Sherman - Spring 45, Europe

  • move
the scene
This is my rendition of Dragon's Sherman M4A3 76(w) "Battle of the Bulge". However, I choose not to do a "Battle of the Bulge" scene, but something in the Spring of '45. The scene depicts an M4 rolling up a hill after German soldiers, who got caught by surprise when "Steel City" (more on that name later) burst over the hill. As you can see there are no German soldiers to be found. But, through the dropped and abandoned items you can see the trail of their retreat.

One man lost a shoe and canteen, a second tried to load his rifle and in his panic decided to drop it and run, a third threw down his helmet as he distanced himself from the coming tank, another soldier lost his glasses. As the others hustled down the trail, the last man set his Panzerfaust to fire, drew a bead on the Sherman, but in a moment of clarity realized how terrible the last 6 years had been and hoped if he put down the weapon he might see his wife and kids again.

The instant of diorama is when the tank finally gets a clear shot on the running Germans and the commander has to decide if he should drop the hammer on them or if he has seen enough death.

the idea
As promised here is an explanation of the tank's name "Steel City". "Steel City" is the nickname of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (which is in the north east of the United States and yes it is my home town). During WWII Pittsburgh was one of the most important cities in Roosevelt's "Arsenal of Democracy". The steel mills located here produced more steel than Germany and Japan combined. Also, the steel companies located here helped the Russians modernize their steel plants. My great uncle was a metallurgist for Jones and Laughlin Steel during the war. The mill where he worked was on the south side of Pittsburgh, the site is occupied by a movie theater and a Cheese Cake Factory now. He told me about witnessing test firing of the Bazooka against the steel his plant made. I was young when he told me that and he died before I started to model, I would have loved to ask him about 1000 questions.

the parts used
The various accessories on the ground and tank are from a bunch of companies. There is some stuff by Verlinden, Tamiya, Aber, Plus Models, Royal Model, Dragon and a few random pieces from the spares box. I used Model Kasten tracks on the tank, which where labor intensive, but I think the end justified the means. I have used Fruilmodel tracks in the past, but am going to stick with Model Kasten. They are less expensive and I think they look much better. The figures are Verlinden torsos, Dragon Gen2 (these Gen2 figures are really nice) arms and Hornet heads (which are by far the best heads I've ever seen). My figure painting skills need improvement. They kind of have a GI Joe quality too them, I dodged the driver's eyes in the pictures so he wouldn't look so stoned!

I cannot remember where I ordered the trees from, but I didn't use the "leaves" that came with them, but got dried flowers from a local craft store for the leaves. The flowery bushes are from the same store, just dyed a different color. The ground cover is something I pulled out of my back yard and I was happy to see when it dried it kept its color. The bulk of the leaves I bought years ago and I don't remember the company. There are Plus Model maple, oak and linden leaves mixed in as well. Plus Model makes some great stuff and you should all go buy stuff from them so they stay in business and I can keep getting stuff from them for a long time!

  • sherman7
  • sherman8
  • sherman10
  • sherman19
  • sherman15
  • sherman18
  • sherman11
  • sherman12
  • sherman1
  • sherman3
  • sherman16
  • sherman4
  • sherman2
  • sherman17
  • sherman20
  • sherman9
  • sherman6
  • sherman13
  • sherman14

About the Author

About david budd (dbudd)

I'm a 40year old engineer living in Pittsburgh who started seriously modeling about three years ago. My philosophy of modeling would be that the greatest compliment my work could get is when someone says "that looks so real"! Anywho, I'm always eager for comments on my work and am always happy to a...


Excellent dio with great attention to detail, you've built up a picture of a much bigger scene using just a small space, very clever! Shouldn't those Jerry cans be strapped down though? wouldn't take much to shake them loose! Brilliant stuff, James
MAY 07, 2007 - 05:46 PM
Hey Dave, really nice job. Maybe we can get together over a Ham n' cheese at Primanti's and talk models. Iron City or Penn Pilsner is a must also. I'm from O'Hara Township at 28 & Rte 8.
MAY 07, 2007 - 06:23 PM
Hey David, "that looks so real"! Seriously though, love the dio (especially the groundwork). I'm no WWII expert, just diggin' the presentation and work that went into it.
MAY 07, 2007 - 09:54 PM
wouldn`t that tree be in the way of the gun? i mean,if the tank is going forward...
MAY 08, 2007 - 03:32 AM
Well, not exactly. The turret is rotating clockwise to the back of the tank to clear the tree but the picture didn't catch the movement (of course)
MAY 08, 2007 - 05:15 AM
this is simply fantastic. very realistic looking dio. sir, you have skills. i give it !!!
MAY 08, 2007 - 07:09 PM
Thank you for the many kind words, it is greatly appreciated. A few of you have noted the driver is not wearing a helmet, well the reason is a modeling tragedy, that well have all suffered. When I was putting the driver figure into the tank it slipped out of my hands and when it hit the floor the original head (which was wearing a helmet) popped off and disappeared into some remote recess of my basement.
MAY 08, 2007 - 09:46 PM
Matt, thanks and yes I have a Tamiya T55 on the work bench that I hope to complete in a few weeks. Dave
MAY 08, 2007 - 09:49 PM
Spring 45. A great idea, no snow for a change. A fantastic piece of work
MAY 13, 2007 - 02:51 AM
Very impressive, the attention to detail is great. I need to get off my butt and back to the bench. Thanks for the insperation. Tom
MAY 17, 2007 - 05:51 PM