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Tanking on a budget....

Old 04-21-2014, 10:58 AM
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DirtyBird69
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Default Tanking on an EXTREME budget....

Well after having to close both my businesses about 2 years ago, and two lay-offs in the last year, I was forced to sell my tank collection to help pay bills. Be that as it may, the tank bug kept scratching at my door, and being the addict I am I decided to jump back in the game(albeit on a VERY budgeted basis) and not without the courtesy of an understanding wife lol. With all the modern armor about to hit/hitting the street and a T-72 nowhere in sight I decided to go with the ZTZ 99. I liked the older version a little better then the 99A as most of the current MBT's all have a similar look(and I wanted something a little different). So this will be the big reveal/minor review as there are very few postings about the ZTZ that seem to exist. First impressions were good, as I finally got a HL out of the box without any real damage whatsoever(WOW!). Over-all the tank is very nice, good springs, and tons of detail parts. Only real weakness is the extreme lack of lateral rigidity/supports down the sides of the lower hull(especially the starboard side),the entire lower chassis seems like the plastic is just a tad too thin for its intended purpose and could have at least done with some portions molded with a bit thicker plastic for added support. Also the fact that every other return roller sits at the end of a long plastic arm which I doubt could handle much abuse with metal tracks. The build was straight forward with no real issues(make sure to test fit EVERYTHING before gluing as things are tight). A majority of my time went into doing washes and weathering(paint is cheap lol)and doing what I could while spending as little as possible, so what you see in the pics was working with the OTB paint-job. As far as upgrades I added rubber sealed flanged bearings to the output shafts(what a difference they make!), about 2.5 ounces of adhesive weights to the front in order to balance it out and also improve traction, Deans connectors(of course), aftermarket fuel barrels, a branch I found outside for the log on the back, as well as a Taigen speaker donated by my bro Gabby to help improve the sound as much as possible. Also had to do the old "zip-tie" trick that you Tiger owners are so familiar with, by gluing a small section of a small zip tie to the forward inner lip of the turret hole in the upper hull to remove the slop that was in the turret, also trimmed the antenna to realistic length and wrapped it in heat shrink, to give it the strength and look I was going for, as well as using screen door mesh for all the intake screens. Another modification I did was to add support bulkheads where needed to reduce the huge amount of flex apparent in the chassis. Other then that the only little problems I had was that the port tail light only has 2 of 3 working lights but further inspection showed that only two wires were routed to that plug as opposed to three on the other side...oh well no big deal). Anyways my personal opinion is that its a great tank, just don't expect it too much off-road capability with the OTB setup. Personally I prefer to run on more of a "groomed" surface(like Danville for instance), that I have set up in my yard with a few rolling hills, a large dust bowl zone, and also a shallow muddy patch, and so far, I've had no problems at all. Don't really recommend metal tracks as the chassis has too much flex, and just won't hold up over time due to the nature of its design(unless your willing to really dig into it and beef it up). I think HL's minimal design of the lower hull is a result of the very low profile design of the tank in general and that was the price that had to be paid(although it would have been nice to have the added support of that shelf above the rollers like on the Leopard). Bottom line I still love it/ recommend it and eagerly await the arrival of the Challenger 2..


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Last edited by DirtyBird69; 04-21-2014 at 01:38 PM.
Old 04-21-2014, 12:03 PM
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MAUS45
 
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Looks Good!!!! Where did you get the bearings for the drive shaft?
Old 04-21-2014, 12:32 PM
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This story isn't new because we are ALL on a budget. Some have deep pockets, some don't. Some of us had to start all over. I know I did... I had to sell a King Tiger and a Sherman kit when it was either keep them or make a house payment.

Some will spend more money on one tank while leaving another to the bare minimum. Yeah, tanking on a budget is nothing new.


At least for me! Never gonna happen again. Just bury me with my damn tanks Dear! LOL






Jeff
Old 04-21-2014, 12:57 PM
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DirtyBird69
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Nice to hear that I'm not alone....plan on keeping this as just a regular runner, but when the Challenger 2 comes out I will probably go ahead and throw a Clark/Benedini/Tamiya battle system in it....that's if guys start battling modern armor(I sure hope so). Got the bearings on FeeBay...all you need are 8mm(ID)x14mm(OD)x4mm flanged bearings.... I used a couple 1/4" sockets wrapped with just enough 220 grit sand paper to go around them. I think 9mm was the biggest and just carefully work it by hand for about 15-20 min and you'll get the hole just right so that the bearing is nice and snug....then just install with a small bead of CA and your all set! I have an extra pair of flanged bearings if anybody needs a set...

Last edited by DirtyBird69; 04-21-2014 at 01:00 PM.
Old 04-21-2014, 01:53 PM
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Panther F
 
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Originally Posted by DirtyBird69 View Post
Got the bearings on FeeBay...
FeeBay? Is that something new?





Jeff
Old 04-21-2014, 02:04 PM
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I threw some Speed 400's in the stock steel geared TU's and a Tamiya DMD and MFU unit from a KV-1 in mine and she runs great. Plentyof speed for a modern and enough torque to get me into trouble. I had the parts so this is the way i went. i can swap this package around between my T -34/85 and KV 85 i built from an HL KV.
Old 04-21-2014, 03:15 PM
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DirtyBird69
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yeah, steel gearboxes was definitely on the list of eventual hop ups for me to....I was considering 400 motors as well..
Old 04-21-2014, 03:27 PM
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DirtyBird, can you please elaborate on the "zip-tie trick" that Tiger owners used??

Thanks,
Kevin
Old 04-21-2014, 03:48 PM
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sure...If you look at your HL tank you might notice there is a lot of slop in the turret and it is able to riggle around, sometimes causing the turret to turn in a jerky kind of way as the turret ring loses gear mesh with the rotation motor. Anyways in order to fix this it's very simple. First remove the turret ring and then the turret from the upper hull, then take a small zip tie(the really small 4" ones) and cut both ends off it so that it is uniform thickness from one end to the other. Now glue it to the inside lower edge of the turret hole(smooth side out) across from the turret drive motor(which is usually located towards the rear of the hole), so the strip would be in the front of the hole. now reinstall the turret and turret ring and you'll see that the zip-tie basically fills in the gap between the turret ring and upper hull, while also keeping the turret drive motor in solid contact with the ring....and there you go, no more slop!

Originally Posted by kev308 View Post
DirtyBird, can you please elaborate on the "zip-tie trick" that Tiger owners used??

Thanks,
Kevin

Last edited by DirtyBird69; 04-21-2014 at 04:04 PM.
Old 04-21-2014, 06:22 PM
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Feebay..thats a good one! I sold my modded sherman and feebay sent me an invoice for 62 bucks! I almost chit myself! Time to account for selling fees in the selling prices, unfortunately.

I wanted the Leopard 1 bad..really bad. Then I found one with metal tracks already included so I bought it. But the problem is, it would cost me 2000-2500 to build it the way I wanted. Any other way or lesser way and I wouldnt be happy with it and truth is, I cant afford to do it how I want so I have the kit listed for sale so someone else can do it. And I cant do a little at a time..thats not my style. Do I let it just sit under the bed until who knows when? I dunno, I could really use that cash to pay for other things right now.

I am really looking forward to the new modern armor releases. I can build a kickass HL for under a G note. Not a Tamiya...I cant wait to finish my Leo 2HEL. I have all parts ,just lacking time to spend on it. I am on the home stretch with the turret, then the paint, electronics and start the shake down runs.
Old 04-21-2014, 08:32 PM
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Originally Posted by mcm308 View Post
Feebay..thats a good one! I sold my modded sherman and feebay sent me an invoice for 62 bucks! I almost chit myself! Time to account for selling fees in the selling prices, unfortunately.

I wanted the Leopard 1 bad..really bad. Then I found one with metal tracks already included so I bought it. But the problem is, it would cost me 2000-2500 to build it the way I wanted. Any other way or lesser way and I wouldnt be happy with it and truth is, I cant afford to do it how I want so I have the kit listed for sale so someone else can do it. And I cant do a little at a time..thats not my style. Do I let it just sit under the bed until who knows when? I dunno, I could really use that cash to pay for other things right now.

I am really looking forward to the new modern armor releases. I can build a kickass HL for under a G note. Not a Tamiya...I cant wait to finish my Leo 2HEL. I have all parts ,just lacking time to spend on it. I am on the home stretch with the turret, then the paint, electronics and start the shake down runs.
I believe Christian Ludwig is making a laser cut kit of the Leopard 1, there is a build thread here on RCU. I'm not sure if his kit includes the suspension or wheels though....

Believe me I want a Leopard 1 too, the vintage 1/16 Tamiya kits are going for ridiculous prices on Ebay...
Old 04-23-2014, 05:17 AM
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DirtyBird69
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I agree, the Leopard 1 A4 is awesome, I'd much rather have that then the Leopard 2.... figures that that's the one model that Tamiya hasn't "re-hashed" yet . Could you imagine a re-issue with modern electronics and drivetrain....SWEET!!!! There's something about the older tanks that just looks better(in my personal opinion)...they have a little more "character" and are very distinguishable from each other, where now-a-days they all follow a very similar profile and are buried in reactive armor and what not...Kinda like a beautiful woman wearing a sweater and a long overcoat...just hard to appreciate her natural beauty lol..







Originally Posted by mcm308 View Post
Feebay..thats a good one! I sold my modded sherman and feebay sent me an invoice for 62 bucks! I almost chit myself! Time to account for selling fees in the selling prices, unfortunately.

I wanted the Leopard 1 bad..really bad. Then I found one with metal tracks already included so I bought it. But the problem is, it would cost me 2000-2500 to build it the way I wanted. Any other way or lesser way and I wouldnt be happy with it and truth is, I cant afford to do it how I want so I have the kit listed for sale so someone else can do it. And I cant do a little at a time..thats not my style. Do I let it just sit under the bed until who knows when? I dunno, I could really use that cash to pay for other things right now.

I am really looking forward to the new modern armor releases. I can build a kickass HL for under a G note. Not a Tamiya...I cant wait to finish my Leo 2HEL. I have all parts ,just lacking time to spend on it. I am on the home stretch with the turret, then the paint, electronics and start the shake down runs.

Last edited by DirtyBird69; 04-23-2014 at 06:29 AM.
Old 04-23-2014, 06:03 AM
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MAUS45
 
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This is the Leopard I would like to see, the Leopard 1A with the cast turret.
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Old 04-23-2014, 06:07 AM
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I used to think the Leopard 1A4 was clumsy and boxy looking until I recently saw one without its skirts. Its look improve even more when Perfect Scale's 1A5 turret is fitted.

http://www.perfect-scale.de/Conversi...A1A1-Turm.html
Old 04-23-2014, 06:19 AM
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MAUS45
 
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Celong, that turret looks great, but the cost??? 200 euros = 276 US right now!!!! That is almost the price of the A4 kit I would need to do the conversion. I know money v.s. time to scratch my own Cast Turret!!! It does come with an turned aluminum replacement gun barrel as well. Has the add on armor to. I know it sounds like I am trying to talk myself into buying this turret???

Had to edit this...I thought this thread was about tanking on a budget, Bad Celong, bad !!!

Last edited by MAUS45; 04-23-2014 at 06:22 AM.
Old 04-23-2014, 06:41 AM
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You may be reprimanding me, MAUS45, but you know you want it.......

/begin microeconomics mode: It may be about tanking on a budget, but if you think about it terms of spending over time, it changes considerably. You spend a whole wad of cash up front, get exactly what you want and drive it trouble-free for years, or you spend a little bit of cash constantly over the same number of years, and only get the tank running the way you want it at the end of it. In terms of "area under the enjoyment curve", up front works. But of course, there's the opportunity cost of pitching all that money right at the start, keeping up mortgages, business investments, etc. and that's where the budget constraints come in, but you want to maximize your enjoyment ultimately. That is the whole point of having a hobby. /economics
Old 04-23-2014, 07:25 AM
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I really was reprimanding myself through you as a surrogate? Cause like you said I really want it!!! Spend it up front is the best way!!!!
Old 04-23-2014, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by MAUS45 View Post
Celong, that turret looks great, but the cost??? 200 euros = 276 US right now!!!! That is almost the price of the A4 kit I would need to do the conversion. I know money v.s. time to scratch my own Cast Turret!!! It does come with an turned aluminum replacement gun barrel as well. Has the add on armor to. I know it sounds like I am trying to talk myself into buying this turret???

Had to edit this...I thought this thread was about tanking on a budget, Bad Celong, bad !!!

Well. if you you're going to play ya gotta pay!


Glad I like the kits version.





Jeff
Old 04-23-2014, 09:58 AM
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That is so true Jeff!!! Just wish the paying was a little less.
Old 04-23-2014, 10:30 AM
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Oh I know (I had to tease you) but at least you didn't go out and buy a kit AND some IMPACT tracks for it and only then see it gather dust like I did. LOL

That turret sure is sweet! Did you have a look inside that book on the Leopard that they also have on their website? The early prototypes of the Leopard look like a modern German Panther tank! Or the French AMX tanks without the fancy turret.





Jeff
Old 04-23-2014, 11:48 AM
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Yes, just looked at it. To me the Leopard 1 looks like a modern version of the Panther.
Old 04-24-2014, 08:50 AM
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I've always loved this photo:



IMHO the one in the middle is the best looking of course!
Old 09-06-2014, 02:27 PM
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Been a while but I've managed to do a few more upgrades to my ZTZ if anybody is interested.....nothing major but a few tid-bits I had time to do. I ordered some of the camo netting from TankZone (20cm x 20cm)and made a barrel wrap for the gun(great stuff but a tad expensive for what ya get). After carefully gluing it on I added simulated safety-wire bands made from garbage bag wire ties with the paper/plastic burned off. I also come to find out that on the real ztz's the light bezels are rubber , so I painted those as well(what a PIA)..should have done it before I mounted the lights lol. I also added a set of Mato metal sprockets as the OEM plastic ones both split in two due to being too weak to handle the load..One thing I did notice is that the teeth on the Mato sprockets are offset just a tad unlike the OEM sprockets which are evenly aligned so that one side of the sprocket hits one side of the track notch, while the other side of sprocket hits the opposite side of corresponding notch(Is this normal....see pic?). Seems to run fine, but haven't had a chance to take it outside for a shakedown run yet. Lastly I painted the wooden carry handle on the machine gun barrel after seeing it in a pic. Just received a "komodo" ATRC from RCTANKS I will be installing to get rid of the ridiculous recoil jerk..

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Last edited by DirtyBird69; 09-06-2014 at 02:29 PM.
Old 09-06-2014, 03:28 PM
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Hi DirtyBird69,
It looks to me like the 2 sproket halves are not aligned right. You might try switching halves with the sproket on
the other side to see if you can get a better alignment. Just my 2 cents worth!.

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