Tamiya M4 Sherman Build Report 2: Base Paint and Markings


It’s been the better part of a month since I provided any sort of an update on the Sherman. Never fear, I haven’t abandoned it. Rather, it’s just been the second priority on my bench, so I’ve only been getting to it in between the P-47 and now the Eduard Bf 109E-7.

Nevertheless, progress continues.

Follow the Leader

I’m not as comfortable with armor as I am with aircraft, so I’m playing it safe with this build, and more or less following the painting and detailing process laid out in a few issues of FineScale Modeler toward the end of 2010. Hopefully the exercise will help me establish a comfortable foundation from which I can build my own approaches in the future.


Final assembly wrapped up in no time. I opted to leave the wheels, outer suspension bogies, machine gun and various gear off until after painting. The FSM articles state a preference for painting these things on the tank, but I’m not that comfortable with my brush skills yet, so yeah, they’re getting painted separately.

After a quick coat of primer, I painted the tank with Tamiya XF-1 Flat Black.

As far as I understand, this plays the same role as preshading on aircraft, except you just paint the whole thing black, instead of a panel lines and other recessed areas.

Once the black dried, I went back over with Model Master Olive Drab, focusing on the center of panels and areas, and keeping relatively clear of the edges.

While I had the olive drab in the airbrush, I painted the wheels as well, holding them against a circle template so I could paint the centers while leaving the outer rims black.

Sometime around here, the tracks got painted as well, first with Tamiya Hull Red, then run through a paint strip of Model Master Acryl Helo Drab to mark the rubber chevrons.

As a last step, I painted the Sherman with Model Master Faded Olive Drab, then attached the wheels and outer halves of the suspension bogies. In the future, I’ll probably leave leave the bogies off and install them as completed subassemblies.


After the paint had a few days to cure (and I worked on other projects), I gave the tank a solid coat of Future and applied what are probably the most generic decals in history.

I’ve had issues with Tamiya decals in the past, but I was impressed with the way these settled into the rough armored surfaces, specifically the cast turret.

I’m in the process of painting the stowage, machine gun, etc, and then it’ll be on to drybrushing, detail painting, and a ton of weathering.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Enjoyed this post….. Working on first armor project. What did you do with the tracks for painting?

    1. Doogs says:

      Thanks for commenting, Rodney!

      My memory’s a bit hazy on that step, but I’m pretty sure I just gave them a good soak and a scrub with some soap, then airbrushed them with the Tamiya mixed with lacquer thinner for a bit of extra bite.

      1. actually was wondering about the color of the paint and if you did any layering. I”m going to try the black, olive drab and faded olive drab approach for the body…. Just returned from Normandy and now have to finish that 1/48th Tamiya Sherman……

  2. Doogs says:

    Well, I painted the tracks a base color of Tamiya Hull Red, the chevrons with Model Master US Army Helo Drab. This was followed by a filter spray of Tamiya Buff, then I decided I didn’t like the Helo Drab and repainted the chevrons with burnt umber. This was followed by pigments, and finally drybrushing it MM Metalizer Magnesium around the metal bits.

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