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1/76 M3, M5A1 & M9A1 US Armored Halftracks
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PostPosted: March 19th, 2017, 6:43 pm 
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Really great work Neil. I think the texturing has worked well and is not easy in this small scale - the photos make everything seem large and easy to work on!

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1/76 M3, M5A1 & M9A1 US Armored Halftracks
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PostPosted: March 21st, 2017, 1:49 am 
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Thanks for the comments Shaun. Hopefully this is about the right level of detail...

Moving on to the driver's compartment. A key difference between the M3/M5 and the M13/14/16/17 was that the AA versions had a solid bulkhead between the driver area and the rear compartment. And both the Nitto and Airfix kits have this:
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For the Nitto kit, it is not as simple as just 'leave it out' as the bottom of the bulkhead forms a key part of the lower hull. Cutting below the seat backs makes the part correct for an M3/M5:
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The center seat in driver area needs to be moved back and raised about 2mm and new seatbacks created for the other two seats in the driver's compartment. Small, angled bulkhead plates also need to be fitted on either side between the driver area and the rear, also serving to close off the gas tank forward sides. The bottom of the gas tanks also needs to be filled in to prevent a gap being visible over the tracks...
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1/76 M3, M5A1 & M9A1 US Armored Halftracks
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PostPosted: March 21st, 2017, 6:19 pm 
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Wow, this is great stuff Neil and I would say you certainly are hitting the right notes with the amount of detail!

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1/76 M3, M5A1 & M9A1 US Armored Halftracks
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PostPosted: March 21st, 2017, 9:48 pm 
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Nice work going on here as always. I want to get my mitts on another Airfix M3 if I can.

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1/76 M3, M5A1 & M9A1 US Armored Halftracks
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PostPosted: March 25th, 2017, 3:01 pm 
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Thanks again for the interest and comments. @gnomemeansgnome: Go for it! The Airfix M3A1, with a little TLC, should build into a good kit, despite it's age and flaws.

As I am building the Nitto version, I am thinking ahead to the Airfix one and trying to decide if I want to build it just with the Matador conversion parts to show how that turns out, or if I want to do it myself like this one... Anyone have a preference?

Small progress to add wire mesh to the driver's area floor and to make the various gear shift and levers from brush bristle. The kit came with the main gear shift, but massively over-scale and brittle too:
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1/76 M3, M5A1 & M9A1 US Armored Halftracks
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PostPosted: March 25th, 2017, 6:29 pm 
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This is becoming an excellent tutorial, as this build is mostly scratch built it would be nice to see you use your Matador Conversion on the Airfix kit so that we can see if its worth the extra cost in using after market gear or just doing the hard work like you.

I keep looking at the images and thinking "No this can't be 1/72 - 76 scale, it looks to good".

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1/76 M3, M5A1 & M9A1 US Armored Halftracks
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PostPosted: March 26th, 2017, 9:58 am 
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This build keeps getting better Neil. I'm very much of the adding bits from plastic card and wire school of detailing and as such I don't often buy full aftermarket detail/conversion sets or replacement tracks/wheels (unless the OOB items are totally dire - for instance the Italeri/Zvezda 1/35th SU-100 springs to mind :roll: ) as doing so can cause the costs of a project to skyrocket, especially in my preferred scale of 1/35th. That said, I am also interested to see how much bang you get for your buck with the Matador set.

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1/76 M3, M5A1 & M9A1 US Armored Halftracks
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PostPosted: March 26th, 2017, 4:44 pm 
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So two votes for a straight Airfix/Matador conversion... Will do.

I'm calling the interior done and have moved onto the main bodywork components - the sides and rear. This is how the sides come:
Image

This has three issues that need to be corrected for an International Harvester M5 version and at least two for a White M3... First, the Airfix and Nitto kits have a step over the door that is not correct for any version of US halftrack. Basically, the top of the doors aligned with top of the sides (which the kits have correct) and the door frame top brace was inside the door, level with the top of the door and the top of the hull sides, invisible with the doors closed and buttoned up. So the spurious step has to be removed and replaced with a new brace. The good news is that the window frame height is correct and doesn't need to be changed, so it still mates correctly with the windscreen.
Image

Next come the doors. The Nitto kit comes with the doors in two parts (the Airfix kit does not), allowing the side window armor (armour...) to be mounted up or down. The Nitto kit also comes with two windscreen options, one buttoned up and one with armor raised. And almost all photos of M3 and M5 show the armor open... so since Nitto made it easy, I will show them open. Nitto also very nicely molded the interior sliding panel over the vision slit on the door upper armor...

EDIT 27/3/17 ...But, they put it on the outside This is correct for the White M3 and derivatives, but not for the IH M5, which seems to have had the sliding panel in the inside. It is easily changed for the M5 by using upper door part# 12 with door part# 35 and upper door part#13 with door part# 34, simply the opposite to how the instructions show it. I sanded down the door parts to about half their thickness. Which was fine until one of the top halves flipped under my finger and I sanded off the vision slit panel detail by mistake... so I had to reconstruct it...
Image

This shows the inside of the top part that should be the outside on an M5...
Image

Back to the side problems... Both the Airfix and Nitto kits, being based on an AA version, have a hinged plate marked along the top of the sides, which could be lowered to allow the AA mount to fire at low elevation. So for M3/M5 the hinges have to be cut off and the line of the hinged plate filled and sanded. This brings us to the third problem with the sides. Rivets. The IH M5 and derivatives had sides that were 100% welded, with one continuous 0.5" homogenous armor plate that stretched from the side door all the way round to the rear door. So no rivets. This makes the M5 version a lot easier to remove the hinged plate as I don't have to worry about preserving the rivets. For an M3, the rivets are also in the wrong places...

This shows the hinged plate sanded out, the side rivets removed, including the ones round the door and the upper door brace fitted.
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1/76 M3, M5A1 & M9A1 US Armored Halftracks
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PostPosted: March 26th, 2017, 5:12 pm 
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This is a great thread Neil and is rapidly becoming a very useful source of info in respect of modelling these famous vehicles. I reckon much, if not all, of what you're are showing here would be useful to a 1/35th build as well.

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1/76 M3, M5A1 & M9A1 US Armored Halftracks
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PostPosted: March 27th, 2017, 11:08 am 
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Yep… really a great thread !

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1/76 M3, M5A1 & M9A1 US Armored Halftracks
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PostPosted: March 28th, 2017, 2:34 pm 
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Lots of good work going on here Neil, I'm quite envious of anyone who can work like this in diddy scale. :-D

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1/76 M3, M5A1 & M9A1 US Armored Halftracks
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PostPosted: March 29th, 2017, 11:04 pm 
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Thanks for the interest, hopefully this will prove useful to someone!

Titan wrote:
...I'm quite envious of anyone who can work like this in diddy scale. :-D
It helps to have small assistants from Knotty Ash... Along with a magnifying light, tweezers and a voracious carpet monster!

On to the back plate. The Nitto kit gives you two options. One with a door that is clearly a White M3 version and one without a door that matches the White M13:
Image

To make an M5, most of the detail and scribed lines have to be removed and new lines scribed. The M5 bumpers and other rear plate feature will be added after assembly, as I suspect I would break them while trying to sand the rounded edges... I removed the mudguards, as I hope to make some that look more separate and flexible, but you could leave them alone as they are about the right size.
Image

The back of the back plate is a bit of a mess and needs a lot of cleanup to correct ejection pin indents. I also thinned the top, which I did on the inner top edges of the sides too.
Image
Image

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1/76 M3, M5A1 & M9A1 US Armored Halftracks
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PostPosted: March 30th, 2017, 8:30 am 
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It certainly is of interest Neil! The photos make it all look giant size and for anyone who has not built one of these vehicles in this scale it is difficult to judge the fiddlyness! I almost always replace OOB mudflaps with foil, such as that found around wine bottle tops. IMHO, OOB mudflaps are usually too thick and stiff looking so that even if the plastic is thinned to a more scale thickness the flaps still have a stiff and rigid appearance. The foil can either be distressed to simulate heavy service use or even just bent gently to simulate lighter use.

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1/76 M3, M5A1 & M9A1 US Armored Halftracks
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PostPosted: April 9th, 2017, 9:46 pm 
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@Shaun: I like the wine bottle foil concept for the mud flaps. I will give it a try. And it gives me the excuse to buy more wine...

Some more progress... I have painted the interior and weathered it as well.
Image
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1/76 M3, M5A1 & M9A1 US Armored Halftracks
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PostPosted: April 10th, 2017, 9:36 am 
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That is coming to life very nicely Neil. The foil for the mudflaps needs to be reasonably thick, by foil standards, I find stuff such as aluminium cooking foil a bit too thin, with a tendency to tear very easily. The wife and I rarely, if ever, need the excuse to buy more booze! The foil I prefer usually appears on sparkling wines such as cava or spumante, however sometimes the wine bottlers use fancy foil that features detailing that is not suitable for modelling purposes. Sealing foil found in catering packs of coffee is a good one too, I used to pinch them from work if I managed to get in there first to open a new tin!

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