1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank - build

This section is for builds that are not strictly Tamiya or Heng Long. For instance, replacing the electronics from a WSN or Matorro, or even a scratch-build.

Postby lmcq11 » Sat Sep 19, 2020 11:41 pm

Hi,

Here is a new project, trying to make the Classy Hobby M5A1 Stuart RC capable.

The WW2 US Army Stuart light tank does not need much introduction, its a classic.

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1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank - build


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1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank- build


The Classy Hobby is a static model with a partial interior.

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1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank- build


For such a small tank, the number of parts is surprisingly important and complex, it includes engines details, bulkheads and full turret interior. It also comes with a Culin hedgerow cutter.

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1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank- build


The suspension will obviously be the weakest point and some efforts will be required to reinforce it, especially the idler. As worst, this will be a table top RC tank. But at least, it will be "alive" instead of being a shelf queen. All components are present to make this an RC tank.

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1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank- build


Turret rotation and gun elevation should not be an issue.

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1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank- build


Strong road wheels.

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1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank- build


Separate track links are made of 7 parts each. Lack of metal pins could be an issue.

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1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank- build


First task is to see if i can fit a gearbox inside. The plan is to install a set of Mato Panzer III slow gearbox.

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1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank- build


The hull is a one piece part, which helps for solidity.

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1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank- build


Continuing on following post
Last edited by lmcq11 on Mon Sep 21, 2020 1:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby lmcq11 » Sat Sep 19, 2020 11:53 pm

The frontal area is grinded a bit to make some rooms for the last gear to rotate.

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1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank - build


First, a base for the right gear is created.

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1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank - build


Right gear installed.

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1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank - build


The left gearbox needs to be installed at an angle.

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1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank - build


Rear view of the elevated base that was created for the left gearbox.

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1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank - build


Dry fitting is required to make sure it fits totally inside the hull.

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1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank - build


This is the best i could do, one gear is sticking out a bit.

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1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank - build
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No problem, the inside of the glacis is thick and can be grinded a bit for the gear to clear it.

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1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank - build


The glacis is then able to rest correctly on the side armor. At this time, there is no gluing, this is just dry fitting. The glacis should be held in place with small magnets.

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1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank - build


Here we are, a Stuart tank with Mato gearbox. Now, the shafts will need to be cut to the right length once the suspension has been build. The plan is to create RC Stuart sprockets by applying the kit dented sprocket wheel on Heng Long Sherman core body for connection to the Mato shaft.

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1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank - build


Next step, the suspension.

Regards, Louis

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Postby PainlessWolf » Sun Sep 20, 2020 12:32 am

Louis!
Good engineering there! As I am rebuilding one of these in 1/6th, I will follow along for detail ideas. ;o)
regards,
Painless
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Postby FredtheFrench » Sun Sep 20, 2020 12:38 am

Nice project. I like this light tank. :thumbup: :clap:
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Postby Ad Lav » Sun Sep 20, 2020 7:33 am

Great start Louis!
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Postby Exhibitedbrute » Sun Sep 20, 2020 8:35 am

I’m glad someone is doing this as I have the notion of doing the same ever since my local model shop got these kits in

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Postby Kaczor » Sun Sep 20, 2020 9:09 am

Great! On my to-do list also :) Nice to know that standard gearboxes will fit with some work. Only thing this project need is metal tracks and wheels.
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Postby Model Builder 4 » Sun Sep 20, 2020 12:15 pm

Great start Louis :clap: following along with this build, I have one in the stash which i pre ordered from axles. As you say it is not short on the parts count :crazy: I was hoping that some manufacturer may come along with a metal track set for it making them more robust and thus saving me putting together the hundreds of pieces 8O Anyway I look forward to it's progress and the way that you build and photograph everything in a methodical manner will surely be a massive help to anyone thinking of building one of these like myself :thumbup:

Cheers, Lee.
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Postby HERMAN BIX » Sun Sep 20, 2020 12:24 pm

Who'd have thunk it !, a Mato PzIII gear set fits into a static Stuart :O ................
Oh yeah, Mr Mcq11 did ;)
Call me anything you like, but is there any way a set of Sherman tracks that look the same, could be narrowed, and made to work ?
The set on Mr Hugills Firefly loom the same visually, but are wider. Could they be re-engineered to work ?
Ive not considered pitch etc, but the Stuart ones look the same but narrower.
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Postby Exhibitedbrute » Sun Sep 20, 2020 1:13 pm

Mr bix I believe that would be possible my dad did it to some panther tracks to fit his hetzer but it did take about a week and several dremel discs to do it

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Postby lmcq11 » Sun Sep 20, 2020 1:42 pm

Thank you everyone for your interest and encouragements!

I think that what will decide the fate of this build is the suspension. It is both intricate and delicate, especially the rear idler that seems to hold by threads. That's why it is next on the agenda to see the situation and how it can be made stronger, replacing plastic shafts with metal tubing where appropriate. Contrary to the Leopard C2 build, 'll have to do some weight management on this build. I'm not sure how much pressure the suspension will be able to take so the plan for now is to see how the light plastic tracks and suspension behave, and keep the model upgradable whenever new options seem possible, or necessary. I gave it a slow gearbox to help reduce the pressure on the suspension and tracks but i already added a lot of weight. I'll see today.
Louis

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Postby lmcq11 » Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:47 am

The Stuart has 4 intricate suspension units, 2 on each sides.

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1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank - build
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The kit provide a plastic shaft for these that connects to the hull at the square section.

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1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank - build


The shaft does not go far into the hull and is inadequate for RC. The whole thing should be replaced by a metal one.

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1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank - build


No need for a lot of engineering. The plan is simply to do something like the real tank and replace by metal ones.

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1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank - build


After drilling the shaft housing end to end, a 3mm brass rod is put in place for a solid shaft.

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1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank - build


It was easy to drill through the shaft housing end to end. An inner brass tube is inserted for the connection to the external plate on the bogie.

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1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank - build


A 3mm inner diameter thin brass tube is inserted into the suspension unit base for a tight connection for the module to swivel.

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1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank - build


The Bogie has 4 swinging arms. They are held with small pin connectors that are easily broken and inadequate for RC. I decided to replace all pin connectors by brass rods.

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1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank - build
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Then every attachment point joint is redone in brass rods and tubes. It is important to have a good reserve of brass of all sizes. The selection of the material takes some time.

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1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank - build


The shaft for the road wheel and for the moving spring unit above are also replaced by brass.

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1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank - build


Continuing on following post
Last edited by lmcq11 on Mon Sep 21, 2020 3:40 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby lmcq11 » Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:58 am

The first unit is ready and attached to the hull. It is complicated.

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1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank - build


Then the external plate is installed and the unit is thoroughly tested for performance and for any weakness. It is surprisingly quite solid, well, after a lot of modifications that is. It is partially operating like the real one. Someone wanting to push it further by splitting the arms for the roadwheels and adding a real spring would probably have a hard time but it is technically doable. I personally prefer to move on.

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1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank - build


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1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank - build


After the first prototype is made in about 3 hour of analysis, design and buildup, an assembly chain is created for the 3 other bogies and all is done in about 3 more hours.

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1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank - build


The suspension bogies are all installed and working well. I am satisfied with the results. The kit shafts and connectors were weak but the main plastic parts are well designed, quite solid and well detailed. Once held in place with brass rods and tubes, its RC ready.

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1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank - build


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1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank - build


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1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank - build


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1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank - build


Next step is to look into the idler situation and see what can be done.

Regards, Louis

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Postby Jimster » Mon Sep 21, 2020 1:28 am

Hey that’s some nice articulation. Looks great.
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Postby Estnische » Mon Sep 21, 2020 11:47 am

Wonderful work again Louis. How will you keep track tension without springs?
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Postby lmcq11 » Mon Sep 21, 2020 1:15 pm

Estnische wrote:How will you keep track tension without springs?


I am learning about the M5 suspension as i go. The weight of the gearbox should keep the suspension down and flat at the front. Its the big wheel at the back that is both a roadwheel and idler/tensioner that will need a spring allowing the arm to swivel up and down. That will be the tricky one.
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1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank - build
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Postby ronnie42 » Mon Sep 21, 2020 11:18 pm

Another build thats problem solving as it goes, lots of tips again.

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Postby lmcq11 » Tue Sep 22, 2020 2:01 am

HERMAN BIX wrote:Call me anything you like, but is there any way a set of Sherman tracks that look the same, could be narrowed, and made to work ?
The set on Mr Hugills Firefly loom the same visually, but are wider. Could they be re-engineered to work ?
Ive not considered pitch etc, but the Stuart ones look the same but narrower.

Hi Herman, i wanted to reply to you. I had 30 minutes available after work and i built a section of Stuart tracks to see the situation. See below.

The Classy Hobby Stuart kit comes with late type T36E6 articulated individual track links in plastic. Each links has 5 parts needing to be carefully glued while ensuring the connectors remain loose.

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1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank - build


Well molded but they have a design feature that i dislike very much, its the separately molded side tooth pins that need to be glued on each connector. This is a bizarre fragile design even for a static kit. On an RC track, this is a potential show stopper. Once the teeth are glued on place, i will take the step of applying extra glue on the outside joint to try to keep them in place as best they can.

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1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank - build


They compare well to a graph found on the web.

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1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank - build
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For the guys who were thinking of resizing Sherman tracks to fit the Stuart, you can forget about it. It was my hope that the kit plastic pads could be mounted on the Mato connectors and then cut the extra pin length. But there is no way. See the difference in size below between the M5 tracks and a set of Mato Sherman.

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1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank - build


Everything is smaller on the Stuart tracks.

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1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank - build


The spacing between the links is also shorter.

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1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank - build


So, you have the answer Herman to your question above, its not doable.

The kit tracks are well articulated but need to be well assembled by the builder for any hope of supporting some table top RC movement in a happy path scenario. These will have to do until a company like R-Model comes out with a better set of metal tracks, like they did recently for the Takom Panzer 1.

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1/16 RC M5A1 Stuart Light tank - build


Regards, Louis

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Postby HERMAN BIX » Tue Sep 22, 2020 3:33 am

What a shame............well at least now you know and anyone else with the kit knows not to waste time looking too .
Like you say, for a careful table-top runner, they will do until an option comes around.
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Postby Kaczor » Tue Sep 22, 2020 6:58 am

Let's hope metal tracks will appear on the market, as was the case with the Panzer 38 (t) ;)
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