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M32 Build

Old 08-21-2016, 08:15 PM
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RichJohnson
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Default M32 Build

Well, really its going to be an M32B3 which is an ARV on an early M4a3 vehicle.

I got Ludwigs kit and decided I wanted to save his nice A1 small hatch hull for a tank so I am substituting an early M4a3 welded hull from Nick Aguilar.

Here is the styrene sheet of parts.


I began by trying to curve the armor wrap for the operation compartment. I decided to heat up up over a paint can to help form its curve.


The base has a groove machined in it that the curved armor plate fits into. These vertical tabs hold up the lower piece of the top. The top is a sandwich of two pieces. These vertical tabs were a problem. They did not fit either way. One way they hang over the groove as seen in the photo below, the other way they will not contact the surrounding curved armor coupola wall and they would hang inside so I measured the proper gauge and sliced them down to make them fit to brace the curved armor wall.


Here is the operation coupola after assembly. There is some overhang that was unavoidable, believe me I tried but it just would not fit perfect. Glueing this thing with styrene/abs cement takes lots of clothespins to hold the curve together. Also it should be done slowly but all at once so the parts and flex and move as everything is slowly glued into its final place. I had to push soft glue joints around a bit to make it all fit.


Here it is so far. Operation coupola sitting on the A3 hull. Im likeing this build. Cant way to complete the boom mounts and get it mocked up.

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Old 08-21-2016, 08:35 PM
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Here are the metal parts for the boom system
The actual A frame is brass rod that comes in the kit is pre soldered. The rest of the parts are cast white metal to be glued in place.


I have experience with soldering white metal to brass at low temps so I decided to solder some of the parts, the X brace in the middle has to be cut to fit and its ends filed with a round file tapered to fit. Then I soldered it in place.



I then tinned the boom end and soldered the funny bracket on the boom. Unfortuneately my toddler came into the garage while I was doing this and I lost focus worried about him next to me with torches and soldering irons out and I slightly melted the pointed end of the bracket, mostly the strap brace over the top of it. I could leave it and call it bent damage but I think I will cut that piece off and solder a piece of brass strip stock in place to repair it.



Next is the triangle gussets that go in the boom corners, but I might make them out of brass instead of the supplied white metal and silver solder them in place.
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Old 09-01-2016, 09:19 PM
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I got the boom mostly assembled. I have a few more things I want to solder on but that will come.


I had to cut 1/8 inch off each side of the taigen chassis to make the M4a3 hull casting from Nick Aguilar fit onto it. What a job that is. Takes a good half an hour per side. Its messy rough and tough on the face if you don't have a shield while using a dremmel cut off wheel


Here are the two small hatch tanks Im working on. The M4 and the M32B3. I have roughly fit the 3 piece tranny cover that comes in Christians M4a4 kit onto the taigen, but its not fitting well since its was made for a HL. Its too tall and long. I cut the bottom back and heated it up to reshape it a bit after grinding away lots of the material inside. Its still about 1/16 too high pushing the hull back so I am going to trim that much off the bolt bar, then reshape the bolt bar further forward on the tranny cover and sand the bolt frame braces of the 3 pieces back to shape. Should work in theory, we will see. Otherwise I will just cut down another nick tranny cover to fit like the m4 or maybe try to use the taigen, but it has a few issues preventing the hull from sitting down in place. Metal is so tough to work with.....
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Old 09-02-2016, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by RichJohnson View Post
I got the boom mostly assembled. I have a few more things I want to solder on but that will come.


I had to cut 1/8 inch off each side of the taigen chassis to make the M4a3 hull casting from Nick Aguilar fit onto it. What a job that is. Takes a good half an hour per side. Its messy rough and tough on the face if you don't have a shield while using a dremmel cut off wheel


Here are the two small hatch tanks Im working on. The M4 and the M32B3. I have roughly fit the 3 piece tranny cover that comes in Christians M4a4 kit onto the taigen, but its not fitting well since its was made for a HL. Its too tall and long. I cut the bottom back and heated it up to reshape it a bit after grinding away lots of the material inside. Its still about 1/16 too high pushing the hull back so I am going to trim that much off the bolt bar, then reshape the bolt bar further forward on the tranny cover and sand the bolt frame braces of the 3 pieces back to shape. Should work in theory, we will see. Otherwise I will just cut down another nick tranny cover to fit like the m4 or maybe try to use the taigen, but it has a few issues preventing the hull from sitting down in place. Metal is so tough to work with.....
Looking good! Did you get that recoil unit yet? That is also the first time I've seen our Sherman chassis damaged in any way other than exhausts btw and it looks good! Your builds are always great to watch and follow. Keep it up!
Old 09-02-2016, 08:20 AM
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Yeah i got the gun mount unit. I like that mount i have plans for a few more i think later. Im going to need a few more of your chassis in the coming projetcs list. I think im going to do two lima m4a1s and an m4a3 before i give up building....
Old 09-02-2016, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by RichJohnson View Post
Yeah i got the gun mount unit. I like that mount i have plans for a few more i think later. Im going to need a few more of your chassis in the coming projetcs list. I think im going to do two lima m4a1s and an m4a3 before i give up building....
No probs of course! I've got plenty of both. I knew you would like that recoil unit, for custom builds it works pretty well actually IMO.
Old 09-02-2016, 07:24 PM
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It wouldn't be a tank if you weren't grinding metal. Love small hatches for the rarity.

I am in the market for Taigen lowers as well. Got ideas for at least 3 tanks....
Old 09-02-2016, 08:01 PM
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I have found that to fit the nick hulls I have to grind 1/18 inch off each side and then replace the metal tranny cover. The upper screw tabs protruding from the metal tranny cover prevent the urethane hulls from sitting down in place. His early nose worked but I had to cut some out of the middle and put the upper portion back on (see my M4 build)
This 3 piece cover is being a pain to make fit.
Old 09-06-2016, 09:47 PM
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Well I finally made the 3 piece cover fit the taigen hull. It was not easy at all. I had to cut the bolt bar off, its too tall any way because its a henglong part.
I have photos of a 3 piece from a local museum and its much shorter like what I have done here. Wont be a problem to make a new bolt bar.


I made a T brace like the rest of my hack up jobs out of thick styrene and built up the attachment point and strengthened it.


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Old 06-07-2017, 08:45 PM
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Well, I am back ptuzing around with this project.
I had to grind the side hull applique armor off, then bondo the damage to clean it up and smooth it out. Worked on that tonight.
Also, the way the boom attaches to the welded hull is with these metal slabs welded to the side of the hull, as opposed to the super beefy brackets that were used on the cast A1 hull. So to make the boom fit on the welded hull, I have to narrow it up by like 1/4 inch. Yes it sucks so bad, kind of the reason I have put this off for so long. So....
I removed all the cross tubes and bracing from the boom tonight except the top bar.
As I get some photos with the build that will better show what I am describing. Almost wished I had just built the M32 kit as it was.....
Old 06-08-2017, 07:56 AM
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Nice work!!!
Old 06-09-2017, 10:44 AM
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interesting..
Old 06-09-2017, 10:45 AM
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whats the kit ?
Old 06-09-2017, 12:25 PM
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Christen ludwig m32 kit but i substituted an A3 hull instead of his supplied A1 hull.
Old 06-11-2017, 09:56 AM
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OMG, banging my head on the wall to get this forum to load my pictures for a couple days now. See if it works.
Shown is one of the pivot hinges I made, one was a pain, two were insane to fabricate. It took many trials and fails and many burned fingers to do this. I was determined to make them from brass rather than plexi so they would never break.
I had to remove all the cross bracing from the A frame boom to make it narrow enough to fit the Ford A3 hull from Nick Aguilar. Now, problem is the Turret is too wide to fit between them, but I know I have the hinge pivots in the right spot and the rear A frame is just about correct, give or take a MM so..... Weighing options on how to proceed, seeking help from those that may know better on other forums....
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Old 06-13-2017, 06:40 AM
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Well, now that I made my brass pivot hinges and got them installed and had to narrow up the boom to make it fit on the A3 hull, the turret wont fit back between the boom arms. I went to the Sherman forum for some help and discovered the likely reason is probably this M32B1 kit I got was scaled up from an Italieri kit or Testors kit of this subject piece. They are known to be out of proportion for the boom and turret, being too wide. I was given measurements of the boom and mine is really close, but the turret unit is way too wide. I need to remove about 14mm from the width. That's 7mm on each side, and then put the side walls back on. Sigh, that's going to be a hack job so I might set this aside yet again for a little bit while I contemplate the job...
Old 06-13-2017, 10:27 AM
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That's really frustrating to find out that the dimension of the parts are so far out that you have to figure out how to modify them to fit, especially when you are paying premium prices to find that out. Instead of tearing your already-assembled turret apart and trying to narrow the parts before reassembly; maybe it's worth contacting Christian and letting him know what you're running into. I would hope that he would want to improve the quality of his kits, and maybe feedback from builders is what helps him do this. If he were willing to recalculate the dimension on the turret parts sheet, that would fix the problem for any future sales of the kit - and maybe he'd even send you a new turret sheet as a "finders fee" for having steered him in the right direction. Doesn't hurt to ask...
-Mike
Old 06-13-2017, 10:42 AM
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I thought about that and have not come to the decision of doing it yet.
his kit stand alone by its self is a quality kit that works and goes together well, albeit, I now know that dimensions are off, but they really arent noticeable with his kit, until you try what I did, move parts around to other sherman hulls that should all relay on the same real life dimensions. So far i have found that most sherman kit or rc tank mfrs have a pretty good scale that most of the parts are pretty closly interchangeable.
i know Christian Ludwig follows this forum and may read this thread as I was one of the first to purchase the kit. I also plan to purchase a couole other kits he make too.
Old 06-21-2017, 06:32 AM
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Well, I cut off the sides to get it down to the correct shape per some measurements that were sent to me.
Had to glue new sides on and then remove the rear panels and install new ones. Then putty all the gaps.
Also soldered together some of the bracing for the Boom again. Its slowly coming back together now. Still got a ways to go.
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Old 06-21-2017, 09:59 AM
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Congratulations on working past the roadblocks you have encountered on this build! I had the same too-wide turret issue that you did on mine, but opted to modify the pivot point location and width of the boom to get around it. If I had your patience to (correctly) narrow my turret as you did on yours, it would have made for a better build, I think. Since the kit is designed to be used with a cast hull, (and I also changed mine to a welded one), it may be that we're the only people who will ever run into this problem. I like Christian's kits, and would have no hesitation buying this kit again if I were building it as he intended.
Old 06-25-2017, 10:15 AM
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Ok, Got all the rest of the braces and gussets soldered to the boom. Now I need to glue the top pivot points for the A frame to the tip of the boom and square them up.
Then Remove and relocate the rear tabs on the back slope of the hull where the A frame stows into. Im debating using the metal castings as patterns and making them from brass like I did with most of the details on the boom. There are a few different types of rear brackets for the A frame, Some have a secondary attatchment point below the A frame spots for a big tow hook to drop down. As seen on the M32B1 on the back of the RR flat car here. So, need to ponder these options and do some research etc etc before I move on too fast. Also need to fabricate more padded lift rings for this early A3 hull. Sigh, I loath that work, it took me so long to get them shaped right on the Alco M4 build I just finished up. They are really tough to make but they do look awesome on the finished model since they look so different than the later bent rod lift rings.
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Old 12-22-2017, 06:15 AM
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I finally got around to making the bolt section. I tried a couple of different ideas on some scrap and this came out the best so I went with it. It wasn't difficult just took a while to plan and figure out how to do it.
I also mounted the rear tow hook apparatus.
Im working on the front fairlead roller apparatus right now. I have to redesign the sides as the ones in the kit were not correct. I also might make a new hatch for the cable as I want it to be open and maybe even hinged. That's going to be fun....Then I need to fabricate the tow bracket for the pintle on the front. My plan is to get all the work on the front done before I move to the sides and then to the rear. Although I do need to get the rear A frame brackets finished up soon too.
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Old 12-22-2017, 07:04 AM
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Beautiful !!!
rex
Old 12-22-2017, 11:45 AM
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Rich, I am still struggling with my kit. In looking for those 'sprocket rings' I tried to cut off plastic ones from Forces of Valor sprockets, (they measure about 0.200" smaller than Tamiya M26 ones, and just looked too small). I also tried to cut down some Tamiya M26 ones, (couldn't figure out how to clean up the remnant so that it looked good). I didn't have any spare Heng Long plastic ones to try out, so I decided to order two pairs of metal ones from Ludwig, at a cost of 10 Euros for the four of them. VERY disappointed in them, and posting this as a warning so that you don't throw away your money on them. They are cast in most of the circle of the sprocket, with a small part that is glued in to close the loop. Three of them were so out-of-round that they looked just plain silly, (1.585" one axis and 1.780" the other). Not sure how to straighten them out without breaking them. The fourth one needs to be re-glued at the small closure part. Some of the parts he offers on this kit (boom, resin storage lockers, front roller, and both towing devices,) are much easier than trying to scratchbuild them yourself, but these sprocket parts really fall down in quality. I will probably try and source a couple of plastic Heng Long sprockets, and try to cut them down for use. -Mike

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Old 12-22-2017, 12:02 PM
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Yeah, Ludwigs stuff is hit and miss. He has nice stuff on his site, but he makes it then hands it over to a caster that does the work and ships it. I got a jumbo kit from him and it was ****e. I had to have parts replaced because they should never have went out the door. I have also found that lots of the parts in the M32 kit are not accurate, they are close or just representations for a semi close model to paly with. I am replacing many of them with brass as I go.

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