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Armor/AFV: Braille Scale
1/72 and 1/76 Scale Armor and AFVs.
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Leopard 2A6 CAN in Braille (the slatty one)
panorama
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Germany
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Posted: Sunday, December 22, 2013 - 08:58 AM UTC
Some years ago I saw a Braille canadian Leopard 2A6M with slat armour at the International Small Scale Convention in Heiden, Germany. It was built naked and looked just georgeous. Based on a regular Leopard 2A6 kit they offered this conversion consisting of a few resin and two slates of photoetched parts. For whatever reason, I decided not to buy it back then. A decision soon regretted. So as I was visiting the same exhibition in Heiden this year again I was determind to make up for my mistake and take that kit home no matter what the price.
I was most happy to find the guys that made the kit, again, but only to hear that just 25 have been made and as almost nobody wanted them, the remaining ones have been sold to another distributor. Luckily they remembered whom they sold the kits and the very man even had a stand at the convention. So I addressed him in high spirits with my request. They are all sold. All over the world. Russia, Canada, Asia, you name it. Suddenly everybody wanted them. But hold on, there might be one left. Ill check.
And Mr. Conrad from MC Modellbau in Berlin did check and he did find the very last of those kits and did sent it to me together with a Revell Leopard 2A6M for a decent price.

So here I am now with my Revell Leo and the canadian conversion and hope to do this special combination justice. And this is about what I want to build:



The Revell kit is well known, so I will not present it here in more detail.



I was only disappointed by the amount of sink marks, particularly at some tricky areas as for example the tracks. For what I compared with my references so far, I did not find any major flaw. Detail is crisp and fit is good to perfect.





As some things are difficult to represent in Polysterol, I was happy to get my hand on E.T. Models Leo 2A6 aftermarket kit (E72-027. If you look at their homepage you will see a picture of the same PE fret that I bought, but they picture it together with a Leo with PE parts that differ from those. So I do not know whether anything has been changed in the meantime). The set is designed for Dragons Leo, but I did not worry too much that most of it should work with Revells cat too. Towing cables will be replaced with Eureka ones for Leo 2.






And here are some shots of the conversion:







So, all I have to do now is to shake everything thoroughly and a beautiful canadian Leopard will appear. Thats at least what the modelling fairy told me.

Enjoy your day and Ill be happy if you sneek in occasionally.

Michael
r2d2
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Posted: Sunday, December 22, 2013 - 11:53 AM UTC
Great start. I have done this on full scratch built 2 years ago. Here is the link. Hope this helps.
http://www.armorama.co.uk/modules.php?op=modload&name=SquawkBox&file=index&req=viewtopic&topic_id=182727&page=1
r2d2
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Posted: Sunday, December 22, 2013 - 11:56 AM UTC
Here it is. Its in Braille.
recceboy
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Posted: Sunday, December 22, 2013 - 02:54 PM UTC
Michael

Will be watching this build, and if you need any help shoot me a PM. The Leo 2A6M's that were deployed went through a few changes over the years and I am willing to give you a hand with any questions that you might have.

Cheers

Anthony
Malvin
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Posted: Sunday, December 22, 2013 - 06:17 PM UTC
http://www.vt-models.cz/www-vt-models-cz/eshop/9-1-AFV-35/0/5/39-Leopard-2A6M-Can-Barracuda
MALVIN
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Posted: Tuesday, December 24, 2013 - 01:46 AM UTC
@val:
I checked your thread and was very, very, very impressed with the result. Excellent work. I have a million questions and if you dont mind I will take the liberty to ask one or the other occasionally.
I plan to paint the tank first and add the slates afterwards. How did you do it? How did you mask the three tone NATO camoflague to achieve the sharp edges. For me this is still a struggle with my braille modells.
The ECM boxes you scratched are tremendous. Maybe you can give me an idea how you did yours. The ones from the conversion are not so convincing.


@anthony:
I appreciate your offer very much. I have Tankograds Canadian Leopard 2A6M CAN-book which provides some very nice pics but some questions still remain. Like the shape of the cooling vent right to the ECM boxes as it is not pictured in the drawing in the centerfold ;-) of the book. My intention is to build a later version with barracuda mats added and severed and partially missing slat armour.

The changes necessary to get a later canadian Leo that I realised so far are:
- ECM boxes (the one the conversion provides are wrong (too long and too narrow), so they need heavy modification or doing them from scratch)
- cooling (or whatever it is) at the rear of the ECM boxes (has to be scratched)
- air vent right to the ECM boxes
- rifle container (conversion kit)
- antenna mounts (conversion kit)
- front armour plate
- a bit confusing is the MG. Which one to use? Have all german MG3s been replaced by Brownings or C6? Was there only one MG mount? Israelis for example seem to put one at every corner of their tanks.
- Umbrella
Anything missing?
Regarding the front armour. What is the correct shape of the frontal area? With a corner of like in the center drawing of the Tankograd book or angled at the sides?
At long as the canadian Leos did not have the barracuda mats added the grips for the tracks seem to have been mounted at the front between the hooks and lights. They seem to have been removed with the addition of the mats. Is that correct?
To my knowledge there are no canadian tankers available in Braille. Any idea which figures come close? American tankers? German tankers?
That were a lot of questions. I hope you do not regret your offer already and look forward for your answer.

@Malvin:
Thanks for the hint. But that conversion is in scale 1:35. There are some kits and conversions out there in that scale. But in Braille meaning 1:72 to my knowledge there are only three options to build a canadian Leo with slat on armour: scratcharmour, armorscratch and scratchIT ;-)



A start and some progress.

Some PE parts and the canadian rifle box were attached to the turret.





Same with the chassis:





That much for now. A Merry chrismas to all of you and for those out there that have to work or are on duty a quiet shift.

Happy modelling and may Santa be good to you

Michael
r2d2
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Posted: Tuesday, December 24, 2013 - 05:45 AM UTC
Sure Michael. The 3 tone camo was applied using blu tack one at a time. I have to add the slats prior to painting to avoid glue mess. I have to shoot the paint through the slat with low pressure very careful not to build up paint.
The ECM box, it so tiny and difficult but if done right it will look right. Refer to my build pics. I could see that you have applied the grab handle on the wing armour. You don't need it as this area will mount the slats brace.
Panther64
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Posted: Thursday, December 26, 2013 - 12:00 PM UTC
Hey Michael, very nice start on your Leo man! Looking forward to seeing your progress. You have a VERY GOOD group helping you out! Viel Gluck!
panorama
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Posted: Friday, December 27, 2013 - 08:14 PM UTC
Hi Val,
thanks for your quick reply. Painting and even more masking and demasking with the slats in place sounds like really tricky business. For how long can you hold your breath when doing such work?
I really like the Barracuda-camoflague you did for your Chal. I first thought that it is too coarse but the effect on the finished model is very convincing. Nevertheless I am experimenting with some different techniques and materials to reproduce those mats. Lets see how close I will get to the desired effect.

Hi Kerry,
Ill be happy to have you following this thread. You confirmed my impression that quite some experts offered their helping hand.


Ok, after some nice X-mas days with most of the scattered family coming together is was nice to sit at the workbench again.
Here are some results:


The Eureka cables are done. Unfortunately the add on armour provided with the conversion does not have the correct size, so I scratched a new one. The front part is not ready yet and still has to be graved and detailled.





A significant improvement over the kits parts and the main motivation to buy E. T. Models detail set in the first place are the turrets stowing baskets. They are a bit tricky to bend into shape but the result is very convincing. Here seen in comparison with the kits part




And on we go with some more PE for the turret:



The commanders periscope is a real gem in etched brass. Unfortunately I forgot to place a clear plastic sheet before assembling. Maybe I will still manage without ruining the tiny wiper. The cleaning system in front of the periscope has yet to be scratched.




The cast on tools were removed and will be replaced by those:




The PE parts belong to the detail kit. The pickaxe comes from Maco Modellbau. They offer a Braille tool set with 40 tools if I am not mistaken (shovels, pickaxes, wirecutter and axes 10 each) for very reasonable 2 . And although I think they are designed primarly to be used with WWII vehicles, they should do for some modern armour too.

I cut up the 6 + 2 smoke grenade discharger, for the top row of Revells part are all placed in line while the real ones are aligned in a fan shape fashion. After detailling will be completed with a cap and chain they will be assembled in that way.



Thanks for following. Have a good time.

Michael
Panther64
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Posted: Saturday, December 28, 2013 - 06:51 AM UTC
Looks like you're getting along well with the PE. One suggestion for the commander's periscope; try injecting it with Krystal Clear or if you're careful enough, just covering the front with a little bit of KC to form a window film.
DaGreatQueeg
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Posted: Saturday, December 28, 2013 - 08:27 AM UTC
With the level of detail going in this is a very impressive build so far .....

Very useful for anyone building up the kit ......

cheers
brent
r2d2
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Posted: Saturday, December 28, 2013 - 02:00 PM UTC
Really neat job on the etch Michael. I love the detailing you have done. I can see that you are also replacing the frontal armour. I think this is the way to go as the one with the resin conversion looks bare. Keep us posted as this is turning out great. Can't wait for the next update.

By the way if you are interested on the conversion I did with my Chally here is the link. This is the close up of the barracuda net.
http://www.armorama.co.uk/modules.php?op=modload&name=SquawkBox&file=index&req=viewtopic&topic_id=172376&page=1


panorama
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Posted: Tuesday, December 31, 2013 - 07:27 AM UTC
Hi Kerry,
thanks for your suggestion. It sounds good. I keep it in mind.

Hi Brent,
I hope to live up to the expectations. So far I am quite pleased with the direction the built takes. As mentioned at the very beginning of the blog the conversion kit is not available anymore. If there is still interest in it, let me know, I might try to argue in favor of a reissue then.

Hi Val,
I suppose you have no idea what hard a time you are giving me! . I went through your threads of the canadian Leo and the Challenger and was deeply impressed by the precision and quality of your scratch building. So THIS is the standard in Braille scratch building and I became determined to come as close as possible to it. The first victim of this approach are the ECM-boxes. I was well aware that the ones from the conversion are not correct. So I modified them by shortening and widening them. Some PE parts gave a bit of detail.





Not perfect but I was close to accept them as sufficient. Well, that was before I read your threads
So, no way anymore to leave them like that. Using some grey matter on rough constructive scetches I came up with this: The lower part of the box was built using 2 mm and 0,5 mm sheet glued together and sanded to shape (including the sloping lower part). This was surrounded by a frame made from 0,2 mm sheet. The lid is 1,0 mm sheet sanded to shape and finally covered by thick aluminum foil (0,1 mm) to represent the rim. The venting openings will be depicted by decals I will have to make. All that is still missing are the locks and hinges. Checking my PE leftovers for something suitable right now. Otherwise I will use 0,2 mm PS stripes.
I hope I did not bore you with this detailled account but I am actually quite happy with the result and had the urge to share it. And after all, it is all your fault that I did it in the first place.





(Thanks Val for pushing my limits )



Apart from the ECM-boxes the periscope cleaning system was added, as were some more details.







That much for now. New year is calling. A happy one to all of you.

Michael
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Posted: Tuesday, January 07, 2014 - 08:53 AM UTC
Started with the slat armour. All parts were released from the fret. The small and thus easy to bent ones are finished.



The brass is rather brittle and you better do all the bendings right for otherwise you will have more parts after bending than before. A minor constructive flaw of the chassis side skirts: two vertical slats of the big side skirts have not been connected to the main part. No catastrophy as it can easily be put in place seperately. Another flaw is more difficult to fix. The second last part of the turret side slats taper towards the rear, which the etched ones dont.





They are aligned with the frontal ones. Bending them into the proper angle should be possible but then the rear part will not fit anymore. I did not decide yet how I will proceed with this issue as it affects the shape of the turret quite a bit.

Some research goes right now into shape and dimensions of the frontal armour. Pictures are rare, top views I have not found and the drawing in the Tankograd book about the canadian Leopard 2A6M contain quite a few mistakes. At least I have a fair idea of how I will proceed technically. The non slip areas will be made from 600 grid sanding paper. The back side of the sanding paper will be sanded away so that its thickness can be reduced from 0,2 mm to 0,12 mm. The bolt come in two sizes. I will drill holes, insert copper wire and shorten it just above the surface of the sheet.

That much about theory. Next time I hope I will be able to present some results of those considerations.

Thanks for tuning in

Michael
r2d2
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Posted: Tuesday, January 07, 2014 - 12:35 PM UTC
Michael, great job on the ECM box. Dont forget the conduits on the back part. Print a decal for the vents. Refer to my completed build. As for the slats, great job on the construction. The turret pe slats is totally off. Refer to my build on page 3. I have all the angles on a top view as well as 360 degree view. Hope you will sort that out as this is a great build.
FuNsTeR
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Posted: Tuesday, January 07, 2014 - 10:17 PM UTC
mighty impressive jobs, personally i'm not a big fan of working with photo etch but your jobs look sweet .... and Michael Mr Conrad's own kits (Maco) are highly impressive and he does a lot of mould designs for Revell on their 1/72 range including their new leopard kits
panorama
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Posted: Friday, January 10, 2014 - 10:34 PM UTC
Hi Val,
Thanks for your encouragement. Planning for the conduits is completed. It will be the next thing to be build.



The turret side slats will be bent to shape. The rear ones I intent to shorten on both sides by about 2,5 mm. This should make them fit in width but the vertical slats will remain wrong. To correct them too will require more effort than I at least now am willing to invest.

Hi Brad,
Thanks for your kind words.
I did not know, that Mr. Conrad works for Revell too. Although I am not into WW II armor I understand that his Maco kits set standards in Braille scale. I would appreciate this quality for modern German armor too. Well the spring exhibition in Heiden is not that far off anymore. If hell be there I might approach him with this idea...


Building progress is rather slow right now as considerable time is consumed by researching the correct appearance of the frontal armor and the attachment points for the slat armor. Apart from checking my references I work myself through some building blogs of Braille and 1:35 canadian leopards to make up my mind of how to proceed.

Nevertheless I could spare some time to at least complete the antenna mounts. The ones from the conversion look rather plain so I decided to build them according to my available references.
As you can see, the two mounts are of different height, due to an extension on one of them.
Positioning and orientation of the mounts is wrong. It is only preliminary and only meant to give an idea. The moulded on antenna mounts still have to be removed and the surface has to be modified to have a correct base for the mounts.







Stay tuned

Michael
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Posted: Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 01:39 AM UTC
All the slats of the slat armor are finally bent and glued together.





I first wanted to solder them but then did not dare due to my limited experience. I will see how it works when I distort them.
Very much to my dismay I seem to have lost two vertical slates. I have to see how I get out of this
I suppose I will cut out one or two segments as it can be seen on some of the tanks deployed in Afghanistan and use the vertical slats to fill the gaps.



Deviating fromt the conversions instructions I bent the turrets side slats. Only that I bent only the last segment while it should have been the last two segments. So this has to be corrected yet.



At the rear hull part grab handles and a climbing aid have been added. I have not found any chains to scale so I used a little trick to represent them: two 0,3 mm wires were twisted around each other and than flattend with a plier. At least from one direction it looks pretty much like a chain. So if it does not you are just looking from the wrong direction



More to come

Michael
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Posted: Sunday, January 19, 2014 - 07:15 AM UTC
Some more progress:
The rear of the hull received attachments for the slate armour.




The turret was further detailled with electric ports (communication? external power?) and attachment points for the stowage baskets. Like this I hope to create a realistic gap between turret and basket that would otherwise have been missing.
The base for the antennas have been canadianized by removal of the german antenna base and the addition and shaping of a base plate.





Attachment points for the slat armor were added to the rear of the turret too.





That much for now.

Do not hesitate to comment. In particular if you know better or find a flaw, just let me know. Now I can correct it with less effort than later.
In any case: Thanks for following

Michael
MadModeler
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Posted: Sunday, January 19, 2014 - 07:41 AM UTC
Very well done. Looking at the slate armor on your project hurts my head. I'm building a 1:35 version of this. Best of luck. Keep up the good work.

Cheers,
Tom
recceboy
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Posted: Sunday, January 19, 2014 - 04:44 PM UTC
Michael

I have been following your build, and braille scale slat wow, lots of work. Well done so far.

Cheers

Anthony

Canadian Leopard Project DVD Series
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Posted: Monday, January 20, 2014 - 12:20 AM UTC
Step by step
Stowing baskets are in place now. The antenna mounts received cables and the ECM boxes some detailling. The cooling vent for the main guns electrical slave system was scratched with some PS profiles and a PE part from the scrap box.
Here are a few impressions (the canadian equipment is only loosly attached to give an idea of the overall look as I intent to paint it separately):







Stay tuned
Michael
FuNsTeR
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Posted: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 - 04:08 AM UTC
wow that slat armor would do my eyes in lol, the detail is really amazing, you must have way more patience than me Michael, ... I am really looking forward to see how your build turns out, as I prefer the 1/72 scale myself much prefer the modern stuff as well




ps Matthias Conrad did the moulds for your leopard kit as well as Revell's T-90 kits
panorama
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Posted: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 - 11:48 AM UTC
Hi Tom,
Thanks for your thumbs up. I follow your build in 1:35. I was seriously considering adding a mine roller to my Leo but than refrained from it. The only roller I could use would be from miniature model, who offer one on a Merkava. But although it is an Israeli brand that is attached to the canadian Leo, only the wheels could be used. And to scratch everything including the mount nay, that was too much.

Hi Anthony, nice to have you around

Hi Brat, interesting background information. Compared with Vals work of scratching the whole slat armor, I have an easy job. Fit is good and the mistakes can be corrected (or lived with) with reasonable effort.
And as my loving brother said: I tend to detail models bordering autism.

Some administrative stuff keeps me a bit from building, so here is only another tiny step:

Now with the grenade launchers done and in place the turret looks almost complete:






Thanks for following and
Happy modelling

Michael

panorama
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Posted: Wednesday, January 22, 2014 - 05:07 AM UTC
With shaky hands I shortend the rear turret slats by 2 mm on each side. This leaves the spacing of the vertical slats slightly incorrect but to an extent that I can live with it.





This pic shows that the wrong bending of the turret side slats have been corrected and the angle at least comes close to what it should be.



Building the spacers of the slat armor will be the next step. The square ones at the back of the turret and the rear sides are the easiest ones. So I will start with them. One is supposed to run between the second and third grenade launcher. This I obviously did not realise in time when I built the launchers. So now there is not enough space between the launchers anymore . I suppose I will skip those two spacers grudgingly.
The shapes of the other spacers are still a challenge and I have not made up my mind yet of how to construct them

See you around

Michael