the rear details (air filter canisters, exhausts) were added. I went with the M3 with the air filter and overhead exhaust manifold upgrade. This was done because I already had these components on hand from a previous M4 Sherman build and it offered the most detail for the model while saving tooling time. Once the entire lower chassis was completed it was time to move up to the tank’s superstructure. I first started with the rear portion, adding the correct number and size of rivets, tail lights and fabricating the tank’s sheet steel “claw” style rear mud flaps. Adding the engine deck tool posts, functional fuel cap covers, functional rear storage boxes, and engine cooling grill were also details that were added. Like the mud flaps the boxes and the cooling grill were all fabricated out of sheet steel that was soldered together. Once these details were added the entire model’s hull was riveted, Great care was given to the number and spacing of the rivets so that the correct number and sizing was used. It was a repetitive, but therapeutic procedure that once complete really made the model pop, and on this vehicle the rivets are what gives this model’s it’s true character.
Copyright ©2020 by John Grima. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. The views and opinions expressed herein are solely the views and opinions of the authors and/or contributors to this Web site and do not necessarily represent the views and/or opinions of AeroScale, KitMaker Network, or Silver Star Enterrpises. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved. Originally published on: 2013-04-11 15:54:48. Unique Reads: 20245