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Armor/AFV: IDF [Israeli Defense Forces]
Armor and AFVs of the IDF army from 1947-today.
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Merkava Ball and Chain...
cabasner
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Nevada, United States
Joined: February 12, 2012
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Posted: Thursday, October 19, 2017 - 08:28 AM UTC
Hi all! I know this topic has been talked to death here, but I wanted to mention a few things. I am close to the end of an Academy Merkava IV LIC build, and the last MAJOR thing to do is the turret ball and chain. I have been fearing this forever! I was definitely not happy with the kit supplied version of the ball and chain (PE chain, and gluing ball halves together at the end). Some time ago, I got a few Voyager PEA172 ball and chain sets. They looked good, but still scary to me. I finally bit the bullet tonight and opened one of the packages. I'm not sure if I'm going about this correctly, but I have managed to get all of the PE 'hook' parts super glued into the holes in all of the balls. This only took me this evening (one!) which really surprised me. Tomorrow, I'll be faced with figuring out how many chain links will make the assemblies sit correctly; hopefully the number of links will match reality. I used Voyager PE parts for the chain mounts (to hang from the rear basket and turret), and the holes for the top attachment of the chain are far too small to use the chain links. So, I have some very fine wire which fits the holes, and I'll use that wire to loop through the top link of the chain, and the hole on the PE mounting parts, and hopefully, I'll be able to secure the wire, either by tying a simple knot and securing the knot with super glue, or by some other method that I haven't considered yet. I'm hoping that the time it takes to complete this goes faster than expected, like the hooks into the ball parts. I'm cautiously optimistic.

One thing that is a bit of a concern...the Voyager set may not have supplied all the necessary balls; from my count, it may be 5 or so short. I didn't lose any...this is how it came. If this turns out to be the case, I'm going to be really unhappy, given that these little sets are insanely expensive for such small, minimal parts. For the cost, they should ensure that they supply at least several extras, much less not enough to finish the work. We will see...
corsutton
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Oklahoma, United States
Joined: June 17, 2005
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Posted: Friday, October 20, 2017 - 12:28 AM UTC
While I agree that it would be unfortunate to have the wrong number of balls included in the set, it is very common on the real thing to have many of the balls and/or whole chains missing.
RobinNilsson
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Stockholm, Sweden
Joined: November 29, 2006
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Posted: Friday, October 20, 2017 - 12:37 AM UTC

Quoted Text

While I agree that it would be unfortunate to have the wrong number of balls included in the set, it is very common on the real thing to have many of the balls and/or whole chains missing.



Yes, definitely. It's really awful when the balls go missing ....
/ Robin
ReluctantRenegade
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Wien, Austria
Joined: March 09, 2016
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Posted: Friday, October 20, 2017 - 01:30 AM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text

While I agree that it would be unfortunate to have the wrong number of balls included in the set, it is very common on the real thing to have many of the balls and/or whole chains missing.



Yes, definitely. It's really awful when the balls go missing ....
/ Robin



That's the reason I always keep a couple of extras balls around. You never know man, you never know...
cabasner
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Nevada, United States
Joined: February 12, 2012
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Posted: Friday, October 20, 2017 - 01:36 AM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text


Quoted Text

While I agree that it would be unfortunate to have the wrong number of balls included in the set, it is very common on the real thing to have many of the balls and/or whole chains missing.



Yes, definitely. It's really awful when the balls go missing ....
/ Robin



That's the reason I always keep a couple of extras balls around. You never know man, you never know...



I definitely try to keep track of mine for that very reason
Spaide
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Joined: September 12, 2017
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Posted: Friday, October 20, 2017 - 03:18 AM UTC
Just make sure the bag you keep them in doesn't get a hole in it!
bill_c
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MODEL SHIPWRIGHTS
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New Jersey, United States
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Posted: Friday, October 20, 2017 - 04:10 AM UTC
Curt, I feel your pain. The Voyager set is the most-accurate solution, and it's a bugger to do:



All I can say is it's worth the effort.
JSSVIII
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Massachusetts, United States
Joined: March 28, 2007
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Posted: Friday, October 20, 2017 - 05:32 AM UTC
That is a very nice job Bill, I really like the look of that!
cabasner
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Nevada, United States
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Posted: Friday, October 20, 2017 - 07:45 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Curt, I feel your pain. The Voyager set is the most-accurate solution, and it's a bugger to do:
All I can say is it's worth the effort.



Bill, your model is fabulous, as is the ball and chain part! I have to agree, though, about the pain in doing it. As of this writing, I've gotten about 2/3 of the way across just the short chained part of the very back, under the basket, about 18 of them. You do end up getting a VERY small pace going, but it will never be as 'regular' as, say, putting metal track pieces together, which actually DOES get to be fairly easy/routine/not so slow after you do several of them. I don't think there is ANY way to do them other than this Voyager set, if you want anything close to accuracy. I'm also guessing that if anyone could develop a way to supply pre-made sets, all the way to having them mounted on the 'racks' that go under the basket and turret, and make them so that they are just like the Voyager set, free swinging, size and length correct for each kit to which they would apply (model manufacturer, and specific kit (kind of like the photo etch kits come), someone would do really well, financially! But not VERY well, as the market for this would seem to be exceedingly small!

I don't know how you secured each chain set to the underside of the basket and turret, Bill, but as I've written, one of the PE sets I used had PE 'racks' that you have to bend at 90 degrees, and then glue to the undersides, at the edges, of the basket/turret, and the holes where the chain is supposed to be secured are EXCEEDINGLY small. I could not find a really good method to secure the chains in place, so I used really, really fine wire, and literally tied a simple square knot, and clipped the ends as close as possible, hoping the knot is tight enough to not come undone. I could, I suppose, use a micro dot of super glue, but I was too afraid that the glue would prevent the top chain link from getting itself into proper 'hanging alignment'. I hope that when I finally spray paint the chain/balls that the paint will act as something of an adhesive and hold the knots in place. I know the knots will not pass any close scrutiny, if anyone inspects the attachment points too closely, but it's the best I could come up with, without getting insanely anal in trying to duplicate the real attachment 'U' bolts.
rfbaer
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Texas, United States
Joined: June 12, 2007
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Posted: Friday, October 20, 2017 - 10:29 PM UTC
I got lucky and happened into a couple of b & c sets out of the HobbyBoss Merk3. While the balls may be slightly over size (what a problem to have) they come with a piece of wire already in them which is cut and bent to attach to a chain link. The PE hanger brackets have holes large enough to accept a split chain link at the top. I'm hugely ham-fisted, and I managed to do a full set, after several failures using a Legends set.
IMG_0549 by Russel Baer, on Flickr
Not great, but worlds better than my previous attempts.
JSSVIII
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Massachusetts, United States
Joined: March 28, 2007
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Posted: Saturday, October 21, 2017 - 05:27 AM UTC
looks good from where I'm sitting Russ, nice job.
cabasner
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Nevada, United States
Joined: February 12, 2012
KitMaker: 930 posts
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Posted: Sunday, October 22, 2017 - 07:34 AM UTC
Hi again, all. First off, thanks to all who posted to this thread, earlier.

I wanted to let everyone know about my experiences with the Voyager Ball and Chain set. The first good news is that I'm about half way done with installing the set on my Academy Merkava IV LIC. My initial estimate was off by a little, and it looks like I'll (just barely) have enough balls to complete the job on the Mk. !V. This is really good news, for me, anyway. Secondly, the work to do these is incredibly intense. This set has balls with short depth holes already present, and I chose to use super glue to attach the supplied PE hooks to them. I've found that unless the 'shaft' of the hook, which goes into the ball hole, isn't shortened by at least 50%, the 'hook' ends up sitting too far out of the ball, which has few implications. First, the chain, if you use the number of links on the real tank, will be too long. Secondly, when you use a pliers or tweezers to bend the hook a bit, to allow a chain link to slip into the hook, (i.e., to attach the balls to the chains), the hook will likely pull out of the ball, as there isn't enough surface area for the glue to hold onto that tiny shaft.

I'm thrilled that all has gone so well. The only glitch thus far is that on the left side of the rear of the basket and turret, the 5 link length of chain is just a tiny bit too long, which leaves the balls dragging on the hull deck plate when the turret is rotated. But, just by the smallest amount (one should never drag one's balls on a metal deck of any kind ) I may have to try to crimp on a few of the chain links to make them slightly shorter to avoid this. I'm thrilled that the link sizes do appear to have been made to allow the right numbers of links as per the real tank. Now that's detail (thanks to Voyager)!

It's a long, tough go, though, again acknowledging Bill C's point earlier in this thread. I'd guess by the time I'm done, just this part of the model will probably have taken at least 24 man (person?) hours.

Update as 10/23/17 20:00 hours: I had almost made it up one entire side of the basket/turret racks with the B&Cs....BUT, I found out, without having checked, that all of those sets were dragging HEAVILY on the hull top. No way I could address this and leave the realistic number of links (5) in place. So, I had to slice through the thin wire I am using to secure the chain to the 'racks', and remove one link from each length of chain. I was more worried about not being able to get the thin wire out of the 'mounting holes' in the 'racks', and that wire is DARN heavy duty (no worries about the chains falling out because the wire might become un-knotted...yeah, right). The thin wire took some persuading, but once cut, I did manage to wrangle those tiny wire piece out. I did a few test fits with 4 links (something I should have done in the first place...note to self for next time!) which seem to fit fine, if just the tiniest bit short...which is better than the inverse! Tomorrow, back to installing the chains I already had in place with one less link. But it will be worth it. The other way, I was going to have to have the turret permanently pointed to the right about 30 degrees, to avoid hitting the hull top. So, I'll feel much better when this is done, rather than having to kludge the display upon completion. Yahoo!