Building the Academy M7 Priest
Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII

Final Assembly and Painting

Open top AFVs are always something of a challenge when it comes to painting and decaling. If I get the exterior all dressed up with photo etch, I'm bound to bend or snap something off while handling the beast and trying to angle a 000 brush to paint a circular knob the size of a pinhead. So I painted the interior walls, set the decals (mostly from Fingerprint Designs) where needed, and weathered the surfaces before gluing the upper hull in place.

The engine deck and rear had been painted prior to installing the two large vents. I masked off the areas I wanted to protect. The tools, exquisite pieces from Formations, were painted separately from the vehicle while still on their resin block.

After giving the model a coating of ModelMaster olive drab, I went over it in places with a faded OD. A camo mix of 90% Mud, 5% Daylight Orange, and 5% IJA Brown—all from PollyScale—was sprayed around the lower part of the hull and sides, and over the barrel. After the paint dried, gave the sides and nose each a shot of gloss varnish. I used the Academy star insignia. The side wall stars are flat on the bottom, and the instructions show them set above the bolt rail for the sand shields. I saw enough reference photos where the rail is painted white as well, so I used some paint to continue the circle onto the rail. The unit markings were accomplished with Archer Fine Transfers. The vehicle name "Can Do" was pulled from other words on a transfer sheet. The tools and cable were installed on the rear deck, and the ammo bins were set in place. The rack with the extension poles for the tarp bows were glued over the star on the right wall, and the paint on the rack touched up to match the spray of the camo color.

I had planned on weathering the Italeri gun assembly separately, but it was a very tight fit when I set it in place for these photos, so I left it.

Coming next: Weathering

105mm H.M.C. M7, M7B1, and M7B2 Photo Detail CD, Chris "Toadman" Hughes.

Sherman, Richard Hunnicutt.

TM 9-1325 105mm Howitzers M2 and M2A1; Carriages M2A1 and M2A2; and Combat Vehicle Mounts M3 and M4.

U.S. Armored Artillery in World War II, Steven Zaloga.

U.S. Self-Propelled Guns in Action, Jim Mesko (albeit with some errors in the text and photos).

U.S. WWII 105mm Howitzer Motor Carriages M7 & M7B1 Priest, Tankograd.

Suspension and Lower Hull

Driver's Compartment
Fighting Compartment
105mm Howitzer
Upper Hull Exterior
Final Assembly, Painting, and Weathering
Building "Baboon"


Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII © Timothy S. Streeter