A34 Comet Mk I Type A - New Build

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Stephen White
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Re: A34 Comet Mk I Type A - New Build

Post by Stephen White » Mon Feb 27, 2012 6:56 pm

Back in the workshop after a few months away.

I've been in correspondence with Dr Stephen Pannell, whose father drove Celerity in 1945. Steve has done some amazing research and we can now plot Celerity's position on every one of its days in action between Belgium and Northern Germany. That must be very rare if not unique for a particular tank. Steve has also found some first hand accounts of the action on the Aller Bridgehead to which I referred earlier. This well known batttle involved a Tiger (F01) from Kampfgruppe Grossan (also known as Kampfgruppe Fehrmann), resulting in the Tiger being knocked out by Comets of Third Tanks. The first person accounts give a much fuller picture of a very intense battle involving a complete Naval Infantry division equipped with very effective Panzerfausts and involving some close quarter fighting in woods which called on the best of tank-infantry co-operation.

The geometry of the join between the toe plate and the hull floor on the kit differs significantly from the real vehicle and gives a very misleading impression of the thickness of the plate (makes it look too thin). So I've concealed the join and re-positioned the weld in the correct place:

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Regards

Stephen

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Adrian Harris
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Re: A34 Comet Mk I Type A - New Build

Post by Adrian Harris » Mon Feb 27, 2012 7:06 pm

Nice tweak to the hull plates Stephen :D

I must say when I saw that tank name I assumed you've missed out the 'b' :oops: but having looked it up, I can see it's quite an apt name for tank as swift as the Comet proved to be.

Adrian.
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Re: A34 Comet Mk I Type A - New Build

Post by Derek Attree » Tue Feb 28, 2012 7:16 am

Hi Stephen
Welcome back :D

Derek
we must stop making stupid predictions

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Re: A34 Comet Mk I Type A - New Build

Post by simon_manning » Tue Feb 28, 2012 6:48 pm

good to see you back on the comet trail stephen, all adds to more interest on the forum, regards simon.

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Re: A34 Comet Mk I Type A - New Build

Post by Stephen White » Sun Mar 04, 2012 2:52 pm

Thanks guys. Hope to see some of you at Bovington on 31st March when the Tank Museum runs the restored Tiger 131.

I've been posting above some of the historical stuff on Celerity. For anyone interested in more Comet operational history, there are two threads on the Worldwar2talk forum worth a read. My friend Steve Pannell has done a huge amount of research into the battle for the Aller bridgehead when 3RTR came face to face with the Tiger and defeated it. In particular, Steve has tracked down a first hand account by the troop leader which pulls no punches. The thread is here:

http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/allied-uni ... omets.html

There is also a mystery about failures with the first Comets issued which popular wisdom has attributed to the track tensioners and has even been used to explain the change in idler. Steve has gone a long way to identifying the issue to faulty drive pinions in the final drives. He has also established that the all steel spoked idlers were almost entirely fitted post war. I'll be having a go therefore at makng new idlers with the rubber tyres. Steve's thread is here:

http://ww2talk.com/forum/weapons-techno ... fault.html

Regards

Stephen

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Re: A34 Comet Mk I Type A - New Build

Post by Stephen White » Sun Mar 04, 2012 7:07 pm

The driver's and hull gunner's hatches are a very tight and awkward fit, as I discovered on a recent visit to Bovington. I've never seen a photograph of a wartime crewman sitting in the hatch, which would be extremlely uncomfortable. So for the model, the choice is hatch shut or open and showing a lot of the interior. The front bulkhead is especially visible from outside. I've decided it needs some interior detail. The Resicast kit comes with a full interior fit and the excellent photo-etch is very detailed.

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I've used this as a pattern for creating the transverse and lateral bulkheads. This is the intial fit, detailing to follow:

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Stephen

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Re: A34 Comet Mk I Type A - New Build

Post by Tim Bowman » Tue Mar 06, 2012 4:19 pm

Hi Stephen

Your Comet is coming along very nicely.(no surprise there). I've climbed into a Comet as well and those forward hatches are a trick to squeeze though. Of course I'm not an 18 year old anymore and maybe that has something to do with it. :oops:

Keep up the great work. Always fun to see your new posts.

kindest regards
Tim
"So long as one isn't carrying one's head under one's arm, things aren't too bad." – Erwin Rommel

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Re: A34 Comet Mk I Type A - New Build

Post by Stephen White » Mon Apr 09, 2012 6:36 pm

Managed the intial fabrication of the interior bulkheads today. Some cleaning up and priming to do but the trial fit worked OK:

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Stephen

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Re: A34 Comet Mk I Type A - New Build

Post by Adrian Harris » Mon Apr 09, 2012 7:17 pm

Interesting looking parts Stephen - is that really all the room the poor guys at the front had ?

Adrian.
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Re: A34 Comet Mk I Type A - New Build

Post by Stephen White » Sun Apr 15, 2012 9:57 am

Adrian

Prompted by your comment, I thought I'd introduce the driver and hull machine gunner to their cabs:

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It's a very tight fit and the cabs are not full of equipment. You have to admire the Comet crewmen.

Here's the completed bulkhead, less some weathering to do to finish:

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I posted earlier on about the early Comet Type A hulls having a chamfer at the rear which they inherited from Cromwell. The chamfer was built up with a much thinner material and can be clearly seen on Steve Stuart's great photos of one of the Isle of Wight hulls. (The other two don't have this feature, being later production hulls). With chamfer:

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Without:

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I've machined the appropriate chamfer:

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You can easily distinguish these early hulls by the lack of a sixth bolt at the top of the exhaust blanking plates. The top bolt would have coincided with a thin weld and wouldn't have been much use, so was not included. Here is Celerity, the 3RTR tank on which I'm basing my build:

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Later hulls have this sixth bolt:

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Regards

Stephen

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Re: A34 Comet Mk I Type A - New Build

Post by Adrian Harris » Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:05 pm

"Terry" does look somewhat cramped :shock:

I believe Dragon figures scale out at about 6' tall, where as WWII vets were more likely to be 5' 6 or thereabouts.

Adrian.
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Re: A34 Comet Mk I Type A - New Build

Post by michael hilton » Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:07 pm

Hello Stephen, magnificent Comet, even at this early stage. I have fitted four 1/6 Dragon figures...two of these are doctored, ie head and shoulders. I don't know how you find the space in the hull. Enjoying your build....Mick

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Re: A34 Comet Mk I Type A - New Build

Post by Stephen White » Sun Apr 22, 2012 9:27 pm

Work on the rear hull side panels. I millled off a couple of mm to provide for the rebate and welded seam with the rear hull plate and corrected the external bolt positions:

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You can see that the plans in the Taylor book show four equally spaced bolts as has the kit and the Bronco model.


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The early hulls had a different pattern shown in this photo:

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Regards

Stephen

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Re: A34 Comet Mk I Type A - New Build

Post by Stephen White » Sun Apr 29, 2012 9:24 pm

A break from the hull.

Celerity, in common with most of the wartime Comets, retained the early pattern idlers, which were similar to the roadwheels.

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These initial roadwheels were found to be unsatisfactory because they clogged with mud too easily:

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The later type were introduced without much haste as later production vehicles became available:

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Fortunately the archives at the Tank Museum have a sectioned drawing of the original idler:

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The original idler is much wider than the later one supplied in the kit so I decided to attempt to machine it in two halves like the roadwheels. Here are the first cuts of the blank to provide a flange for mounting the hub. Given the size of the blank, workholding in the lathe is a real challenge and the hub will provide sufficient purchase for turning.

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Stephen

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Re: A34 Comet Mk I Type A - New Build

Post by Steve Stuart » Sun Apr 29, 2012 11:37 pm

Hi Stephen
It looks as though the original idlers had rubber tyres, how are you dealing with this have you got a source for something suitable if they are needed?
I am watching this with great interest, once you have it sorted please can you provide dimensions as I may well wish to follow in your path!
All the best, Steve

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