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Building Tamiya's 1:16 R/C M4 Sherman Tank

A Step By Step Photo Guide

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See also:
Guide to b
uilding a Tiger 1E
Guide to building a King Tiger

Guide to building a M4 Sherman
Guide to building a M26 Pershing
Guide to building a Leopard 2A6

 Follow TankZone's step by step guide on building Tamiya 1:16 scale radio control full option Sherman Tank. This is our speciality. Our hints and tips gleamed through building many of this and similar tanks for satisfied customers could save you time and help avoid costly mistakes. Email if you have come across a problem not covered here and we will share it with other enthusiasts. Watch out for our other guides to building the Tiger 1E and the latest M26 Pershing.

Packaging and Contents

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Top of flap
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Illustrated box cover with windows
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Underside of flap

The model kit comes in a high quality, beautifully illustrated box x by y by z mm weighing over 10kg. It has a built-in carrying handle so that you can lug it home double-quick without breaking your arms. The velcroed front flap opens to reveal the main parts inside displayed behind clear plastic cut-outs. It's almost a shame to have to open it to get at the goodies inside.

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Once opened, all the parts are nicely laid out. On the left you have the speaker box above the DMD controller and multi-function unit. The main model itself including the upper hull and turret assemblies is to the right. The metal lower hull is underneath. Next to this is a long box containing all the other electronic parts, metal suspension parts, screws and bolts and all the odds and bits. To the right, you have the twin motor and gearbox on top of the main metal running gear.


Before you jump in head first and start gluing and screwing things together. Here are a few things you should do that will pay big dividends later.


Firstly, find a clear work area and have all the tools readily within reach. You will need: a side cutter, a pair of sharp nose pliers, a sharp craft knife, a fine file, assortment of screw drivers (Ripmax do a good set for £4.99), a set of clamps, liquid poly (plastic glue) and cyanoacrylate (super glue). Ceramic grease and liquid thread lock is provided with the kit. Anything else is secondary or extra.

Tips: Have the metal primer and at least three cans of US Army olive drab spray paint ready. It's easier to spray some parts first before assembly and then apply a thin coat of over spray afterwards.

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Tips: Invest in a multi-compartment plastic organiser tray, preferably with a lid, from your local DIY shop to put all the loose bits in. You'll find it save you so much time and frustrations in the long run not having to look for missing bits.

When you remove the parts from the packaging, put them separately in different compartments in your tray. This is especially important for the three bags of screws and nuts labelled A, B and C. Remember which is which. Better still label the compartments accordingly. As you open the other bags, put them into separate compartments.

Tips: Make sure at least one of the screw drivers is magnetic - for picking up small screw and nuts from the said tray.

Tips: When working with small parts, have a contrasting surface which helps you find them easily. I found having a sheet of white paper before me to work upon is useful for most parts.

You are now ready to start assembly.

Prime Metal Parts

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The six metal suspension armatures are fitted onto the lower metal chassis with the screw provided. Apply plenty of liquid thread lock to make sure it doesn't work loose. The two sets of rear idler wheels are also fitted at this point. These are adjustable and should not be fixed.

At this point, the detail parts on the rear panel is assembled and attached to the metal chassis using super glue.

The outside exposed part of the whole assembly is then primed with a suitable spray primer along with all the other main metal parts like the sprockets and the suspension assemblies. I use grey primer from Halfords. They are just as good, cheaper and do not damage plastic parts if they can't be avoid being sprayed together. Smaller metal parts can be primed by hand using a suitable brush.

Leave the primer to dry for the recommended time. I would also spray the main chassis at this point in overall olive drab. The reason for this is explained in the next section.

Return Rollers

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The Sherman has five sets of return rollers either side; three small and two large. The rubber that is meant to be on them is moulded in plastic. They don't have separate rubber treads like for the main road wheels. Therefore to make them realistic, the wheels should first be sprayed in olive drab. When dry, paint the rubber on by hand using Tamiya's matt black acrylic paint.

The wheel hubs and wheel caps should also be sprayed in olive drab at the same time as the wheels.

Tips: Important - Make sure you fit and secure the forward-most return roller on both side first before mounting the gearboxes as they do not leave big enough gaps to allow you to put the nuts on afterward. I learned this lesson the hard way!

You may now proceed to fit the gearboxes and complete the front of the lower hull. I have primed the extending side plates before-hand. The gearboxes and the inside of the chassis should now be masked using suitable tape and paper before the unpainted parts are sprayed in overall olive drab. Don't forget to mask the front-most pair of return rollers else the carefully painted on tyres will be over-sprayed.

After the paint has dried, the rest of the return rollers can be fitted. Make sure you apply grease to the spindles during fitting of the return rollers to allow free movement and secure the nuts using liquid thread lock.

Suspension Arm and Road Wheels Assembly

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The three pairs of suspension arm and road wheel assembles are assembled separately away from the main chassis, primed and sprayed in olive drab (including the screws) before they are attached to the receiving armature on the main chassis. The rubber tyres can be added after the suspensions and road wheels have been attached.

Add main drive sprockets to gearboxes and rubber tyres to rear idler wheel. The lower hull assembly is now complete. The aerial fittings are left in their original colour as they are not really part of the model.

More later - Watch this space!

We don't just sell you the kit, we can build them for you as well.

Want one of these fantastic tanks? Don't have the time? Want one as a special present for a loved one? We can supply the model kit, build it to a high standard and deliver it to you in a ready to run condition. This page will give you some idea how we go about this. Email us for more details.

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