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Armor/AFV: Modern - USA
Modern Armor, AFVs, and Support vehicles.
Hosted by Darren Baker
M551A1 Sheridan Kit Bash & Scratch Build
Tankrider
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Oklahoma, United States
Joined: October 07, 2002
KitMaker: 1,272 posts
Armorama: 1,200 posts
Posted: Friday, July 27, 2012 - 02:41 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.



I have found that if you use the aluminum wire that is included with the Fruili track, you get the curved runs. My experience was with Centurion track that stayed noticeably curved once they were installed and gave the model the classic "toed in" look. I have switched to brass wire for the past couple sets that I have done (Panther late and Merkava IV) and have not had the problems with curved runs, since. Oddly enough, the Panther track had brass wire included with the links, while I had to go to the local Hobby Lobby for K&S Wire to replace the supplied aluminum wire. The brass also endures the chemical weathering process a bit better.

FWIW

John
Delta42
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Georgia, United States
Joined: August 27, 2002
KitMaker: 616 posts
Armorama: 511 posts
Posted: Friday, July 27, 2012 - 07:33 AM UTC
Here's an update.

As stated before, I am using the Tamiya Turret(Check the pictures above to see how it started out.) I had to open up the Gunner's hatch and remove the radio mount and Gunners' periscope and fill in the locating holes for the bustle rack. Once that was done, I added Archer Resin Weld Seams and the crew ventilator and bullet splash guard. I made the splash guard fron plastic stock that I wrapped around a wooden dowel and heated with a hair dryer. The vent is from the Acadamey model.







Next I started on the gun shield, main gun, and rocket control box.

For the gun shield, I used the Tamiya gun shield as it is a better representation of the actual one. It does have an extra openning above the coax that has to be filled and sanded. Since I am using the Academy main gun, I had to modify the attachment point in the shield. I did this using card stock and a gear from the parts box. I sanded down the gear and drilled it out.



The missile control bow is from Tamiya but I added detail to better represent the actual box.

The main gun is as stated from the Academy kit and the only modification I did to it was add a small ring on the inside of the muzzle to gin it a more realistic diameter and look.







It doesn't seem like a lot, but there was a good amount of fitting, sanding and refitting to get these few things done.

More to come over the weekend.

Thanks for all the advise,comments, and encouragement.

Dave
pseudorealityx
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Georgia, United States
Joined: January 31, 2010
KitMaker: 2,191 posts
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Posted: Friday, July 27, 2012 - 07:48 AM UTC
Dave, looking good. Make sure to bring that thing to the meeting next weekend.
DerGeist
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Ohio, United States
Joined: January 21, 2008
KitMaker: 735 posts
Armorama: 707 posts
Posted: Friday, July 27, 2012 - 09:15 AM UTC
Very nice work. I've always wanted to build a 551 but never had the courage to do the work you're doing. I keep putting it off in hope that someone comes out with a correct one. Who knows, now that you're doing all this work someone will come out with a new tooling==). Does anyone know how Academy managed to mess up their 551 so badly? I've always wondered how a model company can design such blatantly inaccurate kits and even release them.


Erik
Delta42
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Georgia, United States
Joined: August 27, 2002
KitMaker: 616 posts
Armorama: 511 posts
Posted: Friday, July 27, 2012 - 11:00 AM UTC
Jesse...planning on it

Erik...That is a question I know many people have. I remember how excited I was when Academy released their kit only to find out that they had put out a kit that was not much better than the older tamiya kit. A great disappointment. It's not like the Sheridan is a fantasy tank or actual Sheridans are in short supply. There was plenty of material to draw from to get an accurate model. Acadamey just fail miserably.

My two cents

Dave
bat-213
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Canada
Joined: December 30, 2011
KitMaker: 902 posts
Armorama: 788 posts
Posted: Monday, July 30, 2012 - 10:15 AM UTC
your build is looking very good.
Delta42
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Georgia, United States
Joined: August 27, 2002
KitMaker: 616 posts
Armorama: 511 posts
Posted: Monday, July 30, 2012 - 01:35 PM UTC
Thanks Roy.

I'm planning on posting an update tomorrow afternoon.

Dave
Mustanger
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Virginia, United States
Joined: July 06, 2012
KitMaker: 94 posts
Armorama: 55 posts
Posted: Monday, July 30, 2012 - 03:01 PM UTC

Quoted Text

... I'm planning on posting an update tomorrow afternoon.

Dave



Great work.

Looking forward to the update.
Delta42
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Georgia, United States
Joined: August 27, 2002
KitMaker: 616 posts
Armorama: 511 posts
Posted: Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - 08:47 AM UTC
Hey Everyone,

For the last few days I have been working on the turret, gun shield and search light.

On the turret I had to redo several of the Archer weld seams. It is a good product, but hard to work with on curved areas. I had to cut the seams into several short pieces to get it to curve, and it kept popping off.

I added detail to the gun shield such as the search light mount and the cover for the gun sight.



On the top of the turret, I added the power supply outlet for the search light, antenna mounts, liftting hooks, and bolt detail. The ring around the power supply out let is from the parts box. It was a crew vent off of an old Italieri M113 that I sanded down. The antenna mounts are from the Tamiya kit and the parts box. Also added was the Gunner's night vision periscope housing (from the Academy kit)



I started working on the Loader's hatch by adding the Eduard latch and gasket. Also added are hinges made from plastic half-round rod.



The Search light was upgraded using the Eduards PE parts. The interior of the light housing is a piece of holographic paper from the local party shop. This was cut and fitted inside after painting the inside silver just in case the paper didn't completely cover the entire interior.







The next big project/sub-assembly will be the Commander's Cupola and shield.

Again...Thanks to all for the comments and encouragement.

Dave
pseudorealityx
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Georgia, United States
Joined: January 31, 2010
KitMaker: 2,191 posts
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Posted: Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - 09:12 AM UTC
Searchlight looks really nice Dave. Looking forward to seeing it up close.
Delta42
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Georgia, United States
Joined: August 27, 2002
KitMaker: 616 posts
Armorama: 511 posts
Posted: Thursday, August 09, 2012 - 04:22 AM UTC
It's been awhile since I posted an update, so this is where I am now.

I have been working on the Commander's Hatch and attached Crow's Nest armor.

The first thing I did was fabricate a bottom piece for the Academy Commander's coupla so it will fit the Tamiya turret.





After that was finished and installed, I scratch built the AN/VVG-1 Laser Rangefinder that began to be installed on Sheridans in 1972. The Academy "Gulf War" version has this, but the "VN Version" that I have did not.





Next I started scratch building the Crows Nest armor also called "the Bird Cage" by many crews. I decided to scratch build this because the kit provided set is full of ejector pin holes and is cast too thick. It is also shaped wrong in several places. I started with the back portion, because it also incorporated the housing for the electronics of the AN/VVG-1 Laser Rangefinder. These can be seen on the inside of the armor.







I am now working on the front parts of the armor and will post more as I complete that.

Dave
PantherF
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Indiana, United States
Joined: June 10, 2005
KitMaker: 6,188 posts
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Posted: Thursday, August 09, 2012 - 04:29 AM UTC
Wow... this is making me want to get my Sheridan out. Must resist! Too many builds goin' on now!

I will continue following this! Very interesting!







~ Jeff
Mustanger
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Virginia, United States
Joined: July 06, 2012
KitMaker: 94 posts
Armorama: 55 posts
Posted: Thursday, August 09, 2012 - 05:28 AM UTC
Great, great work. Looking forward to the next update.
Delta42
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Georgia, United States
Joined: August 27, 2002
KitMaker: 616 posts
Armorama: 511 posts
Posted: Thursday, August 09, 2012 - 07:25 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Wow... this is making me want to get my Sheridan out. Must resist!



Jeff - Interesting statement from a man that has "...resistance is futile" at the bottom of his page


Jim - Thanks. Hopefully the next update will be up by this weekend. Just depends on how much I get done

Dave
Delta42
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Georgia, United States
Joined: August 27, 2002
KitMaker: 616 posts
Armorama: 511 posts
Posted: Friday, August 10, 2012 - 11:47 AM UTC
Here is a short update.

I have completed the Crow's Nest armor for the back and the sides. I still need to do the front armor shield for the 50 Cal. I did get the 50 Cal done and added a night scope.











I can almost see an end to this build.

More next week. I have a full weekend and probably won't get much done.

Questions and comments are always welcome.

Dave
TankSGT
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New Jersey, United States
Joined: July 25, 2006
KitMaker: 1,154 posts
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Posted: Saturday, August 11, 2012 - 08:46 AM UTC
Dave,

Great build, I was a Sheridan crewman with the 11th ACR in the FRG. I noticed that you added the braces on the chicken shields. On our 551s they were bare aluminum they were added because the vibrations caused the back shields bolts to come out and the shields would fall off. My TC, I drove A-10 the PSGs track never used the MG shield it was a pain to install. We had to make due with the original bustle rack never had any mods to it. we used to strap 3 jerry cands on the left turret side. 30wt engine, 10wt trans, and water. The gunners periscope was the night sight as well as the missle sight. Main gun was fired through the telescope. We used to keep a strap around the missle guidence door because it would flop open. If I can help in any way let me know.

TC
Delta42
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Georgia, United States
Joined: August 27, 2002
KitMaker: 616 posts
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Posted: Sunday, August 12, 2012 - 05:59 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Dave,

Great build, I was a Sheridan crewman with the 11th ACR in the FRG. I noticed that you added the braces on the chicken shields. On our 551s they were bare aluminum they were added because the vibrations caused the back shields bolts to come out and the shields would fall off. My TC, I drove A-10 the PSGs track never used the MG shield it was a pain to install. We had to make due with the original bustle rack never had any mods to it. we used to strap 3 jerry cands on the left turret side. 30wt engine, 10wt trans, and water. The gunners periscope was the night sight as well as the missle sight. Main gun was fired through the telescope. We used to keep a strap around the missle guidence door because it would flop open. If I can help in any way let me know.

TC



Thomas

Thanks for the information. It's always nice to hear from individuals that served on the type of vehicle you are modeling. It's also nice to know you got something right. Seems that so many times you use references and then hope you guessed right.

I may be taking you up on your offer of help later.

BTW...when were you in FRG. I was there from '77 to '80, with the 16th IN, 1st IDF.

Thanks again.

Dave
pseudorealityx
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Georgia, United States
Joined: January 31, 2010
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Posted: Sunday, August 12, 2012 - 10:32 AM UTC
Coming alone nicely Dave. If I ever get the urge to build one of these things, I know this is going to be a great reference.
TankSGT
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New Jersey, United States
Joined: July 25, 2006
KitMaker: 1,154 posts
Armorama: 961 posts
Posted: Sunday, August 12, 2012 - 02:49 PM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text

Dave,

Great build, I was a Sheridan crewman with the 11th ACR in the FRG. I noticed that you added the braces on the chicken shields. On our 551s they were bare aluminum they were added because the vibrations caused the back shields bolts to come out and the shields would fall off. My TC, I drove A-10 the PSGs track never used the MG shield it was a pain to install. We had to make due with the original bustle rack never had any mods to it. we used to strap 3 jerry cands on the left turret side. 30wt engine, 10wt trans, and water. The gunners periscope was the night sight as well as the missle sight. Main gun was fired through the telescope. We used to keep a strap around the missle guidence door because it would flop open. If I can help in any way let me know.

TC



Thomas

Thanks for the information. It's always nice to hear from individuals that served on the type of vehicle you are modeling. It's also nice to know you got something right. Seems that so many times you use references and then hope you guessed right.

I may be taking you up on your offer of help later.

BTW...when were you in FRG. I was there from '77 to '80, with the 16th IN, 1st IDF.

Thanks again.

Dave



Dave,

I was in Fulda on Border duty 77 to 79. Were you in 1st ID forward? I thought one brigade was stationed in Germany.I made Reforger 78 which was a real experiance. Thank God we had M60A1s by then the 551s were maintaince nightmares by 78.

Tom
Delta42
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Georgia, United States
Joined: August 27, 2002
KitMaker: 616 posts
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Posted: Monday, August 13, 2012 - 12:29 AM UTC

Quoted Text

I was in Fulda on Border duty 77 to 79. Were you in 1st ID forward? I thought one brigade was stationed in Germany.I made Reforger 78 which was a real experiance. Thank God we had M60A1s by then the 551s were maintaince nightmares by 78.

Tom



I was in Boeblingen with the 1st ID Forward; Infantry Guy. I remember when 1/4 Cav traded their M551s for M60s. Great times. Left Germany Kicking and Screaming. I would have stayed longer if the Army had let me.

Dave
TankSGT
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New Jersey, United States
Joined: July 25, 2006
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Posted: Monday, August 13, 2012 - 03:06 PM UTC
The M551 drivers hatch without ammo was great to sleep in you could drop the seat back and stretch out or stretch across the hull. 2 or 3 guys could lift off the back deck, it wasn't that heavy.

fulda was rough duty alot of guys couldn't make it through 6 months let alone 2 years. I didn't miss it until I got to my stateside post, Fort Stewart. Major difference no motivation. In Fulda we could see the Soviet Block first hand, in Georga you see Mcdonalds.

Tom
bat-213
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Canada
Joined: December 30, 2011
KitMaker: 902 posts
Armorama: 788 posts
Posted: Monday, August 13, 2012 - 07:20 PM UTC
Dave,the build is looking great,with my one hand fubared
most of my builds are oob,nice to see you makeing the build
right,very nice work.
Delta42
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Georgia, United States
Joined: August 27, 2002
KitMaker: 616 posts
Armorama: 511 posts
Posted: Tuesday, August 14, 2012 - 06:04 AM UTC
This will be a short update as it just pertains to the front 50 Cal shield that I have been working on.

Since the Tamiya or Academy kits don't have the correct front shield (Academy has the rounded shield which was used in Vietnam), it had to be completely scratch built from pictures. This meant a lot of guessing, cutting, cussing and dry fitting.

I think it turned out okay, but not totally sure it is 100% correct. Some of the details were hard to see in the references and pictures.









Next I will be completeing the small details on the turret and adding the grenade launcher tubes.

Again, thanks for all the encouragement and comments.

Dave
PantherF
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Indiana, United States
Joined: June 10, 2005
KitMaker: 6,188 posts
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Posted: Tuesday, August 14, 2012 - 07:02 AM UTC
Niiiice! Man, my Sheridan will look pale compared to this one.









~ Jeff
Delta42
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Georgia, United States
Joined: August 27, 2002
KitMaker: 616 posts
Armorama: 511 posts
Posted: Tuesday, August 14, 2012 - 11:32 PM UTC
Thanks Jeff. I'm sure your Sheridan looks just fine as long as you are happy with it.

Dave