Armor / RC

Detailing and painting the 1/16 Tamiya M4 Sherman, a guide for newcomers

by Mario Covalski © 2006

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Within the world of scale models, some aspects meet up at a certain point. This is quite evident with the RC tanks, when the toy melts into the scale model to get something that takes in all the aspects of the real vehicle, movements, sounds….and its exterior graceful lines, of course. Tamiya offer several models of tanks in 1/16 scale, some of them were modified and improved along the years, changing the gear cases, electronics, and also its look, featuring better detailed parts.


This is the case of the M4 Sherman, a kit that was released first, in 1976, it was the RT 1601, and I had the good luck to build it around 20 years ago.
In spite that I have also built the Pershing, I chose the Sherman to write this article, since this scale model shows too many lacks, especially with respect to its exterior, and this note aims particularly at giving a guide to the less experienced newcomers to the activity of RC tanks models, who have almost no experience in the addition of details and painting job.

The kit

We’re speaking about the full option Tamiya 56014 kit featuring all the electronics (T-05, MF-02…etc), engines, lights, the gun’s flash, the sound…etc. I’ll not expand on the kit’s description about its quality or defects since this is not the target. Just let me make a single comment: this kit was manufactured taking as starting point the old RT1601, released 30 years ago (which I spoke about beforehand) and the plastic material, that is nearly the same Tamiya provided in those days.

Broadly speaking, we meet with a good base for a scale model, dimensionally correct, lacking of many details and supplying other that leave much to be desired. There were some changes: a new 12,7 mm gun (like the Pershing’s), some accessories (also like the Pershing’s), but the hull and the turret suffered no modifications except for the loader’s hatch which was opened

During the WWII more than 55.000 Sherman(s) were manufactured, but Tamiya had to choose a M4 with a 105mm gun, a vehicle that was not used to engage with other tanks.

Besides, Tamiya chose the HVSS suspension rarely seen during WWII. So, just a few options can be represented. Even, see, that in the CD about Sherman from Tamiya, this version has not been included. I took references through Internet > Here


Details added

Although I’ll not speak about how to assemble the kit, I’ll give you an easy-to-follow guide to paint this vehicle later on, in a chapter devoted to the painting job.

Upper hull or superstructure

The driver´ s hatch was opened in order to place the switch of T-05 control unit.

It seems to be difficult but it’s not, I made holes close to each other with a 0,5 mm drill along the same gap being very careful around the hinges’ area. Once the holes were accomplished (a great deal of patience here!!!), With the point of a sharp cutter, and taking care with your fingers, I cut the joints between the holes until the hatch loosened from the hull.

With #200 first and #400 next, I sanded all the excess plastic from the hatch edges and hull’s opening, up to getting them smooth.

Then I placed plasticard of 0,5 mm on this opening, and sketched its contour with a pencil to cut then a hole, but leaving 2 mm surplus where the hatch would lean on.

Finally, a 0,5 mm hole was drilled on the hinge and a piece of 0,5 mm bronze wire was added, then the hatch opened properly.



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