Unspeakable Acts on an unsuspecting Sherman...

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 Rob1970 » Sat Jul 17, 2021 10:00 pm

Well, about a week after I got my Heng Long Sherman SWMBO started getting suspicous...
"Hun, is it just me, or did your tank turn into one-and-a-half tank over the past few days?" Me; "Must be you, sweetheart..."
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But I think she is on to me... What I've gathered thusfar in parts and stuff is;
    Spare plastic hull (with the leds for the front and rear lights already installed)
    Complete spare turret (V6.0 with all the electronics and BB stuff, alltho no 360 conversion)
    Metal engine deck grill (Mato)
    Metal horn and cover (Mato)
    Metal .50cal for the turret (Mato)
    Brass barrel and etch details for the .50cal (Aber)
    Metal .30cal for the turret (Mato)

I've already made a cable from the battery compartment to the rear of the hull for a Voltage Alarm to keep an eye on the battery. Those voltage alarms are cheap (about a dollar) and they are great for the health of your LiIons.

Now, the "Plan" for now is;
Remove plastic engine grills from the top of the hull and replace with metal grills and hinges. This for easy access to the innards, like the smoker for refueling and the Voltage alarm for settings and turning it off.
Remodel the spare turret to look like a Firefly turret. I know this involves another barrel as well, and I have ordered one from Toucan's store on AliExpress. They are shipping it along with the Panzer IV I may or may not have bought... The barrel I bought willl still let me shoot BBs.
Ordering (or scratchbuilding) the british style commander's hatch. Loader's hatch is going to be scratchbuild.
Remodel the (spare) hull to resemble a VC Firefly hull. This means a different type of driver hatch and eliminating the front .30cal. Which means I have a MG firing led going spare. Which I might move to the top .50cal. Because... why not?
Remodeling the gear box covering to resemble an early type. Or buy the excellent resin one Forgebear sells. Not sure on that one yet. There's an awful lot of variants around anyway.
Change IR stuff to LegoDEI's system. As soon as I figure out how to get the purchase not get killed by the new stupid tarif laws in the EU.
And that's just for starters. Going to do all the major remodelling on the spare hull and turret, except for the metal grills. Those will go on the "working" hull, since I want to be able to access the voltage alarm and an easier way to "refuel" the smoker.

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But I started with coding all the wires. Saves me a lot of hassle later. Back right the new wires I strung from the battery compartment for the Voltage Alarm. The new metal grills will let me switch it off when it goes off (and ya kinda need to... it's rrrreally annoying). You can also see the repair I had to do on the wires for the rear lights. They got pinched when the hull was closed up in the Heng Long factory, and the insulation was damaged. The copper itself was fine, so it was just a matter of popping the metal bits from the connector and sliding on some heatshrink.

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Time to get started... Starting with strengthening the pillars, since a part of them rests on the engine grills. I used some square 8mm ABS tube. Took a piece long enough for both struts, and drilled a 6mm hole in the middle. Cut it in two pieces right down the hole and fettled them until the fit nice and snug (one a bit too much, but some 0.5mm sheet fixed that...). Glued in place with MEK on the hull side, and with ABS/MEK slurry on the pillars. Once that gone off, it should be solid ABS all the way through. Also added some strips round the edges and down the middle to get a little more "meat" for the hinges.

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Chop time. Warranty voided...

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New grills in. The Mato stuff is really nice, altho cutting the thread on the stems that attach the hinges to the hull was a bit nervewracking.

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...the result is totally worth it tho. And with a couple of small magnets and a bit of metal embedded in the middle strip they stay solidly closed.

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And decisions have been made. I'm going for a Sherman IC Firefly. So no 3-piece gearbox cover. Still have to change the engine deck, but I think I can manage that. This also means I can stick to my plan to make the top hulls swappable. Only one thing to sort out for that to work to my liking. And that is fixing the single-piece gearbox cover. The Firefly hull has a more sloped glacis, but that can't be done neatly with the bolts from the cover attached to the top piece of the hull. So it's hacksaw time!!!

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Lip removed from the Firefly hull, and a strip added to the top back for the top hull to rest on... No need to be too careful, because I have to remodel that whole front glacis anyway.

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Lip attached to the gearbox cover with CA glue and baking soda.

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Gearbox cover back in place. Now to get rid of the lip with bolts on the Sherman 105 hull.

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The end result with the Sherman 105 hull. Still going to add cast texture to the gearbox cover, and I have new lights on the way as well. Next big job would be the changing of the glacis on the Firefly hull.

To Be Continued...

TTFN,
Rob
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Postby jarndice » Sat Jul 17, 2021 10:21 pm

Great build, I shall watch your progress with interest,
By the way I also use use baking soda with superglue but it is not a very well known process and could do with a wider audience.
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Postby Rob1970 » Sat Jul 17, 2021 10:34 pm

jarndice wrote:Great build, I shall watch your progress with interest,
By the way I also use use baking soda with superglue but it is not a very well known process and could do with a wider audience.


For those who wonder what me and jarndice are on about; CA-glue (aka Crazy Glue, CyanoAcrylate Glue, Superglue) is great, but baking soda (the stuff cooks use) makes it even greater. It is an accelarator like ZipKicker, but with the added benefit of adding gap-filling or even structure to a glue joint. You can actually build up enough mass with CA and baking soda to replace whole pieces of broken away material.

In fact, it is so good some folks sell the combination of CA glue and baking soda. But they don't tell you it's just baking soda, nor do they ask the price of baking soda. But more like tenfold the price... Some add a little bit of carbon dust to the mix, making the powder grey or black and call it "carbon-reinforced CA glue".

Trust me when I say; get cheap pound-land (or dollar store) CA glue and a box of Arm & Hammer baking soda. If you wanna be fancy grind down the baking soda into a finer powder for easier sanding and filing...
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Postby Raminator » Sun Jul 18, 2021 1:57 am

Neat work on the various surgeries Rob, I like the use of aluminium and ABS reinforcements after cutting out the engine grilles. I've had a hull lose structural integrity once I'd cut away too much of the original plastic, but you're definitely not going to have that problem! Are you going to go for the full small-hatch conversion on the Firefly? There have been a few builds here doing the same if you're looking for ideas.
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Postby Rob1970 » Sun Jul 18, 2021 8:19 am

Raminator wrote:Are you going to go for the full small-hatch conversion on the Firefly? There have been a few builds here doing the same if you're looking for ideas.


Thank you for the compliments. And yes, I have a habit of adding (too much) structure when I remodel stuff. I would rather have to grind some away later, and not have the thing collapse on me half way through.
I am going for the full conversion with a 57degree glacis and the bulges for the small hatches. Currently pondering the best way to build the hatches and bulges, and I've see some threads with great imspiration.
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Postby Rob1970 » Sun Jul 18, 2021 9:38 pm

Did some minor work on the Firefly hull. I rrrreally want to get the Sherman 105 hull back in shape first, but the stuff I ordered from Forgebear have been stuck at Customs for over a week now... >:<
So, Firefly it is...

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Filling the voids under the large hatches in preparation for the glacis surgery. Need to flatten the deck so those spaces need filling. ABS sheet and ABS goop it is. Just need to layer it slowly and let it cure after each layer.

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Braced the corners so the fenders aren't flapping about when I cut out the old glacis. Again, MEK and ABS goop are your friend.

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A "scouting" cut at the new angle of the glacis. Still have a day or two of goop-application to go, but now at least I know what I'm in for.

For the new glacis I will use ABS sheet, and for the small hatches and the bulges that come with them I am looking at Woz's Shapeways stuff, same for the new engine deck. Sent him a message on Shapeways to ask him if they will work with the new glacis. Waiting for an answer, but might poke him here too. ;-)

To Be Continued...

TTFN,
Rob
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Postby Son of a gun-ner » Mon Jul 19, 2021 12:41 pm

You are doing a grand job :thumbup: :clap:

I need to look into the adhesives you use :thumbup:

As for those shapeways small hatches you mention, I believe they are for an unaltered glacis.
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Postby Rob1970 » Mon Jul 19, 2021 1:02 pm

Son of a gun-ner wrote:You are doing a grand job :thumbup: :clap:

I need to look into the adhesives you use :thumbup:

As for those shapeways small hatches you mention, I believe they are for an unaltered glacis.


Well, MEK (Also known as Butanone https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butanone) is sold in the Netherlands as an industrial degreaser for painting applications. It's kinda like acetone's bigger, meaner brother (or hotter sister...)
You can use it "as is" as a welding glue not unlike Tamiya Extra Thin, or use it with ABS scraps in various mixtures as a glue, sludge or putty. At MatterHacker https://www.matterhackers.com/news/how-to-make-abs-juice-glue-and-slurry they have a post with various recipes, altho they use acetone which is a bit tamer.

Now a public service announcement;

USE IN A WELL VENTILATED PLACE!!!!

There, can't say I didn't warn ya'll.

But back to our regular scheduled programming...

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How sure are you about a small hatch conversion? Uhm... pretty sure by now... And see that big hole?

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Yeah, gripped the post a bit too hard and I managed to snap it off. So much for all my smart solutions... I made a quick template for the posts positions and they will be placed back later.

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Good thing that came from that unfortunate affair; no more faffing about with sanding off details, and out comes the grinding disc! Really got to sometimes, ya know?

To Be Continued...

TTFN,
Rob
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Postby Rob1970 » Mon Jul 19, 2021 4:13 pm

:shh:
If SWMBO asks... that stuff from Shapeways that's coming in the mail is a gift from someone on a forum somewhere...

:think:
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Postby Son of a gun-ner » Mon Jul 19, 2021 4:18 pm

Rob1970 wrote::shh:
If SWMBO asks... that stuff from Shapeways that's coming in the mail is a gift from someone on a forum somewhere...

:think:

I think I've overused that one :think:
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Postby Rob1970 » Mon Jul 19, 2021 5:30 pm

Son of a gun-ner wrote:I think I've overused that one :think:


There's actually a Dutch model shop that also has a modeling forum, that will (for one order on your account and for a small fee) add a Hallmark cart to your order that says "Congratulations on winning our yearly raffle!"...
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Postby Herr Dr. Professor » Mon Jul 19, 2021 5:38 pm

@) That is devious, sick, demented--and an absolutely brilliant idea. I was raised Roman Catholic: imagine the scenario: "Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. I ordered a new RC tank and had that evil Hallmark Card added to the shipment." :haha:
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Postby Son of a gun-ner » Mon Jul 19, 2021 5:59 pm

Hmmm, I'll save that idea for a rainy day, and work out who'd willingly do that :think:
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Postby Rob1970 » Mon Jul 19, 2021 6:04 pm

Son of a gun-ner wrote:Hmmm, I'll save that idea for a rainy day, and work out who'd willingly do that :think:


Weeeeellll.... for a small fee... ;D
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Postby Son of a gun-ner » Mon Jul 19, 2021 6:06 pm

Rob1970 wrote:
Son of a gun-ner wrote:Hmmm, I'll save that idea for a rainy day, and work out who'd willingly do that :think:


Weeeeellll.... for a small fee... ;D

Weeeeellll, you're not selling what I need :P :haha: :haha:
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Postby Jnewboy » Mon Jul 19, 2021 6:37 pm

Great work Rob!!!! I am enjoying this! 8)
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Postby Rob1970 » Mon Jul 19, 2021 8:44 pm

Jnewboy wrote:Great work Rob!!!! I am enjoying this! 8)


Glad I am enjoyable... ;D

Some more progress today;

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Temporarily attached the top back to the bottom for alignment, don't want the new glacis to go on crooked. And yes, masking tape is a valid method of tank construction... Ask the Japanese...

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Made a new oversized glacis from 2.4mm thick ABS sheet, and beefed up the side edges with another strip of 2.4mm. Now comes the "fun" bit...

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I have to get the bottom edge at just the right angle for a good solid weld. So I need to find my shooting board, or make a new one. But that's tomorrow...

To Be Continued...

TTFN,
Rob
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Postby jee » Tue Jul 20, 2021 4:10 am

great built Rob, I can learn a lot from it (about Hallmark cards etc....)
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Postby Rob1970 » Tue Jul 20, 2021 8:13 pm

Well... I got my angle at the bottom right. Took me a while...

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...only to find out I overestimated the thickness I needed and I had to file away a groove at the sides. But after that, it fit perfectly.

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Next was filling in the hole on the top of the deck. Clever things were done with cardboard and markers and whatnot for the exact shape and size of the first layer...

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...and more clever things were done with strips of ABS and goop. When this is all dry, I will make another layer for the top of 0.5mm ABS sheet, and that layer will be so tight it will hide all the gaps.

To Be Continued...

TTFN,
Rob
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Postby Rob1970 » Wed Jul 21, 2021 5:51 pm

Aaaaand we're slogging on...

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This morning added the last layer to the fill-in piece for the top of the hull. Carefully made a sheet of 0.5mm ABS to fit (almost) perfectly, and glued it in with a combination of MEK and ABS slurry, so the slurry could fill the last tiny gaps that were there. Also brushed slurry along the ring to blend it in. And now I hear you asking; "And slurry is..?" Slurry is thin-downed goop. And if you don't know goop, you don't know life...

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Tonight the slurry had gone off enough to do the sanding. Slurry, like goop, can't be rushed. If you sand it while it's still "hot" you make a mess. No seams, just how I like it. This morning I also used goop to fill a few minor gaps, and they came out awesome too.

Next up on this build? Well, right now it's a race between Shapeways and work on the hull, or Forgebear and work on the turret. Got parts in production with Shapeways which should ship Friday, and arrive Saturday. The stuff from Forgebear has been "pending for Customs inspection" since the 16th...

Also have some stuff to do on the Sherman 105 hull... which needs Forgebear parts from the same shipment...

FML...

To Be Continued...

TTFN,
Rob
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