Great project there Alex I would have to disagree with the turret choices however: For me the Hellcat turret suits the angular welded M4A3 hull and similarly the curvaceous T23 turret is more paired with the smooth cast hull and I agree with yer planned addition of up -armouring this configuration which I would suggest wouldn't suit the lighter M18 turret- just my opinion....to fall in line with your back-story I don't suppose the aesthetics figured in the calculations eh?
It really was a toss-up for me on using the M4a3 or the M4a1 hulls. I do like how the Hellcat turret sits on the cast hull. I borrowed a Hellcat turret from my AFV CLub model for comparison. I think the M4A3 version looks better, especially from the side. It looks more plausible. I do like how the turret sits on the cast hull; the transition from turret to hull is more fluid. It does look goofy from the front.
I decided to take a break from the Wildcat to repaint/refinish the RadBrad (or Radley) and get the Buster done. It will let me think on it for a bit. I might even find another idea for the cast hull. I'd like to find a use for it.
EDIT: Added pictures and rewrote post for brevity.
Nice comparison there Alex - I still think the T23 turret suits the cast hull but that's possibly cos it screams M51 at me....at the end of the day the build is yours and either arrangement still works
It'll work itself out. But it shows the chaotic nature of my what-if builds. This build centered on using the cast hull from the spares. With no turret, at the time, it became a what-if build using the Hellcat turret. When I took those first test photos I liked how the turret looked on the M4a3 hull. Worse case, I slap a T23 turret on the cast hull and call it a day. And then slap the Hellcat turret n the M4A3 hull. They can always be swapped back out. I'd like to find something different to use the cast hull on. I've got a few ideas, so we'll see where this one goes.
For me, the build is the fun part, so I'm good how ever things pan out. I have a lot of projects that stalled out and I'm hoping to knock a few of them out this year. Speaking of...I finished the RadBrad makeover as a privateer AFV. I should have the Duster done tomorrow. I just have to find some markings.
Okay this is what I am thinking. I have three builds spinning off here.
1a) Build the M4a1 with a T23 turret. It would essentially be a normal M4a1 76mm. A bit boring but mission accomplished...a kit built from the spares. 1b) Use the M4a1 chassis and T23 turret make it into an urban warfare Sherman. Spaced armor for the pesky panzerfausts. New nickname "AlleyCat" 1c) Use the M4a1 chassis and T23 turret to make an Allied Nightfighting Sherman, possibly using reversed engineered IR sights based on captured German examples. The problem is timing. It would have to be a late war test tank. The Italeri T23 turrets I have are the early versions with the round loader's hatch. They do have the rear ventilator vent so they are the initial 76mm Shermies often called the UK Orphans...they were sent to the UK for testing prior to Operation Overlord. I guess it's possible an older Sherman could be rigged for testing.
2) Build the Wildcat as the M4a3 with the Hellcat turret. I've got an Academy M4a3 76mm (w) in the stash, so the M4a3 was getting upgraded anyway. I'd still have to up-armor it to justify the thin-skinned Hellcat turret on the thicker skinned Sherman hull.
3) The original Jagdsherman at the start of this thread will just be reworked to give it a lower profile and make it an Allied AFV as opposed to a German conversion. I'll probably arm it with a 90mm gun.
So the real question is which version to go with with Scenarios 1a-1c. That's what I'm debating right now. In all honesty, it's really between 1b and 1c. I really have no interest in building this as a normal M4a1. I'm going to think over it and possibly work on another project for a bit.
I got the upper hull cut off. It came off a great deal easier than I had expected. So now I have to do some crew layout changes. The gun will sit a bit off-center to allow the driver to have some room to drive. I swapped crew positions to be more StuG-like; the commander and gunner sit behind the driver while the loader is on the other side of the gun. The hull-gunner's spot will be used for ammunition. I might do two wet stowage bins for (A). For (B) I'll remove the ammo rack there and replace it with a radio pilfered from the spares. Personally, I'd prefer to not stick the commander with radio duty and place it on the loader's side. Putting it there would mess with the ammo situation.
I was able to salvage the 76mm gun from one of the Italeri T23 turrets (the one with the star). I eyeballed where I wanted to mount it, marked it, and got to cutting. I had a few Dragon extra turret mounts. I found a combo I liked. The cast front isn't flat so I cut a mounting plate to fit over it. With a bit of sanding, the gun fit. I'll have to back-fill and shim the center gap (C). Since the hull-gunner's spot is re-allocated to ammo storage, I filed down the periscope detail and fared it over with a styrene cover. I might go with a thinner cover piece...the current one is a bit thick in my opinion. With the gun mount, the front got a armor boost....I am sure the driver would like some add-on armor at (A). I'm not sure about that or adding plates to the sides. Without a turret, this thing can easily take on more plating. We'll see how it looks.
A view from the inside. The gun is currently held in-place by pressure from the mount...sandwiched between. I'll probably mount it directly to the underside of the hull, then dress it up so it looks like it is sitting on a floor mount. I'll have to have the mount straddle the driveshaft. The gun will get a gunsight, placed on the new gunner's spot. Seats for the gunner, commander, and loader will be added.
I covered the turret ring with sheet styrene. I had to remove some of the surface detail...one of the fill caps and what I assume is a vent or overflow. I'll replace the removed fill cap. I went with the earlier two-piece commander's hatch. I have an oval loader's hatch placed, but I'll probably use some larger square hatches. I may or may not add a small hatch in front of the commander's hatch for the gunner. I figure this thing would be claustrophobic and cramped. I haven't decided if I'll have the gunner's scope topside or on the mantlet. No coax MG though so I'll have the expected .50 cal and maybe a .30 cal. I'm tempted to give the loader a shield mount like a StuG. BTW that 's masking tape on the turret ring cover. I can mark positions to see how I like them and if I change my mind I can tear it off and slap another piece on.
Fitted for mock-up, but not cemented. All-in-all I am liking the look. One quirk is the sloped rear deck makes the flat and level turret area look sloped as well. So I had an idea....
I made a stowage rack for the rear deck to offset that slope. It seems to work. I might replace it with one made from styrene rod instead. I think the rod will look better with the curved cast hull. I also wanted to raise the commander's hatch a little so I made a circular shim from strip styrene. The top for a bottle of Tamiya Extra Thin Cement was the perfect size. I usually use a heat gun to get a bend but something about using a heat gun on a bottle of flammable liquid...something doesn't sound right there. I went with with hot water.
And that's where we sit at the moment. So until next time....
Hot water takes more time and that can lead to "screw-ups" as the part sits.
But I made a mistake on something...the gun sits tooo far forward. The driver probably would not appreciate having to sit in the gunner's lap. I have an idea to fix it, and it should take care of that other issue with the bow. Trial and error.
Wow........that's a great concept. Like it---------
"You watch the world exploding every single night Dancing in the sun a newborn in the light, Brothers and their fathers joining hands and make a chain The shadow of the Wicker Man is rising up again......" ------"The Wicker Man", by Iron Maiden
Thanks. I'm people are enjoying the build. I enjoy doing these. These what-if builds tend to be a bit chaotic. I tend to build off-the-cuff and mistakes will be made. I really had not expected this build would take this many twists and turns.
I addressed the gunner issue. He really would have been riding the driver's back. I cut the barrel from the breach assembly and added a spacer. The styrne rod fits inside the styrene tube. There's actually a smaller size tube inside. This allows me to change out the larger tube spacer so I can make adjustments if I need to. I still have to add some details like the gunners sight. The bow got a bit of work done as well. It still needs cleaning up, but I cut a hole the size of the mount so it sits slightly recessed. There's a styrene backplate mounted on the inside so it fits right. It just helps snug it down on that cast hull front. I'll add some trim-work and possibly extra track and/or add-on armor.
A couple of shots of the interior with the ammo bins added. This really came together alot easier than I had feared. You really won't be able to see much of this. The ends of the rounds are styrene punch-outs and are just cemented on the surface. It's a bit crude but it looks the part.
And a shot of the stowage rack. I wanted it a bit different from most, so I angled the sides outward. It's rough-fitted. I still need to add the footings. You can see the gun breach temporarily fitted to see how far back it goes.
There we go. Back on track. I still have some interior details to add; seats, gun sight, radio gear, .30 cal and .50 cal ammo cans. And paint. Then, the exterior. It's coming along good and I'm happy with it.
I must have jinxed myself that last update, or something, because the modeling Gods have frowned upon me.
I had planned on painting the interior today. I was messing with the upper hull. It had a warp in it but I could get it to sit on the lower hull. I tried putting it on. I clamped it and the front shattered. I guess the cutting to recess the gun mount was the culprit. I've got a fix but I'm going to take a short break from it before trying to sort through it. It's either that or shuck it in to the bin and forget it happened.