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Sleepwalker

Self Propelled 17 pdr, Valentine Mk. I, Archer (Tamiya 1/35)

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Let's go with another build...

As the war started it quickly become clear that British 2 pdr (40mm) tank gun is an obsolete weapon against German opponents. An arm race started with quickly development of 6 pdr gun (75mm) and then its upgraded version QF 77mm (the same gun with bored off caliber). But all these guns still lacked the punch to effectively counteract against increasing armor of German tanks. In 1942 British finished development of the excellent 17 pdr (76.2mm) anti-tank gun with powerful charge making it a deadly weapon against Panthers and Tigers. The problem was that it was a huge gun with enormous recoil. It was quite common that in its towed version gunners needed to pull it back to the position as it was digging into soft ground with its trail spades. Obviously army wanted this gun mounted on the tanks ASAP, but the problem was at the time there was not suitable vehicle. Several vehicles were selected as a 17 pdr carriers and design works resulting in Challenger, Firefly and Achilles tanks. By the way, Firefly nickname was given due to insane muzzle flash when firing with 17 pdr.

One of the vehicles selected was obsolete at the time Valentine tank. Slow, under armed but still big enough to carry this gun. Well... That depends on the point of view. This photo shows Valentine tank along with the gun build for Archer model.

 

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Looking at this photo, one thing coming to the mind is saying...

 

 

But that wasn't the case. As the Valentine was way to small to install the gun in the turret, engineers designed a casemate with gun pointing backward. Sound strange, isn't it? But taking into account that British years later created Monty Python, not surprising a lot :party:.

 

As the result Archer was a weird shaped vehicle driving apparently backwards, with crew of four with a driver risking his life if seated when firing. Although it may looked obsolete, that design had a lot of positive points. First of all it was born ambush tank - after firing it was able to quickly relocate as it was moving forward when retreating. Normal action required driver to be out of tank when firing and acting as a observer, but I have found  information that it was possible to stay in the position but with body leaned opposite way gun breech.

 

Model is a new Tamiya issue, as expected with perfect fit and smart engineering. I'm adding some photoetches from Eduard, not every part is replaced as in some cases it is pointless. My build is not following the manual as I decided to make it in modules: complete gun with a cradle, open fighting compartment and bottom of the hull. The main reason was I wanted to install most of the equipment to fill up the gaps and make nice underside of the fenders - as it will well visible. The model will represent vehicle from 3rd (Tamiya gives a 2nd here, but I believe it is a typo) Anti-Tank Regiment, 3rd Canadian Infantry Division in North-West Europe in early 1945 - what means mud, dirt and mud again.

 

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As I started it some time back here are some construction photos.

 

Some holes to be filled, grove visible is an moulding artifact - on the other side is a running gear mounting point point.

 

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Driver's post with some Eduard's parts attached. Note lack of the dashboard as it will be installed later, after painting.

 

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Gun. Primed with grey Surfacer 1500. Note that Tamiya depicted gun breech as open, but handle position (left from a breech) upwards indicates it shall be closed - what I did with a small modification of the parts. The whole module will be installed after interior painting. Tamiya's engineering makes it easy - just press and click.

 

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Lower interior. Nothing special with some PE parts and sanded out holes.

 

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Upper interior. On the wall visible half of the crew seats folded - ther half will be attached after painting. These seats when used were attached to the nooks visible on the fenders tops.

 

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And finally all modules dry-fitted. What is clear that interior was extremely tight for the crew of four.

 

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On the photos, some parts are still missing like a light machine gun and Sten guns and of course front wall. But this will come after painting the interior. At this point, I will attach complete running gear too.

For painting, I will use custom-made mix of  SCC15 (5xXF-61 Dark Green, 2xXF-62 Olive Drab, 3xXF-3 Yellow).

 

See you soon,

Damian

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Very nice and thanks for sharing Damian. Looking forward to see this continued. This was to be my "next" kit when I saw the build video on the Andy HQ channel. Unfortunately it wasn't available anytime soon. Maye sometime in the future.

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Nice job Damian, you can't beat Tamiya for a nicely fitting kit.

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Model fit is just perfect, no complaints at all. If anything would go wrong, that would be on modeller's side. As I mentioned before engineering is close to perfect - an example is gun mounting. I decided to go ahead with separate assembly of the whole gun including the shield, as I found while dry-fitting that proper shield attachment would need some push. To avoid any damage I decided to change construction order with dry-fitting of the whole gun to the hull. It's mounted by three connection points - a ball connection at the hull bottom and two fittings at the front of the combat compartment. All goes into a place with an audible click. It is real pleasure to build this model.

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)While paint is drying I have made a quick comparison of the colours. All are Tamiya paints:

- XF-62 Olive Drab recommended by Steve Zaloga as closest to real colour,

- XF-61 Dark Green given in paint manual by Tamiya,

- custom mix of SCC15 recommended by Mike Starmer (5 pts XF 61 + 2pts XF62 + 2 pts XF3)

 

SCC15 was late war colour used by British Army. In general, it was intentionally similar to US Olive Drab to avoid repainting of Land Lease tanks, but it was described as a being somewhat greener. Below is a shot of all paints. What is clear (I hope you can see that on your screens) custom mix indeed is a tad greener then Olive Drab, which is being more brownish. Dark Green recommended by Tamiya to paint a tank is a completely different story.

 

sHKX2WZ.jpg?2

 

Perhaps it may be useful for someone, sometime...

Cheers,

Damian.

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Thanks, Soeren. I like the way it looks on the model - but this next time.

 

Meanwhile, I had given some attention to the radiator external surface moulded on the rear deck. Aluminium true metal paint from AK, followed by dark brown panel accent from Tamiya then dirtied more with Engine Grim and finally dusted with Light Dust deposit, both from AK.

 

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It may sound like overkill for an area being barely visible, but IMHO it works nice, especially when just after last step it lost its excessive shine. So now when I dry-fit rear deck engine cover it is visible under a certain angle and light conditions.

 

loDq6Hs.jpg?1

 

See you next time,

Damian

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Nice thread. 

Interesting idea to fit gun pointing back of the vehicle. Do not need to U-turn when leaving firing position. 

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What a great idea, that gun just looks massive compared to the tank, have you got a nice pic of the side view with gun.

 

Very nice Damian

 

Regards

Richard

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