M-41A3 Walker Bulldog - ARVN Vietnam 1970s - Build

This section is to 'show and tell' about any customizing or re-vamping you have done (or are doing) to a Heng Long tank.

Postby lmcq11 » Thu Sep 06, 2018 2:04 am

Hi,

Presenting my new project, something a bit more main stream and simpler, the rebuilding of a Heng Long M-41A3 Walker Bulldog in ARVN markings. We all know the model is full of flaws, and fixing a lot of them will be core of the project. I used to own an M41 when it came out a long time ago that I modified with new gun and a few fixes but I was never happy with it and as soon as the electronics gave up, I put it in pieces for spare parts. This time, I am more experienced and I am going all the way.

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M-41 Walker Bulldog
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The model will feature;
- reworked hull and fenders
- resized tracks
- new gun barrel
- gun recoil and flash
- TK-22 control board
- headlights and taillights
- Tamiya M2 MG
- general detailing

I was happy when i noticed that the M41 was shipped unbuilt with all the details and accessories still on sprues, it will save a lot of time and allows for easier modification and reuse of these. And I will be helped by documentations and my faithful but old Tamiya M41 that I build as a young kid in the 80s. It will be useful mainly for hull dimensions.

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M-41 Walker Bulldog


The good news is that the hull width is of the right dimension. The fenders and tracks will need rework.

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M-41 Walker Bulldog


Barrel will be replaced, hull lowered and shortened as much as possible, and the slope on the back battery plate will be fixed. I found the turret shape and size to be not too bad at all.

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M-41 Walker Bulldog


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M-41 Walker Bulldog


I've seen builds where the modeller removed up to 10mm in height. After a lot of picture and plan analysis where the space between the tracks and fenders always seems to be different, I have determined that I should remove between 7 and 7.5mm in height.

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M-41 Walker Bulldog


I have a plan to get rid of the shock absorbers on wheel no 3 and 4, more about this later.

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M-41 Walker Bulldog


Lots of modifications planned in key areas. You will not recognize the fenders when I am done with them.

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M-41 Walker Bulldog


M41 gearbox needs replacement because it is too high, a HL Jagdpanther gearbox should fit well in its place. Notice the notch at the back of the hull, this is a factor to account for in the resizing and reshaping of the hull.

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M-41 Walker Bulldog
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This is it, let's go.

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M-41 Walker Bulldog
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Regards, Louis
Last edited by lmcq11 on Thu Sep 06, 2018 2:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby lmcq11 » Thu Sep 06, 2018 2:43 am

Hi,

This is the rebuilding of the main hull, my way. For sure, there are other ways and likely many guys did the same as me or maybe better. What I did is shown here.

I made a cut 7mm below the tip, allowing for some sanding that brought down the hull height by about 7.5mm. What is not obvious is what happens next to the rest of the hull at the front and back.

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M-41 Walker Bulldog


After thorough analysis and slow progress one mm at a time from all angles, I left 53mm to the front glacis with the extremity resting on the lower plate.

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M-41 Walker Bulldog


44mm at the front bottom

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M-41 Walker Bulldog


Lower rear has 52mm

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M-41 Walker Bulldog
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The rear top plates needed a lot of modification for size and angle. They were cut to 33 and 32mm respectively and glued back in place at the shown angle. The rear fender were cut as shown and to account for the hull reduction at the rear, the main storage box (which are too long) are reduced with 9mm left between the trap edge and the box edge.

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M-41 Walker Bulldog


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M-41 Walker Bulldog


Rear hull reinforced and rear fenders are glued in their new position. Lots of sanding and preparations is required.

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M-41 Walker Bulldog


Through all the hull cutting, the Heng Long screw holes at the front (2) and in the middle (4) were kept aligned. It is only at the back that the single screw hole is no longer aligned. This process of keeping the screw holes aligned really helps in the cutting process, stability and solidity of the model.

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M-41 Walker Bulldog
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The new hull compares a lot better to the Tamiya kit. Getting there.

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M-41 Walker Bulldog


Testing of the track height is required at all time. There is about 6mm left between the tracks and fenders with the above process.

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M-41 Walker Bulldog


The next step is to take care of the fenders.

Regards, Louis

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Postby Aljones34 » Thu Sep 06, 2018 6:25 am

Great work and attention to detail following along

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Postby BarryC » Thu Sep 06, 2018 11:45 am

Hey Louis,

This is going to be another awesome build to watch and you're off to a great start. I'll be watch closely and taking notes. I really like the look of the Bulldog and have been considering for some time a build of an ARVN piece to accompany my M-48.

The M-41 will look awesome riding along side your M-113! :thumbup: Remember you've got to find some red dust! :haha:

Cheers,
Barry
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Postby HERMAN BIX » Thu Sep 06, 2018 11:38 pm

BarryC wrote:Hey Louis,

This is going to be another awesome build to watch and you're off to a great start. I'll be watch closely and taking notes. I really like the look of the Bulldog and have been considering for some time a build of an ARVN piece to accompany my M-48.

The M-41 will look awesome riding along side your M-113! :thumbup: Remember you've got to find some red dust! :haha:

Cheers,
Barry


Red dust eh Mr C
Why not get your family to send you some from the home planet & you can gift it to Mr Cq11!!!!!!
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Postby PainlessWolf » Fri Sep 07, 2018 12:27 am

Louis!
I have one of these Walkers and plan on doing a detail build to it. ( Not as involved as cutting up the upper and lower as you are doing ) but I will correct the rest and add working lights, recoil, etc. I anticipate that your build will be incredibly useful in my future modeling of this tank. Following along.
regards,
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Postby BarryC » Fri Sep 07, 2018 8:08 am

HERMAN BIX wrote:
BarryC wrote:Hey Louis,

This is going to be another awesome build to watch and you're off to a great start. I'll be watch closely and taking notes. I really like the look of the Bulldog and have been considering for some time a build of an ARVN piece to accompany my M-48.

The M-41 will look awesome riding along side your M-113! :thumbup: Remember you've got to find some red dust! :haha:

Cheers,
Barry


Red dust eh Mr C
Why not get your daily to send you some from the home planet & you can gift it to Mr Cq11!!!!!!


I've two small bags of the "stuff", will be happy to share!
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Postby lmcq11 » Sat Sep 08, 2018 11:53 pm

Hi, thank you everyone for your encouragements.

This post is for the new fenders, part 1.

Here, the fender box lids have been cut from the main body for reuse. Each fenders will be reduced by 10mm from the outside.

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M41A3 1/16 Walker Bulldog fixing and updates


After a lot of preparations, the new fender box lids are ready. They were made a bit ticker than before by keeping more material under.

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M41A3 1/16 Walker Bulldog fixing and updates


The front fender had to be cut from the main body so that the X that you see can be repositioned centrally by removing 5mm on both sides, otherwise, it will not look good.

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M41A3 1/16 Walker Bulldog fixing and updates


The X on that side are too long compared to my reference and will be made shorter with filler.

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M41A3 1/16 Walker Bulldog fixing and updates


New Plasticard overlay of the right size will be glued to the top of the remaining fender skeleton.

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M41A3 1/16 Walker Bulldog fixing and updates


Front fenders are replaced with the X showing in a central position. It would have been difficult for me to re-scribe the X ino the plastic.

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M41A3 1/16 Walker Bulldog fixing and updates


New fenders body and lids are installed.

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M41A3 1/16 Walker Bulldog fixing and updates


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M41A3 1/16 Walker Bulldog fixing and updates


The overall width of the tank was reduced by 20mm or so, a bit less because the overlay boxes add about 1mm each on that area.

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M41A3 1/16 Walker Bulldog fixing and updates


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M41A3 1/16 Walker Bulldog fixing and updates


Fender's fixing continuing on next post.

Louis

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Postby lmcq11 » Sun Sep 09, 2018 12:10 am

Hi, this is part 2 of the fenders


The embossed stiffeners on the fenders, and specially the large X on the side, are very important to reproduce, this is a trademark of the M41 Walker Bulldog. Sadly, I did not have enough 1mm half rods to complete all the stiffeners so more rods are on order and the rest will be completed later when the shipment arrives.

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Heng Long M41 Walker Bulldog 1/16 fixing and modifications


The mufflers and cover had to be reduced and modified, original on the left, resized one on the right. The extremities of the covers should be thinned because these are supposed to be light metal, not armored covers.

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Heng Long M41 Walker Bulldog 1/16 fixing and modifications


Mufflers and covers are installed as seen in references.

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Heng Long M41 Walker Bulldog 1/16 fixing and modifications


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Heng Long M41 Walker Bulldog 1/16 fixing and modifications


The next step once I finish the other muffler is to realign the road wheels centrally with the fenders by moving them about 4mm closer to the hull. It is planned that the new tracks will be between 32 and 33mm wide instead of the current 40mm.

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Heng Long M41 Walker Bulldog 1/16 fixing and modifications
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Here is the overall look of the model as it stands today.

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Heng Long M41 Walker Bulldog 1/16 fixing and modifications


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Heng Long M41 Walker Bulldog 1/16 fixing and modifications


Regards, Louis

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Postby BarryC » Sun Sep 09, 2018 12:53 am

Excellent work at an amazing pace as usual! :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

Louis,

I know I'm jumping ahead but am keenly interested in your plan for narrowing the tracks. :think:

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Postby lmcq11 » Sun Sep 09, 2018 1:07 am

BarryC wrote:I know I'm jumping ahead but am keenly interested in your plan for narrowing the tracks.


Oh well, I got Plan A and Plan B. I really and really hope Plan A is going to work out because I guess you have an idea of what Plan B could be... You're going to have to wait and see.

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Postby lmcq11 » Sun Sep 09, 2018 1:29 am

BarryC wrote:I know I'm jumping ahead but am keenly interested in your plan for narrowing the tracks.


Oh well, I got Plan A and Plan B. I really and really hope Plan A is going to work out because I guess you have an idea of what Plan B could be... You're going to have to wait and see.

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Postby lmcq11 » Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:18 pm

Hi,

Here is the modified suspension and roadwheels.

The Heng Long M41A3 suspension is fully handled by the shock absorbers on each road wheel instead of torsion bars or springs integrated with the suspension arms, which complicates things a bit. As shown below, the real M41 does not have a shock absorber on roadwheel 3 and 4. So, Heng Long did cut some corners that must be rectified for an accurate M41 model.

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Heng Long M41 Walker Bulldog roadwheels and suspension


First, as my model will have more accurate 32mm wide tracks instead of the 40mm provided, road wheels and rollers need to be brought closer to the hull by a total of 4mm. There is a 2mm ring that can be removed from each suspension holders. 4mm can be removed strait away from the roller holders. The support 1,2 and 5 for the shock absorbers can be reduced by 3mm to keep them in line, number 3 and 4 can be deleted. The idlers and sprockets will be dealt with later.

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Heng Long M41 Walker Bulldog roadwheels and suspension


A 2mm ring can be removed from the inside of each road wheels, for the required total of 4mm per road wheel.

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Heng Long M41 Walker Bulldog roadwheels and suspension


Since the main screw is getting deeper in the hull than before, a couple of mm at the tip of the suspension holders must be made 4mm wide.

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Heng Long M41 Walker Bulldog roadwheels and suspension
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Road wheel 1, 2 and 5 can then be easily put back. But because the HL road wheels are too wide (these are in fact M26 road wheels...), the inside rim of the road wheels has been removed so that they stay clear of the shock absorbers and roll freely. It does not show from the outside. The hub cap will be glued later.

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Heng Long M41 Walker Bulldog roadwheels and suspension


Because I removed 2mm in length from the road wheel center hole, the road wheel now need to be supported from the outside which has a hole perfect to insert a 12mm wide, 5mm center and 4mm thick ball bearing. The road wheels are now very stable and more strait than even before the modifications.

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Heng Long M41 Walker Bulldog roadwheels and suspension


Road wheel 1, 2 and 5 are put in place, which is important to determine the position of road wheel 3 and 4 which require a new suspension arrangement. The shock absorbers cannot be simply removed to let the wheels hang loose, leaving the only remaining roadwheel 5 with suspension to support the whole gearbox weight at the back. A new suspension system for number 3 and 4 need to be designed.

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Heng Long M41 Walker Bulldog roadwheels and suspension


My solution is to move the shock absorbers 3 and 4 inside the hull, just on the other side of the chassis. So, a 4mm brass shaft is made that will connect the outside suspension arm (with shock absorber holder removed) to a similar one inside (that has the road wheel hole removed) and connected to the shock absorber only. A extra set of M41 suspension arms was purchased from MatoMart for a few dollars for this purpose. Below are the parts required for the new arrangement.

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Heng Long M41 Walker Bulldog roadwheels and suspension


Because the bottom of the inside suspension arm need room to operate, a hole is required to be made at the bottom of the hull for these, it does not show from the outside. Then a 4mm hole is made to go all the way in and even a few mm inside the battery box to provide extra support for the 4mm brass shaft.

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Heng Long M41 Walker Bulldog roadwheels and suspension
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A 1.6mm brass bolt is used to connect the plastic suspension arm to the shaft on both sides

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Heng Long M41 Walker Bulldog roadwheels and suspension


Continuing on next post.

Louis
Last edited by lmcq11 on Wed Sep 12, 2018 11:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby lmcq11 » Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:39 pm

Continuing with the suspension,

Detail showing how the bolt is holding the suspension arm with the brass shaft.

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Heng Long M41 Walker Bulldog roadwheels and suspension


Here are the new suspension for road wheel 3 and 4 on both sides. It is important to position the tip anchor (home made) of the shock absorbers at the right location in order to align with the other road wheels and support the model correctly. It is working perfectly. It took around 2 hours to design and make the first set, but I was able to finish the other 3 in 20 minutes each. there is nothing fancy and work wells. I will reinforce the anchors after running trials.

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Heng Long M41 Walker Bulldog roadwheels and suspension


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Heng Long M41 Walker Bulldog roadwheels and suspension


This is how the model currently looks with the more accurate suspension. I am happy with the results. It was an interesting challenge.

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Heng Long M41 Walker Bulldog roadwheels and suspension


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Heng Long M41 Walker Bulldog roadwheels and suspension


Here is a short YouTube video showing the working of the modified suspension.

https://youtu.be/Sn7T_uWNpTE

Regards, Louis
Last edited by lmcq11 on Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby c.rainford73 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 2:13 am

Brilliant Louis. I am watching this latest masterpiece very closely. I've never seen someone attempt this model before with such accuracy. I would expect nothing less from you :clap:
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Postby BarryC » Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:05 pm

c.rainford73 wrote:Brilliant Louis. I am watching this latest masterpiece very closely. I've never seen someone attempt this model before with such accuracy. I would expect nothing less from you :clap:


Carl, I could not agree more and it's only been 6 days from the start; WOW!!! :thumbup: :thumbup:

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Postby Son of a gun-ner » Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:28 pm

BarryC wrote:
c.rainford73 wrote:Brilliant Louis. I am watching this latest masterpiece very closely. I've never seen someone attempt this model before with such accuracy. I would expect nothing less from you :clap:


Carl, I could not agree more and it's only been 6 days from the start; WOW!!! :thumbup: :thumbup:

Barry

Thirded. Fantastic job Louis :clap: :clap:

Mind you, seems an awful lot of effort to a piece of armour with no interior. . . . Or, will there be :think:
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Postby lmcq11 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:56 pm

Thank you Carl, Barry and Son of a gunner.
Son of a gun-ner !

[quote="Son of a gun-ner wrote:
Mind you, seems an awful lot of effort to a piece of armour with no interior. . . . Or, will there be


Ah no, no interior on this one. But I am planning to add an ARVN tank crew with some infantry riders, which creates a good challenge in 1/16 scale.

regards, Louis

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Postby c.rainford73 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:18 am

Louis I'm sure it will be a pleasant surprise to all of us once this build progresses. Like a class in tank scratch building 101.....
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Postby HERMAN BIX » Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:32 am

Its amazing to see the much maligned and overlooked Bulldog get a shot at the title.
Fantastic work.
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