Saturday, 15 March 2014

M2s complete! Victory Declared!

Well, finally got around to getting some paint on the M2s. Base colour is Testor's Field Drab. Drybrushed a little dirt and dust, and added some black wash to the engine grates and exhaust.

Not too bad if I do say so myself!

Now back to some Civil War stuff....

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Scratchbuilding a US M2 Medium Tank in 28mm Part 9

Picture 39 Construction Complete:  And here are both tanks ready for paint. The project moved along very quickly. There was some delay as I figured out the track work and the mould making was slow. Keep in mind the flow here is not as it actually was.  I was working on various aspects of the project at various times and was able to do one thing while the glue dried on another.

I am sad to say I am pretty much stalled at this point however. Painting is not my favorite thing, especially that mid-point where it is not done and looks sloppy and incomplete  I will finish off the paint and markings and show the results at a later date.

Also looks like I messed up on the flow of the sections of the build.  I uploaded several parts and then posted as a group and I guess I should have posted individually to keep the flow.  If you've followed along so far, I think you can sort it out.  Hope you enjoyed it!
Regards, Rob. 

Monday, 13 January 2014

Scratchbuilding a US M2 Medium Tank in 28mm Part 6

Picture 29 Hull Details:  While the track assemblies dried (Don’t rush them—when in doubt give it overnight to dry.) I was adding details to the hulls and turrets.  Here plastic strips add detail to the glacis, rear deck and machinegun turrets. Some thin sheet forms the side and top crew compartment doors.

Picture 30 Hull and Tracks:  Here a hull awaits attachment of the suspension units.

Picture 31 Tubes and Cylinders Two:  But first some more do-dads: the transmission covers and return wheel supports.  Thicker plastic can be built up by laminating thinner sheet.  Thicker ends on tubes can be sanded to create curve or domed tube-ends or caps.

Picture 32 Suspension Details:  A closer look at building complex looking parts out of basic shapes and layers.

Picture 33 Mounting the Tracks:  The tracks are then mounted with a transmission bit at the front and return wheel support at the back.

Picture 34 Mantlet:  A thick block of laminated plastic was carved into the shape of the mantlet.  This was then pushed into a ball of green stuff.  The original was pulled out before the green stuff dried.  Lower right is the plastic original, and lower left the green stuff mould.  When cured, the interior of the green stuff mould was wetted down with some water and ‘squashed onto a blob of fresh mixed green stuff. The two paint jars each have a formed mantlet.  Originally a squash mould was planned for the bogies, but the technique does not provide of a lot of detail.  Latex moulds are sufficient for the Alumilite.  RTV moulds would probably be a better quality option but are more expensive.

Picture 35 On Tracks:  The two tanks are shaping up nicely.  The mantlets were trimmed, sanded and installed.  Some brass rod will be used for the guns and machineguns. 

Scratchbuilding a US M2 Medium Tank in 28mm Part8

Picture 38 Adding a Tank Commander:  As you have seen the project evolved as it went along.  About this point I had ordered some Old Glory WW1 Americans for the force, and decided one of the vehicles needed a tank commander.  I made new hatch for the one turret and began to cut open the door.

Picture 38A Adding a Tank Commander:  The commander will be this prone OG loader.

Picture 38B Adding a Tank Commander:  The figure has been cut in half and a brass wire support rod added.  The hatchway to the turret has been trimmed and a new hatch door added.  A couple of gizmos from the parts box dress it up.  A tube spacer has been added in the turret to support the figure.

Picture 38C Adding a Tank Commander:  Some tools and bits from the spare parts box and some green stuff add some stowage to the tops of the tanks. 

Picture 38D Adding a Tank Commander:  The tank commander had his rear-end re-built with green stuff and some belt work added.

Scratchbuilding a US M2 Medium Tank in 28mm Part 7

Picture 36 Box of Details:  Here is a box of detail bits.  The small squares are the hatches for around the turret. A piece of thin plastic rod will be used for the hinges, and slightly thicker rod for the hinges on the doors.  The stepped tubes are layered Evergreen and are for the exhaust, as are the curved sprue bits from an old plastic kit.  Capped-tube domes will be used for the fuel caps and headlamps.

Picture 37 Adding Details:  Details added to the essentially finished models.  Brass paper clips formed the bars over the headlamps.

Picture 37A Adding Details:  Notice four machineguns (plus the main and co-ax) on the front and three outback.  I am not sure of the motion of the machine gun turrets, but I suspect they would allow an overlap of the two machineguns out each side.
I am also not sure who in the crew would operate each gun.  I suspect the front guns were fixed, likely fired by the driver and that it would not be possible to fire all the guns at once.

Picture 37B Adding Details:  Rear details include a heavy thread tow cable and a tow hook from the spare-parts box. 

Scratchbuilding a US M2 Medium Tank in 28mm Part 5

Picture 21 Starting Suspension:  While the structures were being built, usually while the glue was drying, I gave some thought to the suspension.  Originally it was planned to phoney-up the running gear from some model tank parts.  Most of my stuff is 1/72 which is way too small for this project.  I had nothing suitable, and thought about maybe squash moulding some components.  Again following the drawings, I used some Evergreen tube to plot out some bogies.  The Evergreen tube is available in nesting sizes so thicker walled tubes can be built up.  Here a driver on the right and a bogie assembly are set out on some scrap plastic card.

Picture 22 Suspension Elements:  A star shaped drive gear was cut from plastic sheet.  These are the parts for the bogies, return wheels and drivers.

Picture 23 Bogie Details:  A block of thick plastic forms the mount and a thinner Evergreen tube makes the return roller. 

Picture 23A Bogie Details:  Further details added.  The bolt heads are Grandt Line or Tichy Train model railroad bits.  Note the green stuff to fill in the gaps.  The spokes of the bogies will be filled in with green stuff and details added to the face plate and the swing arms with thin plastic rod.

Picture 24 Alumilite Components:  A series of latex moulds were then made and parts cast out of Alumilite.  The latex brushes on in many coats and is reinforced with cheesecloth.  Shown are castings of the bogie unit and a return wheel.  Since twelve bogie units were required, two moulds were made of the bogie unit.  A simplified drive gear was also made and moulded.

Picture 25 Assembling Suspension:  Support plates for the suspension were drawn out and drilled. The backs of the Alumilite castings were also drilled.

Picture 25A Assembling Suspension:  Since I wasn’t sure how well the castings would adhere to the plastic; the drilled holes were to act as rivets when epoxy glue was used to assemble the components. The back view of the suspension plates shows the epoxy “rivets”.

Picture 26 Suspension Left and Right:  The assembled suspension sides cut apart.  Make sure you have left and right sides.  There were a lot of air bubbles in the Alumilite parts.  Some filler and some terrain-mud will resolve any issues.

Picture 27 Trackwork:  The suspension plates were then trimmed to size and sanded for the curves.  The plates will also be trimmed to show track sag over the return rollers.

Picture 27A Trackwork:  Evergreen strip plastic was formed over the track side plates.  The liquid solvent glue holds the strip to the side plate.  A bit of Crazy Glue bonded the track strip to the bogies.  Liberal use of masking tape strips hold the strip in place until the glue dries.

Picture 27B Trackwork:  Inside view.  Note reinforcement strips top and bottom to hold the track strip in place.  Spacer blocks will hold the track assembly to the lower hull.

Picture 27C Trackwork:  Two assembled track units.  At this point I was looking at many, many hours gluing many, many small strips of plastic to create the track links.  Staring forlornly at my stock plastic box I came up with an alternative. (Remember that part about the only person you have to please is yourself and personal choices about how much work you want to do and how much detail you want to add?)

Picture 28 Track Details:  I had some formed plastic roof tiles that had a suitable “bump” for the track links.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Scratchbuilding a US M2 Medium Tank in 28mm Part 4

Picture 15 Planning Turrets:  The basic octagonal box structure was repeated for two turrets.  Note the top panel of the turret is sloped down at the front so top and bottom of the turrets are not identical.  This is structure, so thick plastic again.

Picture 16 Assembling Turrets:  Assembling the turrets.  Note the spacer to establish the height of the turret and that the front spacer slopes down to the front.

Picture 17 Plating Turrets:  Thinner plastic card is used to skin the turrets.

Picture 18 Basic Turrets:  The basic turrets.  A thicker plastic sheet will be used for the front plate of the turret.

Picture 19 Tubes and Cylinders:  A second structural element is round-section tubes.  Four machine gun turrets are required on each vehicle.  Here, suitable diameter Evergreen tube is capped with thin sheet.  When thoroughly dry, the cap can be trimmed and sanded to match the outside diameter of the tube.  The tube is cut to length and the open end capped, trimmed and sanded.  The capped tubes are then sliced vertically into halves.

Picture 20 Taking Shape:  The machine gun turrets are added to the crew compartment.  A plastic tube was added to the turrets to form a pivot.  Also added was a disk to the bottom of the turret to allow it to turn freely.  Some small similar thickness spacers were later added to the bottom of the turrets to eliminate wobble.  The upside down turret has a thick front plate added and has yet to be trimmed.  Note how the hull’s base plate will form the front fenders and rides above the area the tracks will run.

Picture 20A Taking Shape:  Top and rear view of the basic structures.  At this point, other than the tubes for the machine guns, there have been no curved structures.  This complex shape is built up with layers of flat sheet.