Long time no posts here (the project is 1-year old soon). Time to update. One thing I'm sure that the statue of "efficienct modelling and time management" will NOT look like me
As I declared the hull interior to be almost-ready, I started to work on the exterior. Starting from here:
As can be seen the model was made by the two sponson machinegun, however the real M3A1 Stuarts had no sponson machinegun. They had square or more often round steel plate welded in place. I found photos with Stuarts having this oval thing only on the right side, the left was looking like had been made without the hole.
Other issue was the welding: I sanded the side of the body as originally had rivets (typical to M3s, but not on M3A1s). Used some styrene to imitate weld seams:
The hatch-frame was riveted as well though it was not typical. I used the two "T-frame" provided in the kit, cut the hinges from one, sanded and glued in place resulting this "from-to" picture:
Glued the frame in place and started to rework the turret ring. The M3A1 had armored turret ring though the kit provided something maybe used on Honeys, or so. I used some two-part epoxy putty. I liked the result till my wife came in the room and said "Ehhh, this is really ugly, what's this yellowish white thing around?". Later brought a light dinner:
...and I forgave
So I "up-armored" the turret ring. Not worried about uglyness as it will be covered by the turret when ready.
I used the Eduard PE set to upgrade the hatch doors. No big changes and will not be really visible (doors will be opened up) but looks better, I think. The right one is the kit original, the left is upgraded.
And finally I started to alter the back side of the hull. As wrote in the first post, there was some difference between the kit and the real M3A1 part, as seen here:
I sanded down the kit part and after several tries (and cries) I glued an ABS sheet there, after careful bending. The inside was reinforced and the result is quite pleasing thougn not 100% looking like the original.
Reworked the kit part of the ventillation "door". It would be even better to scratch a new one because the kit part is much higher than the original one but I was lazy on that day.
The air filters were converted to diesel-powered M3A1 - and yes, it is completely different than on the real one. I tried to place the tube like on the original diesels (picture in S. Zalogas's building Stuarts book, p.33.) with no succes. I didn't have turned air-filters and the kit filters could not be reworked nicely (big holes on them, etc) and that lead me to the decision: change the placement. It looks quite OK, but from this point it is not a diesel, instead it's a "fantasy" Stuart. I'll cover this part of the tank with stuff so won't be visible but...
I used some PE to enhance the boxes on the rear fender and to represent the screw-heads typical to the original. Well... tried to align them in line and hold the same distance between them... I swear
No matter, I like the result. This is the butt of my little tank:
... and a look at the front, before saying good-night.
and now: good night