26 May 2011

Realistic Tow Cables for Amored Vehicles - Part 3

In the previous two posts, I demonstrated how to replace a broken or inaccurate plastic model kit part (tow cables) with better detailed twisted wire.(see Realistic Tow Cables for Armored Vehicles - Parts 1 & 2 in this blog).  Now, I'll show how to mount these to the kit. I'm in the middle of building Tamiya's 1:35th scale US Army M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tank kit.

Here is the Abrams turret with the modified kit part tow cables tacked in place. In order to add more detail, I'll add the mounting brackets to hold the cable to the turret, similar to the real tank.

Using the two modified tow cables, take one and tack it in place on the side of the turret, following the kit instructions. When the glue has cured enough that the cables won't fall off, drill a series of holes in the turret as seen in the photograph above. These are for the three simulated brackets I'll be making out of fine brass wire. Use reference photos of a real Abrams or use the old kit parts as a guide for placement. In photos, there are five L-shaped mounting brackets to hold each cable in place. For simplicity's sake, I'm going to use three brackets per cable and make them U-shaped so that I'm ensured that they will be secured to the vehicle.

Tools and materials needed to create and assemble tow cable mounting brackets. clockwise from the top: (1) Cyanoacrylate (thin and thick varieties); (2) Sprue cutters; (3) Fine point tweezers; (4) Soda-pop bottle cap used as a CA receptacle with fine wire applicator; (5) Three pieces of brass wire cut into 10mm lengths; (6) Spool of 28-gauge brass beading wire; (7) partially assembled model turret of the M1A2 Abrams tank with tow cables mounted to it.

To create the simulated mounting brackets, I used 28-gauge brass wire cut into approximately 10mm lengths. I made three of these for each tow cable for a total of six pieces of wire.
Grasp one of the 10mm lengths of wire with the fine point tweezers and bend it into a U-shape. Align the wire ends with the holes that were drilled in the side of the turret and insert the wire. You may need to pinch or spread the legs of the U as needed to ensure alignment. 

Make sure that the U wire sits securely against the tow cable. Apply a drop of thin CA followed with a drop of accelerator to secure. Repeat this step for the remaining five sets of holes in the turret.

Brass wire bent into a U-shape for insertion into the turret holes. Secure each leg of the U with a drop of CA followed by accelerator.

A photograph of an M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tank in Iraq. Note the location, position and mountings of the tow cables along the bottom edge of the turret.Using references like this can greatly aid in making more detailed models (Photo courtesy of Military-Today.com)

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