I got the idea of making
a model of a target range tank when I saw an M4 (or what was left of it) at the
Nationaal Militair Museum in Soesterberg. This was common sight at NATO ranges
in the 1950’s and there is probably a few still out there. Although I
had no experience in making realistic rust or battle damage, I wanted to
sacrifice the Tamiya M41. Thankfully common sense prevailed and I figured a
small scale Sherman would be an ideal test subject.
I used the vulnerable Airfix kit for
this project. With the molds dating back to 1961 and with a cost of less than
$10CDN, I wouldn’t be too upset if it turned out like crap. Assembly was
straightforward and quick as you can imagine, as I used less than half of the
parts. Once glued together the fun part began. To replicate the damage from
various caliber weapons, I heated the tips of different sized nails and tacks
and pressed those into the hull and turret. I read that most target range tanks
were filled with concrete, hence the lack of “exit wounds”. I then primed
the tank with Tamiya Red Oxide (first time using this, can’t get enough of
it!). For the rust itself I combined Tamiya Flat Earth, Hull Red and Orange and
applied that mess with a stiff brush, blending it with a cotton swab and my
thumb. There is a bit too much orange in my rust mix and it shows, although it
is less apparent in person. Of course the camera picks it up and you all get to
see it in all its orange glory!
Once finished I noticed a few errors on my part, most noticeably the tranny cover seam and a few injector marks on the lower hull. There are a few other mistakes, but due to the small scale I feel they aren’t that noticeable. Too excited to play with the rust I suppose!
Photos and text © by Mack Main