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M4A1(76) build of a mongrel

Old 09-08-2017, 05:15 AM
  #1  
RichJohnson
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Default M4A1(76) build of a mongrel

A friend of mine started this build. Its a taigen chassis with Tamiya gear boxes and custom made Tamiya sprockets with mato metal tracks and a plastic mato A1 hull.

He cut the barbet ring out of the hull as he was going to build an M32 with it but changed his mind. I figured I could do something with it so I acquired it from him. You know me, any Sherman is worth a challenge!

So I figured out eventually I could enlarge the barbet ring and put a taigen turret on it. I built up the retaining bulkhead around the barbet ring inside by layering stripps of styrene sheet around the turret and gear while it was in the hull. To make the traverse box fit all I had to do was literally raise it up a few thousanths with pieces of plexi as shims. Fit perfectly, I was really happy about that.

Next I started to go to work on the turret. Taigen has a great turret,I got this in a trade with a fella on here that I helped out and deiced to try it on this build and it worked great. I never unsterstood the huge ridge at the bottom of the taigen T23 turret so I wrapped it with styrene strips to fill the ridge in. That ridge just hurt my eyes. Next Is the parting line between the turret top and bottom where metal meets plastic. Another thing that hurts my eyes. As on other builds, I cut the ring out of the bottom and glued the bottom to the top with super glue and made the bottom screw back on nicely. Next step is to putty the mating seam of the turret halves and make it disappear along with some light texturing. Then on to the hull....

Oh, also, I popped the gunners hatch off, yes it comes off, and rotated it to a different position. Also ground off the tabs on the hatches that represented handles, will drill and put in wire handles.

The muzzle brake came off when I pulled on it, which made me happy. The bake dates this tank to October 44 production and I wanted it to be earlier. Not sure if I want it to be real early and leave the barrel smooth as an M1 76mm or put the thread protector at the end where the muzzle brake could later be installed in the field as an M1a1.

I may not get the chance to decide. I offered this model as a trade to a fellow club member if he wanted it because he wanted to make an Ally tank with a cammo job. Its up to him but Im chugging along on it to get it to where I want it.

Im thinking I wont bother with recoil for now. I was going to slap Tamiya Sherman TO-MF in it and live without recoil as this project was planned ground up as a loaner or hold for my son when he gets older. I can later remove the airsoft gun and put a clark recoil mount in it and add servo elevation at that time and go IBU if I want to. Man these production tanks are so fast to build and work on compared to the urethane tank parts in a box projects!

Sorry I haven't posted any builds for a while, Ive been busy with other stuff and frankly wasn't in the mood to post up a build thread.
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Old 09-09-2017, 05:59 PM
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Awesome work! Looks to be a great build.
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Old 09-10-2017, 04:43 PM
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Ive gotten more work done on this tank. I hadn't gotten a clear decision last week on a trade so I just kept on working on it past the point where it would be operational.
Its kinda lucky too, I transplated my Tamiya Sherman guts into it for a test and ugh, it wont drive. Seems in shipment to me, the chassis got beat up hard. The shafts of the Tamiya gear boxes are both bent and a few of the teeth on the sprockets are bent too. If you look at the frontal photo you can clearly see the left track sprocket is really crooked.
So now I either get new Tamiya tranny final shafts, don't know if those are in the repair kits or not, and maybe I can save the sprockets by straightening them, or buy new taigen trannys and sprockets for it. But then, I don't know if the taigen sprockets will fit the mato metal tracks that are on it. Might be replacing those too. who knows. I see lots of dollar signs disappearing into the chassis all of a sudden sadly.
On with the build. The funky ridges on the bottom of the taigen T23 turret bothered me to I build up the bottom and reshaped it to match photos of the turrets. I am quite happy now with how they look. Also, taigen for some dumb reason put a mid 1943 production differential cover (nose) on their M4a3(75) Sherman which should have had a sharp nose 1944 cover (like Tamiya) and they just used the same one on their 76mm tank. I built it up with bondo and reshaped it to a sharp nose and after about 8 applications and carving and sanding I was happy so I gave it a quick texture job to represent the cast appearance. Its a little coarse so Im going to sand it just a tad later.
So there you have it. This thing still has an airsoft gun in it and some day when its convenient I will put a clark recoil unit it and then put a servo elevation in it. Till then it lives this way.
So the next venture will be to make the thread protector for the barrel, and then proabably texture the turret and the hull too just because Im neurotic.....
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Old 01-03-2018, 09:07 PM
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Getting caught up since the last post, I put some texture on the turret and primed it. I removed all the brush guards from the hull and gave it my texture applique and then sanded it to get the texture I want. I also had to do some shaping around the MG port and then build up a hump from the hatch down to the Mg port since that side of the front has that.

I did eventually replace the transmissions with taigen units that I upgraded with Tamiya motors and then taigen sprockets and tracks for now.
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Old 01-11-2018, 07:20 AM
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Cast effect looks great!!!
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Old 01-11-2018, 11:16 AM
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Looking good man. Far too few build threads these days. It's a breath of fresh air.
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Old 01-18-2018, 08:19 AM
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Moving right along. Not really a mongrel any more because I replaced the Tamiya gear boxes and mato tracks with all taigen, so basically its just a taigen with a mato plastic hull now but still a heavy build project to make it all come together.
Schumo metal detail work and urethane castings from Nick. detailing is nearly done, though I still need to convert over the rear of the hull chassis to an A1 style.
Still waiting for my clark recoil system too, so the turret is still stock inside right now....
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Old 01-18-2018, 11:53 PM
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So tonight I installed the clark recoil and elevation unit. It comes with two servos, nice ones too with brass gears inside.....
So I got it all tested and just figured out a way to mount the elevation servo on my own because I couldn't figure out how the brackets that came with it were supposed to install.
Well the recoil worked a couple times in testing. Its nearly midnight and Ive got it all back together for a final test run through and I fire it and it stars making this horrible noise and wont stop. I shut it down and pulled it apart and did some troubleshooting but I could see the recoil servo was way out of its normal rotation and the gun was too far back. Well, the servo turned into a one way continuous rotation and it gets really hot too. I guess it just failed. I got a hand full of recoils with it and that was it. I took it apart hence I know it has brass gears, so now I got to find another servo exactly the same size as this stupid one.... Nuts. Still cant believe that the servo failed like that on my IBU. The servo does the same thing if you plug it into the receiver.
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Old 01-19-2018, 06:42 AM
  #9  
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I have personally had three of those servos fail in a row...Sucks.
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Old 01-19-2018, 07:28 AM
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Old 01-20-2018, 10:47 AM
  #11  
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Here we go. Darth Sherman lol.
All put together except the dead recoil servo.
All that is left is to convert the rear panel to an M4a1 hull and engine door with air filter cans. I will get to that in the coming weeks. But, shes ready to battle now.
Oh and maybe a coat of OD might help too but no time for that before the battle this weekend.
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Old 01-31-2018, 10:11 PM
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Im finally done with the build save the paint. The servo elevation part of the clark unit just didn't work. The curved cog gear on the gun breech has to be on a perfect arc moment with the servo and its gear. The gear it came with is too small so I got little movement up and down so I added a bigger gear I had from one of his other things of like idea that didn't work that I still had in a box lol. Well the arc of the cog just wouldn't line up so I ripped it all out. I just made one of my typical servo elevation mounts with plexi and linkage. Works great and I have more than enough range of movement for the gun and I did a lot of griding inside to increase the range up and down.
This Sherman kicks butt. I used it in a battle last week and I shot very straight and really battled well. Thought now I sleeved the IR bulb in the barrel so it wouldn't float around inside it. We'll see how well it shoots at the next battle.
Now I need paint and a name and tools. I might.... get crazy and do all those darn footman loops but they take so long to do and just aren't really necessary on a battle tank. Not sure.
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Old 02-08-2018, 08:50 AM
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Finally got my paint job on. The tank isnt done yet. Still need a bow and mantlet machine gun and have to grind up the rear hull of the tank to convert to an m4 rear. Thats coming.
Paint is tamiya flat brown 1 part, flat yellw 1part, flat black .8 part airbrushed with testors closs coat airbrushed over. A nice semigloss OD.
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Old 02-08-2018, 09:49 AM
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Looks great Rich! I especially like your texture effect. I still have a somewhat stock Mato that gets around pretty good so I'm sure your's moves out even better.
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Old 02-08-2018, 10:43 AM
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The cast effect takes alot of work and removal of the brush guards and tools to do it well. I didnt do it on the mato 76 i just sold for that reason. Those matos get around pretty good even with the flaw of the rocking suspension. If i had kept that tank i was going to install taigen bogies on it for sprung suspension and weight.

I assume you have a CJ2A by your handle. Nice jeeps, ive had my share of willys products albeit only in olive drab.
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Old 02-08-2018, 04:20 PM
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Looks great with the paint on especially the cast texture!!!!
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Old 02-11-2018, 07:55 PM
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Got the decals done for now. Still need the .30s and all the tool mounts etc and then rebuild the rear of the hull with the engine door. Then some shading and fading and a little weathering. Gonna take a bit to finish it but happy with the way it came out so far.
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Old 02-19-2018, 11:54 AM
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Looks good!!! Like how the color turned out.
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