Saturday, 30 November 2013

M48 - The suspension is killing me

My next project is Revell's 1/40 M48 Bridgelayer. It's one of their classic kits from 1959, making this one of their earliest releases. It's a re-issue of course, but still using the original tools. There is flash and ejector pins and seamlines all over the place where they shouldn't be, but for a kit designed 50+ years ago, I'd call the quality excellent.


You get a box FULL of plastic, but many of the parts have "fallen" of the sprues. This is partly because of the sprue layout (some parts of the sprues are very thin and just waiting to break or bend with the slightest handling) and probably also from handling the box a little too rough. (not me, the vendor)


One thing that does compensate for this, is that almost all the parts have the part number engraved, so even loose parts can be identified. Unfortunately, this number will also be visible here and there on the finished model, but I'm not about to go file it all off.


The bridge, carried around by the M48 to be deployed over gaps up to 60 feet wide, is a very lovely and intricate build. It's meant to be workable, so I'll have to be carefull during painting to make sure it remains like that.

One of the parts of the workable mechanism is a cilinder with a metal spring inside. Care must be taken during construction of the cilinder - consisting of 9 parts - as the spring will try to push it open.
It's possible to shorten the spring so it's equally long as the cilinder's inside, but I did not dare take this risk, so as not to reduce it's working range.


Now, on to my reason for this post's title. The tank's suspension has many parts, ALL of which require sanding in one or more points. There are 12 torsion bars with a big seam, 18 pieces to keep them in place, 10 return rollers (2 parts each) and 14 road wheels (3 parts each), making a total of 92 parts just for the propulsion system. I sat down in front of the television, sanding each part carefully over the course of an evening. It does look good, though!



There are big locator pins inside and in the back, hinting at some kind of extra modification. The drive sprockets are movable, as are all the wheels, so I'm guessing this kit was able to be motorized.


While looking for part 10R on a particularly wobbly piece of sprue, I accidentally misjudged the shape of the part and cut it in half, thinking it was a sprue attachment point. After realizing my mistake, I was able to glue it in place as good as possible, but traces of my error remain visible.


Below is a hint for storing small pieces, ready for assembly, but not yet being used. Don't just throw them in the box, they tend to disappear.


In the back is a big gap, again assuming for possible motorization, which is neither mentioned nor shown in the building instructions. I could leave it as is, but I'm going to try to fill it up and remove any trace of it altogether. I started by glueing a piece of sprue to the inside (black sprue, in case you don't see it in the second picture). Once fully cured, I'll add putty and sand flush (or at least try to).


I like movable parts and this kit is full of them, like the turrets seen below. The tricky part will be to keep them movable after they have been painted.


1 comment:

  1. Well i agree it shows it's age but the moulds look crisp and detailed. You have to love the tedious jobs of sanding so many parts, but think of the big picture....look forward to more.

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