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Tamiya M551A1 Build -- Desert Armor Style

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Tamiya M551A1 Build -- Desert Armor Style

Old 09-02-2020, 07:15 PM
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edoubleaz
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Default Tamiya M551A1 Build -- Desert Armor Style

I love Tamiya tanks.... Most of the ones I get are used or distressed or simply parts projects the need love. When I manage to get one brand spanking new it is worthy of a build thread!

I will make this into a Grey Desert MERDC schemed M551A1 with Laser Range finder and the only really trickery so far is to order some extra parts to make a Battle ready cupola that I can swap out.

Gonna try the Tamiya radio this time around. Wish me luck!







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Old 09-02-2020, 07:37 PM
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A few builds have come before so I will spare a few of the nitty gritty details and go for the over view...

Hull and suspension first, two evenings in my hot AZ garage, cooled down enough by monsoon storms to make it work.... Also got the DAK intern to help.





















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Old 09-02-2020, 08:05 PM
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Fun! Looking forward to following your build.
Old 09-03-2020, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by edoubleaz View Post
I love Tamiya tanks.... Most of the ones I get are used or distressed or simply parts projects the need love. When I manage to get one brand spanking new it is worthy of a build thread!

I will make this into a Grey Desert MERDC schemed M551A1 with Laser Range finder and the only really trickery so far is to order some extra parts to make a Battle ready cupola that I can swap out.

Gonna try the Tamiya radio this time around. Wish me luck!






Looking forward to seeing another desert themed M551. Already a bunches of “green” ones and only a few in desert theme.

Watch your tracks they wear fast, split and come apart easily so be gentle on the throttle especially with no “dual rates” on your radio to act as a power governor. Otherwise it is a rather fun tank to drive and fight with. I will have mine out at the San Diego tank battle on Sept 13th. Hopefully you and some of your club will be able to make it out for the day this time around.
Old 09-03-2020, 01:37 PM
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Cool. It will be nice to see how it comes out.

Wow, your intern has grown a bunch since I was last down there. My oh my, how time flies.
Old 09-03-2020, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Fsttanks View Post
Looking forward to seeing another desert themed M551. Already a bunches of “green” ones and only a few in desert theme.

Watch your tracks they wear fast, split and come apart easily so be gentle on the throttle especially with no “dual rates” on your radio to act as a power governor. Otherwise it is a rather fun tank to drive and fight with. I will have mine out at the San Diego tank battle on Sept 13th. Hopefully you and some of your club will be able to make it out for the day this time around.

I already bought a spare set of tracks after reading your post. I am not so worried as I don't do as much "performance" activities as you like to share. Ask Jeff and Aimee, I'm more of a shoot and scoot and lurk in ambush kind of operator!
Old 09-03-2020, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Pah co chu puk View Post
Cool. It will be nice to see how it comes out.

Wow, your intern has grown a bunch since I was last down there. My oh my, how time flies.
She is up to three tanks of her own!
Old 09-03-2020, 02:42 PM
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Primed the Running gear with Rustoluem Red Primer. I choose this as it is cheap, easy and durable.

Old 09-03-2020, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by edoubleaz View Post
I already bought a spare set of tracks after reading your post. I am not so worried as I don't do as much "performance" activities as you like to share. Ask Jeff and Aimee, I'm more of a shoot and scoot and lurk in ambush kind of operator!
Then the M551 will be deadly in your hands👍👍. It has a good balance of small size, speed, quick target acquisition and rate of fire that supports the ambush, shoot/scoot tactics very well.

I look forward to watching your build take shape and seeing your M551 in action👍.
Old 09-03-2020, 03:07 PM
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Great progress!!
Old 09-03-2020, 03:18 PM
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On to the gearboxes. I for one am excited for this new version as the base for all kinds of vehicles. I like the gearboxes and their parts breakdown as I have rebuilt other Tamiya tank gearboxes many, many times....




Old 09-03-2020, 11:13 PM
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Lookin good, can't wait to see it in desert camo!
Old 09-04-2020, 01:55 AM
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Much progress! I liked the gearbox challenge... something different for a change.



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Old 09-04-2020, 12:01 PM
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Gear boxes went smoothly.... so far. I hope I actually got them all in correctly! Had the intern help during a school break.










Old 09-04-2020, 05:35 PM
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Looking good so far enjoy
Old 09-04-2020, 05:57 PM
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Looking good so far. The wife and I are planning on moving to the Phoenix area in a couple of years. If things go as planned I'll be joining your Desert tank group. Keep up the good work, Larry
Old 09-04-2020, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by 1qaz View Post
Looking good so far. The wife and I are planning on moving to the Phoenix area in a couple of years. If things go as planned I'll be joining your Desert tank group. Keep up the good work, Larry
We will keep the lights on for ya!
Old 09-05-2020, 04:17 PM
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Tranmissions mounted, sprockets and tracks fitted for testing. Time to get the DAK intern to show me how to do the speaker box!









Old 09-05-2020, 07:53 PM
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Look out into the Dewalt hand tools already lol
Old 09-06-2020, 01:50 AM
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Tell the intern that is NOT a military haircut! Better get that squared away!
Old 09-07-2020, 09:26 PM
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The haircut is her decision! I don't dare interfere there! Installed the "brains" AKA the new style DMD. Definitely and upgrade with the inevitable complexity to go along with it... Now on to the upper hull with some assist from the Intern. She handled the traverse....












Old 09-08-2020, 12:05 PM
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My intern also spent about 15 minutes explaining to me how the wiring harness for the lights works....






Finally hit a part of the kit I have trouble with. The drivers hatch has moving components but no sound structure to make in movable... I used an old Heng Long hull boss to add more purchase and depth to the plastic pin that comes down from above. More on that later....





Now we move to more of the innards that use electricity... Found the "daughter card" for the turret parts. Assembled and tested the recoil and elevation servo.







Old 09-09-2020, 10:48 AM
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The turret is a challenge with a few sub assemblies that have to mesh and a bouquet of wiring but with a little finesse and many, many zip ties, it goes together well. The magnetic top turret is a nice touch but I plan a rubber band backup or something....

But first, the mantlet is engineered for the battle system emitter to be removable / replaceable. I am using a stock emitter to start as.... I need to use up stuff in house before I get fancy.... Only issue I see is the location of the emitter is too far forward if you build it stock.
I used the housing from the stock battle system, built for a Tiger to make a standoff inside the mantlet.

Next comes the trunion on the recoil mount. It is an extremely tight fit and I used some of the ceramic grease to get it on. It was still very tight so I found a lucky solution in the shape of my bench. It happens to be an old closet door and the lock opening was just right!






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Old 09-09-2020, 10:53 AM
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Getting all the gun components together takes careful fitting but the you are done, it just plain works! As soon as it was tested I began the spaghetti management and added the smoke launchers.

While adding the zip ties and checking the parts box, I noticed there is a traverse limit with that escaped my attention.. Going back through the instructions I found the missed step buried in the traverse ring assembly. I'd blame the intern bit that was all me!

Turret attached and ready for drive test!





Old 09-10-2020, 09:50 AM
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I'll have to remember that trunion tip!

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