Table Ready: M4 Sherman

[This post was originally posted to Otherverse Games & Hobbies as part of a series called Plastic to Painted, or P2P. You may see logos or references to this site and series]


The M4 Sherman, or Medium Tank, M4, saw service from around 1942 to around 1957.  The tank was known for its reliability and relative cheapness to produce, and saw over 49,000 units produced during its lifetime.  The M4 primarily sported a 75mm main gun, with secondary weapons consisting of a .50cal machine gun, and a pair of .30cal machine guns.  Power plants varied between both gasoline and diesel on different tanks,  ranging from the nine-cylinder gasoline Continental R975 radial engine in its early stages, to the Caterpillar D-200A nine-cylinder diesel engine in later models.  The Sherman’s maximum operational range was roughly 150 miles on road and 100 miles cross-country, depending on the variant. 

Along with the aforementioned advantages, variants were another of the M4’s biggest assets.  The M4 chassis spawned numerous variants and would go on to fill several roles including tank hunting duties, acting as self-propelled artillery, and being used in vehicle recovery capacities.  Some even performed extremely unique roles and were part of a grouping known as Hobart’s Funnies.  Named after the commander of the 79th Armored Division, these variants sported mine clearing flails, rocket racks on the turrets, and replaced machine guns with flamethrowers to clear bunkers and other dug-in positions.

I painted these models nearly two decades ago as support for my American rifle company in Flames of War games.  I love infantry, especially infantry models.  Whenever I build an army infantry are my go to for everything.  But I learned very quickly that my infantry anti-tank support in particular, and bazookas weren’t cutting it.  In response I painted both a platoon of M3 Stuart and M4 Sherman tanks.  I tended to field the Shermans more extensively for their heavier firepower, better armor, and overall improved survivability.  Sure they tended to cost more but were well worth the trade off in points.  Similar to their real world counterparts they did well against early and mid war German armor, such as the Panzerkampfwagen III and IV, but suffered against later developed German tanks such as the Panzerkampfwagen V and Tiger series.

Building and Painting

Building and painting the models went super quick.  There were minimal components for each vehicle in the box; there was the main body, turret, tracks, main gun, and then additional pieces that could be applied such as the machine guns, turret hatches, and crew members.  This allowed for just enough variation per vehicle without going over the top.  For painting I began by priming everything black, then I applied a heavy drybrush of Tamiya Acrylic XF-62 on the body, road wheels, turret, and main gun.  I then applied a heavy drybrush of GW Leadbelcher on the tracks, road wheels, and machine guns.  For tools I painted any handles brown (Acrylic XF-10 Flat Brown), the metallic pieces in Leadbelcher, and straps in a slightly different brown shade (Acrylic XF-64 Red Brown).  For any crew members I painted uniforms tan (Acrylic XF-49 Khaki), helmets brown (Acrylic XF-10 Flat Brown), skin in flesh tone (Acrylic XF-15 Flat Flesh), and goggles in Leadbelcher.  This was definitely not one of my better paint jobs and I’ve learned a lot more about the hobby over the years.  At the time I was going through an experimental/Tamiya phase and while they did the job at the time I would eventually move away from that line and more towards GW paints.  But in the end am I still happy with the paint job nearly 20 years later and would field these models?  Absolutely.  And that’s what really matters.

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A New England transplant that originated from parts westward, Ryan is a bit of a nerd that knows a little bit about a lot of things, all while claiming to know nothing about anything.  Seemingly part Khajit a logistician by trade, he’s the kind of guy that can get you virtually anything if there’s coin to be had a problem to solve.  Ryan began to learn the scrounging arts while serving time in parts east as a Loggie and has been perfecting them steadily over several decades.  He has a problem with continually purchasing models, paints, and terrain that he doesn’t really need but his wife doesn’t seem to mind.

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