BMP-1 IFV - Soviet army, Afghanistan 1980s - Build

Postby lmcq11 » Sat Nov 10, 2018 1:35 am

Hi everyone,

It's always exciting to start a new build for something that I have not done or seen before, never knowing how it is going to turn out. This time, it will be a cold war Soviet BMP-1 Infantry Fighting Vehicle in 1/16 scale.

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BMP-1 in East German service
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The BMP is a significant historial piece of armor, having been build at 42,000 examples and still serving around the world since the 1960s, including NATO countries.

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BMP-1 in Greek Army
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The plan is to represent a Soviet Army vehicle that served in Afghanistan during the 1980s and do the best job i can to represent the vehicle and men.

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Soviet BMP-1
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The scope and components of the project are as follows;
- Ludwigs basic BMP1 kit
- Rotating turret, gun elevation, gun flash, sound and recoil
- Coax PKT MG gun flash and sound
- Basic interior details of crew compartment and turret basket
- Manually opening hatches
- Soviet IFV commander and infantry riders
- External and internal lights
- Clark TK-22 control (T-34)
- Heng Long gearbox and some electronics

The Ludwigs BMP-1 basic kit is quite obscure. I have never seen it built anywhere and the Ludwigs website could certainly be improved to help the modeller see what he is getting. My guess is that sales would only improve. Most pictures are of an earlier prototype, many parts advertised do not have pictures or descriptions, and there are no instructions available. My kind of build… I saw it and wondered for over a year whether i should order it or not. It's not cheap either and not for everyone. So, mainly out of curiosity, i finally decided to order it as a gamble purchase and hoped for the best. After the last few builds, nothing scares me anymore other than the price of some stuff.

The basic kit and most available parts and accessories were ordered;

Basic kit sprue of lower hull sides
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Ludwigs BMP1 BMP-1 kit 1/16 RC


Basic kit sprue of hull bottom and top front and sides
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Ludwigs BMP1 BMP-1 kit 1/16 RC


Hatches optional sprue which were a welcome late addition to the offering
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Ludwigs BMP1 BMP-1 kit 1/16 RC


Rest of Basic and 3D printed optional parts, more details in following individual pictures.
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Ludwigs BMP1 BMP-1 kit 1/16 RC


The 3D printed top of the upper hull with turret ring. As with any 3D printed part, it will need a lot of preparation but at least it is mainly flat so it should not be too bad.
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Ludwigs BMP1 BMP-1 kit 1/16 RC


The 3D printed turret top and side skirts. The skirts could have deeper embossed features and they will take a lot of effort to make them smooth.
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Ludwigs BMP1 BMP-1 kit 1/16 RC


The 3D printed rear doors for the infantry compartment.
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Ludwigs BMP1 BMP-1 kit 1/16 RC


Continuing on following post;

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Postby lmcq11 » Sat Nov 10, 2018 2:01 am

This is the 3D printed smoothbore gun and mantlet. This is definitely disappointing because I was expecting a turned metal gun barrel, not a weak 3D printed tube with limited details.

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Ludwigs BMP-1 BMP1 BMP Soviet IFV 1/16 RC


The plan is to replace it with metal tubes of the proper size, with more details and provided with flash and recoil.

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Ludwigs BMP-1 BMP1 BMP Soviet IFV 1/16 RC


3D printed top hatches of infantry compartment, looks ok

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Ludwigs BMP-1 BMP1 BMP Soviet IFV 1/16 RC


3D printed road wheels. How they fit the suspension is left to the builder to ponder his options. I have found a way to put them on ball bearings. The sanding and preparation of these 3D printed wheels will be difficult. I had very limited success with 3D parts mainly because I am very demanding in terms of finesse. I never managed to get rid of all the lines. I will have to look for a better method this time around because these will show a lot if I cannot make them totally smooth. There is nothing that I hate like sanding 3D printed parts.

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Ludwigs BMP-1 BMP1 BMP Soviet IFV 1/16 RC


The metal suspension elements. I thought they would come with torsion blades but no, this is all you get. The holes look a bit tight and will need preparation. Only two of the suspension arms come with shock absorber attachment, I need four of them so I will need to figure a way to make this work with what I have.

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Ludwigs BMP-1 BMP1 BMP Soviet IFV 1/16 RC


Instead of using torsion blades, my plan is to use torsion bars. These will need modifications to fit the hull and suspension but should provide a more efficient and solid suspension.

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Ludwigs BMP-1 BMP1 BMP Soviet IFV 1/16 RC


Dry fitting of some key parts, looks ok

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Ludwigs BMP-1 BMP1 BMP Soviet IFV 1/16 RC


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Ludwigs BMP-1 BMP1 BMP Soviet IFV 1/16 RC


To help me with this build, I purchased the best 1/35 BMP kit around. This is the Trumpeter BMP-1P kit. It still has all the parts of the BMP-1 but also has the optional parts for the 1P version in case I want to upgrade my model to 1P as well. The 1/35 kit will mainly help me for size and positioning of all parts, and to mitigate the lack of instructions for the assembly, and finishing.

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Trumpeter BMP-1


The size of the Trumpeter parts compare well to the Ludwig kit, this is a very good news. When the core is accurate, this makes me happy. Using the formula (trumpeter part size divided by 1/35 then divided by 1/16), I am able to determine that the turret is perfectly accurate in size.

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Trumpeter BMP-1


continuing on following post
Last edited by lmcq11 on Sat Nov 10, 2018 2:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby lmcq11 » Sat Nov 10, 2018 2:28 am

The trumpeter kit is very nice and essential for this build. As my model will be representing a BMP-1 in Afghanistan, it will not be equipped with anti-tank missile launcher. This is a bit sad because a Sagger missile would look good but I prefer to show Soviet Infantry instead as they were dressed and equipped in Afghanistan, not as in central Europe.

Sadly, the Trumpeter BMP-1 kit does not have an interior like their BMP-3. It would have been nice because I plan to create a basic interior to provide something to look at through the hatches and doors. All of it needing to be designed and scratch built. The interior of the BMP seems complicated, specially the turret area.

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Trumpeter BMP-1


The tracks... yeah the tracks. The nightmare of every scratch builder. I was able to get away with it quite easily with the rebuilding of the Walker Bulldog but not this time. Of course, there are no 1/16 BMP tracks available so the only option is to transform something existing. The HL Sherman tracks are the closest thing available so I will need to rework each link to reduce them in width and to make them look closer to the BMP tracks. I did a draft prototype as a proof of concept, it should work but will require a lot of effort. The HL track plastic is difficult to work with and I will need to develop a standard method for the cutting, gluing and transformation so that they are all alike and looking good.

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tracks


Some other parts being accumulated for the build, such as Shapeways King Tiger periscopes, HL PZ-III gearbox, Sherman sprocket and T-90 idler needing modifications, and some AFV-Model detail parts. And of course, lots of plasticard and brass.

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other components


As main reference, the TOPSHOTS book number 39 on the BMP-1 is essential. It is cheap and full of detailed images of good quality.

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references


And the book contains prints of Russian drawing and specifications that will be extremely helpful for exterior, interior and to understand how the tank is built. This is not only a build, it is a learning experience.

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references


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references


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references


Well, this is it. I am ready to start the build. Ok, I agree, the BMP is not the most beautiful or exciting tank around, but I like to do new stuff and this is definitely a challenge. It will be something most of us have not seen before and should be a good companion for an upcoming T-72 tank.

Regards, Louis

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Postby HERMAN BIX » Sat Nov 10, 2018 11:17 am

Do the folks in the white coats know you have been out of their care for a while now !!!!!!!! :O
They will be looking for you ya know :shh: :shifty:
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Postby c.rainford73 » Sun Nov 11, 2018 4:10 am

Louis this is one of the most interesting pieces I've seen attempted. Such a cool and common piece of armour that I would say is somewhat underappreciated.

Well done to bring it to life.
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Postby toniolillo » Sun Nov 11, 2018 6:51 pm

Hello, I really like this vehicle, I'll follow your progress

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Postby Ad Lav » Sun Nov 11, 2018 6:57 pm

Louis you never stop! Will go nicely with a T72 :)
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Postby lmcq11 » Sun Nov 11, 2018 7:21 pm

HERMAN BIX wrote:Do the folks in the white coats know you have been out of their care for a while now !!!!! They will be looking for you ya know

They sent me here... it's part of the therapy they say... Once you've built this, you will never be scared of facing anything anymore they say. No more stress, anxiety or need of accomplishment they say.

c.rainford73 wrote:Well done to bring it to life.

It looked sad on the Ludwigs website, this one was begging me for a build.

Ad Lav wrote:Louis you never stop!

It keeps my brain off my IT job and the internet for a few hours per day... Pretty cheap hobby when ii consider the hours i spend on this. Plus i will likely have to sell this stuff one day, making some money during retirement.

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Postby Max-U52 » Sun Nov 11, 2018 8:40 pm

Louis, this will be amazing. I'm looking forward with just a bit of drool. :haha:

Ludwig does make some good stuff, and the pieces look to be of good quality. That turret might be a perfect candidate for a method I've been meaning to try (and will soon, if i can just remember to get the minwax poly next time I'm at the hardware). Surely you've seen this video?

phpBB [video]


This guy makes it look easy, and gets great results. You can prime and paint polyurethane, no problem. The results he gets on that skull are pretty impressive, and if you used Russian green paint for a base you might not even have to paint, just flat-coat. I want to try this method on the roof of the WC64 ambulance I just printed, so if I get to it first I'll post a video.
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Postby lmcq11 » Mon Nov 12, 2018 12:35 am

Max-U52 wrote: I want to try this method on the roof of the WC64 ambulance I just printed, so if I get to it first I'll post a video.
This smooth PLA could be interesting in many scenarios. My guess is that there is a substantial loss of details and we end up with round corners, not good for armor and joints. Would be good for flat surfaces but these are also the ones that are easy to sand. You first, let us know.


Now, starting with the lower hull. Its going well, but in reality everything is a challenging struggle. This is definitely not for every one. Well, maybe with these instructions, it is more easy.

These are the plasticard parts for the lower hull, cleaned up and I am enthusiastic.

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Ludwigs BMP-1 1/16 RC


The Trumpeter 1/35 lower hull is kept handy as reference on how to assemble and prepare each parts. Looks like Christian reproduced the components as per BMP design. I can see that the lower hull has two levels and there is an angle to reproduce in the plasticard section.

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Ludwigs BMP-1 1/16 RC


First thing to do is to install the Ludwig provided metal slots for the suspension arms. But I am just realizing now they do not have a locking mechanism to keep the arm in place, so this will have to be figured out.

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Ludwigs BMP-1 1/16 RC


After a bit of brain storming to determine what I am dealing with and how they could fit, the bottom parts are assembled. The parts are not identical so planning and dry fitting is critical to make sure these are not installed wrongly.

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Ludwigs BMP-1 1/16 RC


The holes for the suspension arms must be aligned. If they are not, then the parts need to be switched sides.

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Ludwigs BMP-1 1/16 RC


I gave up trying to install screws in those two holes. The screws were not provided and are obviously of a special kind that I do not have in enough quantity, and the holes were not made ready to accept them, which means most screws got wasted. I could have drilled holes of standard size for a brass bolt but I did not see the benefit. These metal parts were superglued instead. I will never remove them anyway.

There is a large pit hole next to it. I may have found the reason for them later. In any cases, someone planning to build an amphibian BMP will have to deal with these holes.

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Ludwigs BMP-1 1/16 RC
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Torsions bars for Tamiya Leopard 2A6 sold on eBay are used instead of torsion blades that the hull is designed for. I find torsion blades to be too loose and not providing enough spring, specially under the gearbox. The bars need to be cut and customized to fit the hull. Here I made the first two prototypes.

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Ludwigs BMP-1 1/16 RC


The builder need to figure out the shafts for the road wheels. Looking at the provided suspension arms, it is pretty clear that whatever these arms were designed to use as shafts, I do not have them and are not available anywhere. And the size of the hole is not standard either, its somewhere between 3 and 4mm.

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Ludwigs BMP-1 1/16 RC


No problem, let's make the whole in a standard 4mm wide instead. When things are made standard, they become easier to deal with.

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Ludwigs BMP-1 1/16 RC


Continuing on following post
Last edited by lmcq11 on Mon Nov 12, 2018 1:26 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Postby lmcq11 » Mon Nov 12, 2018 1:10 am

After study of the 3D road wheels, I determined they could be made to use ball bearings inside, whether by design or luck, I do not know. They seemed to have been designed to hold a flanged Ball bearing on each sides, of the following size; 3mm interior hole, 2.5mm wide and 7mm high. Therefore, 24 of them are needed, they are available from China for a few dollars for a lot of 10. This also means an inexpensive Flat head Lock Cotter Clevis M3 Pin can be used as shaft, also from China. No ball bearing with M4 center could fit the road wheel so this is why M3 is the best alternative.

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Ludwigs BMP-1 1/16 RC


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Ludwigs BMP-1 1/16 RC


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Ludwigs BMP-1 1/16 RC


After the head of the pin has been filed a bit, the provided 3D hub caps fit perfectly on the road wheel..

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Ludwigs BMP-1 1/16 RC


These are the parts required for the suspension arm. I previously made the shaft hole of the arm 4mm wide. This is perfect for a 4mm aluminum tube to be inserted inside, into which the M3 (3x16mm) shaft will enter for a tight fit.

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Ludwigs BMP-1 1/16 RC


After the 4mm aluminum tube is pressed inside the arm, a hole is made for a M1.8 metal bolt to lock the whole thing in place. The bolt will run through the hole in the 3mm shaft pin.

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Ludwigs BMP-1 1/16 RC


The road wheel is installed on the suspension arm, and is very solid and runs on ball bearings... What more can be asked.

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Ludwigs BMP-1 1/16 RC


To install the suspension arms on the hull, it seemed logical to somehow use the hole that is drilled at a specific location. Not sure if it was planned but there is enough room for a (6mm interior size) washer to be inserted in the slot in the plasticard, which happens to be correctly located in front of the hole, then a bolt can be used as a retaining device against the washer. Again, the hole for the bolt was not standard so I drilled it to fit a standard M3 screw.

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Ludwigs BMP-1 1/16 RC


Torsions bars are connected to the arms.

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Ludwigs BMP-1 1/16 RC
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The two prototypes work perfectly and the suspension is really solid and smooth, it runs on Leopard 2 bars. I thinned them a bit to make them more flexible. Great, now I have 10 more to do in similar fashion and the suspension will be finished. There are likely many ways to do the suspension, this is one of them and it seems to work well and use inexpensive items.

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Ludwigs BMP-1 1/16 RC


Regards, Louis
Last edited by lmcq11 on Thu Nov 15, 2018 4:28 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Postby c.rainford73 » Mon Nov 12, 2018 1:14 am

Wow great progress Louis I'm really enjoying this already!
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Postby midlife306 » Mon Nov 12, 2018 2:22 am

Coming on really well Louis
A tip for you for improving the surface finish of 3D parts, try a steel wire brush, I find they reduce the sanding needed dramatically.
Cheers
Wayne


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Postby HERMAN BIX » Mon Nov 12, 2018 12:13 pm

Ingenious solution Sir.
A pin from China !! :O and Leopard suspension arms :/
Of course you knew it would work ;)
Top job that man
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Postby lmcq11 » Thu Nov 15, 2018 4:26 am

Ah Man, thank you for you encouragements. There is no doubt in my mind that I can make this a good looking BMP-1 but this build is really difficult. The bruises on my hands can testify. Every step is a creative challenge followed by a bigger one.

The twelves road wheels are attached to their suspension.

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Ludwigs 1/16 RC Soviet BMP-1 IFV build


After some research on the interior compartment, I noticed that the BMP has no raised floor and the suspension shows and is part of the deck. Therefore, I need to take care of the esthetic aspect of the suspension because whatever I do, it will show.

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Ludwigs 1/16 RC Soviet BMP-1 IFV build


Suspension is installed. Once the gearbox is put on, I will have to adjust the suspension to make sure the chassis is horizontal and everything is strait. Those torsion bars provide good strength.

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Ludwigs 1/16 RC Soviet BMP-1 IFV build


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Ludwigs 1/16 RC Soviet BMP-1 IFV build


View of suspension arrangement.

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Ludwigs 1/16 RC Soviet BMP-1 IFV build
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The lower hull is being assembled. You can see that the gearbox will be way at the front with the first road wheel supporting the brunt of it. It will need its shock absorber to be stable.

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Ludwigs 1/16 RC Soviet BMP-1 IFV build


At this point, the upper hull needs to be figured out and built as a separate module that fits on top of the lower hull. Its not obvious.

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Ludwigs 1/16 RC Soviet BMP-1 IFV build


Need to install the Idler adjuster before the rear panel is put on because it will reduce room to maneuvers.

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Ludwigs 1/16 RC Soviet BMP-1 IFV build


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Ludwigs 1/16 RC Soviet BMP-1 IFV build


In preparation for the installation of the gearbox, I need to figure out the front shock absorber, in a way that will provide additional suspension support to the front of the vehicle. The front is quite long and will likely need to contain some electronics as well.

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Ludwigs 1/16 RC Soviet BMP-1 IFV build


Regards, Louis

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Postby HERMAN BIX » Thu Nov 15, 2018 11:27 am

I will try to find a picture, but could an H/L PzIII lead arm work with its shock absorber that has capacity for an extra spring inside it ?
Its not a torsion bar, but might be able to work a different way to carry more load.
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Postby lmcq11 » Thu Nov 15, 2018 1:34 pm

HERMAN BIX wrote:could an H/L PzIII lead arm work with its shock absorber that has capacity for an extra spring


Thanks Herman, yeah, two of the provided arms by Christian have the attachment for a shock absorber, they were installed at the front. The plan is to put PzIII shock absorbers on them.

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Ludwigs BMP1 1/16 RC

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Postby lmcq11 » Sat Nov 17, 2018 3:56 pm

Hi,

On such build, the modeller like myself is left with his own resources to move forward, hoping for the best. Complaining will not get me anywhere, finding solutions do, while improving skills at the same time. The builder must have the right mind set to get into this stuff. I can see this is not for everyone.

This BMP-1 build is particularly interesting in the sense that every single assembly had a surprise and required some level of problem resolution.

Continuing with the hull

The PzIII shock absorber is refined and the spring is shortened. Updated version on the right.

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Ludwigs BMP1 BMP-1 IFV 1/16 RC build


With the front shock absorbers installed, I am no longer worried about the ability for the suspension to carry the weight of the gearbox and electronics at the front.

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Ludwigs BMP1 BMP-1 IFV 1/16 RC build
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I had purchased a cheap Mato Tiger Idler adjuster from Mato Mart with the hope of using it for the BMP. However, after some study, I determined the design is not adaptable for modifications that would allow a good looking interior. I therefore have to select a more expensive HennTec Panther idler adjuster like I usually use. Its on order.

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Ludwigs BMP1 BMP-1 IFV 1/16 RC build


Starting the upper hull. The top needs to be made removable like any RC tank. To facilitate the assembly and placement of the upper hull parts on the lower hull, small drops of superglue are used to keep the parts in place where they connect with the lower hull. These temporary joints will be easily snapped once the structure of upper hull is fully built, strait and solid.

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Ludwigs BMP1 BMP-1 IFV 1/16 RC build
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A PzIII gearbox is installed strait on the bottom beams, sockets for the screws were made with plasticard at specific locations, avoiding any contact with the torsion bars.

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Ludwigs BMP1 BMP-1 IFV 1/16 RC build


Some reinforcements are required during the assembly to ensure every part is strait.

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Ludwigs BMP1 BMP-1 IFV 1/16 RC build


The 3D printed top is partially sanded at first. Then I applied a layer of putty all over it which is then sanded in the hope of having a smooth surface. Honestly, I would have preferred a set of plasticard parts to assemble. It is not strait and needs a metal reinforcement strip under to make it flat.

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Ludwigs BMP1 BMP-1 IFV 1/16 RC build


Bummer! the top is too narrow and it does not reach the hull sides... I re-checked that everything around was properly assembled. I see nothing wrong with the previous assembly and the angles of the side armor plates fit the Trumpeter kit. It looks like a design flaw. From the couple of pictures available on the Ludwigs website, I can see that the design of the lower hull has changed at one point because it is not like mine. Pictures show 2 variations. I can only guess what went wrong.

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Ludwigs BMP1 BMP-1 IFV 1/16 RC build


When one side is put on top of its base, the other side is missing 5mm to reach its base.

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Ludwigs BMP1 BMP-1 IFV 1/16 RC build
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I do not want to change the angles of the side armor, therefore the top needs to be extended somehow. I installed a 5mm wide brass strip on both sides to create a bridge. With putty and some adjustment of the ventilation holes, it should be ok.

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Ludwigs BMP1 BMP-1 IFV 1/16 RC build


Continuing on following post
Last edited by lmcq11 on Sat Nov 17, 2018 4:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby lmcq11 » Sat Nov 17, 2018 4:05 pm

The brass strip are glued in the slots underneath the top.

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Ludwigs BMP1 BMP-1 1/16 RC build


Putty is applied over the brass extension to recreate the angles and then sanded. It looks good. The top is glued in place and more putty applied at the joints, awaiting drying for sanding. No worries, once sanded, more putty and more sanding, it will be all smooth. The 3D printed top was too high compared to the front section so I had to reduce the height of the hull sides by at least 2mm.

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Ludwigs BMP1 BMP-1 1/16 RC build
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Ludwigs BMP1 BMP-1 1/16 RC build
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Dry fitting of the upper hull parts at the back show more issues. I am seeing that their lenght are too short by a few mm in order to reach the back plate. All parts will need to be extended, no big deal. But I would really have preferred that they be too long than too short...

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Ludwigs BMP1 BMP-1 1/16 RC build
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Current overall view of the model. This thing is pretty big. I will compare it to other models soon to show you.

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Ludwigs BMP1 BMP-1 1/16 RC build


Regards, Louis

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Postby Eastern Front » Sat Nov 17, 2018 5:11 pm

Looking good!!

I am following this, its a nice build for sure!

Cheers!
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