1⁄35Building the Academy M3 Grant
I then set about building the short 75mm gun and housing. Terry’s review points out that the short barrel provided is about 4mm too long and so I cut off 4mm from the breech end and fitted it without any major issues. The breach layout for the elevating wheel on the RHS is incorrect, and from pictures I had, I remodelled the fitting to be in the correct position. After that I started on the basket for the turret. Some of the parts are a bit blob like so I replaced these and again added in a fair amount of wiring where appropriate. There was a lot of ammo stored around the tank and I cleaned up and installed a variety of 37mm rds in the rear bulk head and the turret basket. When the basket was done I test fitted every thing again. Joining the two hulls and fitting the 75mm at the same time is tricky, the alignment is a little out, but with a bit of patience I finally glued the upper and lower hulls together. This took a considerable amount of pressure to get them to align due to the warp and I taped the whole thing together with masking take to hold it and let it sit for 24 hours. On taking the tape off I had a fairly good fit with just a few small areas to fill in with some milliput. Next I tried to fit the turret only to find that I was about 2mm out in the size of my new 37mm ammo bin on the RHS and it would not fit lol, lol. Well with a little bit of effort I was able to remove it and reduce the overall size of the bin and then replace it. I assume I didn’t pick this up earlier due to the warp which must have allowed just enough room for the turret to fit with my first bin effort. You live and learn. Having sorted out these various issues I now had what was starting to look like a reasonable tank. Next up was the fix required for the drive sprockets. I had order up a set of We210 tracks from Panda Plastics as these were much more common and correct for the build than the kit plastic ones. However, this required putting a 0.5mm spacer into each drive sprocket in order to get the right fit. I used a piece of plastic card for this and it produced a good fix once cut and sanded down. The We210 tracks were great to work with and went together with out any major issues. This was my first experience of the Panda Plastic set and I would most certainly use them again. Well ‘Murphy’s Law’ says there is always something else to go wrong and it was the track issue. Being double block there simply wasn’t enough room above the drive sprockets and return rollers for them to fit. I tried a bit of sanding and could just squeeze them in to a fashion, but clearly this wouldn’t really work. I checked the position of the replacement bogies and they were fine. Again I thought I was beaten, but the old Tamiya kit came to the rescue. With no other option I removed the Formations set totally destroying 2 along the way, so that was money wasted, and set about replacing them with the older Tamia Grant set and spare wheels form my M4 builds. Perhaps I should have done this in the first place but I had been saving them for a future project. (thinking back on the suspension issue, I remembered reading something about the Formations replacement set, actually not being suitable. Can’t find the link now, but I’m pretty sure it was here on site at the time of the Lee release). Well the end result wasn’t as good as I would have liked but the tracks fitted well and roughly at about the right spacing from the top of the sponsors. From then on it became a matter of adding the side skirts and rails and organising the externals of the vehicle. One point to note here is that the upper hull doesn’t come with the drivers periscope that most of the Grants had, I fashioned one from a spare Cromwell periscope cutting and sanding it into approximately the right shape. The kit side doors come with quite a bit of detail and I added some small visors to them and a coupe of rivets just to make them a bit more accurate. On the vision ports I opened them all up both in the turret, side doors and on the front LHS, with an X-Acto blade. Annoyingly the turret side vision ports don’t open and sit just where the major joins in the turret come, but I had already altered these a little in the initial stages, so the vision ports opened up fine. There is a link in Terry’s review on the missing external rivets and where appropriate I also added some of these. As with many builds, you don’t always have the right parts at the right time. I had tried making a canvas cover for the gun during the build but it didn’t work well so I ordered up the Armorscale set. This arrived about a month after I had finished the build so I set about adding it to the kit. The set comes with it’s own metal barrel but as I had already used the kit one, it wasn’t needed. The resin canvas cover needed some alteration to fit over the kit barrel and some thinning out inside too. Even with this alteration it wasn’t an easy fit, and of course in the ideal world you’d fit this part much earlier, but eventually with some milliput I got it to look reasonable correct. I needed to be careful not to undo what had already been done!!! I had 2 additional pieces of stowage that I hadn’t yet added some additional water cans and some tarps/rolled up, so I added these to the rear at this time. In the final picture I’ve used 2 of the ‘Wee Friends’ figures who will form part of the crew in the diorama for scale reference. These are excellent white metal figures sculpted by Pete Morton.
Copyright ©2019 by Alan McNeilly. Images and/or videos also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. The views and opinions expressed herein are solely the views and opinions of the authors and/or contributors to this Web site and do not necessarily represent the views and/or opinions of Armorama, KitMaker Network, or Silver Star Enterrpises. All rights reserved. Originally published on: 2008-11-22 00:00:00. Unique Reads: 32450