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M4A1+Grizzly+Guardian+Post.jpg

 

 This build has been sitting in a drawer under my modelling bench for about six years now, It's a build that was started back in 2012 after buying Tasca/Asuka's excellent M4A1 kit which at the time I intended to build with very few changes, but then things spiralled out of control somewhat (a mild understatement) and I think it's fair to say that the build has been abandoned and restarted quite a few times over the years, due mostly to a lack of enthusiasm and a heavy dose of life stuff getting in the way, so in short, It's the usual story of an abandoned build, and I'm at the point now where I need to either throw it all in the bin, or do something with it, even if that means making a complete pigs ear out of it, which is looking highly likely to be honest...

 

Canadian M4A1 Grizzly

 

 The pictures above, two nice examples of the Canadian M4A1 Grizzly, the one on the left is in Portsmouth USA I think, and the one on the right is the Bovington Grizzly before it was restored and used as a gate guard (I think) And the two pictures below are just my progress so far with the build really, people with a keen eye for detail will notice that I haven't really got very far with this build, It's fairly safe to say that my build speed is very slow, the number of things that are finished is greatly exceeded by the number of things that are not finished, or not even started yet.

 

Canadian+M4A1+Grizzly.jpg

 

 It's probably best to go back to the start and run through how I got to this point otherwise things could get very confusing to be honest, because there are a lot of things that make no sense whatsoever, either to me or anyone else, I can't even remember why I did certain things the way I did, I was just having fun with white plastic I think at the time, It's all a blur, but anyway, this build log is just a bit of lockdown fun and shouldn't be taken to seriously, the chances of me ever getting this finished are pretty low to be honest, but it might be fun.

 

 Feel free to comment, point out mistakes, It's just fun with plastic ;)

 

The Welded Hull

 

 As far as I'm aware all of the Canadian M4A1 Grizzlies had welded hulls, but unless I go and check every single one of the 200 or so that were made, I can't be sure of that, but anyway, Tasca provides a riveted hull in the kit and it can easily be converted to a welded hull, the Tasca instructions included give clear advice on what needs to be done, which is mostly just removing all the rivets to be honest, something that is time consuming but not exactly difficult, but me being me, I decided to do things the hard way, and going against my better judgement and all model making related common sense decided to scratch build the lower hull, as you do...

 

Sherman+M4A1+Grizzly+Scratch+Welded+Hull

 

 Pictures above, It's mostly just a copy of the standard Tasca hull really, but with a much thicker floor plate to give the whole thing some strength, the engine bulkhead wall is there also just to give the whole thing added strength, it's not really needed to be honest, though it does help when test fitting the lower hull to the upper hull as it kinda provides a handy bump stop which lets me know when things are in the right place, the tubes and stuff are also just to strengthen things up a little. 

 

Sherman+M4A1+Hull.jpg

 

 My photography skills are not good, that's for sure, and I'm not sure about this centre alignment thing either, might change that, but anyway, picture above is the basic scratched hull, glued together with ca after first being 'tacked' with little spots of poly cement, Evergreen plastic sheet/card is very soft so it's best to do most of the major glue work with ca in my opinion, poly cement can cause havoc sometimes, the bolts that secure the FDA to the sides of the hull have been added already using Masterclubs resin bolts.

 

Sherman+M4A1+Grizzly+Guardian+Scratch+Hu

 

 And pictures above are simply test fitting the new lower hull into the Tasca upper hull, the curves on the sponson edges make getting a good fit a bit of a pain but nothing to bad, the main problem is that the sponsons are fairly weak and are put under a lot of stress when test fitting, so care is needed otherwise joints will start to creak and something will break off, more on this later, as things did start to creak and I had to strengthen the sponson joints, I have to admit that at the time I was kinda shocked at how well it fitted the upper hull, but it would of been much faster to just remove the rivets from the Tasca hull, more fun this way though...

 

 

The Tasca Hull

 

 Pictures below, this is the standard Tasca/Asuka hull as supplied in the kit, basically you just need to remove a huge number of rivet heads from the hull bottom and both of the side plates, as shown with the arrows in the pictures below, and If you are a stickler for detail then I think the two cross braces will also need to be reworked as they are slightly different on a welded hull, but its nothing too difficult, and the bottom of the hull doesn't really matter anyway as it's not seen, It's important to leave the line of bolt heads that can be seen on the front edge of the side plates though, as these represent the bolts that mount the FDA to the hull.

 

Tasca+M4A1+Hull.JPG

 

Tasca+M4A1+Hull+Bottom.jpg

 

 I think (but not sure) that the two cross braces that are marked with arrows in the picture above need to be reworked, they need to be more triangular in cross section and then spot welded in place with strange looking elongated spot welds, I also read somewhere that the Canadian M4A1 Grizzly had an extra hatch on the bottom? But as already stated elsewhere it's the underneath and will never be seen so it's not really that important unless you are a stickler for detail to be honest.

 

Sherman+Hull+Bottom+Brace+Bars.jpg

 

 As you can imagine, pictures of the underneath of a Canadian M4A1 Grizzly are not exactly common on the internet, so it's fairly hard to check anything, but I think the picture above gives a good idea of what the cross braces should look like on a welded hull, it's like a flat plate that's been pressed to form a triangular shape and then spot welded on instead of being riveted, anyway this is what I copied when I added some detail to my scratched hull, If I remember correctly I had lost the will to live at this point after spending far too much time trying to find some pictures of the underside of the Grizzly hull.

 

 Matt

 

 ;)

Edited by Cerberus
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Devils in the Detail

 

 Next on the massive list of self inflicted jobs to do was to add some finer detail to the lower hull, with adding the two new cross braces being the first on the list, these were made with some thin etched brass from some fender parts for a T-55 if I remember correctly, after that it was simply a case of adding all the drain plugs, access hatches, various bolts and the bogie mounting plates, complete with bolt heads, these are being added now for reasons that will become clear later on, all the bolt head detail is done with Masterclubs resin bolts which are nice n easy to work with to be honest, just drill a hole, push them through, then snip of the back.

 

 Why I circled that bottom right picture I really haven't got a clue, I was probably trying to explain something that didn't really need explaining.

 

Sherman+M4A1+Scratch+Hull+Detail.jpg

 

 If you're wondering why the bogie mounting plates are going on the hull sides instead of on the bogies themselves, well, I'm copying how Tasca have done it, doing things this way allows the bogie units to be temp fitted with a kinda click on and off kinda thing which will become clear a bit later on, the downside to doing it this way is that those bogie plates have to be glued on exactly in the right place, very precisely in other words, otherwise I'm gonna have hell later on because the gaps between the road wheels will not look right, and the human eye can spot the smallest of differences in what is supposed to be an equal gap, more on this later...

 

Sherman+M4A1+Hull+%2528welded%2529.jpg

 

 Picture above, that's pretty much the lower hull detailed really, well as far as I'm concerned anyway, If it's wrong who cares, It's underneath and it looks kinda pretty and that's all that matters, the grey plastic stretched sprue that can be spotted in the corner between the sponsons and the hull side plates is for strengthening purposes, there really is not a lot supporting those poor sponsons and they were worrying me a great deal, but anyway, they will at some point be turned into welds, which I don't think is correct for this hull, but who cares? It's more important that my sponsons don't fall off, well not yet anyway...

 

 Matt 

 

 ;)

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5 hours ago, vytautas said:

I don't understand anything about such tanks, but it looks really impressive. Incredible build

 Thank you Vyutautas, much appreciated, I'm enjoying your Marder build, you're a master at fine detail :)

 

 Matt

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Welp! That looks really good! 

 

Makes mine look like the plastic kits they are lol

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1 hour ago, WYATT said:

plastic kits

 There will be some Tasca plastic kit parts coming up fairly soon ;)

 

 Matt

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Drive Housing Endplates

 

 Now is a good time to veer of on a tangent and do the drive housing endplates (differential endplates, I think is the proper name) which is just a long name for the parts that go behind the drive sprockets, forming the axle that the sprockets fit onto, they tend not be high on the kit guys priority list in terms of detail simply because they are mostly hidden behind the drive sprockets, but anyway, best to get them done early because work on the three piece FDA is next on the list.

 

Drive+Housing+Endplates+%25282%2529.jpg

 

Picture courtesy of Paul Budzik (I did ask nicely, years ago) https://paulbudzik.com/index.html he does some very nice work on Dragon Sherman kits.

 

 Pictures above are showing both Dragon and Tasca endplates, with Tasca doing a much better job on the shape, they have the lump in the casting that is just behind the axle, but the bolt head detail still looks a little too small for my liking, and this is my biggest gripe with most of the kit supplied endplates, the bolts used to hold these drive housing endplates on the FDA are very substantial indeed, and the bolt heads do stand out quite a lot when viewed from the front, but anyway, It was time to get all 'arty' and have a go at making some...

 

Drive+Housing+Endplates.jpg

 

 Pictures above, terrible quality, was I working from dark to light? God knows, anyway, I wasn't very happy with these to be honest, but it was my first try at diff endplates so I gave them a pass, plus I had wasted far too many resin bolts to throw them away and try again.

 

 Pictures below, I'm not sure how I managed to get a picture of a butterfly mixed into all of this lot, It was a long time ago, and it has to be said that the two bits of brass wire were never used, but I had to get my butterfly shape somehow, the endplates were made by simply facing layers of plastic card onto each other and using drilled holes to form the cut outs on the top layer, and then simply adding bolt detail using the Tasca parts as a template for their location, the brass tube has been used in the axles simply to give them a bit of added strength.

 

Sherman+Drive+Housing+Endplates.jpg

 

 And that's pretty much job done for the endplates, a little testing was done to make sure my new drive sprockets would fit on the axles, which is always handy, and I don't think I'll ever bother making any of these endplates again to be honest, the Tasca ones are more than good enough really, but anyway, work on the three piece FDA is next.

 

 Matt

 

 ;)

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The Three Part FDA

 

 At this stage in the build it's important to get the lower hull built up into a classic tub shape to increase it's strength, so getting the FDA and the backplate fitted as soon as possible is a high priority, as it stands at the moment the lower hull is very fragile, one bad drop on the floor or bench is not gonna end well, it needs to withstand large amounts of handling and test fitting.

 

 So the next job is the very distinctive Sherman three part FDA as seen on all Canadian M4A1 Grizzlies, Tasca have done a very good job with their kit part, but things can always be improved and modified to get things looking how I want them to look, the main area that needs attention is the missing splash guard, Tasca have helpfully provided a flat area where this should be located (picture below, top right) The splash guard protects the bolt heads that secure the FDA to the hull, and due to the FDA's three part nature (three separate castings bolted together) the splash guard can look slightly different from one Grizzly to another.

 

Tasca+Sherman+M4A1+FDA+Changes.jpg

 

 Pictures above, as well as the splash guard added (bottom left) The FDA also gets some new oil drain plugs added, as well as towing eyes (top left) The new endplates that I just made are glued in place at this stage and some FDA locator brackets (brass parts) are added (bottom right) No one seems to know what these brackets actually do, my theory is that they simply help to guide the FDA back into place during maintenance work, but I'm really not sure to be honest, plastic strip has also been faced along the bolt edge lip to in effect form the recess that can be seen on real Sherman FDA's, this acts as a stop when fitting the FDA to the hull.

 

Sherman+M4A1+FDA+Bolt+Strips1.jpg

 

 Pictures above, some new FDA bolt strips have been made from plastic card using the Tasca items as a template, there is nothing really wrong with the kit parts but I wanted to add some new bolt detail and this is a fairly simple way to do that, the bolts and their corresponding nuts need to sit in a recess in the plates, this has been done with various small drill bits, which was a bit fiddly to do because the plastic is very thin and bendy, and also curved in shape, but I got there in the end, and this job is key to getting a certain look that I'm after.

 

M4A1+Grizzly.jpg

 

 The picture above gives a very good idea of what a Sherman M4A1 Grizzly three part FDA should look like, but be warned the splash guard will not always look like this example, It seems to vary quite a bit depending on the chosen parts that were bolted together at the factory, sometimes the splash guards seem to line up fairly well, and sometimes they don't, but it's better to have a splash guard than none at all, It's also a very good reference picture for showing all the bolt detail and the recesses that they sit in, plus how all the big chunky bolts should look.

 

 Matt

 

 ;)

Edited by Cerberus
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The Finished Article

 

 After some more messing around the FDA was starting to look how I wanted it to look, the finishing work mainly involved covering the Tasca part with ca and baking powder to create some fairly heavy cast texture and imperfections in the surface, and this method is really not recommended at all, unless a good thick coat of auto primer is added on top to seal it all in and stop it interfering with any painted top coats, though even then it's still not recommended, there are far better ways to do cast texture, poly cement and stippling with a stiff brush for instance.

 

Sherman+M4A1+FDA.jpg

 

 Pictures above, after the ca and baking powder had been left for about two weeks the whole thing was covered with two coats of Halfords grey auto primer, brushed on fairly heavy, I was trying to get that slightly uneven surface which can seen on some Sherman three part FDA's, It sorta worked, but I wouldn't do it this way again, and with the FDA in place (picture above, bottom right) you can see how the plastic strips and metal brackets on the FDA interact with the lower hull and the sponsons, helping to lock the FDA into position while they get all the bolts back in during maintenance work, maybe? Still not sure on that.

 

Sherman+M4A1+FDA+and+Hull.jpg

 

 Pictures above, the finished FDA fitted to the hull, so progress so far to this point, I was a little shocked at how well it fitted, It needed a little bit of adjustment here and there but nothing too bad, the FDA also got a plastic card top plate added with a strengthening tube fitted inside underneath just to keep everything in shape, and it does have to be said that a theme is starting to develop with this build, I was heading in a grey and white direction for reasons that are still unclear to me even today...

 

Snuggles.jpg

 

 Perhaps I just like grey and white, who knows, the backplate is up next, I wasn't looking forward to it, there were lots of strange things going on with the backplate if I remember correctly.

 

 Matt

 

 ;)

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@Dads203 (the M10 is top stuff)  @vytautas (I did consider an interior at the time, then came to my senses about 5mins later :)@Vaastav(I wish I had taken notes all those years ago, I'm struggling to remember stuff)

 

 Thanks for the kind comments, It's much appreciated.

 

 Matt

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Backplate Shenanigans

 

 And last but not least with regards to the lower hull is the backplate, and it should be said that the Tasca parts are perfectly fine and look spot on, they would also drop straight in without much fuss, but that wouldn't really fit the theme of the build very much, so I decided to just scratch build the backplate, then the lower hull is pretty much done n dusted, apart from adding a little detail.

 

  When I first looked at the backplate I thought it would be a fairly simple job to make because it's just three flat plates sitting at different angles really to be honest, but it turned into a little bit of a nightmare due to the top section of the backplate where there is some strange crazy stuff going on...

 

M4A1+Sherman+Backplate.jpg

 

 Pictures above, three basic backplate sections are cut from plastic card, plus two little hull side plate extensions, and two brass airbox guards (top left) The backplate has two basic angle changes, with the bottom one being fairly obvious, but the top one is not so clear, but it is there (top right) The joint is also a little complicated so care has to be taken to get everything to match up nicely, and the top section sits slightly recessed inwards, creating a ledge, plus there are two strange weld lines which made no sense to me with regards to the backplate construction, grey stretched sprue is used for the bottom weld joint, and the two top ones have just been left scribed for now as I'm still not sure about them.

 

M4A1+Backplate.jpg

 

 And lastly the top section of the backplate (which is at the bottom in the picture above, just to confuse you) is given the baking powder treatment just like the FDA, and then primed with auto primer to continue our grey and white theme, the reason it gets cast texture is because this part of the backplate is actually part of the upper hull I think, It's hard to tell from pictures just exactly what's going on in this area, not that it really matters all that much, It's all mostly hidden by the airboxes and exhausts.

 

 Those two brass airbox guards fell off about three days later while it was all being washed, and I still haven't glued them back on.

 

 Matt

 

 ;)

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Backplate Detail (basic)

 

 Now that the basic backplate is done it's a good time to add some of the major detail like the two engine access doors, including the hinges, the securing bolt plate and also the towing eyes, the picture below is very good reference for this area of the kit, It's interesting to note how big and chunky the door hinges are on these access doors, they are built to last, not to look good, It's also worth noting the offset nature of the bolts on the locking plate that secures the doors shut, again the Tasca parts are more than good enough to represent these doors, I'm just making them to continue the theme.

 

Sherman+M4A1+Engine+Access+Doors.jpg

 

 Pictures below, the door can be made from one piece of plastic card because the doors are modelled in the closed position, then a simple locking plate is made from a small piece of brass strip, and this sits over the top, plus all the bolt detail is added and a little brass wire handle, the hinges are then formed from more plastic strip and plastic rod for the hinge bolts, with an attempt being made to keep it all looking very agricultural (chunky) which it has to be said is not easy because there is a very fine line between 'agricultural' and just looking very bad in terms of the quality of the work I think.

 

  M4A1+Scratch+Doors.jpg

 

 Pictures below, with the doors now glued to the backplate we can see the purpose of that little lump and hole in the upper part of the backplate, It's simply where the bolt plate secures the doors shut, the two towing eyes are also added at this point, plus the backing/mounting plates for the idler wheel mounts, but it was a very bad mistake to add these at this point I think, I think at the time I fully intended to scratch the idler mounts, so was in effect starting the process by adding these plates, bad idea, will now cause many problems, more on this later.

 

Sherman+M4A1+Access+Doors.jpg

 

 None of the welds that should go around all the hinges and the towing eyes have been added yet, that's another job for the future, but anyway, up next is some work on the VVSS (Vertical Volute Spring Suspension) Which from this point onwards will simply be called 'bogie' work, because it's far easier to simply refer to them as the bogies.

 

 Matt

 

 ;)

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Just found this project, the work so far is stunning with great attention to detail.

Looking forward to more of the same

 

 Stay safe          Roger

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As you probably remember, I was reading you Grizzly blog a few weeks ago, but it still looks good, second time around.

 

John.

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@Hamden Thank you Roger for the kind words, there will be more posted soon.

 

@Bullbasket I do remember yes, you asked about the tracks, once I get this build log caught up with the blog then I'll hopefully have some new stuff to post, here's a big clue as to what I'm doing at the mo...

 

Track+Pins.jpg

 

 I have 400 brass track pins that need to be reworked in a Minicraft tool, the heads need to be reduced in size and shape, and I need 2 per link, It's driving me crazy...lol :frantic:

 

 Matt 

 

 ;)

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Some seriously great work happening here. I really would not have a clue where to start with something like this... let alone be able to do it!! 

 

Regards,

 

Steve

 

 

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The Grizzly Bogies (VVSS)

 

 Hopefully from this point onwards the build log will be a little more useful for anyone wanting to build a Canadian M4A1 Grizzly, because now work starts on some more of the kit supplied parts, such as the Tasca bogies, If you wanted to get to this point in far less time than I did then simply use the Tasca lower hull (converted to a welded hull) plus the three part FDA and the backplate, they are all very good parts and perfectly fine.

 

 A fairly large percentage of the surviving Canadian M4A1 Grizzlies are fitted with what tends to be called 'big rib' bogies, well, I tend to call them that anyway, and It simply refers to the enlarged strengthening ribs on the outer face of bogie unit itself, they were designed initially for use on the Canadian Sexton SPG (I think) but for reasons unknown to me some of them were fitted to the Canadian M4A1 Grizzly as well, and I think that it's fair to say that these big rib bogies give the Grizzly it's very distinctive look, plus of course the Canadian dry pin tracks and sprocket help to make it stand out as well.

 

M4A1+Grizzly+Big+Rib+Bogies.jpg%C2%A0

 

 The picture above is a very good way to highlight the difference between the two bogie types, the big rib bogies (picture on the right) have much larger strengthening ribs on the outer face, which curve gently outwards and then back in again to meet the top surface of the unit itself, the casting itself is also slightly different in a few subtle ways, and for reasons that are still unknown the big rib type casting has two large holes/trenches in the top, one at the front, and one at the back.

 

M4A1+Grizzly+Bogies.jpg

 

 Pictures above, the outer face of the Tasca bogies have been cut and sanded flat ready for their new big ribs which will be made from plastic strip (top left) Then six brass return rollers have been turned on a lathe and we also have some Aber etched brass track return skid plates and some brass axles (top right) The Tasca return rollers are not very good in my opinion, they wobble around badly and just don't seem to fit very well, the bogie units have also been converted so that they no longer have Tasca's working suspension feature, which is basically just little foam strips which if fitted (not advisable) will simply result in the first and last roadwheels sitting too high, so plastic card has been fitted where the foam would normally go, this will lock the suspension in one position.

 

M4A1+Sherman+Bogies.jpg

 

 Pictures above, bolt detail has been added to the return roller support brackets, plastic rod added to strengthen the return roller axles and plastic strip added to all the standard Tasca part locator holes as we don't need them anymore, and then the basic bogie unit is assembled and glued together, building the bogie units this way differs greatly from the Tasca instructions and it will require the suspension arms to be modified slightly to allow them to be fitted (more on this later) doing things this way just makes working on the bogie units a lot easier, as they can now be worked on without wheels dangling around all over the place, which is important because they need a lot of work, and a lot of test fitting.

 

 Matt

 

 ;)

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@fatfingers Tasca provide the hull in flat pack form as apposed to a moulded tub, that makes things a lot easier, I started there and just ran with it :)

 

@Nenad Ilijic My patience is wearing very thin with the tracks ;)

 

 Thanks for kind comments both of you, much appreciated.

 

 Matt

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The Bogie Plates

 

 Before getting carried away with the modifications to the bogie units themselves, now is a good time to finish the bogie mounting plates, and Tasca in their infinite wisdom chose to put the actual mounting plates on the side of the hull, as opposed to on the bogie unit itself as per the real thing, and I intended to do the same because it allows the bogie units to be temporarily fitted, which is ideal for this build because I need to be able to test fit a lot of things before attaching them permanently to the sides of the hull.

 

Lower+Hull+Bogie+Plates.jpg

 

 Pictures above, six small plastic plates are cut to shape and size in such a way that they are a very tight fit in the recess in the back of the Tasca bogie units, a nice snap on and off kinda fit, just enough to secure them tightly in place, then the plates are tack glued onto the mounting plates that are already fitted to the hull sides, and then with a little careful test fitting and a few adjustments, while checking to see if everything is in the right place, the plates are then glued on permanently, so now we have bogie units that can be fitted to the hull, and removed again as much as we like.

 

Sherman+M4A1+Grizzly.jpg

 

 The pictures above show the progress so far with regards to the lower hull and the build in general, all the basic stuff is there and it's mostly finished, plus my bench looks very tidy for a change, so I must of been just chilling out when these pictures were taken, the Tasca upper hull can be seen in the background but that has to wait, first there is a ton of work that needs to be done on the Grizzly big rib bogie units, so there is a lot more bogie work to go yet.

 

 A simple and easy to do post for a change!

 

 Matt

 

 ;)

 

 

Edited by Cerberus
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More nice detail work, like what your doing with this keep up the good work

 

  Stay safe           Roger

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This is rapidly turning into a visual scratch building treat for the eyes, beautifully executed and the attention to detail is right on the money :thumbsup: 

The final product is going to be superb. 

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