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Armor/AFV: Modern - USA
Modern Armor, AFVs, and Support vehicles.
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M198 “PREDATOR” A Btry 3-162 FA – Yauco
amoz02t
#192
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Posted: Saturday, January 30, 2016 - 02:24 AM UTC
M198 “PREDATOR” from A Btry 3-162 FA – Yauco PR 2003

Hi. A friend of mine was in Kuwait in 2003 & 2004 as the number 2 on an M198 crew. The name painted on the side rails was PREDATOR. I am slowly working on the Trumpeter M198 (Late) kit to learn more about his stories. My goal is to set up a dio with the crew working a 155mm live fire. The 5 ton M923 truck could be in the future as my friend called it “home” for a while.


amoz02t
#192
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Posted: Saturday, January 30, 2016 - 02:29 AM UTC
So far the tube is at step 7 and the trails are just temporarily tacked in place to get an idea of the size of this monster. Best references I have to date are the photos on Prime Portal. I look forward to your comments and tips as I work through this build. Thank you for looking in.






amoz02t
#192
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Posted: Saturday, January 30, 2016 - 02:33 AM UTC






amoz02t
#192
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Posted: Saturday, January 30, 2016 - 02:43 AM UTC











Thirian24
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Posted: Saturday, January 30, 2016 - 04:45 AM UTC
Looks like a large piece! I'd like to build one of these one day.
DeskJockey
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Posted: Saturday, January 30, 2016 - 05:40 AM UTC
Nice build! Have you encountered any problems with the kit so far? It doesn't look like it--your assembly looks very nice and clean. I've got the same kit in my stash to build as an OIF M198, too.
amoz02t
#192
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Posted: Saturday, January 30, 2016 - 07:57 AM UTC
Hi Dustin! Thank you for looking. Yes. This is a large piece and will take up some display space as deployed!

Thank you Lucas! You are very kind to look in. As far as items that I have seen so far with the kit, just the normal clean up items. I never know when to paint items as things get partially covered and blocked, so I spot spray with NATO green in some places to cover PE and primer. The underside alignment notches are filled here.


One area of fit to watch for was step 7b that adds the carriage to the base. I used two small wood clamps to close the joints on both sides in these photos. At the same time, you need to insert the pivot pins in the base during assembly. Just needs care and patience. The Prime Portal photos are really helpful here.




Hope this helps. All the best- Stuart
amoz02t
#192
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Posted: Saturday, January 30, 2016 - 08:23 AM UTC
The kit comes with a shell loading cradle. I replaced the solid plastic molded legs with wire bent to match the outline of the original plastic legs.


Could someone please speak to how the brass nose on this shell carrier cradle should look? Is the brass nose painted? How did it typically wear in use? I understand that after setting the 155mm fuse, one guy would place the shell on the carrier for the next shot. At the end of a 10 round session, I would think the placement would be less gentle?
Cookiescool2
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Posted: Saturday, January 30, 2016 - 09:13 AM UTC
Sorry I can't answer your question, but this is a great looking build and I'm looking forward to the next update!
bat-213
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Posted: Saturday, January 30, 2016 - 11:35 AM UTC
great build.i like it.
amoz02t
#192
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Posted: Sunday, January 31, 2016 - 04:09 AM UTC
Thank you Alan. Thank you Roy. I appreciate the kind words as it keeps one motivated to keep at it! Will post as I can.

I am learning that what everyone says about the close up photos pointing out all the flaws is correct. Still some clean up to do, but coming along.




I am holding back the sight and optics until after over all painting as I want to add some things to the kit's sight parts.
amoz02t
#192
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Posted: Sunday, January 31, 2016 - 04:22 AM UTC
Small update as one trail completed (step 9). The handle and hook at the aft end of the trail needs a little work to close the pivot hole and match the real deal as shown in this photo from Prime Portal. (These M198 pictures were taken and shared with the web by Brandon Wright)




Thank you for looking.
HeavyArty
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Posted: Sunday, January 31, 2016 - 07:22 PM UTC
Its look good so far. This is a really nice kit. I built one a while ago and it came out really well. The 5-ton will be nice w/it too. I did the 5 ton/gun combo using the Italeri M923A1 and an old Airmodel resin M198 before the Trumpeter one was available. You can check it out here.

Looking forward to seeing the completed set.
amoz02t
#192
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Posted: Sunday, January 31, 2016 - 08:32 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Its look good so far. This is a really nice kit. I built one a while ago and it came out really well. The 5-ton will be nice w/it too. I did the 5 ton/gun combo using the Italeri M923A1 and an old Airmodel resin M198 before the Trumpeter one was available. You can check it out here.

Looking forward to seeing the completed set.



Thank you for looking in Gino! I appreciate the link to your excellent work as well. Great job and great references. I just got the Italeri M923A1 kit in hand and still trying to understand the issues. Vodnik's review is most helpful. My friend's 5-ton was a hard top cab, so thinking how I can do that. Any after market hard tops available? Need camo netting on the cab roof "ready to deploy". He says that they also carried rounds in the bed back in 2003, so duffle bags went outside the truck on the sides. I am gonna need some space for all this as the size of the deployed trail / 5-ton area is larger than I first considered. Much fun ahead! Thanks again for looking
HeavyArty
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Posted: Sunday, January 31, 2016 - 08:41 PM UTC
Have fun w/the Italeri M923 5-ton. It can be a lot of work to correct/bring up to speed. It is a great base to start with though. As to the hard top, the Italeri M925 version (10-wheeler) comes with a hard top.




There are no other AM tops that I know of. I have a couple extras. Send me a PM with your address and I'll send you one.
amoz02t
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Posted: Sunday, January 31, 2016 - 09:19 PM UTC
Thank you Gino. PM sent
amoz02t
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Posted: Friday, February 05, 2016 - 05:50 AM UTC
Thank you again for your help Gino! Much appreciated.
GazzaS
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Posted: Friday, February 05, 2016 - 11:56 AM UTC
Hi Mr. Gillespie,
I served on the M-198 in Desert Storm. The shell cradle was painted rattlecan Olive drab overall. The feet generally wore through to bare aluminum until we repainted them. Fuse wrenches and stuff were painted either OD or black. And a gun number was usually painted in 2 inch stencil on fuse wrenches and pioneer tool...in either yellow or black depending on the color of the area being painted. Pioneer tool heads were usually OD, while shovel heads black.
Inside the muzzle brake was bare aluminum color. Paint was blasted off, but it never got sooty and black.
During firing, close to the breech, sitting on the ground was a painted, galvanized 3- gallon bucket which held water, a short section of gun-cleaning rod, and a sponge swab.

Best Wishes,

Gary
amoz02t
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Posted: Friday, February 05, 2016 - 05:32 PM UTC
Thank you for the insight Gary. Very helpful details! More questions for you...I have heard of the belt hung over the right rear lift ring on the M198 gun to hold ready the M82 percussion primers by the breech for the #1 and wondered if any had photos or details on that? Also was the TA312 crank phone on a wire in use with your unit? I have heard that the 5 ton truck driver would operate the phone on the left trail of the M198? Memories and photos welcome.

Sorry for all the questions. I feel these are the details that add color and context to make the build more meaningful. I appreciate the help and thank you for your service.

All the best - Stuart
GazzaS
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Posted: Saturday, February 06, 2016 - 03:04 AM UTC
Hi Stuart,
Glad to be of help. I'm sorry that I don't have any pictures for you. I was never much of a shutterbug. Yes, we always hung the primer belt on the right lift ring. Our truck driver didn't touch any of the gun or comms gear. During firing, the headsets would be worn by the section chief or a member of the gun crew to the left of the left trail. Nobody was allowed to sit on the trails during firing. Depending on soil conditions, you could get killed or maimed. By the way, I was USMC, not Army...they would have done some things differently.
During firing, shells were kept behind the left trail, and powder behind the right. During peacetime, shallow pits were dug in which powder and shells were stored upright to the height of the powder canister or eye-ring of the shell. During Desert Storm, we didn't have time for shell pits, and stood everything up on end as we used it.
In peacetime, no live shells or powder was carried on the gun truck. During Desert Storm we carried the shells upright in the center of the truck, on their original pallet, strapped down with ratchet straps. Powder was carried on the very rear on it's original pallet base with wooden separators from the pallet allowing us to stack powder almost to the top of the truck.
The ratchet straps were unmodified. The straps were either olive, white, or yellow with the metal ratchets unpainted. See your local hardware store for the peculiar color of the ratchets.
The powder and shell pallets, when new, were bound by 1 inch wide black steel straps we cut with bolt cutters. They always made an ugly mess to either side of the truck which stayed only a few feet behind the rear of the trails. The wood of the shell and powder pallets was very pale. I never determined what kind it was. There were never any knots to see.
Our Alice packs were hung on the wooden racks of the 5-ton, hanging outside. During Desert Storm, rectangular canvas desert water bags were hung from either the mirrors or one of supports on the bed of the truck. We never needed more than 2 of the bags, and the use was communal.
Every gun crew had a rectangular metal chest, usually painted black, but regularly chipped through use, and the repainted. It carried all of the pioneer tools, cleanin rods, fuse wrenches, rammer staff pad, bolt cutters, comms gear.
It had a d-shaped lifting handle at each end. Dimensions were roughly 4 feet by 18 inches by 18 inches.
The rammer staff was two pieces of gun cleaning rod with the rubber capped rammer staff pad. During firing, the rammer staff rested with the pad at the rear end of the shell tray. Tray, shell, and rammer staff were lifted in unison, brought forward in fluid motion with the rammer shoving the shell deep into the breech until the brass rotating bands seated into the rifling of the barrel.
The edges of the rammer staff pad had once been blackened aluminum. The outer ring was worn clean of bluing or blackening during the ramming process, and not repainted. The cleaning rods/rammer staff was blackened aluminum, not painted. Maybe blued would be better understood than blackened.

That's a bit more detail for you.

Cheer,

Gary
GazzaS
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Posted: Saturday, February 06, 2016 - 03:49 AM UTC
Heh...here's another detail, caused by firing:

Between the large rectangular frame that holds the barrel, and the place mid-barrel where it steps down, or becomes narrower. This length was not painted, but covered in an aerosol sprayed silver-gray dry lubricant.

When the gun was fired, this lubricant was worn off from the underside of the barrel in a streaky manner to bare steel. The length of metal being bared by firing was directly proportional to the amount of powder being used. The super charges we used in Desert Storm would make the barrel recoil almost 8 feet! The concussion from firing those charges was so strong that it would cause your cammie trousers to slap your calves hard enough to sting.

To remove the spray lubricant, we burned it off with natural rope. We'd coil the rope around the barrel, pour CLP on the rope, then back and forth in a sawing motion slowly strip the barrel of the sprayed lube. Then we'd spray on a fresh coat.

Every gun crew had a M2 .50 cal which was mounted on a ring over the passenger side of the cab of the truck for air defence. Each crew also had an M-60. The Mark 79 grenade launcher came out just in time for desert storm. It was not black like a machine gun. It was made of light weight, stamped parts which were finished in a dull, dusty gray. It used the same tripod as the .50 cal.

During Desert storm, whenever we occupied a position, after the gun was laid and ammo readied, we dug in a fighting hole about 15 yards to the left of the muzzle for the m60. 15 meters to the right was a fighting hole for the mark 79. To the left and right of the trails we dug emergency holes in case of counterbattery fire. Our driver had to dig his own hole. Don't pity him...fewer guys have it easier than the Marine Corps truck driver.

Before the war started, we fought an engagement against an Iraqi Armored Brigade which had entered the Saudi city of Khafji. Force Recon Marines were in the town, unbeknownst to the Iraqis. One of these would earn The Purple Heart from a shell fragment in the thigh while directing our fire.

We had been shelling the Iraqis pretty hard. We being my Charlie Battery, 1stBn 12th Marines and Fox Battery 2ndBn 12th Marines. An Iraqi Rocket battery targeted us, and we saw the smoke streams in the distance as the battery fired.

We were ordered into our holes. The mark 79 was mine, so me and my A-gunner dove in to find that our once 5-foot deep and very regulation fighting hole was now only a dimple in the sand. The concussion from the gun firing, directed right from the muzzle brake had loosened the sand causing the walls to collapse.

After a few seconds of pondering our likely fate, we heard the rockets explode as they impacted in the distance. Exhilarated at our survival and the poor aim of the Iraqis we leapt from our holes and gave the distant enemy a loud piece of our minds and a few hand gestures. Immediately thereafter, Cobras flew overhead, finding the Iraqi Rocket Battery and destroying it.

Radar reflecting gun nets were an unfortunate part of the job. Each piece of net had metal rings which snagged continously. The nets were joined together so that they covered the entire gun and truck. Only the muzzle of the gun protruded from the net.

In transit the net was rolled up and carried on top of the canvas of the 5-ton. Often it would break the wooden slats that held up the canvas. Thankfully, in combat we left our nets behind.

Anyway, there's some more memories.

Hope they're helpful,

Gary

amoz02t
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Posted: Saturday, February 06, 2016 - 05:43 AM UTC
Gary great words! Thank you for sharing as these are details we never got in the news. Good stuff. All the best- Stuart
Thirian24
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Posted: Saturday, February 06, 2016 - 06:28 AM UTC
Gary, do you have any pictures from Desert Storm, that you can share?
GazzaS
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Posted: Saturday, February 06, 2016 - 07:50 AM UTC
Stuart,
The pleasure was all mine! I don't get a lot of opportunities to dig into the recesses of my memory seeking modelers details. Btw, your 198 looks great. I really like the way you've weathered the edges letting the aluminum underneath show through.

Dustin,
Unfortunately I didn't take a camera to the desert with me. I never had a thing for taking pictures, or looking through photo albums. Some friends gave me some pictures, but in 25 years of life, a divorce, and various moves, I lost them. But if you ever have a question I might help with, feel free to drop me a PM.

Cheers,

Gary
DeskJockey
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Posted: Saturday, February 06, 2016 - 08:06 AM UTC
Stuart--it's looking good. Thanks for the closeup of the issue you had adding the carriage to the base. This thread has a wealth of info on both the kit and the gun itself!