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Old 04-06-2010, 02:31 AM   #1
Rolling Thunder Tech
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M3 Halftrack Kit

Hi All,

Received one of Randy Killen's M3 halftrack kits and have been working on it for about a week or so. It is a preproduction kit, which is actually complete except for the instructions, which Randy is working on, and sends to me as he finishes the sections.

The kit has gone together very well, except for the times when I decide to continue without looking at the instructions, so I have had to drill out a few rivets and then re do. This has nothing to do with the engineering of the kit, only the enthusiasm of the builder, i.e. me.

I do have a Lincoln welder so, as I am sure that the build is going correctly, I then take the plunge and weld parts together. I haven't done any welding in a couple of years, so the welds are getting better as I regain skill. I'm sure that it isn't due to my hand being less steady than in days gone by.


[img][/img]

[img][/img]

[img][/img]

I will post more photos as the build progresses. This kit should turn out to be a big hit. I also am looking forwards to seeing the build and weathering job that a person like Cory will do on this kit.

My goal is to later on build a second halftrack kit as an M-16, in the hopes that Dave Dibbs will have the quad-50's available for sale. Since it takes me awhile to build, Dave should have plenty of time to complete his masterpiece.

Leonard
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Old 04-06-2010, 03:11 AM   #2
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I saw this kit at the WOH show oh so many years ago and it looks REALLY NICE. You are off to a nice start and I will keep track of this as you continue (hint hint) to post pictures. Randy has a ton of talent when it comes to producing these things and I am hopeful for further kits from his nimble brain in the future. Nice work

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Old 04-06-2010, 04:04 AM   #3
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I saw this kit on the way to WOH when Randy stopped by the house. If I did not do the German armor this would be in the War Room. A very well done and thought out kit.
GB
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Old 04-06-2010, 04:27 AM   #4
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I got to agree with Germanbilly here, I do mainly German stuff, but this got to be one of my absolute favourites along with the Horch. One day...!
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Old 04-06-2010, 04:54 AM   #5
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Can one solder the seams instead of useing pop rivits? Is the material regular sheet steel or aluminum?
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Old 04-06-2010, 05:09 AM   #6
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It is sheet medal and I found out when building the PZ IV that JB weld works the best. You don't have to worry about any heat that can warp the thin medal. This is One Fine Kit!!!.
GB
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Old 04-06-2010, 04:23 PM   #7
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Hi Leonard

Looking good. I'm watching with very much interest. Keep up the good work and keep the photos coming please.

Kind regards
Tim
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Old 04-06-2010, 07:54 PM   #8
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Although I am using a welder for this build, it is not necessary. For the other Battle Ready Armor kits that I have built, J.B. Weld and the rivets work fine, and is also fine for the M3 halftrack. Just thought I'd clarify this, so others don't think it is necessary to have to use a welder.

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Old 04-06-2010, 08:22 PM   #9
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I found that after I used the JB weld that I could remove all the rivets, so you end up with a very smooth finish.
GB
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Old 04-14-2010, 04:14 AM   #10
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Here are some photos of the bogie assemblies. They are made by bending the frames as shown, then using a pre cut axle rod through two resin wheels with a half inch tubing spacer between the wheels. Push nuts are used at the end of the axles to hold it all in place.

Leonard
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[img][/img]

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Old 04-14-2010, 04:20 AM   #11
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I really like the looks of this vehicle. Wish I had the dough for one.

For a more realistic look could you replace the rod and push nuts with nuts and bolts?
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Old 04-14-2010, 07:10 AM   #12
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Hi John

Thats a good idea. thanks for the suggestion.

Leonard
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Old 04-14-2010, 09:33 AM   #13
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Your m3 build looks great Leonard and thank you for providing the shots of the bogeys in particular. As a dealer for the RKD M3, our only concern thus far has been the completeness of the instructions. Randy has promised to keep updating these and we have posted PDF's on our website which will be updated accordingly. These kits have been selling well now that production is in full swing.

We have found that by using the JB Weld stick, it is even easier to knead the two part putty into strips about the diameter of a pencil and push the epoxy into the joint or seam for a strong bond. Has worked well thus far and easier to work with.
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Old 04-14-2010, 09:57 PM   #14
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Richard - that URL is broken - gives page not found

Leonard - Can't find any mention of the M3 or RKD on your site at all

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Old 04-14-2010, 10:02 PM   #15
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Hi Adrian

The M3 will be on our web site in a day or two. Since the delivery has been sporatic, we have been selling them to those that have emailed us. I didn't want to get a lot of orders and not be able to fullfill them. Our price is $660.00 plus shipping.

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Old 04-14-2010, 10:19 PM   #16
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Thanks Leonard - thought I was going blind

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Old 04-14-2010, 10:55 PM   #17
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Thanks Adrian for the heads up on the link. Hopefully this will work:

Halftrack page
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Old 04-14-2010, 11:25 PM   #18
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HI Leonard

I'm sure this has been asked and answered already so sorry for the repeat. Are these RC-able?

Keep the great build thread going

Regards
Tim
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Old 04-15-2010, 01:08 AM   #19
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Thanks for posting this BUILD thread Lenoard. Have a few of these kits myself but no instructions so your build will be of great help.

I think the press on nuts are fine for what it is. Bolts and nuts would be just as out of place if one was look at it from a rivet counter's point of view.
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Old 04-15-2010, 01:36 AM   #20
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Howdy

I am building the first kit as a static vehicle per the instructions, which are being updated with my input. Randy has been great to work with and has been incorporating all of my suggestions, except for the one about free kits, which I was kidding about anyways.

I will then build a second kit as an R/C upgrade. This will take a little work as the front suspension on the static kit does not allow for the wheels to pivot but are on fixed axles. I have not added the guide teeth to the track, so I do not know yet if it will last for use as a powered vehicle. Also, from past experience, resin made drive sprockets do not last when used in an R/C vehicle, so I may need to ask Randy if machined or cast ones could be produced and sold as upgrades. May have to wait until a third party produces these.

The other option is to produce the R/C version using a non realistic drive sprocket and track. We have a lot of sets of the 21st century 1/9th scale Abrams track and drive sprockets. This track is four inches wide so it could be used, and with a face lift on the drive sprocket, there is a chance of this being a low cost alternative for an R/C vehicle. I do have this opinion that a vehicle is not quite complete until it's R/C'd.

I would like to see what Mulezilla comes up with.

Also, I would also think that it will not be long before third party companies such as Armorpax and Sixth Icons has parts and accessories available. The scale metal tread plates comes to mind as a nice addition for the crew compartment floors. Would also like to see the rear mounted fold down storage racks.

After all of the work and time that I've put into the FOA line and the custom tanks in the past, I do not foresee us (RTT) producing upgrade kits. The desire is there, but then I get into the mode of spending all my time making parts for others, and no time to work on or complete my own projects.

Anyways, for the M16 AAA version (Which my dad commanded C Company 50th AAA in Korea), it would be necessary to modify the side and rear panels for the fold down required for the quad 50's. This would be a difficult mod for the avereage builder, being able to cut the side and rear panels straight enough without warping or bending them too much. I would suggest that Randy consider having a modification kit, with the panel cut by laser and be replacement parts to the kit.

To Armorpax: hey Dave...nudge...nudge...how's the quads progressing?

Leonard
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Old 04-16-2010, 10:11 AM   #21
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Once again Leonard looking forward to your progress on the M3. It would be great if the Quad 50's suddenly appeared in the near future but so far we have not heard any recent news in this regard.

I would like to apologize for the "sales pitch" the other day and I am relieved that the entry has been appropriately edited. We dont really advertise a great deal and Hijacking your build was certainly not the time nor place to do so.

Keep up the good work as I look forward to the next round of pictures etc

Richard
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Old 04-16-2010, 01:31 PM   #22
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I am gonna have to break down on this one and buy one. I too am looking forward to making a M16.
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Old 04-16-2010, 03:32 PM   #23
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> The scale metal tread plates comes to mind as a nice addition
> for the crewcompartment floors.

Mike Stannard did a run of etched brass tread plate sheets when Armortek announced their M2/M3 kit. I'm sure they would be equally suitable for Randy's M3.

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Old 04-16-2010, 10:15 PM   #24
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Hi All

Dave - Armorpax is busy right now on producing parts for the Comet tank, so he says it will be awhile before he gets back to the quad 50's.

I should have the hull mostly completed this weekend, if all goes to plans, which is usually not the case. Have started researching for a color scheme, which really just means what unit designations to use. Will probably be 3rd Armor, just after D-day, so that sort of narrows it down to either the 36th Armored Infantry or 23rd Engineer Battalion. WIth the Engineer's, I can hang all kinds of crap off the M3.

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Old 04-17-2010, 12:22 AM   #25
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Can anyone provide a list of who is selling these Halftrack kits?
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Old 04-17-2010, 01:43 AM   #26
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Hi

Randy Killen is selling them off of his web site.
Steel Dragon also has them.
They will be up soon on our web site, although we are selling them as people email us. I did not want to get ahead of the production and have people waiting extended times to get their kits.

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Old 04-20-2010, 05:01 AM   #27
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Hi All

Didn't get as far as I had wanted to this weekend, which is actually kind of usual. For the engine compartment, I used the supplied hinges with screws and nuts instead of rivets.




This just screams for an engine. Maybe a future project, unless one of the resin wizards like Panzerwerks or Armorguy comes up with one.



The kit has the plate that the crew compartment seats are mounted to. These two plates, one right and one left are laser cut and are hanging on with a couple of tabs, to the main crew compartment frame. The instruction shows the piece being removed, which then leaves it floating without an attachment. I've talked to Randy about this and he is modifying the instructions to state not to break the plates off at the tabs. I went one further, after having broken the tabs and decided to buy some additional hinges so that the plates can be hinged like with the full sized vehicle. I also cut the plates in two, like the full size. The break is about where the end of the fuel tanks are, so there will be two seats on the plate closer to the drive compartment, and a plate with three seats closer to the rear of the vehicle. I used rivets to hold the hinges in place. Since I located the plates to rest on the lower frame, it was necessary to place spacers for the rear of the hinges where they are riveted to the vehicle, so that the plates will then lay flat.

When the storage compartments are open, you can see right through to the top of the chassis frame, so I used some of the scrap metal to make a floor for the compartments. For strength, I located these to rest on the chasis, although they should actually be mounted about an eigth of an inch higher, but that would require making tabs or supports for the bottom storage compartment plate.

Also, in the photo below, it can be seen that I took a piece of scrap metal and made the brace that is about the midpoint of the gun rack area, behind the seats, and spans to the hull of the vehicle. Tack welded this is place, although JB Weld or similar would work just fine. Since I did use a welder for the construction, it can be seen that I also had to do a bit of grinding on the welds. The typical kit that is riveted together will not have all the ginding marks that I have on this build.

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Old 04-24-2010, 05:59 AM   #28
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Started to work on the track guides, and there are a LOT of them. Broke them off the sheet metal plate and cut off the little nubs. There is to be a track guide tool included in the kit, which is used to bend all of the guides to the proper angle. Unfortunately, the one in this kit is missing, so I'm bending them using needle nose pliers.

The track guides are then screwed in place to the rubber track. WIll add photos when I get that far.

[img][/img]

The rubber track material is very nice, and is about 3/8 inch thick at the thickest part.
[img][/img]

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Old 04-24-2010, 08:46 AM   #29
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Leonard, you really need one of the guide tools / jigs. Those teeth aren't bent correctly. I can send you mine but you got to promise to send it back
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Old 04-25-2010, 05:39 AM   #30
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Without the track guide tool, I've been using needle nose pliers to form them, which is a lot of work and are not as uniform as I'd like. I sure would like to borrow your guide tool, and probably only need it for a week or so. will pay postage both ways!!

Leonard
[img][/img]


[img][/img]
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Old 04-25-2010, 03:02 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolling Thunder Tech";p=&quot View Post
Hi All

Dave - Armorpax is busy right now on producing parts for the Comet tank, so he says it will be awhile before he gets back to the quad 50's.

Leonard
RTT
Hi Leonard,

The Comet parts are all done and I am back on the Quad, some progress pics on the thread below.

http://www.sixtharmygroup.com/portal...14562&start=40

I won't promise but will try and keep the enthusiasm going and get it finished.

Regards

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Old 04-26-2010, 05:44 AM   #32
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Hey Dave,

YeeeeHHHAWWWW !!
Thats great news. Just looking at all the parts you've already made for the quad 50's makes my head hurt. You're work is really amazing.

Leonard
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Old 04-30-2010, 04:57 PM   #33
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There is enough scrap metal in the kit to make a few add ons, such as the armor shield for the 50 cal heavy machine gun ring above the right front side of the driver's compartment. This turns the M3 into the M3A1 version. Randy said that he may offer an accessory kit for this conversion.

Not evident in this photo is that I purchased a few hundred 2-56 x 1/8" screws to insert into all of the premade, precut holes. Humm. since they were laser cut, are they considered to be pre-drilled? Don't know the right term to use for those, but there are a lot of them. The screws are not included with the kit although Randy is to stock them as an accessory. In the meantime I purchased them from an on line source called Small Parts, www.smallparts.com.

Maybe if we all order from them, they will wonder what the sudden demand is for all of these tiny screws. I'm winding up with about a third of them finding hiding spots on the garage floor. Sneaky little things.

M16 Version Update: Also found in a couple of references that the M3 was field converted into the M16 quad 50 version, with the quad unit mounted on a raised base so the guns would clear the sidewalls, which were not hinged like with the factory made M16. This is a huge help as for my second build will be the M16 and I wasn't sure how to go about cutting the sidewalls accurately with the tools I have available. Dodged that bullet.

Leonard
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[img][/img]
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Old 04-30-2010, 06:57 PM   #34
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Your doing a great job on this.
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Old 07-06-2010, 06:01 AM   #35
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Happy Fourth to everyone. Had a little time this weekend to get some work done on the M3. Added the 50 cal gun ring and the vertical brace. These are not part of the base kit and is an easy add. Used JB weld for the parts. Also added the vacuum formed fenders and a ga-zillion screws to the overall hull.





Leonard
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Old 07-06-2010, 06:01 AM   #36
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Happy Fourth to everyone. Had a little time this weekend to get some work done on the M3. Added the 50 cal gun ring and the vertical brace. These are not part of the base kit and is an easy add. Used JB weld for the parts. Also added the vacuum formed fenders and a ga-zillion screws to the overall hull.





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Old 03-20-2014, 04:46 AM   #37
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Re: M3 Halftrack Kit

Gez, did I really post those photos in 2010?!?! FOUR years ago?

I did get a lot farther than that, but haven't quite finished it yet. It's painted the base olive drab color and needs detailing and stencil data.

The 50 cal is mounted using the ring and M23 mount made by Dave of Armorpax.

Leonard
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