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clive_t

Time to ditch the wingy things and armour up! First AFV WIP - Academy M3 Grant 1:35

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Hi all, my first WIP venture having strayed out of the Aircraft bit of this forum (albeit temporarily, I am sure).

 

Having been inspired by @DaveJL's most excellent WIP thread (here)  and of course the RFI (here) I thought I would take this opportunity to dip a toe outside my modelling comfort zone (ie doing planes, badly) and undertake a small (hopefully doable in the time I have) vignette involving a British M3 Grant tank of the 3rd Royal Tank Regiment around September 1942, during the Battle of Alam Halfa in North Africa.

 

Here's the sum total of my progress so far: I managed to extricate the box from its place on the stash shelf without breaking my neck!

 

33721155745_af29530e39_b.jpg

 

Why Academy? Well, no specific reason other than I had read reviews of other kit makers (Tamiya etc) and on balance the positive comments on the Academy kit outweighed the negatives by possibly a greater margin than its rivals. The other 'plus' for me was that this particular boxing included figures for the 5-man crew.

 

Why this tank in this regiment in this battle at this time? Well, this will be very much a personal journey for me, on which I will elaborate further in due course.

 

I hope to get as much extra detail on the model as I can, and to that end I see that there are some PE add-ons which might or might not be worth the investment. I invite anyone on here who has had experience with such  things to feel free to chip in with any comments that might help me decide. I have already determined that the rubber tracks supplied with the kit leave rather a lot to be desired, not the least of reasons being that they are not 'double-I' footprint typical of this tank at this time. I have found an online shop in Germany that sells link sets, but the cost of those including postage is likely to be in the region of 50 Euro. Nevertheless it's something I have to seriously consider getting. Of course, if anyone should happen to know of a cheaper source, I am all ears (or eyes, even).

 

So, there in a nutshell is why this thread is starting, hopefully the modelling activity will start soon!

 

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Interesting, thank you. I see also they do We210 'worn' tracks, which sounds possibly even closer to what I am after.

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Nice subject Clive, will follow your progress!

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13 hours ago, clive_t said:

Interesting, thank you. I see also they do We210 'worn' tracks, which sounds possibly even closer to what I am after.

Just to give you an indication of cost. I ordered a set from them and the total cost of tracks P&P came to around $30. I live in France so you're probably talking similar cost to the UK.

BTW. When this kit first appeared on the scene, Academy were taken to task over the height of the VVSS units. They were too high. They took on board the criticism and issued a new sprue with correct height units. Subsequent boxings of the kit had the new sprue included as well as the original. I would think that the issue that you have would include the corrected units. Check and see how many sprues containing VVSS units you have. If you want a thorough review of the kit, check out the one on Perth Military Modelling site by Terry Ashley. It's very useful.

HTH's.

 

John.

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Thanks John for the pointers, i will check the sprues when i get home. I seem to recall the instructions show a list of unused parts, a lot of which seemed to relate to wheels. 

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I'm particularly impressed by the quality of the work so far, and the attention to detail in not breaking your neck.  I've got one of these lined up for "some day", after reading a book on the N.Africa campaign, so I'll be watching with just a soupçon of interest :)

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Time to ditch the wingy things and armour up!  :clap2:

 

 

Best title on BM

 

Watching with intrest

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Posted (edited)

Well after an unfortunate but necessary halt to the proceedings due to domestic matters, I was finally able to get this little project started yesterday, and a little more progress this evening.

 

I'm not sure of the form where WIP threads are concerned, whether too many photos of minute steps in the build will bore the bolts off people. So, I will try and limit the pics to strategic points of development, and maybe to illustrate issues I encounter along the way. Which, by the way, I have already!

 

Anyway, the sum total of my building progress thus far... 2 drive sprockets:

 

33711606511_8ce2396d6b_b.jpg

 

So what, you might be thinking, is the deal here? Just 2 sprockets and already we have a photo? Sheesh!

 

Well, yes, my point being this: in the kit, each sprocket comes in 2 halves; there is a locating lug on one half that fits into a slot on the other side, thus to line them up correctly... or so you might think. However, on closer inspection, it became apparent to me that the sprocket teeth were appreciably out of kilter between the two halves when fitted together. The shame of it was, in my naivete, that I had already applied some drops of Tamiya Extra Thin to fix them before noticing. With hindsight, or preferably some astute test-fitting beforehand, it would have profited me to shave a bit off the lug, to allow me to line the sprocket teeth up more squarely. As it turned out, the combination of brute force, ignorance, and the melting effect of the glue on the plastic allowed enough manual realignment to reduce the degree of out-of-kilter-ness to an almost unnoticeable degree. I can still see it, but then I know it's there :(

[Edited 19 Jul 2017 to add: WARNING if you intend using after-market tracks e.g. Panda Plastics WE210 pattern tracks, be aware that the sprockets are too narrow to engage with the links. You'll need to widen them by about 1mm. Do it now, and you will be spared the pain I experienced yesterday :( ]

You will also perhaps note that the sprockets are already primed in a fetching shade of desert-like and not very cheap sandy coloured spray primer, which brings me to my next harsh lesson: the VVSS wheel sets. I have six sets in total to make, and here's the first:

 

33840759305_1fef55793d_b.jpg

 

Immediately obvious, I am sure, is the fact that my decision to spray prime everything on the sprue was probably not the wisest move, given how much of it must now be scraped, filed and sanded away - particularly around the wheels. What priming has shown me is the existence of some very visible mould lines around the circumference of the wheels, and indeed other parts of the suspension etc.Ridding myself of these has inevitably rid me of a fair bit of the primer too! Still, I've made one, and in terms of moulding detail it's quite good.

 

Finally, for today anyway, I'd like to show you a picture of why it took me about 2 hours to make up that one wheel set:

 

33800238066_95ee0c5164_b.jpg

 

The kit does indeed contain revised bits for a smaller VVSS unit, and the instructions reference these - well, nearly... in the picture above, you can see 2 different-sized sets of suspensions (I assume that's what they are meant to represent, anyway). The one on the left (from Sprue 'E', part number 41) is the correct sized suspension for the smaller VVSS units. On the right (from Sprue 'A' part number 9) is the suspension for the old larger VVSS unit. Guess which one the instruction sheet wanted me to try and fit... :wtf: . I am reasonably confident that armed with this information, my next VVSS unit will take about 45 minutes less to complete than the first.

 

So there it is - not much of a start, but apparently even a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. So they tell me. Hopefully more to follow in the not-too-distant future.

 

Thanks for watching!

Edited by clive_t
Added a warning from the future!

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Thanks Mr DerbYeomanry, I shall have to try and obtain a copy from somewhere :yes:

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20 minutes ago, clive_t said:

Thanks Mr DerbYeomanry, I shall have to try and obtain a copy from somewhere :yes:

Its a  special anniversary edition

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, clive_t said:

Well, yes, my point being this: in the kit, each sprocket comes in 2 halves; there is a locating lug on one half that fits into a slot on the other side, thus to line them up correctly... or so you might think. However, on closer inspection, it became apparent to me that the sprocket teeth were appreciably out of kilter between the two halves when fitted together. The shame of it was, in my naivete, that I had already applied some drops of Tamiya Extra Thin to fix them before noticing. With hindsight, or preferably some astute test-fitting beforehand, it would have profited me to shave a bit off the lug, to allow me to line the sprocket teeth up more squarely. As it turned out, the combination of brute force, ignorance, and the melting effect of the glue on the plastic allowed enough manual realignment to reduce the degree of out-of-kilter-ness to an almost unnoticeable degree. I can still see it, but then I know it's there :(

 

Welcome to the dirty side, Clive.

Maybe we can tempt you to stay!

If it makes you feel any better, I encountered a similar problem with a Dragon 'Imperial Series' 1/35th StuG III. Only, as well as the misalignment of the 'locating pins and holes', there was also a marked difference in the spacing of the 'teeth' on the two halves of the wheel! So, line one pair of opposing teeth up and follow them around and the teeth gradually go out of synch! The only thing I could do was 'hide' the worst part of the sprocket within the curve of the track around the wheel. (This meant having to remove the teeth on the inner sprocket where the track is supposed to locate)

So, these things are sent to try us!

 

Following with interest....

Rearguards,

Badder

 

Edited by Badder

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7 minutes ago, Badder said:

If it makes you feel any better, I encountered a similar problem with a Dragon 'Imperial Series' 1/35th StuG III. Only, as well as the misalignment of the locating lugs, there was also a marked difference in the spacing of the 'teeth' on each half of the sprocket! So, line one pair of opposing teeth up and follow them around and the teeth gradually go out of synch! The only thing I could do was 'hide' the worst part of the sprocket within the curve of the track around the wheel. (This meant having to remove the teeth on the inner sprocket where the track is supposed to locate)

 

Ouch, that must have hurt! For a relative blessing, I was at least able to prove that the tooth spacings were equal by wrapping the supplied rubber track around each sprocket wheel, and it seemed to fit OK.

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An unseen model, comparing it with his brother the M4 Sherman, I will like to see him finishing, "good profit" mate, :popcorn:

Cheers Clive :D

 

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Some modest progress since my last update:

 

All 6 bogie sets are now built. Fortunately, after the first one I noticed something from a reference photo (a close-up of one of the bogies) which required that I take a small chunk out of the braces at the top - as pointed to by my beautiful assistant (OK, it's a pencil):

 

33979891285_ae150e4e9a_b.jpg

 

Also, in that same reference photo I noticed that there were holes at the bottom of the main housing, and in the axle nuts, where on the model they were filled in. So, I drilled these out:

 

33938743026_d71c64293a_b.jpg

 

A damned site easier doing all this before assembly, let me tell you :)

 

A quick dry-fit on one side of the hull - not too shabby:

 

33938741136_e025cf3c44_b.jpg

 

Meanwhile, the postie very kindly left these for me one morning - for the princely sum of £10 + postage:

 

33312078423_6441a8d8a8_b.jpg

 

They are the Eduard Photo-etch Grant Exterior details and Fender details sets. I must direct at least some of the blame for getting these at the feet of Mr @sunray, having witnessed what he managed to achieve by applying PE sets to his Tamiya Panzer II F/G (check out his awesome WIP thread here). I didn't bother with the Interior details set as I wasn't planning on having the thing totally open to view. My plan (such as it is at this time) is to show the model in a small diorama, at rest and with all available hatches open but with all the figures outside taking some air, having a bite, getting wounds dressed etc. However, from what I have seen of the sets I did buy, the quality is likely to be very high. Purchased as a single 'Big Ed' set (all 3 sets for about £22), it would probably represent reasonable value for money.

 

I was about to crack on with assembling the hull complete with all the bogies etc, when another old photo yielded the revelation that the wheels were not very long in pristine condition, having solid rubber tyres they seem to be consistently in a bit of a dishevelled state, with bits chewed out of them presumably due to the rough, stony terrain of North Africa. I decided to hold off fixing the bogies to the hull, and instead experimented with making one of the wheel sets a bit more 'lived in', by carving random sized chunks out of the edges and in the middle of the tyres:

 

33332744873_8b0dc2f37c_b.jpg

 

I then painted what was left of the tyres with the recommended 'black' - purely as a base colour for my next stage - and finally for now a wash of some dark mud colour:

 

33332742383_046ea50ef3_b.jpg

 

All I need to do now is to apply some dry-brushed pale sand/dust colour, then 'rinse and repeat' x6. Then maybe I can return to getting things fixed to the hull!

 

It occurs to me that pretty soon I will probably have 3 WIP threads on the go: this one, a thread for the diorama base, and (now that we have a Figures WIP forum :) ) a thread for the figures too. Hopefully these others will start soon as my ideas start to take shape.

 

Thanks for watching!

 

 

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Looking good

 

any more updates?

 

the M3 is on my to do list😊

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Hi Cromwell and FrancisGL, thanks for your comments.

 

A little more progress over the weekend, but not much - I had a go at dry-brushing the bogie with something approximating to 'dust/sand', which to my hopelessly untrained eye looked fairly OK:

 

34091633522_b8909c95b9_b.jpg

 

So flushed with that success I applied the same approach to the other 5 bogies:

 

33864787390_937dfc3561_b.jpg

 

Prior to fitting the bogies, I took the chance to applying the same wash to the lower hull this evening:

 

33864783700_ede06c6335_b.jpg

 

Obviously it still needs some dust/sand to be dry-brushed on yet.

 

I found a reference pic on the PPMS site that showed the underside of the sponson has some rivet detail on the real thing that the model does not provide. After some time spent experimenting with how to reproduce this detail myself, I decided not to bother. My theory on it is that once the tracks and the side skirts are fitted, you'd be hard-pressed to see this detail anyway.

 

Thanks for watching :)

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12 hours ago, clive_t said:

My theory on it is that once the tracks and the side skirts are fitted, you'd be hard-pressed to see this detail anyway.

 

Exactly!! Why waste time and effort on something that no body will ever see. Progress so far looking good.

 

John.

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A bit more progress this evening. One of the beneficial effects of starting work early is I get home early, without too much in the way of traffic hold-ups, so I snuck an hour of bench time in:

 

33455250653_72115ed1c0_b.jpg

 

So, fiiinally... I can get the bogies fitted, and at the same time I am able to dry-fit the sprockets and idler wheels:

 

33455237803_b1db0a2f65_b.jpg

 

There appears to be a slight tracking misalignment between the idler wheels and the bogie wheels on both sides, but shouldn't be noticeable once the tracks are on. A bit of paring away of the shoulder on the axle should do for it, if I should get all precious about it later on :)

 

Next up, appears to be the internals - specifically, the driver's station. Hopefully I will get to make some progress there in the not too distant future.

 

Thanks for watching, and of course your comments!

 

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That last picture is showing us how good this is looking when it's all together. Loving the knackered tyre look. The weathering on the side of the hull is looking good too.

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It's looking as though it has been battered by the desert winds and sand. Keep it going.

 

John.

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Thanks, Messrs Cromwell, John and FrancisGL!

 

A bit of progress on the office today. First, the floorplate... oh:

 

34157379371_0f2f5af671_b.jpg

 

A slight hint of an undulation here! No matter, I have a small battalion of various clamps and vices with which to manhandle the thing into the desired shape:

 

33515272243_433c293145_b.jpg[/url]

 

Just needs some time to allow the glue to solidify, and hopefully hold the thing together. So, whilst that's happening, a bit more progress on the lower hull:

 

33515267413_6d5c383180_b.jpg

 

... and a start on the upper hull also. Again some warping of the top section which needed a bit of clamping to get it into the right shape:

 

34194683401_ea116a2602_b.jpg

 

Hopefully some more progress tomorrow.

 

Thanks for watching, all comments welcome :)

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