puttied up Tamiya's turret to something more akin to the proper dimensions because
I wanted the top cupola hatch open. Paul Roberts makes a very nice solid resin
hull, which I bought thinking I could hollow it out. But the block of resin was
a little more imposing than I had anticipated. I decided a putty job on the Tamiya
would be a lot easier. Paul's turret became a good template, and I built out the
kit's turret with Apoxie Sculpt, including the flat portion of the wall below
the back of the commander's cupola. I added the three distinctive nodes where,
I believe, eye rings were attached so the turret assembly could be lowered onto
the hull. The casting number and surface details were added and the turret was
given a cast finish of Mr. Surfacer 500.
problem with the Tamiya kit is that the sight for the 37mm gun is rotated upward
about 45 degrees, meaning the gun should also be rotated upward, rather than parallel
to the ground. Even though I ended up with two sets of gun shields between the
two kits, I didn't feel like trying to Frankenstein them. And what the hell, what's
wrong with a jaunty 37mm pointing to the North African sky.
slender tube beneath the 37mm barrel is often mistaken for a .30 machine gun.
It is actually a stabilizer for the 37mm. Not all guns had this stabilizer, and
I found conflicting information as to whether the stabilizer for the 37mm directly
corresponded with the use of a stabilizer for the 75mmand hence the need,
or not, for the collar seen on the shorter 75mm barrels. (This is probably an
instance where the Zaloga or Hunnicutt books would have provided quick and reliable
answers.) However, as one can see from the picture on the front page of this article,
the profile of the North African Lee in the color Army motion picture shows the
use of the 37mm stabilizer with the longer 75mm barrel, which my build up reflects.
actual coax .30, by the way, is positioned to the right of the gun (looking out
from the turret).
you can only look down into the turret through the cupola, the skewed dimensions
of the roof and wall transition are not apparent. The ready rounds from Verlinden
were added to the walls, and I did a bit of detailing on the port. The visors
on the cupola got some additional detailing as well. I decided to have the .30
machine gun removed for maintenance, and fashioned a cradle and spring to fill
the space. (How a man was supposed to navigate around that MG and in and out of
that hatch is beyond me!) Without any detailed photos to guide me, I just added
some bolts and a handle to the cupola hatch based on the layout of hinges on the
added a binocular holder, flashlight with holder, and some wiring to the 37mm
gun controls. I built an ammo can and feed chute to accompany the coax .30 to
the right of VP's cannon. Again, VP provides no backs for the two wall-mounted
seats, and I made my own.
had troubling deciphering VP's instructions for the turret basket and the top
ring as to exactly where they attached (the ring interior seems undersized). It
fits the Tamiya turret well. However, I had to remove a portion of the left sponson
in order to allow the turret to sit properly on the hull; I don't know if was
a result me fouling the turret ring attachment or if VP fouled their measurements.
But since my adjustments shorted the length of the turret from top to bottom,
I think the problem is with Verlinden's accuracy or construction method.
I dry fitting the top and bottom hull parts and dropping the turret in place,
I discovered that I needed to break apart and reposition the generator on the
rear left sponson because it was in the way of the basket.
and Research Notes
The Suspension and Tracks
The Lower Hull Exterior
Lower Hull Interior
The Upper Hull
The Upper Hull Interior
Diorama (coming soon)