pulpit includes a box provided by Italeri for .45 rounds; I added a piece of plastic
to better define the cover. The TM calls for a canvas bucket "in bracket
on machine gun turret," so I attached a Verlinden bucket there.
the four-hole storage shelf for .50 ammo boxes is a drawer that holds tools for
the weapons. Unfortunately, the empty Italeri bin is sized too small to hold any
ammo boxes. One has the choice to leave it empty or scratch a new one. I opted
to use one from the Academy kit, which has four ammo boxes molded into place (I
built a new early style box for the Academy Priest, which held only two ammo boxes).
the ring mount for the .50 machine gun only has the upper half of the mount, and
lacks the handle and locking bar. I detailed a spare mount from Tamiya's accessory
set for its 2 ½-ton cargo truck. As the Italeri pulpit doesn't have inner
ring set away from the pulpit wall, the addition of the lower half of the mount
means the mount doesn't sit right. Carving away a bit of the mount that butts
up against the wall provides the right fit, if not altogether accurate. (The Academy
kit shares this problem, though it does provide a two-piece mount.) If you have
the mount positioned on the left, open side of the ring, you might need to glue
the two mount pieces in place on ring and detail the mount in position, lest the
protruding mount rollers prevent the mount from slipping over the ring.
Priest had attachment points for stowing two weapons in the pulpit and three on
the left wall behind the driver. Italeri mistakenly provides two M1 Garands in
scabbards to locate on the wall of the pulpit; the early Priests carried M1 carbines,
and the late Priest carried three .45 Thompson submachine guns. The TM doesn't
state where these were located, though an illustration of the late M7 shows two
canvas "envelopes" standing in the pulpit and at least one placed diagonally
on the wall next to the driver. Naturally, none of the museum vehicles have any
scabbards or weapons in them, but a photo in the library of the Missing-Lynx website
shows canvas envelopes hanging from the left wall-and a pair in the turret! Unfortunately,
the website offers no identity or location of this particular vehicle. (The more-detailed
interior set from Eduard includes five scabbards, but I haven't seen evidence
of all five being used simultaneously.)
three round seats in the kit have nasty sink marks right in the middle of the
cushion. Some putty will be required here. The attachments are very simplified,
and the Eduard parts are only a marginal improvement. The seats on the two superstructure
walls were hinged to fold down when not needed. I used a spare AFV Club seat for
the left wall, in its down position, and an Academy seat for the pulpit, which
would be occupied by one of the crew.
kit's rear bulkhead is correct for the late Priest, so skip the Eduard oil cooler
overlay if you're doing this version. Though molded to the wall, the wiring is
correct, but I opted to shave off the line coming out of the terminal box since
it is supposed to stand away from the wall, and replaced it with wire. A master
switch was also added to the side of the box.
TM photos show either the bore cleaner staff or ranging poles fixed to the bulkhead
wall. If your Priest is in firing mode, as this one is, the ranging poles likely
will be deployed in the distance, so you don't need to deal with them if you don't
ammo bins need some attention, as the outer walls are somewhat thick and the top
edges are irregular. The hobby knife and sanding stick are your friends here.
I shaved and sanded the walls to a more appropriate thinness, and surgically addressed
rough spots on the top. This work vastly improves the parts. I also added some
features that helped secured the bins in place. Be warned, however, that even
with this effort, the bins are too narrow to accommodate any manufacturers' 105mm
ammo tubes! However, they will hold the unsheathed rounds included in the kit
or from Verlinden. I have not yet seen any historical photos where the bins were
loaded with ready rounds without their tubes. Naked rounds are seen on the rear
deck over the air intake grill during live firing, however.
of fire, the fire extinguishers are one of the weakest parts of the kit, lacking
the conical "muzzle" on the business end and properly shaped handle.
You can try to remedy these yourself, with a slip of paper rolled into a short
cone and scratchbuilt handle. I had a spare extinguisher to use and employed an
empty photo etch holder for something different. The instructions suggest mounting
these to the ammo bin, but in actuality they sat on the sponson in the corners
of the bins.
row of rivets runs horizontally just below joint of the sponson shelf and the
vertical hull wall in the fighting compartment. There also are bolts securing
the abbreviated trails to the vertical walls. I used .040" rivets from Tichy
floor is inaccurate, presenting a mesh pattern rather than herringbone. Eduard's
extra-detailed interior repairs that, but without that set, I let it go. I did
open up the hand holes that enabled access to ammo and tool bins below the flooring.
Late in the process, I also added the cover over the drive shaft as it rises up
through the floor and enters the engine compartment behind the bulkhead. This
required slicing diagonally through a 5/32" tube and sanding it down until
it was about a ½" long and 1/8" high at the bulkhead end. I glued
this piece onto a very thin piece of plastic that was a hair larger than the outline
of the cover, and then glued this to floor.
coming around the left side, we have a pair of square tabs with raised, open circles
on top, one attached to the bulkhead and the other attached to the ammo bin. I
could find no explanation for these tabs, which are pieces of sheet metal folded
over on the sides, and possibly threaded through the raised hole. They appear
sporadically on earlier versions of the M7, generally just one on the right bin,
and two or three in different positions on the M7B1 and M7B2. I used the Dremel
to thin out the bottom side of the plastic pieces and drilled a hole through the
can keep or eliminate the swiveling gunner's seat, which was an addition to some,
but not all, late M7s, as suggested by illustrations.
and Lower Hull
Upper Hull Exterior
Assembly, Painting, and Weathering