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Review
RyeField: TTS Sheridan
varanusk
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ARMORAMA
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Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain / España
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Posted: Sunday, October 13, 2019 - 06:19 PM UTC


Russ Bucy makes a detailed review of the new 1/35 Rye Field Model M551A/ M55A1 TTS Sheridan, including notes about the real vehicle and his personal experience as crew.


Read the Review

If you have comments or questions please post them here.

Thanks!
Maki
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Croatia Hrvatska
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Posted: Sunday, October 13, 2019 - 07:17 PM UTC
Great review! Will we see a build log from Russ on Armorama as well?

Mario
pod3105
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Waterford, Ireland
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Posted: Sunday, October 13, 2019 - 07:51 PM UTC
A very comprehensive and helpful preview. Thank you Russ.,,
basco
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Solothurn, Switzerland
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Posted: Sunday, October 13, 2019 - 08:02 PM UTC
Thanks for this interesting review. after havning built the great Tamiya Sheridan, this one will certainly get added to my stash.
firstcircle
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England - South East, United Kingdom
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Posted: Sunday, October 13, 2019 - 09:30 PM UTC
Great background info, excellent in box review, and top quality photos.
Kevlar06
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Washington, United States
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Posted: Monday, October 14, 2019 - 02:30 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Great review! Will we see a build log from Russ on Armorama as well?

Mario



Mario,
Probably, sometime in the future, as I have several projects ahead of this one. However, being an old Sheridan crewman, I’m really “itching” to get into the kit with some sprue cutters and glue. It sits prominently on my “review desk”, and I can occasionally hear it “calling” to me as I walk by! Altogether, it looks like a straightforward build, although it will require some “builders discipline” with those 655 parts. I’d also like to see what RFM has planned for this kit in the future, as it looks like some thought has gone into the potential for an interior, or other versions with alternate parts.
VR, Russ
Kevlar06
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Posted: Tuesday, October 15, 2019 - 04:30 AM UTC
Folks, I just want to thank Carlos Martin for all the help he provided me in getting this review article and the associated “walk around” on the Sheridan published. It’s great we have contributing members who try and help other modelers along, but what’s really great are the untiring efforts of Kitmaker’s staff, who make the site run on a daily basis. We owe them our thanks. My hat is off to all of them and Carlos in particular for wading through myriad photos and text submitted by this Luddite!
VR, Russ
Taeuss
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Posted: Tuesday, October 15, 2019 - 04:46 AM UTC
Hey Russ, thank you for contributing; funny thing was I enjoyed reading the intro and service history more than the obviously useful kit build review. Probably because while I like Sheridans I have my doubts that I'll ever get around to building one. Thanks for the personal insight!
Kevlar06
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Posted: Tuesday, October 15, 2019 - 08:28 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Hey Russ, thank you for contributing; funny thing was I enjoyed reading the intro and service history more than the obviously useful kit build review. Probably because while I like Sheridans I have my doubts that I'll ever get around to building one. Thanks for the personal insight!



Frank,
Thanks. By its nature, the kit review is a bit "dry" because of the necessity to follow the instructional steps. Believe me, it took a while to get it to read properly and I think I only half succeeded. It was much more fun to write a bit about the vehicle's history. The Sheridan is one of those Cold War vehicles that stood out due to its "unconventional" and "futuristic" approach to the problem of a light vehicle on an increasingly lethal battlefield. It wasn't really a "tank", but it certainly wasn't an armored car either-- which puts it in a category all its own. It pre-dated but inspired much of what a Stryker vehicle is today. Despite its many faults, it had a bit of "charm" similar to the Stuart series, and was fun to TC-- when it was working properly. I was also an M60A1 TC, and although I very much appreciated the M60A1s protective and "unbreakable-like" quality, the Sheridan was better in many ways-- again when it was working. Carlos has asked me to write a bit about my armor experiences, but I'm a bit reluctant as there are many others here with better experiences I'm sure. But I'm still thinking about it.
VR, Russ
Taeuss
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Posted: Tuesday, October 15, 2019 - 12:22 PM UTC
I, for one, would like to hear what you -or anyone else with something credible to say- simply says it and lets us learn more about the history of what we build in our isolation. I feel that we, as a group, are pretty much historians by interest and inclination and can relate based on generational age. I'd guess that the median age here -as in the hobby itself- must be in its high-50s and up. And we're probably the last ones to embrace the hobby in this its last glorious hurrah.
metooshelah
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Jerusalem, Israel
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Posted: Friday, October 18, 2019 - 02:01 AM UTC
Great review! Very comprehensive and well written. Thank you!
Shame there’s no individual link tracks. I don’t link link-&-length
Kevlar06
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Posted: Friday, October 18, 2019 - 06:42 AM UTC
Glad you liked the review. It was my intent to provide readers with as much information as possible to accurately build the version they want. In my opinion, the link & length track style is a manufacturers compromise between flexible vinyl and indie-link sets. As long as they have the detail required, I don’t usually mind them, and find they can look as good as indie-link sets when completed. I definitely prefer them to vinyl (and would much rather have them than Dragon’s DS type). These tracks would be fine, (mine are) but the deep injector-pin marks I’ve seen in other modeler’s kits are discouraging. I think I got lucky with my kit. The good thing about these tracks is they’ll last a long time. I have some plastic indie types (Model Kasten) which have started to come apart over the years, and vinyl types that have rotted away. I do have the ancient Tamiya Sheridan which I built in 1991, and those Vinyl tracks are as good as the day they were put on. But I suspect these RFM tracks will last just as well if not better. I think another reason RFM did this is because they considered that some AMS modelers would either replace them OR, they’d figure out how to build them with the road wheels and drivers/idlers to simplify painting. I don’t know why in this day and age, we still have to put up with 1950s rubber track and wheel sets. So for me, it’s encouraging to see RFM do something else.
VR, Russ
MarcelDrgon
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Slovakia
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Posted: Monday, December 02, 2019 - 08:20 AM UTC
Very useful review! Thank you! Anyway, one question: was the Deathstalker, the Dasert storm decal variant TTS equipped or not? My understanding is that the 82nd went to Saudi Arabia with A1s hich were later replaced by TTS equipped ones. The difference, as I red somewhere, was amongts other things a factory applied sand coat, whilst the original A1s has been MERDC/NATO 3 tone cammo with crude field overepaint. Judging by that it might have been TTS equipped, unless there is a picture showing directly the older sight.
Kevlar06
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Posted: Monday, December 02, 2019 - 08:37 AM UTC
Marcel,
I can’t definitively answer the question “Deathstalker” without a clear photo. It looks like a TTS, maybe. My understanding is by 1990, there was a mix of A1 and TTS Sheridan’s in the 82nd ABN, so some of each likely deployed to DS/DS. I also understand these vehicles were given a hasty coat of desert sand paint, some of them after they arrived in Saudi. Before that, they would likely have been NATO scheme camouflaged. The MERDC scheme was going away by that time, and the 82nd ABN would likely have received newer rebuilt vehicles. I know in photos of Sheridan’s in Panama a few years before, there’s a mix of A1 and TTS vehicles. In addition, there seems to be some examples of A1s with the new smoke dischargers, and TTS vehicles with the old style dischargers— (see the walk around linked to this article). Thus, it’s very difficult to determine the difference between the A1 and TTS just from photos— you really need to have a photo looking directly at the gunners sight.
VR, Russ
HeavyArty
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Posted: Monday, December 02, 2019 - 02:24 PM UTC
It is my understanding that the 82nd ABN Sheridan’s were originally a mix of M551s and M551A1s and they came as they were painted at FT Bragg; mostly NATO camo, but some still in MERDC. They were quickly painted in a local sand paint in Saudi once they arrived. Later, they were swapped out with re-manufactured M551A1s in CARC Sand before ground operations started; Operation Desert Storm on 17 Jan '91. These had the TTS sights installed, which started right before Desert Shield/Storm began about mid-'90.
MarcelDrgon
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Slovakia
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Posted: Monday, December 02, 2019 - 07:52 PM UTC

Quoted Text

It is my understanding that the 82nd ABN Sheridan’s were originally a mix of M551s and M551A1s and they came as they were painted at FT Bragg; mostly NATO camo, but some still in MERDC. They were quickly painted in a local sand paint in Saudi once they arrived. Later, they were swapped out with re-manufactured M551A1s in CARC Sand before ground operations started; Operation Desert Storm on 17 Jan '91. These had the TTS sights installed, which started right before Desert Shield/Storm began about mid-'90.


Maybe I should have had the question like this: can it be assumed that if a DS Sheridan has a nice factory applied sand coat it was from later TTS equipped shipments and if the coat is crude, that it may be an A1/ A1(TTS) originally deployed? I ask because clear pics of the TTS housings are quite rare (especially if you look for a particular one) and this may be a good hint.
Anyway, many thanks gentleman, especially Russ, airborne AFVs are my soft spot and I thus highly appreciate any info, experience and knowledge shared!
Kevlar06
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Posted: Tuesday, December 03, 2019 - 02:26 AM UTC
Marcel, I’d think you could make the general assumption a clean CARC painted M55A1/TTS Sheridan found during DS/DS was indeed a TTS version, especially if it had the newer smoke grenade launchers, which should be the first clue. The last M551 was produced in 1972, after that, most M551s were upgraded to the M551/A1 version with the laser range finder as they went through rebuild (rebuilds occurred due to mileage). By 1980, the Sheridan was being withdrawn from use in most units (exception being the 82nd) and was being replaced by the M60A3 in Cav units. Those vehicles in the 82nd were “holdouts” and were being transitioned to the TTS version as they came up for rebuild due to mileage. That’s why you see a mixture of M551s, M551A1s and a few TTS Sheridan’s in the 1988 Panama operation (although most Sheridan’s by 1988 were in fact M551A1s— some with the LRF removed). By 1990, almost all the old M551s were gone (In the active Army anyway), having been rebuilt. Another dead giveaway to a TTS Sheridan is the presence of the slave cable port on the hull just to the left of the drivers compartment. Some M551A1s received this port, but all M551A1/TTS Sheridan’s should have it— it could only be added during the rebuild/upgrade program, as it involved drilling an opening through the forward hull. Also, CARC painting was accomplished at Depot only by this time— so if it’s CARC painted, it’s likely it’s a rebuilt A1/TTS version (although there are some exceptions— the link to the Ft Lewis Sheridan included in the build review is a TTS Sheridan, with the initial smoke grenade launchers, slave cable opening, LRF, and the rebuilt left turret cheek to accommodate the TTS— but as far as I can tell, it never had CARC paint. This leads me to believe it was an initial TTS version, pre DS/DS, probably supplied to 1/1 Cav before 1988, and then put on display as they transitioned out of the Sheridan.
VR, Russ
Kevlar06
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Posted: Tuesday, December 03, 2019 - 06:17 AM UTC
Just one other note about the difference between M551, M551A1 and TTS Sheridans— the LRF was removable, but even removed, the A1 modifications were made to the suspension and power plant which would have remained, but are largely invisible, the most outward sign was a complete overhaul of the lubrication points on the road wheels changing the clear fluid “sight glass” to a lube nipple, this was done to many 551s and A1s as well in the “field” on a wheel by wheel basis, but a TTS would have them all changed at once in rebuild— eventually, all operational Sheridan’s would receive this mod over time. The output in engine HP Mod was virtually invisible on the outside though.
But the most visible TTS indicator is the gunners sight “notch” cut into the right turret cheek, and lowered electro-welded reinforcing block for the sight housing. The thermal sight itself was narrower than the original, with a single lens rather than the A1s “split” lens-- the "split lens" accommodated the M551/A1 daylight viewing target reticle, and the nighttime IR reticle-- that wasn't necessary with the Tank Thermal Sight (TTS). You'd need to see this in a dead on straight view to accurately tell what version of the Sheridan you were looking at. I have no idea what version "DeathStalker was, but if I had to guess, I'd say TTS.
VR, Russ
MarcelDrgon
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Posted: Tuesday, December 03, 2019 - 11:24 AM UTC
Many thanks again!
MarcelDrgon
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Posted: Thursday, December 05, 2019 - 04:08 AM UTC
Trying to sort out the instructions mess I came to the question of installing the mine-protection kit - was it really that much common NOT to have it mounted on the DS A1(TTS)? I did not came across a single picture so far showing such vehicle with it (and yes, I still consider using the kit cecals for the DEATHSTALKER)!
Kevlar06
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Posted: Friday, December 06, 2019 - 04:35 AM UTC
Marcel,
The kit instructions show the appliqué armor removed for the TTS version. The link to the Fort Lewis Museum TTS Sheridan also shows the appliqué armor removed. Although I don't know for certain, I suspect when the vehicles went through rebuild to TTS standard, the armor plate was removed to make them lighter for true AARV use-- this would reduce weight for airlift and LAPES operations. The appliqué armor package was a leftover from mine-laden Vietnam. Many of the early 70s vehicles had this package applied, and as they came out of Vietnam and went to rebuild (long before the TTS program started) the appliqué package just stayed with them. What I'm not sure about is covering over the driver's bellly access hatch in the kit-- my 1972 era track (2/11 CAV, F36), had appliqué armor, but as I recall, the driver's belly access hatch was still usable. Perhaps my vehicle was just missing the belly appliqué armor while retaining the fender armor. But it makes sense for the TTS version to have the armor removed, keeping up with the changes in AARV employment doctrine at the time TTS mods were applied.
VR, Russ
MarcelDrgon
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Posted: Friday, December 06, 2019 - 07:10 AM UTC
Thanks, thought myself too that airborne tracks would be kept light.
MarcelDrgon
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Slovakia
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Posted: Friday, December 06, 2019 - 07:40 AM UTC
Looks like I will keep asking for a while longer. I noticed RFM kit has anti skid coating, when did this start to appear on the Sheridans? Was it a mileage depending overhaul feature or directly connected to the TTS upgrade?
Kevlar06
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Posted: Friday, December 06, 2019 - 09:35 AM UTC
There was always an anti-skid surface on front of the post-72 M551A1 as far as I know. I'm not sure the 1969 M551s in Vietnam had it, but suspect they did. It was a kind of a thin, stick-on, asphalt-like sheet on the front of the vehicle beneath and around the swim vane which would otherwise be very slick in wet weather. We painted right over it. It was very difficult to remove, and usually exposed bare aluminum beneath as I recall.
MarcelDrgon
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Posted: Friday, December 06, 2019 - 09:45 AM UTC
If you had it in '72 I would tend to think it was on the tracks ever since. I asked also because Tamiya left it out. Thanks!