As nice as the Alsacast Sherman resin casting is, it only has headlights and taillights without the distinctive bent iron guards around them.

Chrysler M4A4 shown – typical headlight and taillight guards

Not having the guards really bugged me as the model just doesn’t look right without them. Now these details are extremely fine and small in HO and I was not optimistic that I would be able to scratch-build them.

In the military modeling world, there are those who call themselves “Braille Scalers”. They are dedicated to building small scale models, primarily in 1:72 or 1:76, but it is not exclusive to those sizes. If you are modeling HO or smaller, you are a Braille Scaler too! With this enthusiastic market, there has come fine after-market detail parts to enhance available kits.

One such provider is Dan Taylor Modelworks (, out of the U.K. He offers many models, accessories, and enhancements for Braille Scalers. One such detail is a photo etch set of the headlight and taillight guards for the Sherman tank in 1:72/1:76 scale. This set provides guards for four tanks, or in my case, room for screw-ups. They are very fine, yet relatively stiff and quite strong; really excellently designed and made.

Since 1:72/1:76 is not that far away from 1:87 (HO), I thought I could use these guards on my Pullman-Standard M4 build. Unfortunately, there is a BIG difference between 1:72/1:76 and 1:87 and the headlight guards are way too tall for my model, even after shortening the legs some.

However, I adapted them by removing a portion from the middle and installing the two resulting parts per guard. I drilled No.80 (.0135″) mounting holes, pushed the halves in place on the model, brushed thin CA to secure them, bent and trimmed the tops to match, and added some medium CA to the joint. A little light work with a fine-toothed file finished the joint.

The taillight guards are easier to install – just drill the same holes, bend the guard around a .047″ diameter (a drill or styrene rod), shorten the legs, install and secure with thin CA.

I think they really look great and I’m very glad I tried this.

I’ll put this aside for now as the next step would be to make the flat car, but I’m not set to do that just yet.