Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

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Re: Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

Post by Stephen White » Fri Jun 14, 2019 11:05 am

Top quality build Mike, enjoying seeing someone bring something new to the party.

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Re: Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

Post by Derek Attree » Fri Jun 14, 2019 11:39 am

Hi Mike
Watching with interest this nice build I have a Lee in the wings waiting.
But just started on the Famo build at the moment.

Regards

Derek
we must stop making stupid predictions

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Re: Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

Post by Mike Conley » Thu Jun 20, 2019 10:33 pm

The last few days I've been working on fabricating the mounts out of brass and soldering all the rear deck fixtures together. I pretty much got'em done the best I could. (In that first pic there's a length of solder ready to be melted.) Then I drilled the mounting holes and JB Welded'em in place. Tomorrow is sunny (NOT rain!) so I'll probably spray the primer.

Build FYI: BEFORE you install all the detail on the rear deck (And I'm here to tell ya!) mount the rear deck on the completed lower hull. I found that the rear hull is SLANTED rearward more than the rear edge of the deck plate is. The deck plate has too sharp square corners where they join. So you need to bevel the rear corners AND the deck edges a little so they match the angle of the rear hull angle. And be sure to push the rear hull plate (the one with the overhang on) forward as far as it can go (tight!).

(***UPDATE on info above on July 3!!: I said to push the back plate in 'tight' above but, as I just found out TODAY, 'tight' AIN'T GOOD enough for the upper deck to mate with the rear plate. I ended up taking off the two 'L' corner brackets (both EN0382) and drilling a little larger hole in the middle hull side bracket holes (that's the short side) so that would give even MORE pivot. The bottom side bracket holes are okay where they are. But by drilling a larger hole in the middle side bracket ones you can pivot the rear plate even MORE forward so it closes the gap between the rear top deck and the rear plate. I have a couple more mods but my camera battery died so when I get new batteries I'll try to show those mods.)

AND the rear hull ain't square or low enough on it's inside edges for the deck plate to go down in flush. Fit the rear deck ON (because of all the filing/grinding needed) BEFORE you install all the delicate little tool mounts cause it's a lot easier! (I know that for a fact!)
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Last edited by Mike Conley on Wed Jul 03, 2019 10:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Armortek Models: Tiger 1, Panther G, Panzer IV, Sd Kfz 7, Sd Kfz 222, M4A3 Sherman, M3 Lee. Tamiya Models: Tiger 1 (3), King Tiger (3), Panther, Sherman (5).

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Re: Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

Post by Robert E Morey » Fri Jun 21, 2019 5:28 am

Great looking details, Mike. Really like the rear air filter boxes and gun counterbalance. Looking fantastic!
Bob

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Re: Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

Post by Mike Conley » Sat Jul 06, 2019 4:55 pm

When you go to install the two side rear panels on the upper deck, remember (because I found out) to file or grind the inside corners at an angle. This is because the panels are square BUT the hull sides on the rear are at a slopped down angle. When those two upper panels are put on they will be higher than the hull side panels, so you have to cut a notch up in'em. You'll probably have to enlarge the holes along the bottom of those panels so the 'L' brackets can go up enough (they want to hold the panels UP). I also had to grind thin the corners of the 'L' brackets that rest on the hull sides.

To keep the two side doors closed I used angle aluminum, drilled two holes aligned with the top door hinge screws, drilled a hole in the bracket and put a bolt in. Those two holes over the door hatch opening are the perfect size to screw a cap head screw in. You don't even have to tap it, just start the screw in and it'll cut it's own threads. To hold the doors closed I picked a stiffer spring for the right door (because it's only for maintenance) and a little lighter spring for the left because that's for the on/off switch. I put the bracket screw downward so it'll be easier to reach in and take off.

For the rear tool boxes I bent some steel rods and welded them in. I'll use a spring to hold the lid on and that way I can store fuses, spare track parts for emergencies, allen wrenches, etc.

Mike
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Armortek Models: Tiger 1, Panther G, Panzer IV, Sd Kfz 7, Sd Kfz 222, M4A3 Sherman, M3 Lee. Tamiya Models: Tiger 1 (3), King Tiger (3), Panther, Sherman (5).

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Re: Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

Post by Mike Conley » Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:24 pm

Getting close! Most of the little detail fixtures are on so today it dawned on me that I'd better get it OFF my homemade barstool swivel before it gets TOO heavy for us to manage! I can finish the 'little' touchups after it's sitting on it's suspension!

Right now it only weighs about 170 pounds but with upper deck (which is just sitting on it), turret, tracks, it'll be 220 pounds. LUCKILY I have my little hundred pound wife to help cause she's STRONG as she can be!
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Armortek Models: Tiger 1, Panther G, Panzer IV, Sd Kfz 7, Sd Kfz 222, M4A3 Sherman, M3 Lee. Tamiya Models: Tiger 1 (3), King Tiger (3), Panther, Sherman (5).

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Re: Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

Post by Mike Conley » Tue Jul 09, 2019 6:03 pm

We took it off the swivel (barstool) this morning. I drove the other tanks off the motorcycle lift, raised it back up and spread the tracks out. I positioned a small ramp then rolled it down on to the tracks. For it's first time I wanted to put the tracks on like was done in the 'factory' back then.

Even though I beveled the sprocket teeth the end connectors were a 'little' snug going on to the teeth. I just used a rubber mallet to gently seat any that wanted to argue about it. Connected and tightened the tracks then slowly drove it off. There was a little discontent with the teeth for a few seconds but they quickly figured out what their job was and are now working GREAT wearing in!

I drove it around on the driveway some then around the yard when I went to check the mail. Then one circle around my sand 'desert battlefield' then I brought it back in and back up on the table. Total driving time was 8 minutes. I think the concrete, asphalt, grass, and sand did a pretty good job getting the paint overspray quickly off the pads.

And those drive motors sure are loud! I hope they quiet down after they've been ran a while.

Now that I know it runs, it's back to details and finishing it! (THEN it's to markings, weathering, making leather straps, etc....)

Mike (the one in Kentucky!)
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Armortek Models: Tiger 1, Panther G, Panzer IV, Sd Kfz 7, Sd Kfz 222, M4A3 Sherman, M3 Lee. Tamiya Models: Tiger 1 (3), King Tiger (3), Panther, Sherman (5).

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Re: Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

Post by Phil Woollard » Tue Jul 09, 2019 7:01 pm

Love it Mike!
Mechanical engineer, Pyrotechnic technician, and small time farmer.
Youtube channel, Magpiespyro. For 1/6th scale video action!
Email; magpiespyro@hotmail.com

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Re: Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

Post by Mike Conley » Wed Jul 10, 2019 7:06 pm

FYI to builders: I'm here to tell ya that it's a GOOD IDEA to ream those wheel bushings somewhat on the slightly 'loose' side!

After my coffee I went out to the garage this morning at 0645 figuring to quickly readjust the slack on the tracks because on that 8 minute test drive they had probably started wearing in and stretched some. Then was going to work on other details. I pushed the M3 forward to take out the little slack below the sprockets and noticed THREE wheels DID NOT MOVE!

I put it on blocks and THREE wheels were seized! And three others were stiff and seriously thinking about locking. SO, for three hours I ended up pulling most of the swingarms off (THANK GOODNESS for those swingarm holes!) so I could get the wheels off. Some wheel axles I could tap out with the hammer/punch and two I DROVE out cause they were tighter'n a banjo string.

When I first reamed those bushings I figured I did a pretty good job and all spun freely with no play, but NOOO, I was sure a bonehead about that! Well, after three JOLLY hours this morning pulling swingarms, driving axles out, reaming, sanding, and putting each back together, these wheels WILL DEFINATELY turn now. They ain't 'sloppy' but I can so slightly feel so tiny movement of play. And they REALLY SPIN now!

I just want to share what I 'happily' found out today!

Mike (the bushing reamer in Kentucky!)
Armortek Models: Tiger 1, Panther G, Panzer IV, Sd Kfz 7, Sd Kfz 222, M4A3 Sherman, M3 Lee. Tamiya Models: Tiger 1 (3), King Tiger (3), Panther, Sherman (5).

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Re: Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

Post by Mike Conley » Mon Jul 15, 2019 3:34 pm

Now that the little wheel bushings/axles episode is resolved I got back to doing minor detailing stuff. I STILL haven't bolted the upper deck on for the final time because each time I do I think 'While that's off I should do this...' Once it's on I'll finish with the rivets, filling the button screws in, and touching up the paint.

Anyway, the driver's hatch could be made to open SO I ordered one of those 'half man' (I'm not talking about 'Game of Thrones') cast bodies from Dave at Armorpax. I painted it (and it looks GREAT but ya can't see it). I borrowed the Dragon cigar smoke'in tanker head and put it on (he'll be 'discharged' soon because he's 'BAD TA DRANK') and a replacement (head) will enlist later. The driver is hard to see so I debated on getting a small 24v light to put below him I can switch on... I don't know...

I made the storage box tool mounts the best I could and used solder/JB Weld/Miliput to attach them on. I made the FAKE lock clasps and used those tiny doll house hinges by cutting off one side by the hinge and JBW'ing'em on close to the lid. Made the loader hatch locking handle. Just little details that can be seen.

I'm starting on painting then weathering the tools and will HAVE TO MAKE the leather straps. Still haven't tried the nylon straps to see if they'd work (which I doubt.)

AND for you builders, it's a GOOD IDEA to install the Commander's turret ring down on the turret BEFORE you put the two side viewing hatches on. I didn't do it and had a HECK of a time squeezing the ring on with them blocking the way.

Mike
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Armortek Models: Tiger 1, Panther G, Panzer IV, Sd Kfz 7, Sd Kfz 222, M4A3 Sherman, M3 Lee. Tamiya Models: Tiger 1 (3), King Tiger (3), Panther, Sherman (5).

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Re: Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

Post by Chris Hall » Mon Jul 15, 2019 4:31 pm

Mike -

I almost hate to say this at the (nearly) end of such a great-looking build, but ...... splash guards around all the viewing ports ? :oops:

All the best,

Chris
2 x Mark IV's (Abt. 14 Beutepanzer Liesel and F30 Flaming Fire II)
Morris Quad, limber and 25-pdr (45RA, Korea 1951)
M3 Lee (25th Dragoons, Burma 1944)

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Re: Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

Post by Mike Conley » Mon Jul 15, 2019 4:57 pm

I pondered those from the beginning. Thought about using small angle brass and screwing them to the hull then Miliput. I've thought about it off and on this whole build.

Finally said to myself that this is a Remote Control Tank and 95% of the people who see it will do good to recognize it AS a 'tank'. I would have had to order angle brass and I don't know how good the Miliput would hold on to the vibration/bouncing. So I talked myself out of it. I'm not a 'rivet counter' but I do like to make it look somewhat presentable.

That and me being FLAT OUT LAZY! Those splash guards not being there will give the NEXT owner of this M3 something to do.

Mike
Armortek Models: Tiger 1, Panther G, Panzer IV, Sd Kfz 7, Sd Kfz 222, M4A3 Sherman, M3 Lee. Tamiya Models: Tiger 1 (3), King Tiger (3), Panther, Sherman (5).

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Re: Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

Post by Chris Hall » Mon Jul 15, 2019 6:34 pm

Mike -

At least you were aware of them ! I totally take the rest of your points. I aim to give it a go when I get back to my own build - for my own satisfaction, and those who really appreciate and understand such things, not the "Great Unwashed" :)

I'm not sure that angled strip is the way to go, though. I was discussing the issue with Stephen White while looking at the Bovington Grant (at least a double name drop there :oops:), and he pointed out that, when reduced to 1/6 scale, they would be barely a bump, perhaps only a couple of mm. So perhaps you're right after all.

Any opinions from the other M3 builders ?

All the best,

Chris
2 x Mark IV's (Abt. 14 Beutepanzer Liesel and F30 Flaming Fire II)
Morris Quad, limber and 25-pdr (45RA, Korea 1951)
M3 Lee (25th Dragoons, Burma 1944)

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Re: Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

Post by Mike Conley » Sun Jul 21, 2019 1:54 pm

A couple 'Tips for Builders'...

The little Lee commander's MG turret traverse bracket & motor need to be spaced down with washers. After I installed both turrets on the tank, the main turret traversed but the little one didn't. When I pulled the little turret off I found that it's drive motor pulley was pressed up TIGHT! I first put one washer between each side to lower it, still too tight. Then two, same thing. SO I took the motor off and put three little washers between the motor & bracket to lower it more. Now it clears and can spin and the rubber belt lines up fine. Just check the motor pulley clearance before you put the little turret on permanently.

When I was installing the rear deck on the hull I put two button head screws in it's rear each side. But I found they kept the front of the deck WAY low inside the hull at the front! I didn't want to pry (force) the front UP so I took the rear side screws OUT and just put three BHS screws for the deck at the FRONT on each side. The front is the 'load bearing' area of the rear deck anyway because it helps hold up the three upper deck rear plates that support the turret deck up. The tail of the rear deck don't care because it's laying on the rear plate notch and the rear overhang bracket. Leave the 6 front side screws loose until after you tighten the 'L' side plate bracket bottom screws. When you tighten the 'L' screws to the rear deck it pulls the deck up tight. THEN tighten the 6 side screws.

AND I put two brass bolts with nuts in the rear overhang (in the middle) for the only reason to hold the rear plate FORWARD. Remember I drilled the center holes larger on the side corner brackets so I could pivot the rear (overhang) plate forward to meet the rear deck. Works great so when driving the rear overhang plate won't start to vibrate loose and start rotating BACK away from the rear deck. I used the center two bolts/nuts (the rest are fake brass bolt heads) because I could reach up inside the overhang between the air cleaners to put the nuts on.
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Armortek Models: Tiger 1, Panther G, Panzer IV, Sd Kfz 7, Sd Kfz 222, M4A3 Sherman, M3 Lee. Tamiya Models: Tiger 1 (3), King Tiger (3), Panther, Sherman (5).

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Re: Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

Post by Mike Conley » Mon Jul 22, 2019 5:32 pm

Here's something else I've found out on the hatches and rear engine doors. It's good to mic the pins and use the closest larger drill bit to drill thru the door and one of the hinge holes. That way the hatch/door could swing open because the original holes are TIGHT on the pins.

I only drill one hinge side (on the rear engine doors the upper one) and door hole larger and the other hinge hole drill only half way thru. That way the pins can be tapped in and be tight and won't back out.

I realized this because I MESSED UP on the first hinge I did, one of the top rear door hinges, and (like an IDIOT!) drove the pin in. Now that one hinge is 'tighter'ern a motor grader crankshaft'! If I tried to open that door that one hinge would break because it's so tight. I should have realized that BEFORE I did it because being able to open those rear doors is great arm access inside to do stuff.

And PLEASE don't feel I'm posting stuff to talk, this is what I've suddenly encountered (usually accompanied with a LOT of 'NAUGHTY WORDS!') and want to pass it on (when I can REMEMBER it.) I'm just trying to help.

Mike
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Armortek Models: Tiger 1, Panther G, Panzer IV, Sd Kfz 7, Sd Kfz 222, M4A3 Sherman, M3 Lee. Tamiya Models: Tiger 1 (3), King Tiger (3), Panther, Sherman (5).

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