Post by beekster on Jul 28, 2017 12:23:38 GMT -5
Some of us have a weakness for the engineering & recovery brutes of the armor world, and one of the lesser-known varieties is this one:
The M74 was built on M4A3 HVSS chassis in the early 1950s to replace the M32 series with a more capable machine to support M26, M46, and M47 units. Several hundred were converted by Bowen-McLaughlin-York and they were used by the US Army, West Germany, and Spain. If you want to build one, you need a Tasca/Asuka donor kit (or individual sprues for the hull), a suitable track set (T80 or T84), and this Legends conversion which I got off eBay for $116:
Inside this sturdy box is a lot of resin, some brass rod, a photoetch sheet, some nylon thread, and this comprehensive four-page color instruction sheet:
There are four large hunks of resin: The hull, the fixed turret, the diff cover, and the aft boom support. There is also a bag with many more small parts. What is seen here has been subject to a little cleanup, but the castings are excellent. The hull is a perfect drop-fit on a Tasca/Asuka hull, though I suspect that it could be adapted to the new Tamiya kit with little effort. My kit was not the first one out of the mold, so the hull had some resin bubbles resulting from the mold having torn away on the previous pours. These are not too difficult to remove, for the most part, and there are excellent photo walk-arounds on the internet to guide you as to what should stay and what should go. Among the bubbles were some on the engine deck fuel filler caps, so I ground those away and will use Tasca/Asuka replacements. I'll go into more detail when I do a project build thread, but expect to use some epoxy putty to fix the shape of the bullet splash rails after grinding off the bubbles and filler caps. Not difficult, really, and I consider fixing stuff like this to simply be life with resin.
The A-frame boom is cast in one piece and arrives securely packed between the cardboard seen here. I've already removed the pour plug, which comes off with a razor saw in straightforward fashion without damaging the boom. Some flash has been trimmed off, but not all. There is a slight warp to the boom, but some careful heat application should deal with that. In my case, the A-frame will be stowed so I will be able to force it down if necessary. The boom is hydraulically operated, and is a direct ancestor to that developed for the later M88 series.
The rest of the materials are shown below. The brass rods are used for the engine deck torsion bars and similar things, but the instructions also would have you use it to make the little ladder steps that run up the outside of the A-frame boom. That is a non-starter for me, since making a couple of dozen of those things with a consistent little bend at the end is insane. My solution will be to order an Asuka M32 A-frame sprue and cut the little legs off so that they will be uniform. You could also rob an old Italeri M32 for those parts.
You will notice that I have already cut out and assembled the rear deck stowage basket. I won't sugarcoat this: You will need considerable patience, a good etch bending tool, and soldering skills to build the basket. Mine isn't perfect in shape since the various bends get complicated and even the larger etch tools don't allow you to clamp an entire edge to get the bend started. Fortunately for all of us, these baskets tended to get beat up in service and are sometimes missing entirely on surviving vehicles.