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USMC M4A2 Sherman "Colorado", 3rd Platoon, C Company, 1st Corps Tank Battalion (Medium), Tarawa 1943


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I just realized that this GB does have very little in the way of ground equipment. Time to help rectify that! In 2007 when on a business trip to York, UK, I purchased the Dragon M4A2 Tarawa-boxing at the local hobby shop.

 

dml_35_tarawa_6062_a.jpg

 

On this site one can find very interesting info on the invasion of Tarawa, including photos of the Sherman tanks.

 

http://tarawaontheweb.org

 

 

The photos of Colorado below were taken from the "Tarawa on the Web"- website.

 

colo.jpg

 

colo2.jpg

 

colo3.jpg

 

colorado4.jpg

 

colo5.jpg

 

Colorado was early in the fighting hit by a Japanese 75mm shell. Later on Colorado was the victim of a molotov-cocktail which set the tank on fire. The crew drove the tank back into the surf and by doing so, extinguished the fire. Maybe surprisingly enough, Colorado was together with China Gal one of the 2 only serviceable tanks of C-Company after the fighting.

 

What is easily seen is that the headlights were not fitted and that the framing of the right headlight was completely deformed. Also, on the color stills (from a USMC-film) the rearing elephant of the 1st Corps Batallion looks to be yellow, not gray as on Dragon's decal sheet. The colors don't look to be that accurate in those stills, though... But that would mean that the names maybe weren't yellow either, but gray or off-white... If someone knows the "definite" answer, please let me know. I'm afraid it'll be like those RLM 76 discussions amongst Luftwaffe builders, though... ;)

 

That's it for now, since this first installment is written at work during the night shift. After grabbing some sleep I hope to be back with an update!

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I've booked some nice progress with the lower hull and fittings. Alas, I haven't had the chance to take some pictures yet, hopefully tomorrow.

 

In the mean time; if you're interested you could have a look at these on-line build articles:

 

http://paulbudzik.com/tools-techniques/M4A2/Dragon_M4A2.html

 

http://www.militarymodelling.com/news/article.asp?a=3242

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:omg: He posts an update to his Work In Progress!!!

 

I've kept myself busy with the lower hull and the wheels. The six attachment points for the bogies are made up of two parts each. The parts did have some play when installing but it looks as if all will line up nicely. After attaching the rear plate there remained a curious triangular gap visible. This had me worried initially.

 

M4A2TarawaWIP-3.jpg

 

A second (well more like an eighth look...) showed that the triangle was the locator for the attachment point for the idler wheel. Keep in mind that part A54 is actually A55 and vice versa. No problem, really, but annoying if you are building up the right side and you have a part for the left side in your hands... The seams are a bit rough aren't they? They won't do as they are now....

 

M4A2TarawaWIP-4.jpg

 

M4A2TarawaWIP-5.jpg

 

Also, keep in mind that both track tensioners are A49 but they are handed! The bolts on the backside should be on the lower backside.

 

M4A2TarawaWIP-10.jpg

 

When assembling the transmission cover parts, you have to attach the two front side panels too. If you choose to first attach them to the lower hull, you will end up with gaps at the front. That is because the lower side of the transmission panel is slightly too long. I glued the panels first into the transmission The fit of the side panels isn't the best I've ever seen either. Slight gaps remain.

 

M4A2TarawaWIP-6.jpg

 

To get it to fit; the lower side has to be sanded somewhat shorter.

 

M4A2TarawaWIP-7.jpg

 

Keep sanding and dry-fitting. As you can see I really seam ( ;) ) to have stopped somewhat too soon. You can still see some light peeping through the seam...

Edit: after downsizing the pic (for your most comfortable LSM-experience! ;) ) the light peeping in really isn't visible anymore. In real life it is however. The light leakage you see is actually a small gap in the first bogie attachment point. 

 

M4A2TarawaWIP-8.jpg

 

As for the wheels; the running wheels and the idlers are slightly conical. I presume to make it easier to get the parts from the mould. With a rough sanding stick I abused the running surfaces to give the wheels a lived-in look. Doing that I have tried to make the wheels less obvious conical. I'm still in doubt if I have to take chunks off the rubber tires of the running wheels. They were doubtlessly somewhat worn as the troops had trained with the tanks but on the other hand, they were fairly new delivered from Fisher. Also, don't forget that the idler wheel didn't have a rubber tire but was all metal.

 

M4A2TarawaWIP-1.jpg

 

The sprockets are made up of four parts each. I just hope they will be strong enough when I tension the DS tracks... Look at the "nice" sprue attachment points of the hub/axle part. Be careful cleaning up that part! Also, don't forget to scrape sand away the slight punch marks on the inner faces of the sprocket. Nothing is more annoying than having finished a great model and having an overlooked punch mark laughing you in the face!

 

M4A2TarawaWIP-2.jpg

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