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Asuka 1/35 Scale M4A3 (76) W Sherman Tank with T-23 Turret

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  • Member since
    September 2018
  • From: Vancouver, Washington USA
Asuka 1/35 Scale M4A3 (76) W Sherman Tank with T-23 Turret
Posted by Sergeant on Sunday, January 5, 2020 8:04 AM
This is my first time building an Asuka model and I have great interest in the M4A3 Sherman with a T-23 turret. This will also be my first time using an Iwata miniature spray gun #RG-3L-3 with 1.0 mm nozzle set. I plan to use Vallejo Surface Primer and Vallejo #71.043 olive drab paint with retarder #70.597.
 
My objective with this project is to improve my assembly and paint skills. I have read quite a bit about this model and hope it is as good as people say it is. I was forewarned there is a seam issue with the upper and lower halves of the turret, which can be solved with a product like Mr. Surfacer. So here I go with what I hope will be a fun and educational adventure.
 
Harold
 
Asuka was formally Taska.
 
Missing-Lynx review by Brett Green in 2010:
 
AMPS review by David Manter in 2011:
 

  • Member since
    July 2014
  • From: Rifle, CO. USA
Posted by M1GarandFan on Sunday, January 5, 2020 11:07 AM

Harold, I think you'll be very happy with the Asuka kit. I've built two of their Sherman's and liked them very much. The only real problem I had was with the little pieces of foam they want you to use to allow the bogie suspension arms to work. I just could not keep all three pieces in position while I added the other items that need to be enclosed in the bogie unit housing. Instead I used the plastic spacers that were supplied and glued them in position.

There are some small parts that really add to the detail of the kit, but since you just finished that 3" gun, you shouldn't have any problems with those. I'll be interested to watch your progress. All the best, John

  • Member since
    September 2018
  • From: Vancouver, Washington USA
Posted by Sergeant on Sunday, January 5, 2020 12:38 PM

M1GarandFan

Harold, I think you'll be very happy with the Asuka kit. I've built two of their Sherman's and liked them very much. The only real problem I had was with the little pieces of foam they want you to use to allow the bogie suspension arms to work. I just could not keep all three pieces in position while I added the other items that need to be enclosed in the bogie unit housing. Instead I used the plastic spacers that were supplied and glued them in position.

There are some small parts that really add to the detail of the kit, but since you just finished that 3" gun, you shouldn't have any problems with those. I'll be interested to watch your progress. All the best, John

 

Thank you John. I read one review about pesky little foam pieces you mentioned, apparently you're not alone in finding them troublesome.

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: SW Virginia
Posted by Gamera on Monday, January 6, 2020 12:00 PM

Same here, I think you'll really enjoy this kit. If you can build an AFV Club kit this one ought to be a snap! 

I used the foam pieces on the kit I built. Don't really see the point of them though, the workable suspension didn't work that well. Omiting them I don't think you lose that much. 

"I dream in fire but work in clay." -Arthur Machen

 

  • Member since
    September 2018
  • From: Vancouver, Washington USA
Posted by Sergeant on Monday, January 6, 2020 1:26 PM

Gamera, I started assembly this morning and got to thinking last year you recommended Vallejo Surface Primer if I recall correctly? Do you thin the Vallejo primer and if so, what do you use for thinner?

Harold

 

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: SW Virginia
Posted by Gamera on Monday, January 6, 2020 1:55 PM

Yeah, I like the Vallejo Primer a lot. I normally just mix in about 30% or so window washer fluid from the auto parts store. It's about a buck or so US and is water with a little alcohol added. You can of course use any thinner you want including just plain water. 30%  thinner works for me, you may need to adjust more or less depending on your airbrush, climate, and individual taste.  

"I dream in fire but work in clay." -Arthur Machen

 

  • Member since
    September 2018
  • From: Vancouver, Washington USA
Posted by Sergeant on Monday, January 6, 2020 2:48 PM

Gamera

Yeah, I like the Vallejo Primer a lot. I normally just mix in about 30% or so window washer fluid from the auto parts store. It's about a buck or so US and is water with a little alcohol added. You can of course use any thinner you want including just plain water. 30%  thinner works for me, you may need to adjust more or less depending on your airbrush, climate, and individual taste.  

 

Gamera, I'm going to use an Iwata miniature spray gun with 1.0 mm nozzle. The recommended air pressure at the inlet to the gun is 36 PSI. I will start with no thinner and then thin 10%, 20% and 30% to compare results. The gun also has an adjustable air cap which will be set ahead of time to optimize atomization at the nozzle. There are to many variables to guess how this new gun will preform with Vallejo Surface Primer, but I'm hopeful it will significantly reduce overspray and give me a smooth finish. I'll let you know how it works out, thanks for your advice.

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: SW Virginia
Posted by Gamera on Monday, January 6, 2020 6:31 PM

I have no idea how much to thin the paint with your miniature spray gun so mucking around with it is the best way to get a good working dilution. 

You might want to consider getting an old or cheap model to spray on while you're getting the right solution dialed in. Or even an old plastic bottle.

Good luck, and looking forward to hearing how it works out!

"I dream in fire but work in clay." -Arthur Machen

 

  • Member since
    September 2018
  • From: Vancouver, Washington USA
Posted by Sergeant on Thursday, January 9, 2020 12:13 PM

I completed steps 1 through 5 of 22; track assembly, drive sprocket and idler wheel assembly, differential cover and suspension assembly. The suspension assembly with its three foam rubber pieces did not present as much of a problem as I thought it would.

Next step is the lower hull assembly which looks like it will take an entire session. I generally start each session in the early morning with a cup of coffee and work for about two-hours. I found that if I limit my work to two-hours at a time, I am more productive and make less mistakes.

Harold

 

 

  • Member since
    July 2014
  • From: Rifle, CO. USA
Posted by M1GarandFan on Thursday, January 9, 2020 1:12 PM

Harold, re: 3 foam rubber pieces

You're a better man than I, Gunga Din.

  • Member since
    September 2018
  • From: Vancouver, Washington USA
Posted by Sergeant on Thursday, January 9, 2020 10:33 PM

Below is a link to my very short video of testing the suspension assembly to make sure it works correctly and a method I use for sanding road-wheels using a Proxxon hobby sander.

Harold

https://www.flickr.com/photos/164748493@N04/49360170387/in/datetaken/

 

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: SW Virginia
Posted by Gamera on Friday, January 10, 2020 11:32 AM

The suspension bogies are probably the hardest part so you're in the easier part from now on. Nice work, she's going to look great! 

"I dream in fire but work in clay." -Arthur Machen

 

  • Member since
    November 2005
Posted by T26E4 on Friday, January 10, 2020 9:44 PM

Here's the simple way to use the foam inserts.  Cut them smaller than suggested -- you simply want their thickness -- you don't need them to completely match the edge of the upper two volute springs. 

Once assembled, I seat my kit so all twelve road wheels are level.  Then I glue the suspension arms-- I have no need for them to remain movable.

Roy Chow 

Join AMPS!

http://www.amps-armor.org

 

 

  • Member since
    September 2018
  • From: Vancouver, Washington USA
Posted by Sergeant on Saturday, January 11, 2020 4:12 PM

Gamera and Roy, thank you for the encouragement and ideas. This is only my second Sherman tank model and so far, I really like the Asuka engineering compared to Tamiya. I have not decided how to use this model yet, but I may replace the Tamiya M4A3 in my Road to Bastogne diorama with this Asuka model.

I completed step 6, the lower hull assembly in two sessions (about 2-hours each). I continue to be impressed with how accurate the pieces go together. The next step is the top hull assembly and it will probably take about the same amount of time as the lower hull assembly. I’m not in a hurry, but I’m keeping track of how much time I spend on this model.

Harold

  • Member since
    September 2018
  • From: Vancouver, Washington USA
Posted by Sergeant on Monday, January 13, 2020 2:02 AM
I completed steps 7 through 9, hull top and driver hatch assembly with exception of photo etched guards over periscopes, they will come later. I cemented the top and lower hulls and differential cover together. Every piece fit perfectly down to the tiny hinges on the periscope covers. So far, I am really enjoying this Asuka model. Next step is more upper hull parts and engine deck installation.
 
Harold
 
 
 
 
  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Monday, January 13, 2020 7:40 AM

Hmmm;

 Looks to me like you are doing a " Mean Green Fighting Machine". That's what my Uncle called them!

  • Member since
    September 2018
  • From: Vancouver, Washington USA
Posted by Sergeant on Monday, January 13, 2020 11:09 AM

Tanker-Builder

Hmmm;

 Looks to me like you are doing a " Mean Green Fighting Machine". That's what my Uncle called them!

 

Thank you Chief... I see you were a Tanker in the Corps, Ooh Rah!

  • Member since
    July 2014
  • From: Rifle, CO. USA
Posted by M1GarandFan on Monday, January 13, 2020 11:41 AM

Harold, It looks like it's coming along great. I also thought Asuka did a good job with the build of the lower hull. Quite a few parts, but it makes for a strong base for the rest of the tank. Good idea on waiting until later for the periscope guards. I installed mine early in the build and must have knocked off the one over the driver's hatch at least twice!

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: SW Virginia
Posted by Gamera on Monday, January 13, 2020 11:48 AM

She looks good! Yes

I did think having the lower hull in separate parts you cement together to form a box was a little much but as long as you've got things square and straight it's not a problem. 

"I dream in fire but work in clay." -Arthur Machen

 

  • Member since
    September 2018
  • From: Vancouver, Washington USA
Posted by Sergeant on Thursday, January 16, 2020 12:03 PM

John and Gamera, I agree with you the lower hull was over engineered, but the parts fit together without a problem and the finished product is very strong. I completed steps 10 through 12 and now I'm ready to add the VVSS suspension and track. The track will be painted separate from the suspension, but the suspension will be painted as part of the lower and top hull assembly. The reason I'm doing it this way is to make sure the suspension has a strong bond with the lower hull.

Harold

 

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: SW Virginia
Posted by Gamera on Thursday, January 16, 2020 12:47 PM

Harold: You've got the right idea there. Assemble as much as you can before you paint. I at least find it easier that way. If there are any issues with the suspension you can fudge it a little by adding some 'mud' to the running gear. 

She's coming along great so far, keep up the good work! Yes 

"I dream in fire but work in clay." -Arthur Machen

 

  • Member since
    September 2018
  • From: Vancouver, Washington USA
Posted by Sergeant on Friday, January 17, 2020 5:20 PM

I completed step 13, attaching suspension to lower hull and there are just a few more items to install on the upper hull in steps 14 through 16. The suspension and tracks went together without a problem. Next it's time for the turret and machine gun, I should be ready for primer by Sunday if all goes well.

Harold


  • Member since
    September 2018
  • From: Vancouver, Washington USA
Posted by Sergeant on Monday, January 20, 2020 1:17 AM

I completed steps 14 through 16 which includes sand shield mounting, a stowage rack, spare tracks and jerry cans. Next step is the main gun, turret and cupola assembly.

I was planning to be done with assembly work by tonight but had a few problems. I dripped a small amount of Tamiya Extra Thin Cement on back of the upper hull and didn’t see it soon enough. The cement melted a dent in the plastic that I filled with putty. Another problem was I removed part E3 and E5 which are optional. After I attached them with cement, I decided they did not look right, so I had more repair work to do.

I have tried Tamiya White Putty and found it difficult to work with, so I started using Deluxe Perfect Plastic Putty on this project. My only concern is that it seems very soft and can be remove from plastic with water after it's dry. I hope the Vallejo water-based primer and paint will not make it fail.

Harold

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: SW Virginia
Posted by Gamera on Monday, January 20, 2020 9:18 AM

Everything looks good to me! 

I've been using Perfect Plastic Putty for a few years now and haven't had any issues with it. Once it's dry I'm not sure being water soluable is an issue. I've washed models off and set them aside to dry before painting and it didn't seem to bother the P3. 

"I dream in fire but work in clay." -Arthur Machen

 

  • Member since
    September 2018
  • From: Vancouver, Washington USA
Posted by Sergeant on Monday, January 20, 2020 1:04 PM

Gamera

Everything looks good to me! 

I've been using Perfect Plastic Putty for a few years now and haven't had any issues with it. Once it's dry I'm not sure being water soluable is an issue. I've washed models off and set them aside to dry before painting and it didn't seem to bother the P3. 

 

Gamera, I'm pleased to hear you had good results with Perfect Plastic Putty. I used it on the barrel this morning and it filled the seam imperfections beautifully.

The seam between the upper and lower half of the turret is a known problem with this model. The plan is to use a sharp blade to remove the high spots along the seam and then apply a small amount of Mr. Surfacer 500 with a stippling brush to match the casting marks on the rest of the turret. It has been done before, but this will be my first time using this method.

Harold

  • Member since
    September 2018
  • From: Vancouver, Washington USA
Posted by Sergeant on Wednesday, January 22, 2020 8:58 AM
The turret is ready for resurfacing with Mr. Surfacer 500. I was not making good progress by scraping plastic along the seam, so I used a combination of sanding with a Proxxon electric sander and 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper. I also filled several small places along the seam with Perfect Plastic Putty.
 
I practiced applying Mr. Surfacer 500 on a piece of primer coated plastic using a Tamiya Modeling Brush HF No.2 item #87047 and let the Mr. Surfacer dry for a few hours. Then I used a piece of 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper to remove only the top 5 to 10% of the surfacer material. This looks to me like it matches the casting pattern in this plastic model. The results will be determined after I apply Mr. Surafcer to the turret and add a coat of primer.
 

  • Member since
    September 2018
  • From: Vancouver, Washington USA
Posted by Sergeant on Thursday, January 23, 2020 8:51 AM
Applied Mr. Surfacer 500 with a semi-dry brush using stippling method to cover just the area that was filled and sanded. I will let the surfacer material dry for several hours and then give it a very light sanding trying to avoid additional sanding on the original casting pattern.
 
If all goes well, I will finish assembly of the turret parts later today and give the model a coat of Vallejo Grey Surface Primer 74.601 tomorrow morning. The primer coat should tell me if there is any issues with the resurfaced area.
 
Harold

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: SW Virginia
Posted by Gamera on Thursday, January 23, 2020 11:24 AM

She's coming along great! The Mr. Surfacer on the turret is the same way I do the cast texture Not sure if that's good or bad but it works for me! 

"I dream in fire but work in clay." -Arthur Machen

 

  • Member since
    September 2018
  • From: Vancouver, Washington USA
Posted by Sergeant on Thursday, January 23, 2020 11:46 PM

I changed my method of resurfacing the casting marks on the side of the turret. After looking at several pictures of actual Sherman turrets I believe a more accurate method is to rough the surface of the plastic in a vertical direction. I used a 3M Metal Finishing Pad which is made of non-metallic material, but designed to remove light rust from metal.

If I don't like the results of this method, I can always add Mr. Surfacer 500 over the primer after it dries.

Harold

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: SW Virginia
Posted by Gamera on Friday, January 24, 2020 11:37 AM

That's interesting. I'm going to keep it in mind for the next time I build a Sherman. 

Great job so far, keep up the good work! Yes

"I dream in fire but work in clay." -Arthur Machen

 

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