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Takom - M3 Grant Canal Defense Light - The secret weapon too terrible to use?


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I present for your delectation the Takom, 1/35 scale model of the M-3 Grant US built and British operated CDL tank.

 

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It's in parade ground condition after a relatively easy war, almost all of which was spent waiting for action.

 

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There's just a few scratches and scrapes because this 'secret weapon' was often shrouded in tarpaulins when on the move.

 

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Even the back end has had a scrubbing for the inspection.

 

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They will pass inspection even if the boss gets up on a ladder.

 

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It's painted in Tamiya and Vallejo acrylics. This one I never did muddy up as given its history (see below), it didn't seem required.

 

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What a noble profile!

 

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And that's the business end. Of course, the Canal Defense Light has nothing to do with defending canals, that was just a code name. The strange, tall turret has a fake gun fitted for subterfuge. The weapon is in that vertical slit. In there is an arc-light, the dazzling light from which could be rapidly colour shifted and strobed to dazzle and disorientate the enemy when shone into their faces at night. The Americans also had a version which they called the M10 Shop Tractor. By the Normandy campaign the M-3 tank chassis was in use for a variety of secondary roles, having been superseded as a combat tank by the Sherman and others and this was one of the strangest

 

Neither of the Allies actually used their secret weapon because they realised that it would probably only work once and they didn't want to waste it. 😏 The CDL was used as a ground illuminating searchlight to assist in the Rhine Crossings but wasn't optimised for this role as its beam was in the shape of a vertical wedge - conventional anti-aircraft searchlights were much more effective as they could be used directly or by illuminating low clouds to create false moonlight.

 

I hope you enjoy this oddity.

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1 minute ago, bigfoot said:

Very nice, interesting subject and a good finish. How was the kit to build?

 

It was only my second go with individual link tracks which I consequently found a bit of a pig to do. Other than that it was a walk in the park. Takom are almost as good at the engineering side as Tamiya in my experience. There are some inaccuracies around the 75mm gun which I think is an American version so watch for that if it's a concern to you.

 

Here's one Top Tip, the instructions were printed on tiny pages and if I did it again I'd photocopy them larger.

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  • Bertie Psmith changed the title to Takom - M3 Grant Canal Defense Light - The secret weapon too terrible to use?
2 minutes ago, Bertie Psmith said:

 

How can I NOT have seen that aspect of this? D for Disco-Day!

Haha, well it gave me flashbacks of dancing on a strobe and dry ice filled dancefloor and getting disoriented 30 years ago just reading about it. I never realised it used filters too.

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5 minutes ago, sardaukar said:

Haha, well it gave me flashbacks of dancing on a strobe and dry ice filled dancefloor and getting disoriented 30 years ago just reading about it. I never realised it used filters too.

 

I suppose the experience is different when there's shooting coming from behind the lights...

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1 hour ago, Bertie Psmith said:

 

I suppose the experience is different when there's shooting coming from behind the lights...

Yeah chances of getting shot in an Edinburgh nightclub for dancing badly were slim. :ner:

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Grant CDLs did not mount the auxiliary shield on the main gun. Takom goofed this: assumption instead of research.

 

Some US M3A1-based T10s did have it.  Some of the refurbished M3 Lee hulls shipped to the UK for CDL conversion may have had it, but if so they were removed.  Which makes the kit a little hard to build correctly because of the gun parts engineering.

 

Many CDL conversions on both sides of the Atlantic were re-fitted with M4-type trailing-arm bogies.  There are not many CDL photos but Giraffe is one of the few captured.  Giraffe did have the later bogies but was a Grant conversion rather than a US-supplied Lee hull (note the driver's periscopes).  More poor basic research by Takom.

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Such an unusual subject but a very interesting one at that. Every time I look at it I see something new that I've not seen on other tanks before. Great build Bertie you should be pleased with that, thanks for posting.

 

Regards Trace 

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28 minutes ago, Das Abteilung said:

Grant CDLs did not mount the auxiliary shield on the main gun. Takom goofed this: assumption instead of research.

 

Some US M3A1-based T10s did have it.  Some of the refurbished M3 Lee hulls shipped to the UK for CDL conversion may have had it, but if so they were removed.  Which makes the kit a little hard to build correctly because of the gun parts engineering.

 

Many CDL conversions on both sides of the Atlantic were re-fitted with M4-type trailing-arm bogies.  There are not many CDL photos but Giraffe is one of the few captured.  Giraffe did have the later bogies but was a Grant conversion rather than a US-supplied Lee hull (note the driver's periscopes).  More poor basic research by Takom.

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Thanks for that summary of the kit’s problems. I actually found the gun errors myself from a photo but far too late to do anything about it. Sometimes it’s more comfortable to be ignorant. 😝 

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8 minutes ago, Autle said:

Such an unusual subject but a very interesting one at that. Every time I look at it I see something new that I've not seen on other tanks before. Great build Bertie you should be pleased with that, thanks for posting.

 

Regards Trace 

ThAnk you for your comment. I’m glad you liked it. I enjoyed the build and finding out about the project. This chat with my fellow model makers is the last of the highlights of the project. 

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I bought a Grant CDL kit a while back after hearing that they were shortly to be discontinued.  I bought the Panzer Art mantlet cover and barrel set to solve the gun problem, but I also have a couple of Grant stowage sets for other projects that also include a mantlet cover.  Miniart give you that in their kits, so I may end up with some spare ones.

 

I've only ever seen 4 identifiably different Grant CDLs in photos.  One of these came up recently on the "British Zimmerit" thread in this forum covered in wood wool as an anti magnetic mine coating tested for CDLs to be sent to the Far East.

 

Of the other 3, one is Giraffe with the M4 bogies while the other 2 still have the original M3 bogies with T48 rubber chevron tracks.  All are Grant rather than Lee conversions.  I haven't decided whether to go down the M3 or M4 bogie route.

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8 hours ago, Das Abteilung said:

I bought a Grant CDL kit a while back after hearing that they were shortly to be discontinued.  I bought the Panzer Art mantlet cover and barrel set to solve the gun problem, but I also have a couple of Grant stowage sets for other projects that also include a mantlet cover.  Miniart give you that in their kits, so I may end up with some spare ones.

 

I've only ever seen 4 identifiably different Grant CDLs in photos.  One of these came up recently on the "British Zimmerit" thread in this forum covered in wood wool as an anti magnetic mine coating tested for CDLs to be sent to the Far East.

 

Of the other 3, one is Giraffe with the M4 bogies while the other 2 still have the original M3 bogies with T48 rubber chevron tracks.  All are Grant rather than Lee conversions.  I haven't decided whether to go down the M3 or M4 bogie route.


it seems that you are more concerned with accuracy than I. I’m happy to build whatever they give me as long as it goes together well and looks good. 

1 minute ago, Bullbasket said:

Nice work Bertie on an unusual subject.

 

John.


Thanks John. 

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That’s very smart! You’ve achieved a nice finish to the paint work, I’ve never heard of this “secret” weapon before, here I am looking at models & getting educated again.

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51 minutes ago, phildagreek said:

That’s very smart! You’ve achieved a nice finish to the paint work, I’ve never heard of this “secret” weapon before, here I am looking at models & getting educated again.

 

I know! It's one of the coolest aspects of the Britmodeller Experience.

 

Thanks for the compliments. I was pleased with the result even though I want to learn more about weathering tanks to the max.

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Great model! 

 

It takes me back to reading an article in an Airfix Magazine annual about these, decades ago, and trying to convert the 1/76 Grant into one...    

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31 minutes ago, IanC said:

Great model! 

 

It takes me back to reading an article in an Airfix Magazine annual about these, decades ago, and trying to convert the 1/76 Grant into one...    

 

Great modelling days!

 

Thank you.

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Yes there were Matilda CDLs too, and some Churchills. Only the Grants were ever used, and then not for their intended purpose. The Grant had the advantage of retaining its main armament. Story is that they were so secret that field commanders didn't know of their existence, availability and tactics for their use.

 

Bovington has a Matilda CDL which I believe is the sole CDL survivor. However it has a Type D turret (there were 4 variations A-D) more appropriate to a Grant. IIRC Matildas had Type B. The supposition is that as a school tank the latest/likeliest service turret version was necessary to train operators and that their Matilda CDL was transplanted with the later turret.

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