An-Bri-RC SU-85

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 Raminator » Sun May 02, 2021 2:50 am

Long time no see, lads. I think it's been about eighteen months? We've had to move house another two times, work's been busy because of COVID-related staff cuts, there have been loads of things to sort out with the new home build and I've had periods where I've been unwell again. Thank you again to those who asked after me while I was gone, it's genuinely touching.

I wanted to ease myself back into things, so I thought I'd start with a fairly straightforward project. I had a resin SU-85 kit that I bought from Andreas Brinker before he sadly passed away, and I didn't want it to go to waste. I came up with a few basic goals for the project:
    - Make something along the lines of a stock Heng Long setup to prevent feature creep and stop me getting bogged down; HL electronics, airsoft, elevation, etc.
    - Use as much of the original kit as possible so that nothing went to waste; although the design is not super-accurate, the parts are all well made.
    - Sell the tank when it was done, so that there would be a definite end point; I still haven't finished my T-34/76 I started more than five years ago!
Here's where it started late last year, the original kit and donor T-34/85.

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A few days of butchery reduced the Heng Long upper to this:

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And a truly heroic amount of sanding got the resin fighting compartment down to size.

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I suspect the kit was designed with the intent that you'd remove basically the entire T-34 glacis and superstructure sides, but I'd learned from a previous Juckenburg kit that that's asking for trouble. I wanted to retain as much of the ABS hull as possible for rigidity. To help with that, I decided to use M3 bolts to pin the resin kit in place in addition to generous amounts of the gel super glue recommended by Herman, Painless and others.

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Starting to look like something!

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Sitting the combined upper hull over the airsoft gun, you can see the distinctive low silhouette forming:

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This is about as far as I got before I became unwell again. Since then, progress has been fairly slow and inconsistent until recently.
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Postby Raminator » Sun May 02, 2021 2:52 am

I've been making a bit of a concerted push lately, but I don't have any in-progress photos. Here's where we are this morning after a few thin coats of automotive primer:

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You might have noticed that the mantlet housing is an almost completely different shape. I'd estimate that I probably removed about two thirds of its mass hollowing it out and reshaping the front to fit a workable elevation arc. It's been reinforced with styrene internally and detailed with Tamiya putty and Meng bolts externally. The amount of dust this kind of work generates is tremendous, I'm glad we don't have carpet!

Mounting the airsoft gun and allowing elevation was tricky and required a little bit of maths, a lot of plastic cement and even more luck. From left to right, these three pieces mount the mantlet to the airsoft gun, mount the airsoft gun to the hull and act as a hopper for BBs.

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Everything mounted and removable in case of repairs or upgrades. Note the upside-down hook on the back of the airsoft gun to make up for the low ceiling height.

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A view into the gunner's hatch showing the chute that feeds into the mantlet housing. I've test-fired the gun a few times and everything works.

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Next up is going to be the lower hull, making room for the big airsoft gun hanging down into the belly and adjusting the ride height (the tracks suspended in mid-air really bugs me on the HL T-34). I've got a metal driver's hatch and headlight on the way from Dioramaparts in Germany, plus the kit's metal hatches for the gunner and loader's positions. Hopefully should be ready to share some more progress soon!
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Postby tankme » Sun May 02, 2021 4:51 am

It's a good start. I really wish I had seen this build before I ripped into my T-34 upper on my SU-122 build. I cut the whole front off like it said and now trying to figure out the best way to add stability back into the upper.

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Postby HERMAN BIX » Sun May 02, 2021 6:05 am

So great to have you back Mr Ram, and put me down as first offer on the finished article !! ;)
One thing too is to use scrap H/l plastic melted to (pick your plastic) with a heated screwdriver to add strength and surface area to the bits you are joining. T34 mudguards are prime material !!

Charge on with the build mate, cant wait :thumbup:
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Postby tankme » Sun May 02, 2021 6:32 am

Good idea Herman. I actually have tons of model sprues I keep for projects. I'll have to try it.

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Postby Estnische » Sun May 02, 2021 7:55 am

Welcome back Ram! Good to see you around, I've struggled to find time myself lately.
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Postby Tubby » Sun May 02, 2021 10:21 am

This looks fantastic

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Postby jee » Sun May 02, 2021 10:40 am

looks great, awesome job
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Postby maxmekker » Sun May 02, 2021 5:20 pm

Exelent step by step. Thanks :thumbup:
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Postby General Jumbo01 » Mon May 03, 2021 10:36 am

You've spurred me to do some more work on my SU-100! Nice looking model

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Postby Raminator » Thu May 06, 2021 1:51 pm

Cheers for the kind words everyone, I appreciate it.

The surgery on the lower hull is all done, I've taken a notch out of the battery box to allow the airsoft gun to hang down into the belly and elevate (the stock nicad doesn't fit, but a lipo or liion will). I've also welded in sections of 5mm styrene rod to raise the roadwheels a bit closer to the correct line.

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I used diluted Tamiya putty to texture the front and rear plates so they match the rest of the vehicle, it'll tie them all together once they're the same colour.

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Now all I need are the driver's hatch and headlight. Whatever happened to the supposed vaunted German efficiency?

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Once I've got the lower primed, it'll be time to reassemble the running gear and get the electronics installed, whether the headlight's there or not. It'll be easy enough to install after the fact.
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Postby General Jumbo01 » Thu May 06, 2021 2:21 pm

Just so you know, in the last photo you show the tow couplings and, just above each one, two smaller 'fittings'. These should be fitted the other way up so the long ends just touch the main coupling. They stop the cable jumping off but swivel to release the tow cables.
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Postby tankme » Thu May 06, 2021 11:28 pm

I ordered from Dioramaparts on Ebay like 2 years ago. After a month of not seeing any shipping notice I Emailed them to get a status. They cancelled my entire order and I ended up ordering the parts through Ludwigs. Granted I'm in the US, but I wasn't complaining about long shipping times. I just wanted an update. Seeing that they cancelled it, they hadn't even sent it after a month despite being marked as shipped.

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Postby HERMAN BIX » Thu May 06, 2021 11:48 pm

Don’t worry about the headlight Mr Ram, I will still be happy to take it without one ! :haha: :haha:
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Postby Raminator » Sat May 08, 2021 2:02 am

Just about wrapped up now, all it needs is the final reassembly and then it's ready to go to someone competent!

Got some shiny bling installed in the form of metal gun barrel, mantlet, hatches, hinges, periscope, antenna mount and pistol ports. I've used spare track links from my Trumpeter T-34 kit because they've got much nicer surface detail than the monolithic block that comes with the Heng Long kit. The hatches are all functional.

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None of the detail parts (still left in green) are permanently attached. I'll package them separately so they make the trip safely, and the new owner can decide what best to do with them. Most of them aren't bad at all, but the MDSh smoke canisters on the rear are probably some of the poorest-moulded pieces I've ever seen.

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General Jumbo01 wrote:Just so you know, in the last photo you show the tow couplings and, just above each one, two smaller 'fittings'. These should be fitted the other way up so the long ends just touch the main coupling. They stop the cable jumping off but swivel to release the tow cables.

Yes they are, well spotted General! That's what I get for being lazy and trusting the Heng Long instructions instead of getting up to check reference images on my computer in another room. I'm not actually sure that they'd really fit the right way around though, there doesn't seem to be enough of a gap there.

tankme wrote:I ordered from Dioramaparts on Ebay like 2 years ago. After a month of not seeing any shipping notice I Emailed them to get a status. They cancelled my entire order and I ended up ordering the parts through Ludwigs. Granted I'm in the US, but I wasn't complaining about long shipping times. I just wanted an update. Seeing that they cancelled it, they hadn't even sent it after a month despite being marked as shipped.

I've had good service from them in the past and they responded to my query quickly but predictably blamed COVID for the shipping delays and said it'd get there eventually. Given how poor the German postal service is at the best of times, I think I'll have to forward the hatch and headlight on when (if?) I receive them.
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Postby General Jumbo01 » Sat May 08, 2021 9:44 am

Those hook and catch tips are supposed to touch, the smaller catch stops a tow loop popping off the hook. The smaller catch if lifted to release the loop.

Maybe more serious, you have yet to fit the large mantlet 'cap' that protects the gun mounting. It is hinged so it is able to lift with the gun. This item is is fitted to both the SU 85 and 100. Do you have the part? I'm trying to he helpful (though probably come across as a pest) but currently building a SU100 means l'm familiar with the details!
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Postby General Jumbo01 » Sat May 08, 2021 9:51 am

Here's a photo to explain betterImageImage

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Postby Raminator » Sun May 09, 2021 10:15 am

Electronics and running gear installed yesterday afternoon, the lowered suspension is definitely looking the part. I've clocked the springs to make up for the additional weight of the resin fighting compartment, I think the stance is just right. I've dry-fitted the driver's hatch from the donor T-34 because the gaping hole in the front is annoying me.

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General Jumbo01 wrote:Maybe more serious, you have yet to fit the large mantlet 'cap' that protects the gun mounting. It is hinged so it is able to lift with the gun. This item is is fitted to both the SU 85 and 100. Do you have the part? I'm trying to he helpful (though probably come across as a pest) but currently building a SU100 means l'm familiar with the details!

Not a pest at all, I appreciate the constructive criticism! The kit did come with the weather shield, but I won't use it because it's frankly terrible; easily the worst part of the kit.

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What the hell is this, an ushanka?

I don't have the skills or material to make something out of brass, but you motivated me to at least have a crack at it. A few hours this morning and evening with the old compass cutter, razor saw and sandpaper:

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It's not 100% accurate, but nothing on this build really is (it ain't no Trumpeter, that's for sure). This attempt's definitely an improvement over not having anything, though! I'll fit some hinges and make sure that it doesn't interfere with the mantlet's elevation, putty out the gaps and give it a shot of primer. Should be ready for its new owner to work their magic on it!
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Postby General Jumbo01 » Sun May 09, 2021 11:14 am

Looking good. Someone will enjoy owning it. How can you bear to sell though?? A few of us would probably benefit from advice on that!

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Postby HERMAN BIX » Sun May 09, 2021 11:37 am

General Jumbo01 wrote:Looking good. Someone will enjoy owning it. How can you bear to sell though?? A few of us would probably benefit from advice on that!

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Oh he'll be ok, I will offer him counseling & a hug if he needs it !
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