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Pilot Officer
Posts: 424
Reply with quote  #1 

Last year I did Airfix's 1/32 Crusader Mk.III tank.




Loved the build so I thought I would see if I could get hold of an Airfix 1/32 Grant but I couldn't find one but I did manage to get hold of Revell 1/32 Lee so here is how I am getting on.








As you can see from the last photo this isn't a young kit but for a 42 year old kit it hides its years rather well.  Though the figures are not the best nor are the decals and the vinyl tracks are a bit long but the rest of the kit passes muster.  The plastic quality isn't bad, the ejector pins are not in any places to give too much trouble and the detail looks right to me.   My first job was to make the six bogie's.  The parts needed a bit of tiding up but not too much.  To get read of the seam lines on the wheels.  This was done using my Dremel, a cocktail stick and piece of wet and dry stuck on a flat piece of wood.



The cocktail stick are cheap but I found the chuck of my drill wasn't too keen on them as every now and then one tried to escape.  So looking around my bench I spied a mandrel from my Dremel which has a thin screw which easily fitted the wheel.


This worked perfectly and made the job of sanding the road wheels a faster.  I had a piece of wire grill which I got from my spares box and I decided to replace the grill between the filler caps.


So using small drill bits I got to work.



Using a file and skinny sticks I smoothed down the sides.  I cut the grill to size and I used plastic rod to make the inner frame for the grill to sit on.



I had a look at the vision slots and I decided to drill them out and used scrap plastic as backing.  I did this to give them a bit of depth and used the backing as I wanted the hull light tight.




I did this for the turret as well.  Regarding the turret I drill out the main gun barrel and the coaxial machine gun adding cooling vent holes to the as well.


As you can see from the previous photo, the side door has a grab handle above it.  As a rule I always replace plastic handles with metal ones if I can just because I don't want them to snap off later on and I think the look better.  So using a bit of copper wire roughly the same thickness as the kit part I cut it to a usable size.


I used a metal ruler to straighten the wire by rolling it under the ruler.



Now using a flat pair of pliers I put the first bend in.





At this point I was going to use a nice piece of kit made by RP Tools for making handles.


But just my luck, the size of handle I wanted was where the pin is, so on to plan "B" and I made them the old way.


So I first fitted the wire into one of the handle holes.


Then I roughly placed the flat pliers where I wanted the second bend to be.  Keeping the pliers in place I removed the wire from the hull and then I put the second bend in.  If I wasn't happy with the bend, as I am using copper I just straightened the wire with the steel ruler and tried again.  Anyway when I was happy I trimmed the wire ends to make it easier to fit.


I then fixed them in place with CA glue.


For the upper machine gun I used a syringe needles which was the same diameter as the kit part and I cut to size using my Dremel and a cutting disc.  Then I glued in place with CA glue.



I filled the tool locating holes on the rear deck as I was going to add my own tow cable made from twist thin copper wire.  The reason for filling all of the holes as it allows to slightly move the location of each tool if I have to.


I used plastic rod glued in the holes and I sanded when the glue has cured.  Here is the kit tow cable.


And here is the homemade one.


These are easy and cheap to make.  All you need in a hand drill.


A vice and a screw.  You put the screw in the vice with the head of the screw and about an inch of the screw shaft sticking out of the top of the vice and tighten the vice.  For this cable I used two pieces of thin wire bent in half.  The loose ends of the wire are placed in the drill chuck and tightened.  The two loops at the other end are placed over the head of the screw in the vice.  Now pull back slightly on the drill to straighten the wire and just turn the handle of the drill and watch it braid the wire.  Stop when you are happy and cut to size.  For the loop I bent the end of the wire then I used a small strip of soft aluminium then I used a drop of CA glue to keep it in place.  I use aluminium sheet but you could use the aluminium off the top of wine bottles.


Next I tidied up the shovel by removing the mounting strips, etc and the plastic that filled in the gap in the handle.


Then I started to add the tools, cable, tarps, etc.


The tarpaulins where made by just rolling a piece of soft aluminium and the shovel and cable strips where made from the same using CA glue to attach.




Even with all the homemade additions for me this is a fast build.  There has been a bit of filling but not as much as I first though.





For me the kit antenna was a touch too thick and I knew would snap off in the future so I again used thin copper wire rolled and straightened as before.



So I just cut off the kit antenna from its mount and I drilled a hole in the mount to take the wire.  I then attached the antenna mount to the tank hull.


I am not going to attach the antenna to the mount until I have finished painting the M3.


To see more photo's have a look on my Flickr page.

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Pilot Officer
Posts: 424
Reply with quote  #2 
I have started the paintwork by applying the the primer coat and then I added a bit of pre-shading.









To see more photo's have a look on my Flickr page.

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Squadron Leader
Posts: 1,201
Reply with quote  #3 
Wow that's awesome.

I must resist buying armour until I have moved house!


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Pilot Officer
Posts: 424
Reply with quote  #4 
Thanks mate.  I haven't done much to the Lee as I have been busy.  But now it's up and running again and I sprayed on the base coat of Olive Drab.  Once dry I gave it a coat of Klear to seal the paint.









To see more photo's have a look on my Flickr page.

Senior Aircraftman
Posts: 14
Reply with quote  #5 
Great work in fixing the flaws. Looks great. I liked the use of alu foil in making the holders for the shovel etc. Great tip!
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