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WhiteOut: Winterizing an M4 Sherman

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Model Build or Disaster Story?
The idea of making a winter themed tank has always appealed to me, and what better AFV to do it with than a Sherman. While I was at it I thought “How about some mud too…lots of mud”?

The kit I chose to do this with, Tamiya’s M4 Sherman “Early Production.” is not really an early production. There are several things which would need to be corrected in order to make it a true early. The bogie units, and the gun mantlet most obvious items. I chose to go OOB and have fun with this one in a new direction for me.

Here’s where the fun and disasters that would accompany the adventure begin. After all major assemblies were completed and the base coat of OD was applied, I decided to airbrush the “white wash” onto the vehicle. With this method I had planned to add the chips in the white wash before it set by scratching with strips of wood. This idea worked quite well to my surprise, and being surprised, I continued to go overboard as we often do. In an attempt to cover some of this I decided to add the mud which is Daps minuet spackle mixed with acrylic brown paint and plenty of water. Ahh... again, overboard was right were I headed.

A New Approach
Back to the beginning I went. I stripped off all the paint and mud and started again. With a different idea in mind as to applying the “white wash”. This time I chose to do what they (the tankers) did. Sort of. During the war the tankers would sometimes use anything they could get their hands on to camouflage the vehicles. Tanks particularly. In their need they used lime, which was in plenty in France. Not the best to use on metals, as it is corrosive. Hence, rust! Another idea came to mind. “Add a little rust to the “white wash”.

I used powdered chalk mixed with water. The kind used by teachers. I brushed the whole upper hull with the chalk mix. This came out nice. I next used a stiff brush to remove the powered wash after it dried. The effect looked good and worn. Even with the snows and drizzles the tankers met, their lime washes would wash off a bit. This is when I chose to add the mud again by way of airbrush and pastels.

All was going well. The dio was started, snows were applied, the camera died, and than we decided to move to the beach. One of the last items I moved was the model on it’s dio. In my haste or carelessness, I bumped the truck door and…wham. The dio busted up and the model did a few bounces. Argggg...

In the new home I decided once more to do it again.
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About the Author

About Ken Fortier (Kencelot)

Like many, I developed an interest in building models when I was around 8 years young. I remember my mother keeping my interest in them by joining a "model a month" club back in the mid 70s. Things like the Lunar Lander, and a Braniff International 747 were some of the kits I'd build that came in th...


Ken, Great Work. I too have discovered the marvels of Woodland Scenics "Snow". Let me share some of my observations. First, I mix the snow with Modge Podge (a white glue like substance used in decopage) and make a paste like mixture. This can be troweled onto the tank, between bogies, on fenders or any area with little foot traffic. Second, take the same mixture and add acrylic burnt umber, some ground cover (fine ground sawdust) and you ger "mud". The mud can easily be applied to tracks lower hull surfaces and will dry to a shiney/muddy look. One thing about using the paste is you can create drifts, and with some practice icecicles.
OCT 07, 2002 - 03:05 AM
A question on the Woodland Scenics Snow. I assume it is permanantly attached to the model or base . How easy/hard is it to work with? I am planning on doing a Chosin Resevour dio with new Tamiya M26.
OCT 07, 2002 - 05:17 AM
Gino, it's very easy to work with. The only thing I had to play with was finding suitable method for making it "fall" like snow. Out of the shaker bottle is not too realistic of an effect. I got one of my wife's old make-up brushes to load up with it and lightly tapped on it over the model to make it "fall" with a realistic look. Also I mixed the Woodland Scenics Snow 50/50 with corn starch to add a more of a fluff. ...and yes, it's permanantly attached via hair spray.
OCT 07, 2002 - 05:47 AM
Ken, How do you apply the hair spray, before the snow as a fixative, or after as a sealant? Doesn't the hairspray leave an overall glossy finish?
OCT 07, 2002 - 07:26 AM
After, as a sealant. No shine after. Use a "pump" type spray, as an aerosol type will blow the snow away!
OCT 07, 2002 - 10:13 AM
great job! I am winterizing a sherman right now and your article has helped alot!Thank you!
APR 02, 2003 - 12:50 PM
Very good article, very nice job and great visual efect. Congratulations.
APR 02, 2003 - 02:18 PM
Excellent model, gave me an idea for a piece of my own.
AUG 27, 2003 - 05:56 PM
Thanks Ken, that will certainly come in handy! ~Chip :-)
AUG 27, 2003 - 09:09 PM
Heck! Must be the winter of whited out Sherms... Yup, I'm working on one also, and has been an ongoing thing for about 2 months on and off. Kinda funny discovering ideas I have found out thru trial and error have been mimicked by far more experienced modellers and made into an article! Have been using some other articles, and it's interesting to find the different (if only slight) takes on the same theme... I'm all talk at the moment, but promise to have some darn pics up and running soonish... Great job though Kencelot!~
SEP 10, 2003 - 10:15 PM