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Pilot Officer
Posts: 424
Reply with quote  #1 
A 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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Pilot Officer
Posts: 424
Reply with quote  #3 
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.

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Pilot Officer
Posts: 424
Reply with quote  #4 
I decided to add some bags which are 1/32 I found in my spares box.  They needed tiding up but that didn't take long.


Once painted they didn't look too bad.



I gave the tank a coat of Klear ready for the decals.  I applied the kit decals as normal and I used Microsol and set but the kit decals with a transparent background would not settle down so I decided to make my own.  But first I had to remove the old ones.




I then resprayed the area again and made my decals on clear decal paper.


I applied the home made decals using Microsol and Set.


For the Stars & Stripes flag on the front of the hull I used white decal paper.  As the sheet was A4 I added a few other things that I might use in future builds as with the transparent decal sheet.


I cut out the flag with a knife.


Then I applied as normal.



The decal adhere extremely well.  The film is very thin but for decals they are quite robust.





The decals on the turret, the "L 3's" are from the kit and the rest are homemade.



Then I gave everything a coat of Klear to seal.







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

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Pilot Officer
Posts: 424
Reply with quote  #5 
So now for the tracks. Doing Vinyl tracks are definitely not my favourite pastime but here we go. Normally I attach the tracks using CA glue but the problem I have is that I am allergic to the stuff so I would have to do it outside. As in was nighttime and a touch windy outside I thought I would try something different. I asked a few people if they Knew of any new types of glue for vinyl but no. The answers I was getting were the old methods, a hot screw driver tip or staples. So I asked my kids if I could borrow their stapler and I put two staples in each track and I test fitted to see what they looked like on the tank.





I primed the tracks and I sprayed the track pads black. Then once dry I masked the pads with Tamiya masking tape. As with most things in life the width of the pads didn't correspond with the width of the tape. So first the tools.


I measured the width required with a set of calipers. I then stuck a length of 18mm tape on an old CD case. Using a steel set square and modelling knife I squared off the edge of the tape with the CD case.


Now I marked the tape with the calipers.


Then using a modelling knife and set square I cut the tape to the required width.



Its just a case of attaching the tape.


I then sprayed the edges of the tracks with Vallejo Model Air Rust and removed the tape.




And on the tank they went ensuring that the staples were hidden as best as possible under a track wheel.





There was one small problem with the tracks and that was one was slightly longer then required so I would have to add a bit of sag to the track. I have looked at reference photo's and I didn't see much track sag but I had no choice. So I had to get out the CA glue anyway and wait for day light. I added drops of glue on the upper roller wheels and the lower track wheel. To keep the track shape while the CA glue cured I used wooden ice lolly sticks and cocktail sticks as wedges. With that done I started doing the weathering. 

I gave the tank another coat of Klear mainly to seal the paint on the tracks. I used a black Vallejo wash on the rust coloured track links to bring out any detail and then Florymodels Sand wash all over the tracks and then wiped it off with a just damp towel and cotton bud. To bring out the track teeth, bolt heads, metal edges I used a graphite pencil. The other thing I did was to make a small crate out of scrap plastic and tin foil and I added a funnel from my spares box. I have still a bit to do but here are a few more photo's to show you how I am getting on.






















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

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Pilot Officer
Posts: 424
Reply with quote  #6 
The last few things that need to be done are the lights to be painted, a bit more weathering, a coat of flat varnish and the antenna to make and attach.  The lights were straight forward and were quickly done. Next I added Sand Florymodels Wash to my airbrush and thinned it with tap water.  I then preceded to lightly spray the lower hull, tracks, etc.  Once happy I gave the whole tank a coat of flat varnish to seal in the wash and flatten the shiny finish.














To make the antenna I used a thin piece of copper wire rolled with a metal rule to flatten and straighten the wire.  It was then cut to size and attached using CA glue then painted.  Now the tank itself is finished and all I have to do is make the stand from wood.  So here are a few more photo's of the finished tank minus stand.















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

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Air Commodore
Posts: 9,517
Reply with quote  #7 
Yet another inspiring WIP thread. You show all your tips and tricks. You are the man!

pinterest pg. of scale models/dioramas:

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