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Armor/AFV: Early Armor
WWI and other early tanks and armored cars.
Hosted by Darren Baker
M2A2 Mae West
TheGreatPumpkin
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New Jersey, United States
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Posted: Sunday, October 07, 2012 - 06:49 AM UTC
Hi All,
After a brief hiatus and the running of the judging effort at IPMS/AMPS East, I'm now ready for my next project. Commander's Models has re-entered the armor model world again and this time by storm. At every single show I've been to in the past couple of years Ted has had some new "must have" (to the great chagrin of my wallet). I picked up this little gem a couple of years ago: the M2A2 Mae West light tank.



This was the predecessor of the M3 series of light tanks and featured twin machine gun armed turrets. They served through the 1930's in the various battalions as tank units were reshuffled leading up to America's involvement in World War II.



So here's the bits I'll be using:



Obviously, I'll be using the Commander's kit as a base, plus AFV club for the suspension and tracks. I'll be using the Decalcomaniacs! decals made specifically for these models (M2A2, M2A3, M2A4 and M1 combat car). I'll post more as things go together. If you are interested in the decals, drop me a line.
Regards,
Georg
PantherF
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Indiana, United States
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Posted: Sunday, October 07, 2012 - 09:08 AM UTC
Nice to see something from the "Birth of American Armor"!










~ Jeff
TheGreatPumpkin
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New Jersey, United States
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Posted: Monday, October 08, 2012 - 04:59 AM UTC
Hi All,
Yes, this is a cheap way to get this topic back to the head of the list. But, I did get things rolling yesterday. Quite literally, in fact. I got the bogie trucks assembled. The AFV Club bogies go together well, with little clean-up needed. I was quite impressed by how thin the track skids were.



You can see the hull in the background. There were some blemishes in the resin that I wanted to fix, so out came the Bondo spot putty. I also removed the bolts from the front of the hull as several had been damaged by air bubbles. There were also a couple in the transmission housing that needed fixing. I'll be replacing the bolts with some made from styrene sheet and my micro-punch set. And if you had any question who Mae West was, here's a picture:



More soon!
Regards,
Georg
SEDimmick
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Posted: Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - 12:21 AM UTC
Georg,

As a heads up, you might want to reconsider using the AFV Club suspension units...it appears that Commanders used the Academy kits as the basis for their M2 light tank series and it might throw off the geometry of the suspension.

I was going to do the same thing with M2A1 I got, but right now I'm not going to worry about it.

If you have badly casted parts, contact Commanders...I got the M2A1 at AMPS East Saturday, emailed them Sunday night and had the replacements Wednesday in the mail.
windysean
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Posted: Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - 12:41 AM UTC
Georg,
I love it (the picture of Mae West that is)! Oh wait, I mean the armor subject.
My plan for the Armor Between the Wars Campaign is to backdate a Tamiya M3 Stuart kit with lots of styrene and using as many photos as I can scrounge on the internet.
I didn't have a good plan for changing the suspension yet, and I hadn't realized that there was a specific decal set for this-- thanks, Decalcomaniacs/Georg! I'll check for your website.
My conversion won't be as accurate as your Commander kit, but I'll be watching here closely for ideas and technique.
Cheers!
-Sean H.
TheGreatPumpkin
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New Jersey, United States
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Posted: Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - 09:05 AM UTC
Hi All,
Scott, thanks for the head's up. The only reason I'm using the plastic parts is to ensure that the wheels are round. I did a little digging on Perth and I found the following photo:



As you can see (and probably realized from the get-go) the AFV Club part is much more finely detailed. I'm not too worried about the suspension geometry. It should be close enough not to be noticable.

Sean, you can contact me at: [email protected] for the sheet. I'm currently re-doing the site and closing the E-bay webstore, so its inventory is a bit low now.
Regards,
Georg
tankmodeler
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Posted: Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - 12:53 PM UTC

Quoted Text

As you can see (and probably realized from the get-go) the AFV Club part is much more finely detailed. I'm not too worried about the suspension geometry. It should be close enough not to be noticable.


The Academy Stuart is a modified copy of the Tamiya kit. The AFV Club suspension is far superior and shouldn't cahnge the shape of the suspension as long as yo locate it correctly on the hull.

Paul
TheGreatPumpkin
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Posted: Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - 02:03 PM UTC
Paul,
I vaguely remember hearing that somewhere. Anyhow, the Commander's hull has all the proper divits to get things lined up, so I think I'm going to run w/the AFV Club units. Besides, I've already got them built!
Regards,
Georg
tankmodeler
#417
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Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 12:44 PM UTC

Quoted Text

I vaguely remember hearing that somewhere.


Probably my ranting review over on Track Link when the model came out.

Paul
TheGreatPumpkin
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New Jersey, United States
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Posted: Sunday, October 14, 2012 - 11:58 AM UTC
Hi All,
Last week was really busy, so I did not have much time to do any building. BUT, I did have some time to do more research on the wee beastie! What I found was not good for what I wanted to do. I had swapped the hull for an "M2A2" hull. If you look at my two reference images you'll see that the turrets are welded, slab-sided parts. The only tanks that had these ONLY had the angled engine cover (which mine did not have). So, I was forced to remove it with my razor saw. I also replaced the rear ventilation grates with styrene strip and square rod. Here's the before shot:


And the after:



Once that was in place, I removed the upper portion of the engine cover. Loads of fun here!



I got a little over-enthusiastic with the saw and needed to putty up some flaws. In addition, I orders a set or RB models barrels (2 x 0.30 cal and 1 x 0.50 cal). They are coming from Hong Kong, so I expect them in a week or two. All for now, more tomorrow!
Regards,
Georg
1.90E_31
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Tennessee, United States
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Posted: Sunday, October 14, 2012 - 01:34 PM UTC
Hi Georg,

Be careful, since the M2A2's had a mixed set of turrets. The 1937(?) series of builds had the round turrets, but the 1938(?) series of builds had the slab sided turrets. Don't confuse these with the M2A3, which did have the slab turrets, but shared a hull with the M1A1 Combat Car. Here's a picture of the rear of an M2A3:



Whereas here is the rear of an M2A2:



Also, the M2A3 and M1A1 had wider spaced bogie assemblies, and a longer hull. You'll want to rebuild the rear engine cover just as it was, since that hull will be too short for an M2A3.

Jon
TheGreatPumpkin
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New Jersey, United States
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Posted: Sunday, October 14, 2012 - 02:53 PM UTC
Jon,
According to Hunnicutt in the Stuart book, he states that the vehicles with the round turrets had the round engine covers and the ones with the slab-sided turrets had the angular engine cover. The M2A3 got a different engine set-up and therefor had the longer hull and a completely different cover. Thanks for the info.
Regards,
Georg
1.90E_31
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Tennessee, United States
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Posted: Sunday, October 14, 2012 - 10:00 PM UTC
Hi Georg,

This may be blasphemy, but Hunnicutt got this incorrect. The first year of M2A2 production (not sure when) got the horseshoe turrets, and the second year got the slab side turrets, but all of the M2A2's got the round engine covers. The M1 Combat Cars, on the other hand, started with the angular engine covers and the horseshoe turrets in the first year, like this:



but got slab sided turrets and round engine covers the second year, like the car behind #40113 at the right front:



This is where the confusion comes in. The M2A2 and M1 were produced in the same line, see here:



but the M1 started one year earlier. This is how I was able to identify M2A2s when both the A2 and A3 had slab side turrets, and you didn't have a view of the bogie spacing.

Jon
TheGreatPumpkin
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Posted: Monday, October 15, 2012 - 05:07 AM UTC
Jon,
I can see your confusion on this. You have the belief that there were only 2 covers, when there were 3. I don't have my references handy, but I'll post the Ordinance pictures to show you. But using your pictures here goes: in your first post, shows the M2A2 engine cover with a curved shape (which is the first type), this vehicle also has the round turrets. In your second post, the overhead shot of the combat car, shows the SECOND type of engine cover, which is roughly the same shape, but instead of being curved is angular. The THIRD type is the one on the M2A3 (your first pic on your first post). Note that the engine cover has SQUARE sides, rather than being angled (or curved) as on the earlier tanks.
Regards,
Georg
TheGreatPumpkin
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Posted: Monday, October 15, 2012 - 09:07 AM UTC
Jon,
I'm home now and can scan in the pictures I need. In the first picture, check out the turrets and engine cover: angular turrets with an angular engine cover. Also, the close spacing of the bogies positively identifies the model as an M2A2:



Now here's the Ordinance photo of the M2A3 from the rear. You'll note the bogie spacing (wider) and the flat-sided engine cover. Interestingly, the turrets were further apart and it had heavier armor. The lengthened ground contact actually gave it less ground pressure than the M2A2!



I hope that clears this up.
Regards,
Georg
KurtLaughlin
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Posted: Monday, October 15, 2012 - 12:28 PM UTC
All of the M2A2 light tanks had two turrets (not twins though as one was 30 inches and the other 36 inches). The M1935 and M1936 used the rounded "horseshoe" turrets while the M1937 used seven and eight-sided polygonal turrets. The single dual MG horseshoe turret was used on the first 57 M1A2s, a dual MG octagonal turret was used on the last 32 M1A2s.

Anything with a 40xxx registration number was built as a combat car. These were later re-designated as the M1 series of light tanks. Registration numbers 30110 - 30118 were M2A2 M1935; 30119 - 30243 were M2A2 M1936; and 30265 - 30368 were M2A2 M1937.

The tank TGP wants to model is 30326, that makes it an M2A2 M1937, meaning it should have polygonal turrets and the pyramidal engine cover like 30269 and 30300 shown in his photos above. The arched cover was used on the T2E2 (M2A2 pilot), so I'm thinking it was used on the M1935s and M1936s.

This info comes from Technical Manual TM 9-725, Light Tanks, 17 April 1941.

KL
TheGreatPumpkin
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Posted: Monday, October 15, 2012 - 12:32 PM UTC
Kurt,
Thanks! I knew I hadn't lost those last prescious shreds of sanity!
Regards,
Georg
1.90E_31
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Tennessee, United States
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Posted: Monday, October 15, 2012 - 10:01 PM UTC
Hi Georg,

Well, you learn something every day. Thanks for the info.

Jon
Spuds
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Georgia, United States
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Posted: Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - 12:10 AM UTC
I've learned that I should find a copy of TM 9-725.
TheGreatPumpkin
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New Jersey, United States
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Posted: Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - 05:06 AM UTC
Hi All,
It was really late when I uploaded the pictures, so I waited until lunch today to do it. Here's the rear portion of the hull after the putty was cleaned up:



After doing some serious mathematical computations, and getting it wrong, I decided to "wing it" by starting with the flat, top portion of the engine cover. I built the rest of the cover off of that from styrene sheet and strip. Right now, the engine grate opening looks a little small, I plan on opening it some more to get the engine louvers to fit. Here are a couple of shots from different angles.



Looking at this one, I think I need to straighten out the other rebuilt grate!



Yes, that top portion is garage sale sign! Super thin and super cheap sheet styrene!





I won't be posting anything tonight as I have a model club meeting, but tune in on Wednesday for another update!
Regards,
Georg
TheGreatPumpkin
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Posted: Thursday, October 18, 2012 - 04:56 AM UTC
Hi All,
I was able to get more done on the Mae West. I spent most of the last session making the louvers on the engine cover. There were several false starts, not to mention a couple of measuring problems. But, it's done! I'm going to have to trim down the center rod a bit, but otherwise, I can move on. Here's last night's accomplishments:





I hope to get some work done on the fenders tonight and possibly start the tracks? We'll see how it goes.
Regards,
Georg
jimz66
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Posted: Thursday, October 18, 2012 - 07:58 PM UTC
Nice rebound Georg.
TheGreatPumpkin
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Posted: Sunday, October 21, 2012 - 09:40 AM UTC
Hi All,
I was kinda busy last week and I was at the Hudson Vally show yeasterday (which I had a blast at), so I haven't had a lot of time to post. I did, however, get some work done on the model.
First, I got the front fenders on. I used my favorit medium for something like this: garage sale signs as they are thin enough to bend easily and glue normally.







Next up was to do the same for the rear fenders. As the fronts were a paint to mount properly due to very small gluing surfaces, for the rears, I used my head. I added some styrene angle to the area where the fender should go and superglued (on resin) or liquid glued (for plastic) short sections of angle onto the model and let it dry. Then I added the fenders, but did not bend them and let them dry overnight.



Once everything is dried and hard, I'll attemnpt to bend the fenders around the curve.



All for now. I hope to get more done tonight and tomorrow.
Regards,
Georg
KurtLaughlin
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Posted: Sunday, October 21, 2012 - 02:49 PM UTC

Quoted Text



Once everything is dried and hard, I'll attemnpt to bend the fenders around the curve.




Try curving the plastic first by heating over a mandrel, or by scraping on one side to curl it. You don't have to match the radius or really even get close. It's much easier to make the radius a little bigger or smaller than it is to curve a flat piece. If you force it the outer edge wants to stay flat and will flare up.

KL
SSGToms
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Posted: Sunday, October 21, 2012 - 05:45 PM UTC
Excellent work and interesting photos Georg. I didn't reach for my shrimp fork or soda gun once!!!!!!