Saturday, April 12, 2014

All in the Details...

I have been progressing on the M41 the last few days. Both with CAD and with physical modeling techniques.

One of the latest details I found lacking was the M41 drive idler. The kit part has two problems; 1) its the wrong shape 2) it does not have the holes carved out of it for weight reduction. There was no way to modify the kit part, and the shape would not be easy to replicate correctly by hand. This is were I turned to CAD once again. Using the kit part for size reference as well as correct connection points to the kit I was able to rebuild it with the help of several reference images.

As you can see, the cad software was able to easily recreate the proper shape of the drive idler. Much better!
I did some modification to the molded on details of the turret. I removed the wall around the loaders hatch, reworked the .50 Cal mount platform to the correct configuration and drilled out the copula view ports. Things are starting to look quit a bit better now!

Next up was the welds. On the kit Tamiya molded them indented but on researching the M41 I found that this is not the correct weld detail. To help recreate the raised weld lines I made a small tool using 1 mm brass rod. Using a jewelers file I removed half of the tube. Once that was done I eased the sharp corners slightly. 

Using this tool and a mix of Magic Sculpt and Green Stuff putty I was able to rework the welds on the turret. 

With the welds done on the turret I decided to make new antennas as the kit parts just looked plain bad and I would have to try and add on wire to get them to be the proper length. I used more 1 mm brass tubing and a brass wire and soldered them together to for the antenna details. Here you can see the new brass antennas and the old kit parts as well as a test fit on the turret.

That's it for this episode, stay tuned for more!