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!
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
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
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.
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.
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
Picture 37B Adding Details:Rear details include a
heavy thread tow cable and a tow hook from the spare-parts box.
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.
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
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
Picture 8 Drivers Compartment:Here we start
fitting some of the skins for the driver’s compartment. The front section forms
a pyramid structure. Two sets of drawings I had did not match and one showed a
“cheater” plate to fill the driver’s compartment and the crew compartment.
Notice how the back of angular plate, the side plate of the driver’s
compartment, does not meet with the line on the crew compartment.
Picture 8A Drivers Compartment:This becomes
more apparent when skinning in the upper sides of the driver’s compartment and
the purpose of the “cheater” plate becomes apparent. Note the gap between the upper and lower
plates of the driver’s compartment. The
lowest glacis plate is also installed and can be trimmed to size and edges
filed to shape.
Picture 9 Cheater
Plate:The “cheater” in blue, fills this area. This is not obvious in the drawings, but is
clearly visible on photos of the real vehicle.
The pyramid structure of the driver’s compartment is not true
pyramid. In this case, as the model
progresses, the model itself will direct how it is to be built. Note too that overlapping plates can be
installed on the inner edges, and the overlaps can later be trimmed to size.
Picture 10 Lower Rear:The lower rear, showing the floor
plate. Note the lower rear is actually two plates so the side plates and rear
base plate need to be trimmed.
Picture 11 Trimming the Rear Deck:Here a razor
saw aligned with the trimmed lower side plates will be used to bob the
vehicle’s rear end to the correct angle.
Picture 12 Filling in Rear Deck:The upper rear
decked in. Note the use of thick and
thin for structure and for sizing. You
sometimes have to recess one part to set in an additional panel or make a part
out of thicker stock to come up to the correct measurements. Generally structure is thicker than ‘skin’. The rears of the upper and lower sections are
now at the correct angle. The lower side
plates are yet to be trimmed to the correct angle for the lowest rear plate.
Picture 13 Basic Hulls:The “basic” hulls.
Picture 14 Basic Hulls:Side and rear of two basic hulls.
Picture 14A Basic Hulls:Here I took my Dremel to the floor and
up thru the base plate. I had planned to
add some weight to the models. This also
gave access to the interior structure if required later. Ultimately neither the weight nor the access
For the M2 model the plane just above the tracks is a good starting point.I began with a rectangle of plastic the width of the model but longer than that required.I will build the tank’s upper works on top of this plate, and the lower works on the bottom of this plate.This plate forms the foundation of the model, so make it out of heavy stock, in this case, 40 thou sheet.
Picture 1 Starting Point:Shows the base plate. It is probably as easy to build two models as to build one, so construction was started on two vehicles.Also shown here is the upper deck.
The upper deck was scaled off the drawings and drawn out straight onto the plastic sheet. Since the turret will mount on this deck, it and the spacers supporting it, were cut from the heavier 40 thou sheet.
Picture 1A Turret Deck:This shows the upper deck plate. Note the arrow and the correction in the upper right corner. While the basic rule is measure twice, cut once, most things can be corrected as the project moves along.
Picture 2 Assembly One:Shows a “front view” of the basic assembly. I use Testors liquid Plastic Cement for the styrene parts.The forward part of the base plate is much longer than required; it will be trimmed in following steps.
Picture 3 Plans on Materials:Since we have scale drawings, parts can be measured on the drawings and transferred to your stock.This is the left and right sides for the rear of the vehicles and since this is ‘skin’ and not structure, it is lighter 20 thou plastic card. Two vehicles: so two lefts and two rights, two ups and two downs, as the depth of the rear structure is not half way!Keep your left/right and up down spacing correct. Laying them out as a group ensures equal measurements. Note the double line where a measurement was checked and corrected. The trick then is to remember which line to cut.If a piece is miss cut, it is usually best to discard it and cut again, rather than fiddling to fix it.
Picture 4 Side Plates:Here we start to “skin” in the upper structure. The ‘octagonal’ crew compartment is skinned in and the side panels are mounted.Note the reinforcement bit on the upper right. Try to get a tight corner along the edge of the base plate. Notice too, the side plate sits on top of the base plate but the top plate is inside the side bit.Basically the purpose of the base plate is also to preserve the dimensions of the vehicle, providing a straight line from the front fenders to the side plates.
Picture 5 Lower Hull:Here, side plates for the lower hull are sketched out.These side plates will support the tracks so they are also heavy stock.
Picture 6 Lower Hull Two:The model itself forms part of your building plans. The underside of the base plate is marked for a centre line and the position of the lower side plates.A line across the vehicle marks the rear edge of the crew compartment and references measurements front to back.
Picture 7 Lower Hull Three:This photo shows the lower hull plates assembled with a rectangular lower plate. Also installed is a lower glacis plate, and part of the “pyramid”. Using a top view of the drawing the width of the pyramid plate at the upper glacis can be determined. The length of the angled plate can be taken from a side view of the vehicle. -At this point, you are into the world of ‘as-builts” if your model is not to the scale or size you want, it is probably best to start over before you do too much work. Otherwise, use the model to determine the dimensions of the parts. It is as you built it. The width of the front glacis is the width measured on the model.What I have done here is trim the front portion of the base plate to leave the front fenders sticking out. I then trim the plate to allow the front glacis to assume its natural angle. It will be very close to the drawing and it’s up to you how close you need it to be.For me, this is close enough.