Bolt Action: A Finished Sherman Tank

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One of the first models I built after starting Bolt Action, was the American Sherman tank. Let’s take a look:

I am a modeler at heart and thus passed on the 5 piece Warlord version that was available. I also find that the 1/56 scale of the Bolt Action vehicles is too small and doesn’t mesh with the 1/28 infantry models. So I picked up a 1/48 Sherman M4 with 75 mm gun from Hobby Boss on Ebay. It’s a serious model with lots of sprues and hours of building fun.

This Sherman, the M4 75mm is an early variant of many different versions to come during the war. The one in the kit is the ‘welded’ hull variant, there was also a ‘cast’ hull variant, which had a much more rounder look.

I can’t use an airbrush in my house, so I knew I had to do some super dry stippling. I primed the kit white and then, holding the model upside down, primed black, so the bottom was shadowy and dark, but the top stayed white. Then primed with Tamily Olive Drab, all the way green. After that some brown wash and lots of pushing paint with an old brush, like stippling but harder and very dry and going lighter in the middle part of each section. After that the usual weathering and adding some dirt wash to the bottom part of the tank,

I could not find real life references to the ‘hell with it’ marking, but I liked it so I did put it on, risking that this particular vehicle never saw action in Italy with the 92nd.

Here’s an action shot of black troops, taking cover behind a M4. Part of the fun of this game is finding historical reference material, it really gives a lot of depth to the hobby.

This photo would actually be a great diorama. I love how the soldiers strapped their gear to the back of the vehicle, things that would be fairly easy to model. It looks like the tank in the photo has the 75mm gun, just like the model does. It’s the lightest armament of the all Shermans.

You can also see the extra armor plates on the side, which were put on places where ammo was stored inside the tank. There were lots of fires in the beginning with ammo exploding after being hit, so the plates gave extra protection.

The cupolas up front have extra, angled armor as well, since the upright original design made it a target for anti tank weapons. Sloping the armor increased rate of survival.

My friend SC John, who is expert on many things WW2 related, told me that many tank crews removed big stars from the tanks, because they could be used by enemies as a target. As you can see in the WW2 photo, that Sherman also doesn’t have any markings besides a number and a name. I did decide to add the top star, since airplanes could see the tank was an ally.

It’s been great learning while building and this will be the joy of this hobby diversion and the blog. Anyone with pointers or more info is welcome to leave a comment! And if you haven’t tried Bolt Action, go do it! It’s really a great game. If you want to get inspired go to this incredible facebook forum: Bolt Action

SC Mike

  • David Dutton

    As mostly as 40k hobbyist I have to say this is a great way to get people into Bolt Action. I have been following Warlord Games products but havent quite jumped in yet. I really enjoy the historical background describing the painting. Even though a lot of 40k vehicles emphasize bright colors and highlighting, I like seeing a more realistic and shaded model.

    • Be prepared for crappy customer service from warlord. You have been warned.

      • Snord

        I found them a little bit slow on delivery, but nothing serious.

      • mugginns

        This hasn’t been a common experience at all. Slow delivery may because they’re in the UK not USA.

      • Andrew Burdis

        I have found Warlord to provide excellent customer service, as have many others. Fast delivery and they go the extra mile to help is you have a miscast or damaged item.

        • As with most companies its hit or miss. And for myself and the 2 buddies I had, it was horrible to the point where we just buy 3rd parties. Screw warlord.

    • Moik

      I’m a fan of the lurid WH40k colour schemes, but I yearn to see those same schemes them painted to a similar theme of realism. The emphasis on bright colours seems to have degraded my perception of ‘what a tank is’.

  • warptide

    Did not know that about the star emblems on Shermans. Thanks!

    • khegrow

      similar reason was why germans changed the white cross after the polish campaign to the famed “balkenkreuz”-design. The cross was just to good for targeting practice 😉

  • BloodAngel

    I also would like to do 1/48th, as that is the correct scale for the figures, but they are really expensive and if I needed to mix thim in with the vehicles I got from the starter sets, the Panzergrenadier box and stuff, They would be obviously out of scale.
    I wish they had just gone with the correct scale. I plan to learn this and then use the rules with 1/72nd scale of which I have a kajillion Dragon and Forces of Valor prepainted, great looking stuff plus figs and buildings. I also have years of collecting the 1/32nd stuff, boxes and boxes full and even terrain and buildings. i was going to use them for Crossfire, but if Bolt Action is scaleable, it would be awesome.

    • madphil101

      Perry miniatures.
      Artisan miniatures

      All good alternatives to warlord.

      As an entrant to historical via gw I was astonished that one might use several companies to build an army… Seems unbelievable… That’s like using a mix of ral Partha and gw..
      And that was how the guys at gw started.

      15 years on and I’m much happier to take bits where I find them
      (The opening of a bits market for gw compatible parts have helped that, too)

      • scwarhammer

        For my British 8th Army in the desert, I am using Tamiya 1/48 scale vehicles with Perry minis models. I think the size comparison is even better.

    • Dave

      I play Bolt Action with my brother with 1/72 figs. It works great. We did scale the ranges of everything down 25%, but that was easy enough. I put together U.S. and German 1000+ armies for well under $100. The trick is to buy the right kits. There are tons and tons of manufacturers in that scale. I like finding sets on ebay, then looking for details on plasticsoldierreview. Toying with the idea of building some 1/72 WHFB armies.

    • mugginns

      28mm == 1/56.

  • Snord

    Nice weathering – not overdone. I don’t agree that 1/56 scale vehicles don’t look right next to 28mm figures. but that’s a matter of taste. Are the infantry figures yours too? They look very nice!

    Looks as though your model also demonstrates one of the drawbacks of using a delicate ‘modelling’ kit for wargaming – you’ve lost the end off your .50 cal.

  • ted1138

    ” I also find that the 1/56 scale of the Bolt Action vehicles is too small and doesn’t mesh with the 1/28 infantry models.”
    I thought the infantry were 1/56, same as the tanks? I agree, they do look large next to them(I just finished my first Bolt Action tank the other day and put a PSC infantry model next to it and was surprised how big he looked).
    Nice job on the M4 btw! 🙂

    • scwarhammer

      yep I agree, the sizing is a bit off. Still it’s a modeling issue, since the gaming aspect really isn’t diminished

    • mugginns

      If you look at pictures from ww2, tanks are not the huge behemoths we’re used to from 40k. 1/56 is the correct scale but if you want to use 1/48 that is fine.

    • ted1138

      More pics…

  • Moik

    Fantastic paintjob, and great article, I should congratulate you.

  • Andrew Burdis

    Bolt Action is very easy to get into for a 40K gamer. Since the rules are written by Alessio Cavatore and Rick Priestley of Warhammer fame (the company is run by many ex GW people), they are familiar enough to get into but play faster and involve both players all through the turn.

    Have a look here to get an idea –