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Tasca M4A1 Grizzly Guardian
Kharkov
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Posted: Saturday, March 15, 2014 - 01:10 PM UTC


Doesn't he look cute? I think he looks cute, I think it's the little fluffy ears and the narrow set eyes that do it to be honest, they are both always a good recipe for cuteness, but the mouth, the big scary mouth, well that's another story, and is probably best left for another day, so let's not pay any attention to that, that's all just, bluff and bluster.

Rachael - "Do you like our Owl?"
Deckard - "It's artificial?"
Rachael - "Of course it is."
Deckard - "Must be expensive?"
Rachael - "Very. I'm Rachael."
Deckard - "Deckard."


Sherman M4A1 Grizzly

The plan, if it can be called a plan (I tend to call it a bad idea) is to build the Sherman M4A1 Grizzly, which is simply a Canadian version of the Sherman M4A1, the Grizzly, as it was known, never saw any actual combat, but was used for training purposes in Canada, and after the war the Grizzly was sold on to other countries around the world.

Why build a Grizzly? Well, as the picture below shows very well, they do look kinda good, slightly different to your more average M4A1, mainly because of the unusual tracks that they were fitted with, these are the Canadian Dry Pin tracks (CDP) which are similar in appearance, on the front face, to the German Panzer III/IV tracks, and this makes the Grizzly stand out from the crowd.




The New Hull

The first job, pictures below, is to build a new hull, the Tasca kit that's being used comes with a riveted hull and I need a welded hull, early M4A1's used a riveted construction for the lower hull, but gradually this was changed to a welded construction, and all of these Canadian M4A1's had the later welded hull.

The Tasca riveted lower hull can be easily converted to a welded hull by simply shaving of all the rivits and making a few other minor changes, Tasca even tell you how to do this in the instructions, but I fancied doing it the fun way/hard way/stupid way, take your pick...




Test Fitting

The second job, pictures below, is to make sure the new lower hull fits the standard Tasca M4A1 upper hull, it needs to be a nice 'snap fit' without putting any force on either the lower hull sponsons or the Tasca upper hull, the lower hull is glued together with CA, so we don't want any pressure acting on the sponsons or the side plates, just in case a joint snaps, this just takes a bit of time and fine tuning of the sponson edges.



Bolt detail can be seen already added to the lower side plates, along the front edge, this is in preparation for the final drive assembly (FDA) It's simply easier to get these done now before the FDA is worked on.

More to follow soon.




Matt
AFVFan
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Posted: Saturday, March 15, 2014 - 04:05 PM UTC
Looks like a pretty ambitious project Matt. I'll be looking in on the progress.
Tiger_213
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Posted: Saturday, March 15, 2014 - 04:45 PM UTC
Looks like it's off to a good start Matt. Looking forward to seeing more.
Kharkov
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Posted: Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - 10:37 AM UTC



M4A1 Canadian Dry Pin Tracks

The picture below is a good shot of the tracks, sprocket and also the Canadian (Sexton) bogies that were used on some examples of the M4A1 Grizzly, they all had the CDP tracks and corresponding sprocket, but not all examples used the Canadian bogies which have enlarged strengthening ribs on the outer face, which will from this point onwards be referred to as 'big rib' bogies.



The CDP tracks used a different drive sprocket compared with the normal Sherman M4A1 sprockets, It's a solid lump of metal with no lightening holes, cut outs or stress points, The white metal tracks used for this build are Friulmodel ATL-127, and they come complete with the new drive sprocket.



These tracks can also be used on any Sexton kits, Dragon make two Sexton kits, though the second one is simply an updated version of the first kit I think, they simply added the 'big rib' bogies to the first kit release, this later Sexton kit can be a good source of bogies if you need to get some the easy way so to speak.




Matt
Kharkov
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Posted: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - 01:29 AM UTC



M4A1 Welded Hull Detail

These pictures simply show some detail going onto the scratched hull, lower hull brace bars, bogie mounting plates, engine access hatch, escape hatch, drain plugs, access plugs and the extra armour plate that was added at the front of the bottom of the hull, to add extra protection from mines.



The etched brass sections that can be seen are simply some old etched brass from an old fret that I had laying about, they form the hull bottom strengthening bars, these bars differ slightly from the ones on riveted hulls, and this needs to be changed on the Tasca lower hull if/when you convert it from riveted to welded construction.



The above picture gives a fairly good idea of what these brace bars should look like on the M4A1 welded hull, sort of triangular in shape, with a flat plate that is then spot welded to the hull bottom.



And after finding some new information on Shadock, it would seem that I need to add this little hatch as seen in the pictures above which are from - http://the.shadock.free.fr/sherman_minutia/index.html

"The inclusion of the hatch in hull floor for anti-mine shackle gear is described as one of the differences between Canadian and US built M4A1s. In theory, this permitted the bow gunner to emplace the Snake anti-mine device from within the protection of the tank. It is thought that Montreal Locomotive installed the hatches in most of their Rams and Sextons as well. Many surviving Grizzlies have been "remodelled" as US Army M4A1(75)s. The easiest way to tell that a surviving M4A1 is a Grizzly is to look for the additional hatch in the belly plate."

The above is a quote from Shadock, link above.




Matt
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Posted: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - 02:44 AM UTC
Oh boy...
Kharkov
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Posted: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - 03:06 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Oh boy...



Fun times,

Kharkov
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Posted: Saturday, March 29, 2014 - 09:21 AM UTC


Who can resist a pink Grizzly? I have a sneaky feeling that the above picture is the Bovington Grizzly before it was restored by the Tank Museum, I think it looks very good indeed in it's sand and pink paintwork, if I had any plans to actually paint this nonsense that I'm making then I would be tempted to paint it like this.




Snuggles Butterfly

Or, to be more precise, time to make some drive housing endplates,...again, these are to replace the standard Tasca endplates which I don't like, and to be fair to Tasca, their endplates are about the best out of all the kit makers who have done Shermans, both Dragon and Tamiya should hang their heads in shame, their endplates are terrible, just lumpy nonsense with bad bolt head detail.



Pictures below, just a simple little picture guide on how they are made, you get the idea, it's just lots of hole drilling and shaping of plastic card which is then layered together, with metal and plastic tubes to make up the axle part, then the bolt heads are added.



The basic idea is to use half holes to create the bolt head cutouts, in other words, drill a hole, then file away the plastic around it until you are left with the cutouts for the bolt heads, all in exactly the right place.

All the gray bolt heads that can be seen in this build log are from MasterClub who do a massive range of both rivets and bolt heads, which are of a very high quality it must be said, and these can now be purchased from Historex Agents (linked) if you live in the UK. https://www.historexagents.com/#product-gallery




Pictures above, these are the Dragon and Tasca endplates, the Dragon parts are horrible to be honest, the Tasca parts are much better but still struggle to convey that big chunky bolt head look that I'm after.





Matt
rfbaer
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Posted: Tuesday, April 01, 2014 - 04:14 AM UTC
I have but one question:
Why in the world are these final drive covers not masters for a quick fix for all those under-size Dragon kits? You could sign me up for a box-full, I'm just sayin'.....
Kharkov
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Posted: Tuesday, April 01, 2014 - 07:46 AM UTC

Quoted Text

I have but one question: Why in the world are these final drive covers not masters for a quick fix for all those under-size Dragon kits? You could sign me up for a box-full, I'm just sayin'...



The dragon ones supplied in their Sherman are horrible yes, I think they assume that because they are behind the drive sprocket you can't see them that much, but you can, you can see them from the front, if I ever make any more I'll post you some...



The pictures above show the real thing, the bolts holding these final drive endplates on are big chunky buggers, and that's the main reason I made new ones, to get that bolt head detail.



rfbaer
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Posted: Wednesday, April 02, 2014 - 06:12 AM UTC
Well.... I have visited the UK, had a most excellent time, and plan to go back. I'll just grab a pocket-full when I'm there.
Good point on the Tasca parts, I should have remembered they come in the suspension sets; I'm actually using a pair of them on my Tammy Sherman on another site. Only problem there is that I just used my next-to-last pair. I'll have to keep my eyes peeled for more, or pick up some Formations FDAs.
I've also got a couple pairs of Academy parts, not bad but the sprockets are a little narrow, only fit the diving-board-stiff Academy tracks.
Now my head hurts.
Kharkov
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Posted: Thursday, April 03, 2014 - 03:56 AM UTC

I'm not sure how good the Formation FDA's are to be honest, I have never bought any of their resin products, well not yet anyway, but from looking at this picture of their 3 part FDA (with splash guards) they seem to be very nice indeedy, if my changes to the Tasca FDA don't go according to plan then I might hunt down and buy one of these.



It's hard to see the drive housing endplates properly in this picture, but they look about the same as the Tasca parts, the splash guards and bolt plates are nicely done, I think TMD (Tiger Model Designs) also do resin FDA's for Sherman's, so they might have some endplates as well.



Plasticbattle
#003
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Posted: Thursday, April 03, 2014 - 04:16 AM UTC
Hi Matt. Have to admire the build so far. Very clean and neat scratchbuilding. Its amazing when one has to do so much to build a Sherman today, considering whats available. Wasn´t expecting that. Wouldn`t have commented either, but do so, to offer praise for what looks like the start of something class. Good luck with the build.
rfbaer
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Posted: Thursday, April 03, 2014 - 04:33 AM UTC

Quoted Text


I'm not sure how good the Formation FDA's are to be honest, I have never bought any of their resin products, well not yet anyway, but from looking at this picture of their 3 part FDA (with splash guards) they seem to be very nice indeedy, if my changes to the Tasca FDA don't go according to plan then I might hunt down and buy one of these.



It's hard to see the drive housing endplates properly in this picture, but they look about the same as the Tasca parts, the splash guards and bolt plates are nicely done, I think TMD (Tiger Model Designs) also do resin FDA's for Sherman's, so they might have some endplates as well.





That looks like a really nice part, certainly better than trying to get a Dragon part together and not having the final drive housings too high....
Kharkov
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Posted: Thursday, April 03, 2014 - 09:26 AM UTC

Thanks Frank, nice to see you following along.

rfbaer
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Posted: Friday, April 04, 2014 - 03:45 AM UTC
I WILL look at that, thanks.
I think it's pre-determined that Sherman kits should be well-mixed, for what other reason would it be so easy?
Kharkov
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Posted: Friday, April 04, 2014 - 01:43 PM UTC

Quoted Text

I think it's pre-determined that Sherman kits should be well-mixed, for what other reason would it be so easy?



My thoughts exactly.

Kharkov
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Posted: Wednesday, April 09, 2014 - 09:42 AM UTC


A nice picture showing a close up of the M4A1 Grizzly FDA, it shows the plash guards very well, protecting the bolt heads of the bolts that secure the transmission housing to the upper hull, also shows how this splash guard does not line up exactly, it seems to vary quite a lot from one example to another, and the middle portion very often doesn't line up with the outer sections.

rfbaer
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Posted: Wednesday, April 09, 2014 - 10:50 AM UTC
Maybe it's all because "FDA" can also stand for "Food and Drug Administration"?
I dunno....
Kharkov
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Posted: Thursday, April 10, 2014 - 07:45 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Maybe it's all because "FDA" can also stand for "Food and Drug Administration"?
I dunno....



Medicinal,..or recreational? lol, I don't advocate the use of either to be honest, and certainly not while you've got a sharp knife in your hand.

gigi63
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Posted: Monday, April 14, 2014 - 09:36 AM UTC
Wow!!!! Incredible work this your tank.Compliments Sir.Your is an amazing job.
Cheers Luigi
rfbaer
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Posted: Monday, April 14, 2014 - 09:53 AM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text

Maybe it's all because "FDA" can also stand for "Food and Drug Administration"?
I dunno....



Medicinal,..or recreational? lol, I don't advocate the use of either to be honest, and certainly not while you've got a sharp knife in your hand.




A glass of a nice California red is about it for me. I'm bad enough enough with sharp knives as is.
Kharkov
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Posted: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 04:29 AM UTC

Thanks gigi, kind words.

Kharkov
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Posted: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 05:04 AM UTC



Tasca M4A1 FDA Mods

Time to make some changes to the Tasca FDA, which in itself is a very good part indeed, but it lacks the needed bolt head splash guards that the Grizzly has, the Tasca part does however have some flat areas on the top edge where the splash guards would go (as highlighted in the picture below) these flat areas can be used as a guide for adding your own splash guards.

Also added are the three transmission housing drain plugs for the oil, these are about the only detail that is missing from the Tasca part, and also the two towing eyes have been replaced with plastic card, and been moved inwards very slightly.



The little etch brass plate that can be seen (picture above) is the FDA guide bracket, as I tend to call it, not sure what its purpose is, but I tend to think that its for guiding the FDA back into place during maintenance, or at least helping with that task.

Pictures below, some new FDA bolt strips have been made from plastic card, and then all the bolt head detail has been added, complete with the recesses that the bolt heads sit into, this detail is missing on the Tasca bolt strips, but that is not a mistake I don't think, as not all Sherman FDA bolt strips seem to have these recesses for the bolt heads.



These were very awkward and fiddly to make to be honest, due mainly to the thin plastic strip bending around all over the place, and the number of holes that needed to be drilled, countersunk and then all the bolt heads added, plus all the test fitting that had to be done so that they fit perfectly into their corresponding grooves, If you knew how much time was spent on these little parts, you would think I'm insane, and I'm never doing it again,...EVER.




Matt
Kharkov
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Posted: Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 09:42 AM UTC



Baking Cakes...

More work on the Tasca FDA, first the whole thing is assembled together, then it all gets strengthened with the addition of a plastic card top plate and a brace tube which is inside (you can't see it in these pictures, doh) then the Tasca bolt heads are removed from the standard bolt plate, a hole and recess is then drilled where each bolt was, and new bolts fitted.

Then the whole lot is covered with CA glue and baking powder (don't try this at home, it comes with risks, lol) Well, not all of it, just the parts that need to have a rough cast finish, after it has all dried (left for a day or two) it then gets washed in soapy hot water, ready for the next stage.



The splash guards are not ideal, the middle section should really sit lower, slightly more out of line I think, but I got very tired of carving and sanding little bits of plastic to be honest, I was tempted to remove the middle one and do it again, but never got round to it, more to follow soon, hopefully, should always add,..hopefully.



Kharkov - "Tales? Snuggles?"
Snuggles - "Tales of the future Dad, the tomcat, remember?"
Kharkov - "Scattering the dust, a hundred versts away?"
Snuggles - "The Nail of the North Dad."
Kharkov - "When he climbs down, Snuggles?"
Snuggles - "He sings songs Dad."
Kharkov - "And when he climbs up?"
Snuggles - "He tells tales."








Matt