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Das Abteilung

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  1. Fair one, and I retract the statement with apologies. Type in haste before brain is fully engaged,............! It did read a bit like a Sun headline on reflection. I actually contradicted myself anyway because I also said a couple of lines later that there was perhaps only 1 known to be built like that.
  2. Like I said, maybe only 1 built like that........................... Certainly this is the only photo anyone has ever turned up of a large hatch M32B1. None seem to have turned up post-war anywhere either, not even in Israel. There were only 46 M32B2s and there are a lot more pictures of those, all 3 sub-types. Yes there could potentially have been up to 91 like this but the production records don't discriminate between large and small hatch and the existence of any more than the 1 pictured remains entirely conjectural. M4A1 75mm large-hatch tanks were a relatively rare transitional model. 200 or so 'unallocated' ones in depot were certainly converted to DDs and were apparently the only spare Shermans available. The timing is about right. So it is plausible but remains unproven that others were taken for the M32 programme when supplies of suitable used tanks ran out just short of the total needed. But even at 91 out of 1,300-odd they would be rare. It is also plausible but also unproven that the mystery M32B4 was somehow scooped up in this shortage but never recorded as such, maybe mistaken by someone for an M4 or M4A3 but converted anyway. We will never know. It seems that it came to the UK and then on to Greece, but there are no records of that either. Bronco do the T49 type tracks seen here at a more reasonable price than the metal options. Just changing the hatches around would not be an option to make the small hatch version anyway. The entire glacis is different in plan and profile between large hatch and small hatch types. You would need a new upper hull. As I'm sure you all know, 'large hatch' and 'small hatch' are just shorthand for 1st and 2nd generation Shermans using the most obvious visual clue. But it isn't just about the hatches. There were many other differences and almost all 2nd generation Shermans were 76 or 105mm with relatively few 75mms.
  3. Hussar wheels for the Tilly are really nice and they do 2 tread types so you can mix them up as was often seen. But definitely not cheap.
  4. I was thinking that you would just put the serials together from alphabet sets, which should contain all the necessary characters. Archer have a good range of generic and specific alphabet types, but not everyone stocks all of them. You can buy then directly from Archer in the USA, but at increased cost of shipping and risk of customs charges. I would have thought that AR35107 lettering and its matching number set (35110?) would give you what you need here. A few words of warning that dry transfers can be hard to use and get to look straight and even for making serials etc. I find that all or any of the following can happen: bits of other letters on the sheet stick to the subject in the wrong places the letter being applied doesn't fully detach from the sheet previously-applied letters are damaged when applying later letters. There are possible ways of avoiding this. Cut out the individual letters from the sheet with minimal front sheet Cut a small aperture in the backing paper and position this behind the character being applied pre-release the character being applied by rubbing over it on the backing paper before transferring to the subject a rounded metal burnishing tool works better than a soft pencil to apply the letters whatever tool you use keep it only over the character being applied and don't press too hard - that can damage the transfer They can be applied to clear decal sheet. This negates some of their advantage of having no carrier film, but can make them easier to apply on complex shapes or confined spaces. It can also make spacing and levelling them easier using masking tape or pencil lines.
  5. Archer have the right font in their dry transfer range. They do assorted stars too. I did have some of those spare and some Peddinghaus star decals too, but sadly they went on eBay a few weeks ago. Der Sockelshop in Germany stock a fair range of Archer transfers. NB - you can't home-print white decals. Any home-print decals with white in them need to be printed on white film. Decals home-printed on clear film look completely different when applied to the model colour with out their white backing And home print inks aren't waterproof........
  6. Re the large loader's hatch........ As noted above, the early 76mm turrets had a split hatch cupola for the loader identical to the old commander's hatch. The commander got the vision cupola. The hatches were found to get in the way so the kidney loaders hatch similar to that used on the 75mm turret was substituted. The small hatch change coincided roughly with the factory fit of HVSS and the M1A2 gun with muzzle brake by Chrysler. BTW, T23 is only an informal name for the 76mm turret type and not an official designation. About 450 of the no-vent large-hatch turrets were made by General Steel for use on M4A1s by PSC. There were also about 500 made by ASF for Chrysler to use on M4A3s, which also still had the "extra lifting ring" and an additional antenna base location on the left upper edge of the turret: more obsolete hangovers from the T23 tank programme. These A1s and A3s all had the M1 or M1A1 gun with plain muzzle or the M1A1C with the muzzle collar. For those interested in IDF Shermans, at least some of both of these early 76mm turrets found their way into their inventory. Your photo of the M4A3E8 with the large-hatch turret is surely a rare beast. It is certainly Chrysler-built as Fisher only built VVSS M4A3s (about half and half large and small hatch). Chrysler completed the change from VVSS to HVSS in September and the large hatch turrets were finally consumed in August. So that photo must be a very transitional configuration and there can't have been many like that. Note that it still has the M1A1C gun too, and the early single-piece exhaust deflector. It has the turret vent but you can see the slight lip on the turret edge where the additional antenna base used to be. When it was eliminated from the mould master by simply plugging the recess the lip remained. So you'd need a turret from the Dragon VVSS M4A3, which comes with both turret shells but annoyingly with only 1 turret base, or from the Meng M4A3. All the Tamiya 76mm turrets are small-hatch, as are those from Academy, Asuka and RFM. If you really like your Shermans you could cross-kit the Meng and RFM or Meng and Tamiya kits to produce your rare Chrysler M4A3E8 and a Fisher M4A3, about half of which had the small-hatch turret. Nothing wasted. But the RFM kit has the wrong tracks whereas the Tamiya has the right ones, again assuming you like vinyl. For the M36B1 pictured, the Academy kit is the right configuration and even comes with the extended end connector tracks - assuming you like vinyl. It will need a new barrel as the kit supplied ones are wrong. Note the plain barrel with muzzle collar in the photo. No one does that exact version so you'd need to modify one of the RB Models barrels with a collar. I used the muzzle brake version and replaced the brake with a plastic tube collar.
  7. I guess you've seen this photo on the Sherman Minutia site? It's about the clearest view of the skirt structure on an M4A1 DD, although the rigid stays are hard to make out. They were of the same type as those on the M4A4 DD AFAIK, but may have had slightly different dimensions to fit the hull shape.
  8. Accepting that upper and lower hulls may just be dry-fitted in pictures above, watch your nose bolt strip joins. The bolt strip was actually cast integrally with the nose so there should be no visible join along the front edge
  9. It surprises me that manufacturers still keep referring to Jagdtigers and Tiger Ausf B in terms such as "Porsche Production". In this case "Porsche suspension" or "early production" would be correct descriptions. All Jagdtigers were of course built by Nibelungenwerke. Presumably Porsche don't want any royalties for the use of the name, fear of which inhibits the descriptions of many other models. I imagine it knocks the Tamiya offering into a cocked hat, probably the Dragon too. Even if only for having indy link tracks rather than vinyl or DS. However, direct comparison with the Tamiya kit isn't entirely appropriate as theirs is the main production type with the Henschel suspension. This is the first competitor to Dragon in that respect. Split gun barrel is a bit low-tech these days: slide moulds have been invented, as have aluminium barrels. To my eye the welds, especially those around the plate interlocks, are much too trenched. I'm sure the German experts here and on other forums will have their say. With only 11 operational armoured tanks built with this supension (plus the mild steel prototype) there isn't much room for error as they seem to be individually known. At least one, the one now at Bovington, had zimmerit applied.
  10. Needs a bit of black in the dust for the AEC diesel smoke! But seriously, that's really nice. Perhaps a little too much rust on the 251 (Tamiya kit?) as it hasn't burned and the dry atmosphere and carbon and manganese in the alloy would inhibit rust formation. Early riveted 251 Ausf Cs as kitted by Tamiya were used there, although 251s were actually comparatively uncommon among German forces in N Africa compared to other theatres.
  11. The tracks and wonky suspension are the least of your troubles here. It's a completely fictitious kit!!!!! There was perhaps only 1 M32B1 built on the large hatch hull as depicted by Italeri, who mistakently borrowed it from their M4A1(76) kit without research or thinking. There were a small number of M32B2 built on large hatch M4A2 hulls for USMC, but the remainder of M32, M32B1 and M32B3 were built on used small-hatch hulls (with a few on new build hulls). Every single small hatch M4A3 built was converted to an M32B3. So, to make something of the Italeri M32B1 you have 2 choices. Cross-kit it with something else or, by the time you've splashed out on a second kit, throw it away and buy the infinitely superior and correct Tasca kit. The most basic kitbash would be with a Dragon or Tasca/Asuka/Eduard small hatch M4A1 to make a correct M32B1. The M32B1 was by far the most common type of M32 with over 1,300 built. You could potentially make an M32 using the Dragon Normandy M4 or IC Firefly. However, there is no definitive evidence that any M32 were actually built: the production order with FMW was for a mixed bag of 400 M32 or M32B1, but it seems that only M32B1 were actually built. You could cross it with an Academy, Asuka or Dragon M4A2 to make a USMC PTO version but there were only 46 of those - 12 with the large hatch hull and the remainder with Fisher welded-hood small hatch hulls. An M32B3 is problematic as no-one kits a small-hatch M4A3, but it was the second most common M32 variant with 298 built. While the M32B4 never officially existed with no records of any being built and the designation being cancelled, there is a photo on the web of an M32B4 in post-war Greek service which no-one can adequately explain. Greece received 4 M32s from the UK with their Centaurs. Shapeways have an M32 bracket set for a welded hull.
  12. A few more little points, if I may. Not trying to be critical but rather to make sure that this model and diorama ends up being as fantastic as it deserves to be and is well on the way to being. Except when newly-laid, railway tracks developed a black greasy strip down the centre of the ballast and sleepers from lubricating oil and grease thrown off by the mechanism underneath the locomotives Same for steam, diesel and electric traction. Ballast is looking better now. It has to be reasonably small and uniform or it won't compact and hold the sleepers in place. Clean (no dust or fines) chunks in the 40-50mm size range would be usual and Limestone seems to have been preferred. The wall at the right front of the picture is probably a little too close to the track, even for a backwater rural branch line. To be that rusty the rails wouldn't have been used for years. Like armour plate, rail steel alloy contained elements such as manganese for wear resistance which naturally inhibited the formation of rust. Having all-steel tracks, the Cromwell would have left bright marks - or at least scuffed off the rust - where it crossed the rails. The middle spare link in the glacis rack has lost one end of one pin along the way and the pins in the lower one have become bent by the tow cable. The pins were a single piece of 11/8" rod, rarely snapped and were very hard to bend, so both ends or no ends would be present and would be straight. A spare link might have the pin protruding further from one side than the other as they were held in place by the end connectors but when new were a friction fit into the links. While you painstakingly and excellently added the straps for the cleaning rods you've missed them for the shovel handle and pick head! You also have the "houseboat" brackets on the glacis (and inside front fenders but cut down?) but not down the hull sides: it was all or none with those except where the hull side ones were removed to make way for applique plates. And the glacis ones are too far inboard. A bit late to do much about those now. M4A4 were not fitted with the periscope protectors, except for some of the refurbished ex-US ones supplied in 1944 - which the RFM configuration is incorrect for. The co-driver's forward periscope cover is crooked, which is not impossible with crew members clambering on it as the hinges were quite flimsy. Both co-driver's perscopes were removed on Fireflies because of the ammunition bin, although the covers remained. Every M4 kit manufacturer who produces 3-piece FDAs has the same problem with separating the "humps" and leaving a join line that must be filled. Asuka represented the bolt flanges in 2 halves, giving the necessary join line - although the parts are a little too uniform and smooth and need the outer edges filing and carving a little to make them uneven. Dragon and RFM use a single piece moulding, where the moulding line will not represent the join as it is raised rather than recessed. There are some resin replacement 3-piece FDAs available. No-one represents the missing drain holes in the curved splash protectors round the fuel fillers and the ventilators because of the moulding difficulty.
  13. A cream undercoat is improbable at best and would make no sense with a factory top colour of green or brown. Two coats of the top colour would be more likely. I suspect that the Crusader example was attempting to depict an original coat of Portland Stone overpainted with Light Stone. Which would be wrong unless the "dark" colour was Khaki Green 3 rather than bare metal and the Crusader was a MkI or early MkII, which is about the only way that combination might work. Like US tanks, British tanks were factory-finished in the colour of the day as factories and those placing the orders had no idea where the tanks would be sent. So tanks arriving in N Africa would be Khaki Green 3 or later SCC2 Brown, overpainted in theatre with the theatre colour of the day - which did change from time to time and tanks were generally the highest priority for repainting as the colour instructions changed. So yes, multiple colour layers are certainly feasible.
  14. I had a chance to measure both 17pdr and 77mm barrels, as none of the websites or books I looked at actually had the difference. The 77mm barrel is almost exactly 2 feet shorter than the 17pdr: 60cm by my measuring, about 17mm in 1/35.
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