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Armor/AFV: Modern - USA
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M551A1 Sheridan Kit Bash & Scratch Build
Delta42
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Georgia, United States
Joined: August 27, 2002
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Armorama: 511 posts
Posted: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - 09:02 AM UTC
I am presently building a M551A1 Sheridan using the Academy and Tamiya kits plus the Eduard M551 set. I am using the best of both kits and a good bit of scratch building to try and get a good representation of a Sheridan.

Is there any interest in this? If so I will post progress reports and pictures.

Dave
LeoCmdr
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Alberta, Canada
Joined: January 19, 2005
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Posted: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - 09:23 AM UTC
For sure I am interested. I have had the Jaguar resin kit of the M551A1 TTS sitting in my stash for years hoping to build it as an Operation Just Cause Sheridan.

It would be great to see what you come up with for a build.
seb43
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Paris, France
Joined: August 30, 2005
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Posted: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - 09:28 AM UTC
I will follow your build
Please post WIP pics
Thanks
Seb
pseudorealityx
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Georgia, United States
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Posted: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - 11:33 AM UTC
I'd like to see it Dave.
bat-213
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Canada
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Posted: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 - 11:48 AM UTC
Hi Dave,if you build it we will follow.
Mustanger
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Virginia, United States
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Posted: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 - 01:57 AM UTC
Love to see it built
Delta42
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Georgia, United States
Joined: August 27, 2002
KitMaker: 616 posts
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Posted: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 - 02:24 AM UTC
Since there is interest, here goes. This first entry will be long since I will try and catch everyone up to where I am now.

As stated previously, the kits used are the Tamiya M551 and the Academy M551 (Vietnam Version.) I am also using the Eduard Etched Brass set for the Academy M551. I planned the build to depict a M551A1 Sheridan from the mid Ď70s.







I researched the two kits and found that neither was a good representation of the Sheridan, with glaring inaccuracies in both. So I decided to combine the kits in an attempt to get a closer representation.
After going down to Ft. Benning and crawling on the Armor and Cavalry Museums two Sheridans (and taking a bunch of reference pics) I embarked on my build.

The Academy hull is better than the Tamiya hull, so I decided to work with it. The first thing that needed to be corrected was the fact that the driverís hatch on the Academy model is out of proportion. So I removed it and replaced it with the Tamiya driverís hatch which is more to scale. This required me to cut out both hatches and put the Tamiya one in the Academy upper hull.



Other changes to the front upper hull were: (these can be seen in the above picture)

(1) Replace the lifting eyes with modified ones from a Academy M113A1 (parts box). Pieces of plastic stock were added to the bottom of the eyes, to simulate the thicker base seen on the Sheridan lifting eyes.
(2) Added a correct representation of the crew heater exhaust behind the right headlight. This was made from plastic strip and plastic tube.
(3) Added the front Bilge Pump cover behind the left headlight. I made it by sanding down a piece of plastic stock.
(4) Added more rivets around the front glacis, since the actual vehicle has tons (about two thirds more than the model)
(5) Shaped the swim vane latches to better represent the type on the real vehicles and add the wing nut hold downs.
(6) Added a piano hinge to the top of the swim vane as on the actual vehicle. This came from a PE set for a halftrack that I had in the parts box.

(7) I added the correctly shaped bullet deflector detail to the top of the Driverís hatch. This was fabricated from triangled stock that I heated and formed into the correct shape. I had to sand down the hatch cover so the deflector would fit correctly.



On the right side of the hull I moved the fire extinguisher pull handle to the correct location and filled in the open seam where the two side plates meet.



On the rear, I made the following changes:

(1) Removed the two rear Bilge Pump outlets and replaced them with new ones that are closer to the correct size and shape for the A1 version.
(2) Removed and replaced the rear lifting eyes. Same technique as for the front above.
(3) Replaced the swim shroud tie downs with the ones from the Eduard set. I also added the two side tie downs that are on the actual vehicle. These came from spare PE parts.
(4) I thinned down the external phone cover (around the right tail light). It is recessed on the actual vehicle, but short of cutting out a hole, this seemed like the best choice.
(5) Thinned the cover around the left tail light.
(6) Added bolt heads and lift handle in the proper locations.
(7) Added L-shaped brackets on both sides as seen on the real vehicle.



On the left side I filled in the seam between the two panels.



On the engine deck, I did the following:

(1) The two rear engine access doors are touching on the model, and there should be space between them. In that space should be lifting handles and the latching system. I sanded down this area and added the handles and locking device. Grill covers from the Eduard set were added to the appropriate areas.



(2) The gas filler caps are molded backwards, so I cut them off and replaced them with two from the parts box.
(3) Added the Eduard exhaust cover.



Rivets were removed from the entire upper hull where they donít exist on the real vehicle. Four bolt heads were added in the proper locations.





On the lower front hull, I modified the idler wheel arms to better represent the correct shape and mounting on the real vehicle. This was done by sanding to the correct shape and adding bolt heads. Then adding Squadron White putty and sanding to the proper shape.
The idler wheel tension adjuster is located in the wrong place. I changed its location and fabricated mounting points on the hull and idler arm.



On the lower hull sides, I added covers to the side cutouts in the hull. These are on the real vehicle, but were omitted from the model. I also added the side ďAdd-onĒ anti-mine blast armor that appears on the A1 version. This was done with sheet stock and several cuss words.



The rear Tow Pintle mount was incorrectly shaped, so I scratch built a correct one.





Inside the Driverís hatch, I added periscopes and the washer fluid reservoir. The periscopes were from the parts box and the reservoir was fashioned from a piece of scrap sprue.



Next up will be mounting the front and rear road wheel shock absorbers in their correct locations. Then I will start on the turret.

Dave
grunt26
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Michigan, United States
Joined: July 23, 2005
KitMaker: 151 posts
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Posted: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 - 02:48 AM UTC
Simply awesome, and very inspiring!
Thanks for posting this, as I want to add an M551 to my stable one of these days.

Rod
trickymissfit
Joined: October 03, 2007
KitMaker: 1,280 posts
Armorama: 1,249 posts
Posted: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 - 03:33 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Since there is interest, here goes. This first entry will be long since I will try and catch everyone up to where I am now.

As stated previously, the kits used are the Tamiya M551 and the Academy M551 (Vietnam Version.) I am also using the Eduard Etched Brass set for the Academy M551. I planned the build to depict a M551A1 Sheridan from the mid Ď70s.







I researched the two kits and found that neither was a good representation of the Sheridan, with glaring inaccuracies in both. So I decided to combine the kits in an attempt to get a closer representation.
After going down to Ft. Benning and crawling on the Armor and Cavalry Museums two Sheridans (and taking a bunch of reference pics) I embarked on my build.

The Academy hull is better than the Tamiya hull, so I decided to work with it. The first thing that needed to be corrected was the fact that the driverís hatch on the Academy model is out of proportion. So I removed it and replaced it with the Tamiya driverís hatch which is more to scale. This required me to cut out both hatches and put the Tamiya one in the Academy upper hull.



Other changes to the front upper hull were: (these can be seen in the above picture)

(1) Replace the lifting eyes with modified ones from a Academy M113A1 (parts box). Pieces of plastic stock were added to the bottom of the eyes, to simulate the thicker base seen on the Sheridan lifting eyes.
(2) Added a correct representation of the crew heater exhaust behind the right headlight. This was made from plastic strip and plastic tube.
(3) Added the front Bilge Pump cover behind the left headlight. I made it by sanding down a piece of plastic stock.
(4) Added more rivets around the front glacis, since the actual vehicle has tons (about two thirds more than the model)
(5) Shaped the swim vane latches to better represent the type on the real vehicles and add the wing nut hold downs.
(6) Added a piano hinge to the top of the swim vane as on the actual vehicle. This came from a PE set for a halftrack that I had in the parts box.

(7) I added the correctly shaped bullet deflector detail to the top of the Driverís hatch. This was fabricated from triangled stock that I heated and formed into the correct shape. I had to sand down the hatch cover so the deflector would fit correctly.



On the right side of the hull I moved the fire extinguisher pull handle to the correct location and filled in the open seam where the two side plates meet.



On the rear, I made the following changes:

(1) Removed the two rear Bilge Pump outlets and replaced them with new ones that are closer to the correct size and shape for the A1 version.
(2) Removed and replaced the rear lifting eyes. Same technique as for the front above.
(3) Replaced the swim shroud tie downs with the ones from the Eduard set. I also added the two side tie downs that are on the actual vehicle. These came from spare PE parts.
(4) I thinned down the external phone cover (around the right tail light). It is recessed on the actual vehicle, but short of cutting out a hole, this seemed like the best choice.
(5) Thinned the cover around the left tail light.
(6) Added bolt heads and lift handle in the proper locations.
(7) Added L-shaped brackets on both sides as seen on the real vehicle.



On the left side I filled in the seam between the two panels.



On the engine deck, I did the following:

(1) The two rear engine access doors are touching on the model, and there should be space between them. In that space should be lifting handles and the latching system. I sanded down this area and added the handles and locking device. Grill covers from the Eduard set were added to the appropriate areas.



(2) The gas filler caps are molded backwards, so I cut them off and replaced them with two from the parts box.
(3) Added the Eduard exhaust cover.



Rivets were removed from the entire upper hull where they donít exist on the real vehicle. Four bolt heads were added in the proper locations.





On the lower front hull, I modified the idler wheel arms to better represent the correct shape and mounting on the real vehicle. This was done by sanding to the correct shape and adding bolt heads. Then adding Squadron White putty and sanding to the proper shape.
The idler wheel tension adjuster is located in the wrong place. I changed its location and fabricated mounting points on the hull and idler arm.



On the lower hull sides, I added covers to the side cutouts in the hull. These are on the real vehicle, but were omitted from the model. I also added the side ďAdd-onĒ anti-mine blast armor that appears on the A1 version. This was done with sheet stock and several cuss words.



The rear Tow Pintle mount was incorrectly shaped, so I scratch built a correct one.





Inside the Driverís hatch, I added periscopes and the washer fluid reservoir. The periscopes were from the parts box and the reservoir was fashioned from a piece of scrap sprue.



Next up will be mounting the front and rear road wheel shock absorbers in their correct locations. Then I will start on the turret.

Dave



The armor add on was not done on every track. I've seen two side by side, and one didn't have it while the other did. I've also seen at least two different gun shields for the M2. The rear bustle rack on the turret was usually removed and replaced with something much more to the end user's needs. So you need an actual photo of the tank your building a model of. The Sheridan was a highly customized tank by it's users
gary
Delta42
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Georgia, United States
Joined: August 27, 2002
KitMaker: 616 posts
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Posted: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 - 04:51 AM UTC
The add-on armor was not on the M551 version, only the M551A1 version. This was part of the upgrades done due to experience in Vietnam. Many of the upgrades done in the A1 variant, were not that noticable unless you were able to see two tanks next to each other. The final variant the M551A1 TTS had even more modifications/improvements.

Also as Gary stated, the Sheridan was very much "Field" modified by crews and units during the Vietnam years.

I am just building a standard M551A1 that might have been used by the 82nd ABN or the Cav units in Germany during the late 70's.

To get a better understanding of all of the modifications, etc., I suggest that the following references be consulted.

(1) SHERIDAN by R.P. Hunnicutt
(2) M551 Sheridan in Action by David Doyle
(3) M551 Sheridan by Steve Zaloga
(4) Sheridan Walkaround CD by Chris "Toadman" Hughes

These are all great references.

Also there are several Articles/Reviews of the Academy, Tamiya and Jaguar models on the net.

Dave

bat-213
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Canada
Joined: December 30, 2011
KitMaker: 902 posts
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Posted: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 - 08:33 AM UTC
Dave ,nice work so far,i built the same Acadmy kit a few months ago
mine was oobso i did not do anything to it,but you have the right idea
fix the problem and build the kit.
Delta42
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Georgia, United States
Joined: August 27, 2002
KitMaker: 616 posts
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Posted: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 - 08:46 AM UTC
Roy,

I obviously can't fix all of the inaccuracies But I will fix what I can. My only regret is that most people looking at the finished model will not notice the differences.

I however will know and that's what counts

I hope to get a couple of good hours in tonight.

Dave
PantherF
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Indiana, United States
Joined: June 10, 2005
KitMaker: 6,188 posts
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Posted: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 - 08:51 AM UTC
I'll be watching this with great interest as I have the Tamiya remote control kit and want to kit bash it with the Academy kit too.

But, want to leave enough so that there can be a second build left to sit on the shelf.






~ Jeff
trickymissfit
Joined: October 03, 2007
KitMaker: 1,280 posts
Armorama: 1,249 posts
Posted: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 - 08:53 AM UTC

Quoted Text

The add-on armor was not on the M551 version, only the M551A1 version. This was part of the upgrades done due to experience in Vietnam. Many of the upgrades done in the A1 variant, were not that noticable unless you were able to see two tanks next to each other. The final variant the M551A1 TTS had even more modifications/improvements.

Also as Gary stated, the Sheridan was very much "Field" modified by crews and units during the Vietnam years.

I am just building a standard M551A1 that might have been used by the 82nd ABN or the Cav units in Germany during the late 70's.

To get a better understanding of all of the modifications, etc., I suggest that the following references be consulted.

(1) SHERIDAN by R.P. Hunnicutt
(2) M551 Sheridan in Action by David Doyle
(3) M551 Sheridan by Steve Zaloga
(4) Sheridan Walkaround CD by Chris "Toadman" Hughes

These are all great references.

Also there are several Articles/Reviews of the Academy, Tamiya and Jaguar models on the net.

Dave




the added armor plates were added to inservice tracks as I saw them being attached in Chu Lai. They had a big pile of CBL'd Sheridans and 48's over there. I never noticed the extruded metal atop the engine decks, but was probably there. Did those screens come in the Eduard PE kit?
gary
trickymissfit
Joined: October 03, 2007
KitMaker: 1,280 posts
Armorama: 1,249 posts
Posted: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 - 08:55 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Roy,

I obviously can't fix all of the inaccuracies But I will fix what I can. My only regret is that most people looking at the finished model will not notice the differences.

I however will know and that's what counts

I hope to get a couple of good hours in tonight.

Dave



well I caught the fix you did for the drivers hatch. I have two or three kits in various stages, and was sorts dumbfounded as to a good fix. Thank you for the tip
gary
Delta42
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Georgia, United States
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Posted: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 - 09:20 AM UTC
Gary...Yes the screens are from the Eduard PE
tankmodeler
#417
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Posted: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 - 02:05 PM UTC
Dave,

Great job on a kit with a LOT of problems. You're a braver man than I am, Gunga Din.

It still amazes me how badly Academy manages to bugger up some of their new kits when there is simply no lack of actual reference material.

Paul
Delta42
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Georgia, United States
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Posted: Thursday, July 26, 2012 - 03:44 AM UTC
Thanks to everyone for your encouraging comments.

Last night I worked on the shock absorbers for the front and rear road wheels. The ones with the Academy kit are designed wrong (big surprise), so I had to correct them to the proper two tube design instead of the four tube design they had. The mounting plate was also wrong and underdetailed, so again I fixed those. Here is the corrected parts and their mounting.







Next I will begin work on the turret. The Academy turret is under sized and miss-shapen, so I will be using the Tamiya turret as my base.
You can see here the turret and the Gunner's hatch marked to be removed so it can be displayed open.







I will try and post another update tomorrow based on my progress on the turret.

Dave
seb43
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Paris, France
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Posted: Thursday, July 26, 2012 - 04:12 AM UTC
I love this vehicle and I think you are crazy.

I gonna watch this build for sure
Delta42
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Georgia, United States
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Posted: Thursday, July 26, 2012 - 04:33 AM UTC

Quoted Text

I love this vehicle and I think you are crazy.



Seb....You won't get an argument from me on that...

It's turning out to be a lot more work than I anticipated, but I am having a good time for the most part.

Thanks...Dave
seb43
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Posted: Thursday, July 26, 2012 - 04:46 AM UTC
Tell you gonna use the fruil tracks ????
Delta42
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Posted: Thursday, July 26, 2012 - 05:50 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Tell you gonna use the fruil tracks ????



Yes...I am planning to use the Fruil track set. I've never used Fruil products, so it will be an adventure also.
bravo04tango
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Alabama, United States
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Posted: Thursday, July 26, 2012 - 06:42 AM UTC
First of all, excellent build so far sir. Secondly as I have built one of the academy monstrosities and choose fruil tracks, let me pass on this bit of advice. Use a malleable wire as the track runs will begin to curve to one wide. I used brass wire and found that attempting to straighten I only deformed the track runs. If I had used a more easily bent wire, the wire would have bent instead. Also, your front mud flaps might get in the way.of your track and idler wheel. The fruil is, I think, a Tad thicker and makes the track run into the flap. Good luck sir. Watching in earnest.
Delta42
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Georgia, United States
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Posted: Thursday, July 26, 2012 - 07:23 AM UTC

Quoted Text

First of all, excellent build so far sir. Secondly as I have built one of the academy monstrosities and choose fruil tracks, let me pass on this bit of advice. Use a malleable wire as the track runs will begin to curve to one wide. I used brass wire and found that attempting to straighten I only deformed the track runs. If I had used a more easily bent wire, the wire would have bent instead. Also, your front mud flaps might get in the way.of your track and idler wheel. The fruil is, I think, a Tad thicker and makes the track run into the flap. Good luck sir. Watching in earnest.



Thanks for the insight. I am planning to use the Eduard PE mud flaps. They seem to be closer to the correct width and thickness. But I will wait and attach them after I have assembled and test fitted the Fruil track.

Dave
SHarjacek
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Croatia Hrvatska
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Posted: Thursday, July 26, 2012 - 07:29 AM UTC
Very nice work Dave!