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1/76 M3A1 and M5A1 US Armored Halftracks
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 Post subject: Re: 1/76 M3A1 and M5A1 US Armored Halftracks
PostPosted: April 16th, 2017, 3:56 pm 
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A couple of fiddly bits done before main assembly. I scraped and sanded the inside top edges of the sides to thin them at the top and added small bits along a line just below the top. My hope is that these will help support the MG rail, which I will add nearer the end. On the outside, I added small features from brush bristle along the line of the former hinged plate, that were used to tie down the tilt. I painted in the supplied dashboard, which also seems to match much closer to a White dash, rather than an IH dash, again supporting my contention that Airfix and Nitto copied an M13, perhaps one that had been retrofitted with the wrong (IH) mudguards.

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1/76 M3A1 and M5A1 US Armored Halftracks
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 Post subject: Re: 1/76 M3A1 and M5A1 US Armored Halftracks
PostPosted: April 16th, 2017, 5:19 pm 
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Nice one. You certainly have an eye for detail Neil.

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1/76 M3A1 and M5A1 US Armored Halftracks
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PostPosted: April 27th, 2017, 12:26 am 
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Some more progress. The sides, rear, hood (bonnet) and radiator armor cover are assembled. I have sanded the rear corners into the desired IH curves. That would have been a lot easier if I hadn't thinned the top edges first. There is enough material in the joins that filler might not have been needed. I also modified where the hood and front armor join, to eliminate the raised edge and carved lines extending the engine access panels on the hood all the way to the front.

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1/76 M3A1 and M5A1 US Armored Halftracks
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 Post subject: Re: 1/76 M3A1 and M5A1 US Armored Halftracks
PostPosted: April 27th, 2017, 12:48 am 
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You have a keen eye and modelling skill to match,well tidy mun.


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1/76 M3A1 and M5A1 US Armored Halftracks
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 Post subject: Re: 1/76 M3A1 and M5A1 US Armored Halftracks
PostPosted: April 27th, 2017, 10:59 am 
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Very nicely modified Neil. I see your point regarding curving the rears after thinning the tops first, I've created similar issues for myself in the past - how we live and learn as modellers! From what I can see though, the filler looks good and I'm sure all will be fine once the paint goes on.

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1/76 M3A1 and M5A1 US Armored Halftracks
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PostPosted: May 1st, 2017, 12:03 am 
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Thanks again for the interest and kind comments.

A little more progress. Details removed or missing from the rear plate had to be added back: Tie-downs along the same line as the ones on the sides; two grab-handles on either side of the door and one on the door; two circular indents with a bar across them either side, near the bottom. Also, an obvious difference between the IH and White versions was the bumpers on either side of the towing hook on IH versions.
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1/76 M3A1 and M5A1 US Armored Halftracks
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PostPosted: May 1st, 2017, 10:53 am 
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Getting better all the time Neil, you have a great eye for detail and I'm really enjoying seeing these half-tracks coming together.

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1/76 M3A1 and M5A1 US Armored Halftracks
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PostPosted: May 2nd, 2017, 3:02 pm 
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That's looking rather good Neil, I like your added extras.

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1/76 M3A1 and M5A1 US Armored Halftracks
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PostPosted: September 5th, 2017, 12:59 am 
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OK, no excuse for the wait... the summer was busy though. I managed to restart this this weekend.

Basic construction is further on, with the front windscreen, mudguards and front roller fitted. The Nitto kit comes with two options: the roller and winch front ends, but I wanted the roller anyway. For the armored windscreen cover, I cut off the supplied props and replaced then with thinner plastic rod. Still too thick, though.... For the front mudguards, I filled the headlamp holes, as the location and type of headlights in the kit are only suitable for very early M3, and sanded the mudguards down to thin them.
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I added the MG rail around the inside from Evergreen strip.
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For the mine racks on the side, I started by cutting the kit ones in half, lengthwise, to bring them in much closer to the sides. On both the Nitto and Airfix kits, these stick out far too much. I then thinned the rails using an Exacto. That worked on the first one, but the second broke so I had to replace it with more Evergreen strip.
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I wasn't entirely happy with the rear bumpers, so I refitted them and carved the top corners a bit. Better...
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1/76 M3A1 and M5A1 US Armored Halftracks
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PostPosted: September 5th, 2017, 6:57 am 
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Holy mackerel. This is going to be the most boss M3 evar.

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1/76 M3A1 and M5A1 US Armored Halftracks
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 Post subject: Re: 1/76 M3A1 and M5A1 US Armored Halftracks
PostPosted: September 7th, 2017, 12:53 pm 
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Great to see you back in action, Neil. This is marvellous work, you are certainly cramming a lot of detail onto a very small model and this will be a little jewel when it's finished, I'm sure.

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1/76 M3A1 and M5A1 US Armored Halftracks
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 Post subject: Re: 1/76 M3A1 and M5A1 US Armored Halftracks
PostPosted: September 19th, 2017, 2:01 am 
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Thanks for the interest, and sorry once again for the long delay previously. I seem to lose my mojo every summer... Back in the saddle now.

So my forlorn hope with these kits was the iconic 'pulpit' machine gun mount - the A1 part of the M3A1 and M5A1. I tried making two out of cardboard many years ago as a teenager, to convert two Matchbox M16. Let's just say it was less than successful and draw the curtain on them! So, I was all excited to have 'proper' injection molded ones. Imagine my disappointment... they are completely inaccurate from both Airfix and Nitto. Not even close, really. And the MG pulpit is very tricky to scratch build - even if you are not using cardboard! At least for me. An Interconnected circle and a complex curve...shudder.

So here is the Nitto one, as it comes in the kit:
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The problems are: a) The top around the MG mounting ring is solid. Wrong! It was open. b) The LHS with the angled step (as viewed by the driver) is straight, but it should be a short straight leading to a circular curve. c) The back is also straight with a circular bulge. Wrong again! The curve from the LHS continued round to the back, blending to another short straight that met the RHS at a right angle, so no bulge either. d) The RHS is a single straight at right angles to the front and back, but in reality it had a bend about a third of the way back from the front, angling in to the well-known curve on the front right corner. e) the MG ring outer diameter is too big, while the inner diameter is too small, making the part too thick. Obviously all the sides are also far too thick as well... f) While the Airfix kit has all the same problems a) through e), the Nitto has an extra one in that the front has a step on the bottom edge that should not be there.

Disaster! I was reluctantly forced to try scratch building one. So, being a glutton for punishment, I decided to make two! I worked in parallel to see if I could modify the kit parts, that I felt would give me two rigid sides and a guaranteed round MG ring, while making another completely from scratch.

First the kit conversion:
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As you can see, I cut off most of the LHS and rear and removed all the 'top' surfaces. I made a bend in the RHS and adjusted the front curve a little to bring the back of the RHS and the front back to being 90 degrees. I trimmed the shortened LHS to increase the angle and decrease height of the flat where the complex curve attaches. I have attempted to make the LHS/Rear curve with two straights leading to a circular curve, using Evergreen strip. Another length of strip filled in the front bottom step. For the MG ring, I sanded the outer diameter down, while scraping the inner diameter to make it larger, then stuck more short strip 'brackets' to the outside, that will (hopefully) attach it to the outer shield.

Next the complete scratch build:
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This was based on George Bradford plans and is much thinner and slightly smaller than the kit part conversion. The key was creating a perfectly round MG ring. My solution was to curl some strip on the back of my knife, then bend it round a 1/2" drill bit shank, cut to length and glued in place. I then poured boiling water over it, which caused it to relax into the shape. When removed from the drill bit and re-glued, it holds a perfect circle. Note that the LHS needs the small step and the front, to go over the front windscreen. Hot water was also used to 'set' the angles on the outer shield as well.

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1/76 M3A1 and M5A1 US Armored Halftracks
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 Post subject: Re: 1/76 M3A1 and M5A1 US Armored Halftracks
PostPosted: September 19th, 2017, 6:33 pm 
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Very nice conversion and scratching going on here.

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1/76 M3A1 and M5A1 US Armored Halftracks
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 Post subject: Re: 1/76 M3A1 and M5A1 US Armored Halftracks
PostPosted: September 20th, 2017, 12:47 pm 
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It's good to see you back and continuing with your excellent work on these half-tracks, Neil. This is top stuff, making and working with very small components. You must have the patience of a saint!

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1/76 M3A1 and M5A1 US Armored Halftracks
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 Post subject: Re: 1/76 M3A1 and M5A1 US Armored Halftracks
PostPosted: September 22nd, 2017, 1:31 am 
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Many thanks again for the kind comments.

A little (emphasis on little...) progress:
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Both pulpit options came out OK. The full scratch is more accurate, but the kit conversion would be usable, I think. I added the fourth L-shaped bracket connecting the ring to the outer shield after fixing the ring in place - easier that way. I tried drilling indents in the 50-cal MG mid-barrel, not entirely successfully... but I was pleased with the scratched ammo box. Maybe I will replace the barrel with thinner wire rod... hmmm...

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