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  1. I've been fascinated by tanks since I was just a little boy. Big, loud and menacing beasts...the exact sort of things that appeal to little boys. When I was elementary school-age, circa the late 1950s, early '60s, our hometown had a National Guard unit with a tank. It was parked beside their building and I loved seeing it as we drove past. I imagine it might've been an M47 or perhaps M48, heck maybe even an old M26. Whatever it was, it was a marvel to me back then! I started building scale models as an adult around 1986 or '87. And since then, I've only built two tank scale models. I enjoyed building both, and actually did enter them in an Austin,Texas model contest (still a "one time" experience for me), luckily placing both tanks in third place in their respective categories. Beginner's luck I call it. My two tanks I hate masking aircraft canopies. It's the part of the process I dread the most; the mere fact that there are no canopies to mask on a tank...well, that is a huge plus in the armor column for me! Lately, I have become somewhat stalled on a Bf-109E build (yeah. I came to the masking stage...) and thought I would take "the road less traveled" for a change. And, now I'm having a ball going down that path! I started Tamiya's ancient M41 Walker Bulldog in 1/35, of course. I've only spent a handful of hours, spread out over a couple weeks, thus far, but I believe I'm getting close to laying on some final paint. I've done a bit of scratch-building, adding some features that Tamiya chose to leave off. I would like to show my progress here however, and thereby gain access to all the great info here at BM. Well, the road wheels are painted and sealed, awaiting some weathering. I also painted the rubber portion of the return rollers. The odd bits and pieces have been added to the front and rear hulls: Most M41 Bulldogs featured a canvas mantlet cover that is bolted to the turret top and sides. I've attempted to replicate this with tissue soaked in CVA. I've seen photos of these covers that show some variation and of course, a lot of wear and tear. I futzed around this for quite a while, making several attempts, finally calling it done (and good enuf!). I tried to replicate the attachment parts with plastic rod and thin strips of aluminum. After they are glued to the tank, I'd like to place a Grandt Line bolt-head on each "tab". Heh, heh, that may be a bridge too far for my meager skills but I'm game to give it a try! I've still got some small details to add around the cut-out for the gunner's sight, and of course some touch-up once the final paint goes on. Here's how the attachment parts look, and a pic with some practice paint on: Tamiya left off the two lifting rings found on the glacis plate. I've routed out a slot for some rings made from flattened copper wire. I hope to set the rings in the slot with some thick CA. The real rings were attached with six huge weld beads so I hope I can get close to that appearance. M41s have two storage boxes mounted on the sponsons but Tamiya failed to add the stiffening ribs stamped into the sides of the boxes. I've tried to replicate that effect by gluing small strips if stretched-sprue to the sides. The vertical ribs on the front boxes were oddly arrayed and that was difficult for me to recreate. I believe they will look okay when finally "tweaked" though. Port side before paint: Starboard too: With some "practice paint": Also seen in the above pic is the auxiliary muffler for the tank generator. Originally, these were mounted over the right-side rear main muffler but excessive heat in that location led to refitting the aux. muffler to the right front fender. I'm building my Bulldog as a tank issued to the Army of Republic of Vietnam (ARVN). ARVN forces were the ones who used the M41 most in combat, seeing some success against soviet PT-76 and T54 tanks of the NVA. I've seen ARVN Bulldogs with aux. mufflers in both locations; there are great diagrams of both mountings in the Squadron Walk Around book on the M41 and I chose the rear, original location to scratch build. I found an old, model car exhaust collector that worked well in replicating the muffler. Some aluminum tubing provided the tail-pipe and plastic stock made the mounts, with furnace tape straps and clamps on the flexible pipe connecting it to the engine deck. Here are some pics of the process: And here's the muffler with some "practice paint": I've been looking at several photos of ARVN Bulldogs for ideas and inspiration. Here are a couple: In the above pic, I see a great idea for speeding up the build...just wrap the M2 in canvas! And a couple pics with the three main pieces assembled for a trial viewing thus far: Hey everyone, thanks for staying with me so far! I hope to have more progress to post soon, and I'm always happy to receive constructive criticism and advice. I am pretty much still a novice armor builder and on my third try. So, with that, adieu for now! Links of interest: https://mikesresearch.com/2019/03/24/m41-walker-bulldog/ https://www.historynet.com/m-41-walker-bulldog-tank/ https://man.fas.org/dod-101/sys/land/m41.htm
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