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holtaa

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About holtaa

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    Right here, no, not there, here.
  • Interests
    A bit of everything, but mostly 1/72 USMC aircraft

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  1. Sword FJ-2 Fury

    Very nice. You are making me tired just watching all the work you have done. I will have to build my stamina before I start mine. Thanks for the WIP. Arrin
  2. USMC Recce pair (and their mate!)

    Radios - Our vehicles were equipped with the older style TSEC/KY-67 (not encrypted) radios used before Desert Storm. During Desert Storm, they got the then brand new encrypted and frequency hopping SINCGARS, but we continued using the older radios for a couple of years after the war. All the drawings and photos I have are of the older radios in a -25. I never spent any time in the VC hatch of either a -M or -Tow, so I really don't know where the radios were actually located on those variants. In the -25, there were two radios were located on the "shelf" in the back of the turret. 24 - Turret Comm System by semperfi_0313, on Flickr The TM indicates that there were three radios and three antennas, but we only ever used two of each. We could switch between listening to both at once and transmitting on either one based on the switch position of the vehicle communications boxes - we called them "Charlie Boxes" that our helmets plugged into. There is also a vehicle intercom system so that the crew can talk to each other. Our CVC (combat vehicle, crewman) helmets had a switch on the left ear that had 3 positions, one enabled you to transmit the radio or intercom when keyed, one allowed listening only and one made the intercom "hot" with an open mic. When one of the crewmen had the switch on "hot" no one could transmit on the radios. There were 3 identical charlie boxes for each of the main crew, driver, gunner and VC. There was also one charlie box on the rear of the left wall in the troop compartment, it was dumbed down and allowed limited radio control. We gave one of the scouts back there a CVC helmet so he could listen in to the intercom and radio to keep the other scouts informed about what was going on. It was common for the scout to take off the CVC helmet when they dismounted the vehicle and the helmet would roll around and key the hot mic, preventing us from using the radio. It was a huge pain in the butt, as either the VC or gunner had to climb out of the turret and drop down into the hull to find the helmet and turn off the hot mic. We got smart and made them unplug the helmet when they took it off. If they forgot, we had all manner of "games" they would have to play to help with incentive to remember to unplug it the next time. Here is what the charlie boxes look like: 25 - Hull Comm System - 01 by semperfi_0313, on Flickr There was a rack in the very left rear, near the hatch, for a couple of radios for the scouts to use, but I never actually saw a radio on the rack. I heard that they were common in the Gulf during the war, but we never used one during training. The slightly diagonal line in the image below is the rear wall of the hull. 26 - Hull Comm System - 02 by semperfi_0313, on Flickr Also located on the outside of the vehicle on the very back near the left hatch were a couple of posts to connect a hard-wired field radio to. It didn't get used too much, because it was a hassle to hook up, but it allowed vehicles to share their intercoms or to connect to a dismounted controller without using the radio. It connected to the vehicle intercom and allowed multiple crews to talk to each other, but again, it didn't get used too often, but I remember using a couple of times while attached to the -M, as we trained to drop a few 81mm rounds down range and then move the vehicle to avoid counter battery radar. We called it "shoot and scoot" - better to fire then move to a new firing position than to get dead by incoming artillery. The posts are barely visible in this photo above the hatch lock on the very edge of the hull - start at the left brake light assembly, trace the angled edge of the hull up to the horizontal lever, that's the hatch hold-open lock, a little above the lever you can make out the 2 small posts, one on top of the other. 27 - Field Telephone Posts by semperfi_0313, on Flickr Here are the radios on the shelf at the back of the turret - the periscopes visible in the left of the photo are the rear scopes of the VC hatch. 28-radio shelf by semperfi_0313, on Flickr The charlie box in the VC hatch was mounted to the right of the radios (not visible in either photo), the amplifier used by the VC to switch between the radios is mounted on the right wall of the VC hatch and looks like this: 29-VC hatch by semperfi_0313, on Flickr Here is a shot of the left turret wall - the gunners charlie box is just forward of the periscope. The object at the far right of the photo is the gunner's sight, the white box on the turret roof behind the open hatch is the dome light, the box below the light is the coax M-240 machine gun ammo tray. 30-gunner hatch by semperfi_0313, on Flickr Here is a photo of the left rear of the troop compartment - the radio racks are visible just inside the hatch. The white box and cylinder are the NBC system pre-filter and blower -more about that later if you want. 31 - Crew Compartment-Left by semperfi_0313, on Flickr I really hope this helps and isn't too confusing. Like I mentioned before, I wish I had taken more photos, but these were back in the days of film - way before digital cameras and cellphones were only for the very rich and they didn't have cameras back then. It was such a hassle to buy film, and then get it developed, - it came out to about $1-2 per photo - plus a tactical vehicle wasn't the best environment for an expensive and delicate camera, so I used an old, crummy, 110 camera because I didn't really care if it got banged up. Sorry about the terrible quality of my photos. Your build is coming along really well! Isn't scratch-building fun!! Arrin
  3. USMC Recce pair (and their mate!)

    NIce work on the instrument panels and the fuel tanks. While I am thinking about it, when you are ready to paint the interior, the correct color is FS24533. There are a few Tamiya paints that are a pretty close match. There is a thread over at Armorama about it - http://www.armorama.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=SquawkBox&file=index&req=viewtopic&topic_id=198775&page=1 "The closest match to Seafoam Green is Tamiya Sky, XF-21. You can also use Model Master Pale Green (FS 34227) with a few drops of white added as well. Another option is Krylon spray Pistachio. It matches Seafoam Green perfectly and is even semi-gloss." I don't know if the Krylon (commercial spray paint - http://www.krylon.com/products/colormaster-paint-primer/ ) is available where you are, but that is what I will use. I also have copies of the official LAV-25 exterior paint scheme instructions from a US Government technical manual. When you get close to painting the outside I'll post them. The rear side of the instrument panel is a big circuit breaker panel. Here is a drawing of what of looks like - 18 - circuit breaker panel by semperfi_0313, on Flickr I already posted this photo, but it shows the panel well 09 - instrument panel by semperfi_0313, on Flickr The box visible at the top left of the photo is the crew heater controls. Here is what it looks like - 19 - Crew Heater Controls by semperfi_0313, on Flickr And here is some info about the crew heater - It is located on the right side shelf inside the hull. It is labeled #33 in this drawing 20 - Crew Heater Location - 01 by semperfi_0313, on Flickr 21 - Crew Heater Location - 02 by semperfi_0313, on Flickr Here is a reasonable photo 23-crew compartment -right by semperfi_0313, on Flickr I found a photo of the fire extinguisher bottles - 22-crew compartment-halon by semperfi_0313, on Flickr I have more info on all the stuff in the drivers compartment and NBC filter box in the left rear when you are ready for it. Next up - Radios. Arrin
  4. USMC Recce pair (and their mate!)

    The great work continues! The top left corner of the -25 grate that goes between the troop compartment and the turret is a screen that slides to the right to allow the troops to pass ammo to the gunner / VC but closes to keep arms and legs and other stuff from getting caught in the turret as it traverses. We almost always left it open, so either way would be fine. The Mortar has the fuel tank on the left like the TOW. It is interesting to see that the ready racks are shifted from the right on the TOW to the left on the Mortar.... Here is an image I found on the web showing the Mortar with the rear hatches open: LAV-M by semperfi_0313, on Flickr The racks and the bench go a long way to fill up the back end. The large green box above the bench is the tool box - it is the same in all three vehicles, just a little more to the rear in the -25. The two white cylinder on the side wall above the tool box are M3 NBC heaters, there are one of these for each crew member in the vehicle.. We plugged our gas masks into it and it heated the filtered air delivered to the mask for us to breathe. Here is an overview of the NBC system - the images are specific to the -25, but all the components are the same in each vehicle variant: 10 - NBC System - 01 by semperfi_0313, on Flickr 11 - NBC System - 02 by semperfi_0313, on Flickr The white box above the 2 M3 heaters is a light box. It has a non-tactical white light and a tactical blue light. The white light is the taller oval and the blur light is the rectangle on the top right of the illustration. These were the lights we "modified" to stay on with the doors open. 12 - Domelight by semperfi_0313, on Flickr The red cylinders forward of the tool box is the manually activated halon fire suppression system. There are two red cylinders attached in the same place on the right inside wall, just forward of the vision blocks (small windows) in all the variants, they are activated by either of two pull handles on the ceiling just behind the driver's compartment hatch, or a pull on the rear cylinder or an external actuator covered by a hinged box by the muffler on the right side of the vehicle. Here are a few images of the system: 13 - Fire Suppression - 01 by semperfi_0313, on Flickr 14 - Fire Suppression - 02 by semperfi_0313, on Flickr 15 - Fire Suppression - 03 by semperfi_0313, on Flickr 16 - Fire Suppression - 04 by semperfi_0313, on Flickr 17 - Fire Suppression - 05 by semperfi_0313, on Flickr The graphics also show the location of the manual fire extinguishers that were mounted inside. All these items are all pretty noticeable in an opened up vehicle. They should be fun to scratchbuild. Again, sorry, i just seem to be giving you more work to do. Arrin
  5. USMC Recce pair (and their mate!)

    Granto, I would love to hear about your service – which tanks? We didn’t spend much time around tanks – the M1 Abrams had been in use by the Army for years, but were just coming into the fleet to replace the old M60’s when I got there in 1991. I remember a few rolling through our bivouac area during LAV school – they were brand new and the turbine sounded so cool. I did get to drive an M60 once. I had to make up a drill (monthly reserve duty) that I missed and we went out to the large training range west of the Great Salt Lake and drove some old M60’s out to be used as targets. It was a little depressing to fire it up and drive it out to be shot at, I kind of felt like was betraying the old girl. She showed me though – it broke down, or ran out of petrol – I don’t know which, half way out to the range and the other Marine I was with and I had to walk back a couple of miles before we got picked up. It was August in the Utah desert – easily 110 deg F (43 C) - I didn’t really feel too bad for her after that. Steering & Suspension I am very interested in how you are dealing with the 2 shocks on either side of the main strut on the front suspension. I have not dug my kit out to look at the suspension parts to see if the small shock have a pivot point to remain in place while the linkage moves. A photo of your finished suspension would be great. Here is a drawing from an old Technical Manual I have which might be helpful in working out the suspension. 05 - Steering by semperfi_0313, on Flickr Here is one of my own not so great photos of the underside of the front of the vehicle – the camera is behind the second right wheel and is facing forward. 07 - steering by semperfi_0313, on Flickr I really wish I was better about taking photos of everything. Sorry. A slightly better representation is in the Trumpeter kit instructions which can be found here http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/image/10061712/70/1 But the trumpeter kit is missing the piece that connects the front and second steering arms together – item #5 in the line drawing above. Driver’s Compartment The driver’s compartment was a little cramped, but was quite cozy once you got used to it. The bulkhead on your right was pretty thin and the engine made a terrible racket. I nearly wet myself the first time I started one – it startled me so much. 01 - Driver;s Hatch by semperfi_0313, on Flickr 02 - Driver's Hatch Legend by semperfi_0313, on Flickr I was wrong about the large panel on the bulkhead – there are two. Going through the TM is bringing back all sorts of memories. In defense of my geriatric memory, the front panel rarely got opened. We had to open the back panel to drain the fuel/water separator and check the transmission fluid every day, so we got used to opening it up. The large fasteners are visible on the very right side of the drawing. They are shaped kind of like a letter “T” with bends on the top at each end. The actual fasteners in my vehicle were round – you can see them in the photo you originally posted below. They clamped the panel in place when you tightened them by twisting them. 08 - instrument panel by semperfi_0313, on Flickr In the drawing up above, the seat is shown laying flat and fully recessed into the vehicle. The back can fold up and the entire seat rises up and down on a pneumatic cylinder you controlled with a big switch near your left knee. When the seat is fully raised, one’s head and a bit of your shoulders are outside of the hull. The opening is pretty tight, so you really felt like you were poking out of a small hole and couldn’t really see anything back inside. The driver had to know where all the controls were and needed to be able to operate them all without looking in case he had to react to something while the seat we fully raised. The most obvious features in the compartment are the seat, steering wheel and the instrument panel. The panel is right next to your left shoulder while driving. It was very difficult to see the gauges while you were driving. It was common for us to progressively build up speed on the highway – I once did 70 mph (115 kph) without realizing it! I’ve also included an image of the instrument panel. I have more detailed info on each of the items in the compartment as well as the panel if you want them. Here is one of my photos again. 09 - instrument panel by semperfi_0313, on Flickr I was able to dig out the AEF Designs interior I have – it wasn’t as good as I remember. There are lots of pieces missing and the instructions are 3 pages of vague hand drawings, one of which is labeled “Page 4”. The pieces in the set are covered in flash and many are poorly cast, still, it is a pretty good start if you can find one. There are many useful items I can photograph and make drawings of so that you could scratch build them if you wanted – most are pretty simple shapes. More to follow soon…… Arrin
  6. USMC Recce pair (and their mate!)

    Granto, Nice progress!! I can't express how cool this build will be. I am most certainly going to need to check-in on it more frequently. I re-read my earlier post and feel like I need to clarify a few things. I didn’t actually serve during the first Gulf War – Operation Desert Storm. I joined the USMC Reserve on Feb 14, 1991 – yep, Valentine’s Day - just before the ground war portion started – went to Boot Camp in October 1991 and finished all my training in May or June 1992 and then checked into my unit - C Co 4th LAI. I spent the first few months doing very little as our unit didn’t have any vehicles, they were almost all still in the Gulf or on their way back to us. My unit was (and still is) outside Salt Lake City, Utah and we did all our training at the large military training range in the desert west of Salt Lake City and every summer we did 2 weeks in 29 Palms, California – with two exceptions, one year we did a winter Annual Training (AT) at 29 Palms in December and the last year of my enlistment we road tripped our unit’s vehicles from SLC to Ft. Hunter-Liggett, California. During my 8 years in the Corps, I spent the first year as an assistant mortar gunner on the LAV-M (we were short of trained grunts and a few of us less experienced, “redundant” crewman did alternate duty as grunts), about 18 months as a scout carrying an M249 SAW (squad automatic weapon) while riding in the back of a -25, 3 years as the company commander’s -25 gunner and C. Company Master Gunner and then roughly 18 months in the Inactive Ready Reserve. I got a wide range of experience, but I never saw combat – sorry for the long explanation, but I certainly do not want to take anything away from actual combat veterans by implying, or having people infer, that I did what I really didn’t. While I was the CO’s gunner, we never got too far from the C2 vehicle, so I got to know it pretty well. I never really spent any time around an LAV-L (logistics) their crews worked too hard fixing stuff we broke and they liked to “conscript” anyone who wandered too close. I also never spent much time around a TOW vehicle, those guys were just plain crazy, so I can’t help much with the TUA’s (we never called them that – just TOW’s) specific details. There were a lot of changes in the LAV community from the period shortly before I joined until about half-way through my enlistment. LAV’s were originally Light Armored Vehicle (LAV) battalions when they joined the Corps in 1983-84, were re-designated Light Armored Infantry (LAI) sometime in 1988-89 and then became Light Armored Reconnaissance (LAR) in 1994. We were glad to be officially changed to Reconnaissance – as that is what we were really doing, and it sounded way cooler than LAI. Sorry for the long life story and history lesson – let me know if that is distracting & I’ll try to edit my thoughts. I am glad to see you add an LAV-M to your build. The first year of my enlistment was on a mortar vehicle, wow - that was over 20 years ago, is kind of a blur, so I remember very little about the interior of the vehicle, except that the basic hull is almost exactly the same as the -25. The large top doors were really nice to help ventilate the hull and kept it much cooler than the inside of the -25 as long as we were out of the direct sun, which was usually never! We NEVER fired the 81MM on the move – if interested, I can explain all about it in a later post. About your build - the doors (hatches actually – everything has nautical names, the US Marine Corps is a department of the US Navy after all – the Men’s Department!) were not nearly as thick as they appear in the photo of the SLEP vehicle. If I remember correctly, the thickness of the vehicle skin was only about 1/4” to 3/8” about 5-10mm thick for you metric folks, and was only intended to defend us against small arms up to 7.62mm, so anything bigger than an AK-47/AKM would penetrate our armor. The top troop hatches behind the turret look thicker in the photo because the edge has a lip that turned down to seal on a rubber gasket that lined the outside of the raised hatch opening – the vehicle is amphibious, so all the openings had gaskets to try to keep at least a bit of the water out. A thin piece of Evergreen stock wrapping around the inside (top when open) hatch cover to thicken the edge would be more accurate than a thicker cover. This would also be correct for the turret hatches and driver’s hatch. The other hatches – rear main hatches, emergency escape hatch (below the turret on the driver’s side of the vehicle side), winch hatch in front of the driver, and the engine hatches (both the solid forward and louvered back sections) were flat slab hatches that fit into a slight rabbet. The hatch latch closed them to tightly “sandwich” a rubber gasket. You can see it clearly in the photo of the winch hatch you posted. Your bulkheads look terrific. There is a large horizontal hatch inside the drive’s compartment to access the side of the engine pack on the bulkhead you created. It takes up a good percentage of the bulkhead and has large surface fasteners that are quite pronounced. I will dig through my references to see if I can find an image for you. The projecting item with the sloped top on the back of the rear engine bulkhead should be much bigger than the piece molded in the kit. It is the “doghouse” over the transfer case. It has surface screws to hold the lid on. I only ever saw it opened once. Nice work on the floor of the M. It was basically just as you built it up. The up and down stepped bottom of the kit is actually reasonably accurate – the troughs had drain plugs in them (all but the one directly behind the doghouse – it was a real pain to clean out) and the M’s floor was a plate over the top of the troughs. It was common to drop stuff and have it slide under the plate. It became sort of a “black hole” – stuff went in there and never seemed to come back out. Your steering fix is pure genius! I am going to steal that when I get around to building my Italeri kit. I seem to remember that the Trumpeter kit had working front steering, Again – nice work so far. It seems that I am just telling you what you could improve, but you are doing a great job. If you keep listing what you are planning next, I’ll try to get ahead of you to give you help rather than correction. I’ll put together some references of the driver's compartment for you if it is not too late. Also, now that you are super-detailing, AEF Designs made a pretty good resin interior for the -25. I have no idea if it is still available, I can send you photos of the one I have if you would like. Here is a link to a description: https://www.scalemates.com/kits/943099-a-e-f-designs-ka-32-lav-25-interior-detail-set Holy Crap! I can;t believe that I forgot to send you a link to the few photos I took of the vehicle I lived out of. Just like many others, I didn't take enough photos of the stuff I did all the time. So here are the very few i actually took - unfortunately they were during a maintenance cycle, not out in the field. http://www.primeportal.net/apc/arrin_holt/lav-25_walk_1.htm Also – if this is all too distracting, just let me know and I will just enjoy your work without adding all my nonsense commentary. Arrin
  7. USMC Recce pair (and their mate!)

    Granto, it is great to see you working on these kits - I was an LAV crewman from 1991 - 1999. The old Italeri kits don't seem to get any love after the Trumpeter kit came out. It seems to me that the Italeri -25 kit is based on a pre-production model or a variant used by another country (I suspect switzerland, but am probably wrong) and the interior is pretty close but noticeably inaccurate. I have a few period photos if you want some Gulf War era references. I will be watching as your work brings back some great memories of haulin' butt across the desert and what it was like to live out of these for a while. A few tips for accurizing it for a Gulf War era vehicle, if you are interested. First, I have NEVER seen an axe on the interior of the rear door as in the photo - I suspect that the photo is of the later SLEP vehicle. They were just coming into the fleet as I was getting out. All our vehicles had the old muffler, smooth barrel (no grooves down the exterior sides) and the original thin Michelin tires. In your posted photo, you can barely make out the later, wide tire below the door and the black racks across the transom below the toolbox, which are a giveaway that it is a later vehicle. All of our vehicles had the axe on the top of the hull by the shovel, mattock handle and blade below the turret bustle rack. We almost always had the top compartment doors open. Yes, there was a limit switch, but we used a piece of wire to jump the pins and bypass the switch - same with the back door switches which turned off all the interior lighting when the back doors were open. We just made sure the lead scout (only 4 grunts rode in the back, even though there were seatbelts for 6) was on the intercom and could keep his boys out of the way of the turret if we needed to swing it either direction. We actually wanted them to be standing up through the top doors and keeping a lookout for air threats (can you say HIND) - they were our biggest worry on the battlefield. There was also a limit switch on the driver's hatch too, to keep you from firing it over his head or whacking him with the barrel - we didn't bypass that one, I guess we were more concerned about our driver than the grunts in the back.... which would make sense, it is probably not very wise to kill your driver while doing 50 mph across the desert in a 15 ton vehicle! Also, we did not put the ready ammo (7.62mm or 5.56mm) on the starboard side of the interior compartment, that space was additional crew stowage - usually comfort items (junk food, baby wipes, etc.) or the corpsman's medkit and never in the big block as represented in the kit pieces. The kit piece almost looks like jerry cans - we carried all our jerry cans (water only, never fuel) on their exterior racks or in the bustle rack. They were green or tan plastic. Occasionally one would see jerry cans painted black - they were homemade alcohol! Some adventurous crews would save their freeze dried fruit from MRE's and add water and yeast and it would ferment over a couple of weeks or so into a pretty strong hooch. Never drink anything out of a black painted jerry can! The crew heater (which almost NEVER worked on any vehicle I was on) shown on the port side really went about mid way forward on the starboard side - the little mushroom on the top of the hull by the turret is it's exhaust - it siphoned and burned diesel from the main fuel tank under the troop seats in the back. The space on the port where the heater is shown was actually an NBC decon filter system taht fed filter air to our gas masks. Eduard did a PE set for the Italeri kit - #35-485 - I suspect it has long been unavailable. Keep up the great work, I can't wait to see them finished! Semper Fi, Arrin
  8. MFH - 1:20 Eagle T1G 1968

    Great Build! The rivets look like a tedious job, but they really make the mode look great. I wish we could get an injected plastic kit of this car, the MFH is hard to justify with my limited budget. I normally clear coat before I apply the decals, it helps prevent silvering. I then clear coat again after they are all finished drying to protect them. Arrin
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