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Armor/AFV: Vietnam
All things Vietnam
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Tamiya Vietnam M551 Sheridan build/review
TankSGT
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Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2019 - 07:46 AM UTC
Russ that bolt shear issue was why 1st Squadron anchored the shields together with aluminium bar stock. They were like that when I got to Fulda. By 77 the Sheridans were long in tooth and a maintenance head ache. It was difficult to get parts the Army knew they were short timers. No such thing as replacing entire tracks only enough to replace broken shoes. Also with proper track tension the bottom of the upper run does not touch the road wheels at rest. In the 8 months I drove an M551 I had a cracked exhaust manifold, collapsed fuel filters, broken drivers hatch, broken shock absorber, broken track links, the CBSS didn't work and we had M219 coaxes a whole other nightmare. Needless to say we were over joyed to trade them in for brand new M60A1s.

Tom
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Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2019 - 09:31 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Hi Marc,

If you mean the plates on the undersides of the sponsons, then no they are not in the box. But there is some confusion out there, as folks talking about mine protection also refer to plates on the lower hull sides that closed off the oblong slots in the sides behind the shock absorbers - Tamiya moulded these on, while some kits (including a recent braille-scale one) leave these open. Clear as mud...



The first M551s in Vietnam didn't have the add-on "mine package", they were supplied as add-on kits. That being said, It looks like the kit is in error slightly, as if the belly armor is supplied, so should the fender armor. Maybe the vehicle Tamiya used for research didn't have them. Someone here or in another thread mentioned looking up under the fender to find bare High Density Foam, which would also be wrong on the active service vehicle, as there was a thin aluminum covering over the bottom of the fenders--which must have been removed on restoration? Maybe Tamiya used a similar vehicle for research.
VR, Russ
Kevlar06
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Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2019 - 10:01 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Russ that bolt shear issue was why 1st Squadron anchored the shields together with aluminium bar stock. They were like that when I got to Fulda. By 77 the Sheridans were long in tooth and a maintenance head ache. It was difficult to get parts the Army knew they were short timers. No such thing as replacing entire tracks only enough to replace broken shoes. Also with proper track tension the bottom of the upper run does not touch the road wheels at rest. In the 8 months I drove an M551 I had a cracked exhaust manifold, collapsed fuel filters, broken drivers hatch, broken shock absorber, broken track links, the CBSS didn't work and we had M219 coaxes a whole other nightmare. Needless to say we were over joyed to trade them in for brand new M60A1s.

Tom



Tom, Look out, you might be giving folks the impression that the track was a piece of junk instead of the greatest armored sports car there ever was!! I had similar experiences though-- lost all six of mine in a road march back from an ARTEP near Bad Nauheim going up a steep incline at road speed for a couple of miles. Four had blown jugs (Tanker parlance for a blown cylinder), the other two were for sheared final drives (scary on hills). But we'd been operating full steam for two weeks in the field-- where maintenance was short. So I consider myself lucky-- the only other problem I had in the previous two weeks was a broken throttle control horn, and the TC fixed it with WD1 wire by rigging it to his cupola--if the driver wanted to slow down or speed up, he just told the TC to pull on the wire over the intercom (it did require the TC to "drive" the track though!!). I did have one other problem in the same ARTEP-- a drunk driver attempting to argue with one of my M551A1s on a a one-way bridge-- the Sheridan having the right of way, broken down in the middle of the bridge (the one with the broken throttle cable). The guy was driving a newer BMW, crashing head on into the Sheridan. The engine of the BMW passed underneath the M551, coming to rest about 50ft behind the track. The BMW driver was badly injured. The Sheridan had a few scratches in the glacis, and the surfboard hinges were totaled, that was about it. The TC had his head down inside the engine compartment trying to hook up the WD1 wire when the accident occurred-- scared the crap out of him when the track moved just a little from the impact and he heard the noise!! The Polizei actually thanked the crew, as the drunk was headed for a main thoroughfare-- but the Sheridan stopped that--so they were good for something anyway!!
VR, Russ
TankSGT
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Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2019 - 12:23 PM UTC
Russ, one time spring 78 my platoon 1st platoon A troop was tasked to support our tank company as aggressors in I believe a 2/11 ARTEP. We needed 4 tracks, only 1 would start and moved out. We spent most of the next day getting 3 more out of 5 up. Only 1 made it back on its own and that was the one that started on day 1. That is where my exhaust manifold cracked.

They may have been good tracks new but after 10 years of hard use they were broke dick.

I just got my Tamiya kit and ordered the DEF late gun tube. I also have a picture of USAREUR M551s in MASTR cammo with 2 late gun tubes and 1 with a bore evacuator. I built my track years ago, I was thinking of going with a MASTR cammo.


Tom
davidg
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Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2019 - 02:56 PM UTC
https://pin.it/po26rqlbvarzzl
If the above link works I believe it shows M551 in West Germany. It has some of the crew mods mentioned in this thread like covered smoke dischargers and no ammo boxes on outside of turret, but lots of jerry cans.
Dave
Kevlar06
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Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2019 - 04:07 PM UTC

Quoted Text

https://pin.it/po26rqlbvarzzl
If the above link works I believe it shows M551 in West Germany. It has some of the crew mods mentioned in this thread like covered smoke dischargers and no ammo boxes on outside of turret, but lots of jerry cans.
Dave



Yep-- I hate Pinterest though-- they won't let you see anything unless you sign up. The photo you mention states Ft. Lewis Wa, which might be correct, but I don't think there were any CAV units there in the 70s-- I was there many times 1972-5, then again from 1981-84. I don't remember any M551s at those times (there is one now at the Museum, but it was brought here by the 3rd CAV when they transferred here a few years ago). In the photo, the grenade launchers are covered by the cartridge bags you mentioned. It's also an original M551, with the original bore extractor. The yellow star is interesting, as is the drip pan on the back deck (lower 1/3rd of a 55 gal. drum), can't for sure tell where it's actually from though. The mire is pretty awful though--somebody's got muddy dragging that one out-- it looks like there might be some damage on the other side too-- since there's an entire road wheel assembly stacked on the surfboard.
VR, Russ
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Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2019 - 05:10 PM UTC
I beg to differ that M551 stuck in the mud is an A1. The gun tube has no bearing on the model number. Its whether or not it has the TCs laser range finder. If you look closely at the picture you can make it out under the 50 cal. Also it looks like the power supply box is visible above the TCs hatch in the rear chicken shield.

Tom
Kevlar06
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Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2019 - 05:45 PM UTC

Quoted Text

I beg to differ that M551 stuck in the mud is an A1. The gun tube has no bearing on the model number. Its whether or not it has the TCs laser range finder. If you look closely at the picture you can make it out under the 50 cal. Also it looks like the power supply box is visible above the TCs hatch in the rear chicken shield.

Tom



Yep you're right-- didn't notice them in the photo until I enlarged it in the view. The yellow gum ball blinker light would indicate Europe too. The yellow star is a mystery though-- by the time a laser would be found on a Sheridan, the stars would have been small and black.
VR, Russ
TankSGT
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Posted: Friday, March 15, 2019 - 02:44 AM UTC
Russ, I think the star may be white and between dirt and a yellowed picture it appears yellow. All of the pictures I have from Germany 1977 to early 76 have yellowed dramatically. It was either the paper or the chemical they used at AFEES. A theory anyway.

Tom
Kevlar06
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Posted: Friday, March 15, 2019 - 04:36 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Russ, I think the star may be white and between dirt and a yellowed picture it appears yellow. All of the pictures I have from Germany 1977 to early 76 have yellowed dramatically. It was either the paper or the chemical they used at AFEES. A theory anyway.

Tom



White doesn't make much sense either-- since by the time the laser and the gum ball light were required, the colors would almost certainly have been changed to black. I'm wondering if this is a "colorized" photo put up on Pintrest-- there are so many inconsistencies. The size of the star is also strange. By the way, this indeed must be an original M551, brought up to A1 standards during the rebuild program. The presence of the old bore evacuator is the give away, since the new A1s were coming off the assembly line with the new CBSS system, which was retrofitted to the old guns. I understand less than 100 Sheridans were sent to Vietnam, but they didnt all have this gun tube, many had the new CBSS tube. This tube is very close to the prototype tube with the original scavenging system. The second generation tubes had the ring around the barrel, like in the Tamiya kit. Third generation tubes had no ring at all. Sheridans came and went periodically to the rebuild facility (in CONUS and in Europe). I was the Range 43 OIC at Graf when we had two brand new rebuild M551A1s come in February 1979, one of which promptly caught fire on the upload pad, burning completely to the ground overnight (short in the sub turret floor while loading ammo). So they were upgrading and rebuilding these things right up to the end-- evidently not very well from my Graf Fire experience!

Another thought just occurred to me-- maybe this is a test vehicle at Fort Knox or Aberdeen, of the early M551 undergoing the A1 acceptance testing? I suppose that would explain the laser, white star, and old gun tube? It would be nice to know the history of this photo.
VR, Russ
TankSGT
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Posted: Friday, March 15, 2019 - 08:25 AM UTC
Russ, notice the torn aggressor square behind the star, that was not used past the early 70s I think. POMCUS! I remember seeing M551s on REFORGER after we had M60s. I doubt POMCUS vehicles would have their paint and markings updated in storage. I imagine they would be last on the list after the last NG unit. That would explain the whoopie light if it is in Europe. I wish we had a clearer picture.

Tom
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Posted: Friday, March 15, 2019 - 08:28 AM UTC
Sherb, I'm sorry we seemed to have hijacked your thread. It did get me to buy the kit. Your doing a great job by the way.

Tom
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Posted: Friday, March 15, 2019 - 10:42 AM UTC
Been a lot of discussion about the faults of the Sheridan, and trust me there were issues. The one major issue was the hydraulics design. It was ok for stateside use, but marginal for combat. This went the auto loader and recoil/ ejection system were probe to failure. The fix was easy, but it went deeper than that. I went to work for Detroit Deisel Allison in 1974, and was placed in what was known as the gun launcher area. My job was simply to repair and fix the machinery. I told them about the major issues they were having in the field with the product line! They at first said they had no issues, so I went about a quarter mile east an brought a guy from the First CAV. He was blunt! Next day a half dozen engineers came see us. The lead engineer flatly said they were unaware that there was even the slightest issue with it, as TACOM always said things were great. The pulled up the hydraulic schematic, and they instantly saw the issues. They did a temporary fix of adding three half gallon accumulators and a series of pressure controller valves to bring them in when more volume was needed. The really fix was the complete redesign of the pumps and oil cooler. The actual design was from Philco Ford, and had always been a sour note. The system was built to run at max pressure with no reserve. Ford really screwed that up, as TACOM has requirements that work off a four to one factor. Yet they give a wavor to two to one in a few instances. This would be one. The ammo was made by Ford, and was always suspect. I think that TACOM shifted that to an Army munnitions plant later.
They had about the engine overheating issue, and did a field fix. TACOM refused to allow a completely redesign of the engine compartment and cooling system. The basic hull was still undergoing development when it was decided to send it to Vietnam.
The hull had two major issues that could not be fixed. First was the material. Second was the track width. It was too wide to break trail, and yet couldn't follow an ACAV breaking trail. Should have been a little narrower. Could also have used a hundred fifty more horse power.
Gary
sherb
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Posted: Friday, March 15, 2019 - 12:06 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Sherb, I'm sorry we seemed to have hijacked your thread. It did get me to buy the kit. Your doing a great job by the way.

Tom



What, are you kidding? I couldn’t have asked for a better thread.

My only qualifications are owning three Sheridan reference books....and they don’t go anywhere close to the detail you guys do.
TankSGT
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Posted: Friday, March 15, 2019 - 05:57 PM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text

Sherb, I'm sorry we seemed to have hijacked your thread. It did get me to buy the kit. Your doing a great job by the way.

Tom



What, are you kidding? I couldn’t have asked for a better thread.

My only qualifications are owning three Sheridan reference books....and they don’t go anywhere close to the detail you guys do.



That's great Sherb. I just wish I had more pictures of my time on the M551s. I dropped my camera in the turret and it ended up in the sub floor in all the oily water and crud. We found it a month or 2 later total loss. It was also tough to take pictures while driving.

Tom
M4A1Sherman
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Posted: Saturday, March 16, 2019 - 01:00 AM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text

Sherb, I'm sorry we seemed to have hijacked your thread. It did get me to buy the kit. Your doing a great job by the way.

Tom



What, are you kidding? I couldn’t have asked for a better thread.

My only qualifications are owning three Sheridan reference books....and they don’t go anywhere close to the detail you guys do.



Hi!

So after all of the (positive and instructive) palaver, how are you getting along in your build?
sherb
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Posted: Saturday, March 16, 2019 - 03:26 AM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text


Quoted Text

Sherb, I'm sorry we seemed to have hijacked your thread. It did get me to buy the kit. Your doing a great job by the way.

Tom



What, are you kidding? I couldn’t have asked for a better thread.

My only qualifications are owning three Sheridan reference books....and they don’t go anywhere close to the detail you guys do.



Hi!

So after all of the (positive and instructive) palaver, how are you getting along in your build?



Well, my biggest mistake was starting a second Sheridan. Here is a shot of my 3 1/2 year old assistant:

sherb
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Posted: Saturday, March 16, 2019 - 03:33 AM UTC
Ammo can from Armand Bayardi, M113 .50 cal mount from Tamiya.



Engine screens in place. Holes drilled out for the engine hatch grab handles.
A "common" modification was the addition of a powder canister exhaust extension. I unfortunately nicked the lip while drilling it out. Battle damage?





We've got a fairly free weekend so I'm hoping to add some tie down straps and more stowage. The loaders hatch is closed right now but it is actually functional and will be left open when I'm done.



marcb
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Posted: Sunday, March 17, 2019 - 09:25 AM UTC
Was the anti mine kit sometimes fitted uncomplete?
I've come across pics showing the whole kit fitted or just the floor plate.

Complete kit:


Floor only:



Regards,

Marc
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Posted: Sunday, March 17, 2019 - 09:38 AM UTC
Looking good,glad to see some images again at last.

How did you find the engine grill covers from Tamiya worked out? From the image they look rather fine compared to the awful effort Eduard have made, In fact the Eduard set on a whole is a bit of a disappointment IMHO

Keep the pics and info coming... Keith
sherb
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Posted: Sunday, March 17, 2019 - 09:51 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Looking good,glad to see some images again at last.

How did you find the engine grill covers from Tamiya worked out? From the image they look rather fine compared to the awful effort Eduard have made, In fact the Eduard set on a whole is a bit of a disappointment IMHO

Keep the pics and info coming... Keith



The only thing I don’t like about Tamiya’s pe parts is that they’re made of a tougher material, stainless steel? It makes it a little harder to remove from the fret and to clean up the bits. Couple this with how fine and detailed they are and you can have a disaster on your hands. They do fit really well but you have to make sure you get all the burs off.
Kevlar06
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Posted: Sunday, March 17, 2019 - 10:16 AM UTC
Sherb, how do the Aluminum and plastic barrels compare?
VR, Russ
sherb
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Posted: Sunday, March 17, 2019 - 01:14 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Sherb, how do the Aluminum and plastic barrels compare?
VR, Russ



I tried to take a couple pics but they didn't do the barrels justice.

The plastic barrel is single piece which is slide molded and included the barrel rifling. There is a slight mold seem that needs to be sanded off.

The metal barrel not only has rifling but the rifling also has a twist to it.

Dimensionally and appearance wise, they are the same. I don't have any specs to say how accurate they are.

It's hard to say you NEED to get an aftermarket barrel to replace the plastic version. I like that fact that you can get both some really nice engine screens and barrel in the Tamiya "Detail Up" set for $12-15 more. Whether or not they should have been included in the kit to begin with is always a point for debate.
M4A1Sherman
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Posted: Sunday, March 17, 2019 - 07:27 PM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text


Quoted Text


Quoted Text

Sherb, I'm sorry we seemed to have hijacked your thread. It did get me to buy the kit. Your doing a great job by the way.

Tom



What, are you kidding? I couldn’t have asked for a better thread.

My only qualifications are owning three Sheridan reference books....and they don’t go anywhere close to the detail you guys do.



Hi!

So after all of the (positive and instructive) palaver, how are you getting along in your build?



Well, my biggest mistake was starting a second Sheridan. Here is a shot of my 3 1/2 year old assistant:




Cute Jammies!!! Love IT!!!
M4A1Sherman
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Posted: Sunday, March 17, 2019 - 07:35 PM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text

Sherb, how do the Aluminum and plastic barrels compare?
VR, Russ



I tried to take a couple pics but they didn't do the barrels justice.

The plastic barrel is single piece which is slide molded and included the barrel rifling. There is a slight mold seem that needs to be sanded off.

The metal barrel not only has rifling but the rifling also has a twist to it.

Dimensionally and appearance wise, they are the same. I don't have any specs to say how accurate they are.

It's hard to say you NEED to get an aftermarket barrel to replace the plastic version. I like that fact that you can get both some really nice engine screens and barrel in the Tamiya "Detail Up" set for $12-15 more. Whether or not they should have been included in the kit to begin with is always a point for debate.



I don't really see the need for a debate on the barrels; IMO, that's up to the individual modeler. Speaking for myself, I would have gone for the TAMIYA Screens and Barrels, but in addition, I'd have bought the appropriate A/M Barrel from DEF- (They make two different types of Barrels for this kit)... But that's just ME being ME. DEF makes very nice stuff...

Incidentally, ANY Barrel Rifling, whether it's for a real 1:1 firearm or a 1/35 Main Gun, is machined by means of a special Broach, which is mounted in in lieu of the standard-type chuck in the lathe. CNC-machining has made this process much faster and more precise. It's really neat to watch this broach set-up in action...