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Fishwelding

Modeling USAREUR, Cold War

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So for a while I've been nibbling at this project: Tamiya's M60A3, essentially (so far) out of the box, and I'll probably assign the kit's TC for scale representation. Only some added styrene to cover gaps, replacement lifting rings, and brass cage for the turret rack added. Oh, and I'll add a few things from Tamiya's "modern accessory set" from the same era, that seems to have been more or less made for this kit. Some months ago I put the finish on using Polly Scale, MM Acryl, and some floor gloss, using poster tack as masking. Although in future I'd be a bit more careful in establishing the edges, and with airbrushing, the experiment proved feasibility, I think. Then it sat for too long, as I didn't do much modeling. This weekend I added a wash, and painted the mantlet covers. I don't know why, but MERDC reminds me of Rocky Road Ice Cream! Always has. Makes for tasty-looking M113s, lemme tell you.

Gosh, I hate to weather it, but judging from 1980s-era photos, these war pigs seemed to go looking for muck.

PICT0037.JPG

PICT0032.JPG

Edited by Fishwelding

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Looking pretty good. I would recommend replacing the incorrectly molded (the guide teeth shoulod be between the track blocks, not in the middle of them) Tamiya tracks with the excellent AFV Club M60 Octagonal Block tracks.

35010.jpg

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Pete   

Awesome! I love the MERDC scheme :banana:

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Buck   

Looks great! MERDC is always challenging to paint, you did an excellent job!

Believe it or not, we applied MERDC with a Wagner sprayer... Chalked on the pattern, covered all the glass with GAA (grease), and sprayed away. 1st tank always looked great, the 14th tank not so hot & only an approximate of what the TM called for :P Over-spray was prevalent on all the tanks. Tracks, rubber on the road wheels, and even the mantle cover all ended up over-sprayed with some color. One drive down the dusty tank trail and nothing mattered, the dust pretty much acted like a filter and all the colors lost their stark demarcation. One quick note... When we touched up during Q's, we'd often brush paint un-thinned colors. Talk about noticeable brush strokes! At some point we stopped using the Buff color, either because it was no longer called for or we simply ran out of the paint, not really sure. That was sometime during the later 80's.

As far as gear goes, Tamiya's set does offer a lot of what we used out in the field. If memory serves, it was along time ago after all, here's how we packed stuff up while cursing around West Germany (back in the day):

Large camo net bag on top of the turret, just aft of the main gun; Camo net support pole bag tied to one of the turret side grab handles; Sections of spare track secured to turret side grab handles (secured with a center guide); At least one spare road wheel secured to the turret side grab handle (again with a center guide); 4 x 20mm ammo boxes secured to the outside of the turret bustle rack (2 on either side of the wood "tactical board"); Individual track pads bolted through the bustle rack cage; Duffle bags, packs, helmets, MRE's, and LBE all in the bustle rack. Normally we'd take the tarp used to cover the tank while in the motor pool, line the bustle rack with it, put all our gear in there then cover. That helped in keeping the dust out, our gear more or less clean & secure. You didn't want too much stuff hanging off the sides while maneuvering, very easy to lose personal gear... Nothing like buying a protective mask on your 1980's Army pay check :P Remember we're talking Europe here not the open desert, trees played a big role in gear removal :D

Really wish I had some good pictures for you but sadly just a few old prints & me with a broken scanner. HTH a least a little.

Again great work, look forward to seeing her all finished up!

Ahui hou :thumbsup:

Mark

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Thanks for the kind words and insights, guys. Lately events seem to conspire against me reaching the modeling bench, but I'll post progress when it happens. Buck, with the pictures I have in books and the internet, your description is very, very helpful. Now I have some idea of what I'm looking at and should look for. For the modeler, that you guys wrapped up your personal gear makes things easier! Your insights on how these beasts were painted is also a telling lesson to the fretting modeler! I'll take a closer look at the spare track links and wheels; just the other night I was wondering how things so heavy were secured to those grab-handle rails. How frequently, incidentally, did you typically need to change tracks in the field? That must have been a bear of a job. I don't think I have any 20mm boxes, but it's interesting to know they made it onto M60 bustles. I've seen 'em on M1A1s.

I really like this period in armor history. I've got an Esci/Revell M60 still in the box, and have managed, through careful shopping, to secure two old Tamiya M-1 A-nothings at low prices, too. I've got a bunch of -113s squirreled away, too. If AFV club tracks don't make it into this kit, they will the Esci kit, which will also likely been in MERDC. I started one of the M1s, and maybe my next project will be one from the same period, in the Forest Green garb.

Now, (and since I joked about it in another thread), if only I could get a 1/35th scale Gamma Goat!

Edited by Fishwelding

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Alpha13   
Thanks for the kind words and insights, guys. Lately events seem to conspire against me reaching the modeling bench, but I'll post progress when it happens. Buck, with the pictures I have in books and the internet, your description is very, very helpful. Now I have some idea of what I'm looking at and should look for. For the modeler, that you guys wrapped up your personal gear makes things easier! Your insights on how these beasts were painted is also a telling lesson to the fretting modeler! I'll take a closer look at the spare track links and wheels; just the other night I was wondering how things so heavy were secured to those grab-handle rails. How frequently, incidentally, did you typically need to change tracks in the field? That must have been a bear of a job. I don't think I have any 20mm boxes, but it's interesting to know they made it onto M60 bustles. I've seen 'em on M1A1s.

I really like this period in armor history. I've got an Esci/Revell M60 still in the box, and have managed, through careful shopping, to secure two old Tamiya M-1 A-nothings at low prices, too. I've got a bunch of -113s squirreled away, too. If AFV club tracks don't make it into this kit, they will the Esci kit, which will also likely been in MERDC. I started one of the M1s, and maybe my next project will be one from the same period, in the Forest Green garb.

Now, (and since I joked about it in another thread), if only I could get a 1/35th scale Gamma Goat!

Nice MERDC paint job. I posted the below photos back in January. They were taken in the spring of 1974. The 3rd Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division at the time was a deployable US Army unit to the middle east from West Germany. All the vehicles in the brigade after the October 1973 Middle East war were painted in a modified MERDC scheme. In fact some vehicles were sent to Israel to replenish their losses. The base was sand with very little green. They stayed that way until 1977 when a different paint scheme eliminated the MERDC.

http://www.arcforums.com/forums/air/index....howtopic=201855

Tracks were replaced when the connecting pins were wore out from the wear on the bushings in the shoes. It was pretty easy to change the track on any tracked vehicle you let the vehicle do all the work. You feed the track through the drive sprocket and the vehicle would then roll itself onto the track. Track was replaced in entire sections or 5 foot sections. You never replaced track with individual shoes, it had a tendency to break torsion bars on APC's anyway.

I remember one time throwing a track in Hohenfels on the side of a hill, it took all day and night due to the location to get the vehicle back on the road. The problem was the track went to the inside of the roadwheels on the hull side. Very hard to remove when this happens. There was so much tension on the track that it cracked the hull near the idler wheel. The vehicle was never able to be certified to swim again due to the crack. It was "redlined" for swimming.

Mike

Edited by Alpha13

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Alpha13   

Now, (and since I joked about it in another thread), if only I could get a 1/35th scale Gamma Goat!

I might have photos of a Gamma Goat, they were great vehicles. Could go anywhere and do anything.

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If AFV club tracks don't make it into this kit, they will the Esci kit,...

Actually the Esci kit has good, length-and-link plastic track that don't need to be replaced. Just the Tamiya ones are off.

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Buck   
I don't think I have any 20mm boxes, but it's interesting to know they made it onto M60 bustles. I've seen 'em on M1A1s.

That's because I gave you bad info! :doh: I dug through some of my old stuff and found a few images of both the 60's & Abrams I crewed during the mid 80's. Our 60's had two extra Jerry can mounts on the bustle, not 20mm boxes... Those were only on the Abrams in my pics. In fact the Abrams we got during the transition were among the first with a bustle rack instead of the web straps. That was a long time ago, think everything is starting blend together in my old decrepit mind ;)

I'll probably pick up a new scanner soon, I'll try to post some of my old armor stuff once I do.

HTH a little to clear up the 20mm issue, sorry about leading ya astray :coolio:

Ahui hou,

Mark

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Fish, Excellent painting ... :worship:

Gregg

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Again, thanks for the comments, guys.

In fact the Abrams we got during the transition were among the first with a bustle rack instead of the web straps.

Sounds like an M1IP? Did tankers really prefer the M1 over the M60, or were there advantages and disadvantages to each?

Love the paint scheme. Any trick to masking with poster tac?

As near as I can tell, it's a matter of "edging" the blobs of tack according to how you want the resulting edge on the paint to look. This also involves how you airbrush over the resulting mask. I haven't done enough tests to see how precisely you can govern between a hard edge or a finely soft edge. Otherwise, I was happy to see that the tack left no discernible residue on the paint. To pull up small bits that cling to the plastic, press against them with more tack putty, then lift. Ironically, the only paint lifting I suffered was Polly Scale Black--usually tough stuff--and Tamiya tape, on the front fenders. Go figure.

Not much to show, yet. I've been adding stuff to the turret, a few minutes at a time, over the past few days. I put the kit TC together and painted him up. I'm not thrilled with the Woodland Pattern BDU blouse, but it'll do. I'll add Echelon patches and name tapes when I decal the tank. I didn't think to mask off the tan code blocks, so I have to pick a tank without them, or just put markings on for a "hypothetical" tank, outside references. I'll have to also read up again on the battle-board markings scheme for that era, too. I'll have to decide whether to print BLUEFOR or OPFOR tags out of a printer, or use decals out of the stash.

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Nice MERDC paint job. I posted the below photos back in January. They were taken in the spring of 1974. The 3rd Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division at the time was a deployable US Army unit to the middle east from West Germany. All the vehicles in the brigade after the October 1973 Middle East war were painted in a modified MERDC scheme. In fact some vehicles were sent to Israel to replenish their losses. The base was sand with very little green. They stayed that way until 1977 when a different paint scheme eliminated the MERDC.

http://www.arcforums.com/forums/air/index....howtopic=201855

Worthy of a model build. An interesting scheme. MERDC was an innovative attempt to make camouflage more environment-relevant, but somehow I suspect there was too much complication in that plan.

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Alpha13   
Worthy of a model build. An interesting scheme. MERDC was an innovative attempt to make camouflage more environment-relevant, but somehow I suspect there was too much complication in that plan.

There were many variations of the MERDC scheme within different units in Germany back in those days, it seems everyone had their own idea how the pattern was suppose to look. Some units were heavy on the brown others on the black.

Whenever we got new vehicles from depot (actually rebuilts) some came professionally spray painted in the MERDC and others came solid OD. The OD ones we had to paint either by spraygun or by brush. It also took awhile to do it because when the peanut farmer was the boss the US Army as well as the other services suffered when it came to the supply system. Paint was a luxury and 4 colors of the paint was even more of a luxury. Some vehicles were painted tri-color also, depending on what paint was available.

Ole Jimmy, he sure knew how to run the US Army in to the ground.

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I opted on using the kit decals. They've gone on reasonably well, although I haven't flat-coated the tank yet. The bumper code reads "5 1 40." Does this mean Fifth Infantry Division, First Battalion, 40th Armored Regiment? My understanding, from the Interwebz, is that Fifth ID was part of III Corps, tasked to support USAREUR in the REFORGER scheme. So that they'd be rushed to Europe in the event of war. This means Tamiya might have gotten a photograph of a tank during one of the REFORGER exercises in the 1980s.

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Pete   
This means Tamiya might have gotten a photograph of a tank during one of the REFORGER exercises in the 1980s.

This is very possible, they did that too for their original Bradley kit. You can read about it in this guy's stories about his life as a young soldier in USAEUR in the 80's.

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This is very possible, they did that too for their original Bradley kit. You can read about it in this guy's stories about his life as a young soldier in USAEUR in the 80's.

That's hilarious. Although I've always thought that the Tamiya infantry set he features were not the best sculptures--arms and particularly legs seemed too thin.

Thanks for the link! Always looking for pics from the era.

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Alpha13   
I opted on using the kit decals. They've gone on reasonably well, although I haven't flat-coated the tank yet. The bumper code reads "5 1 40." Does this mean Fifth Infantry Division, First Battalion, 40th Armored Regiment? My understanding, from the Interwebz, is that Fifth ID was part of III Corps, tasked to support USAREUR in the REFORGER scheme. So that they'd be rushed to Europe in the event of war. This means Tamiya might have gotten a photograph of a tank during one of the REFORGER exercises in the 1980s.

Actually the bumper markings should read "5I1A40"= "5th Infantry, 1st Battalion 40th Armored" The US Army did away with the Regimental system as it was known during WWII and after in 1963. Everything since 1963 is referred to as Battalions. You will not see any bumper markings with Regt after that date. But the Army has reorganized again so it's possible they do again, I know they refer to Brigades as Task Forces now. I was with the 5th ID at Ft Polk in the late 70's with the 10th Infantry Battalion and the division had the following armor battalions, 35th, 40th, 70th, and 77th.

Presently the 5th has been inactivated since 1992. Below are the unit crests of all units that were assigned to the 5th ID.

http://www.csm-gh.com/FifthInfantryDivisio...n/5thID-DUI.htm

Below is the paint scheme of the 5th ID in 1978. The color brown has been eliminated.

scan0081copy.jpg

Edited by Alpha13

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Actually the bumper markings should read "5I1A40"= "5th Infantry, 1st Battalion 40th Armored"...

Thank you, that answers my question. Tamiya does not indicate that this tank had any sort of "battle boards" like the Armored Divisions in Europe. But that could be that they did not get a photograph of the vehicle turret's rear, where one might have been lurking. I haven't checked the copyright on the instruction sheet, but I presume that they modeled it after something they saw in the mid 1980s. I also haven't seen any shipping markings mentioned in the instructions, although pictures of REFORGER gear from the era seem to often show these chalk markings.

I'm going to add tape to the edges of the exercise BLUEFOR tags, because it seems like most vehicles had tape, or the tags were peeling off!

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Alpha13   
Thank you, that answers my question. Tamiya does not indicate that this tank had any sort of "battle boards" like the Armored Divisions in Europe. But that could be that they did not get a photograph of the vehicle turret's rear, where one might have been lurking. I haven't checked the copyright on the instruction sheet, but I presume that they modeled it after something they saw in the mid 1980s. I also haven't seen any shipping markings mentioned in the instructions, although pictures of REFORGER gear from the era seem to often show these chalk markings.

I'm going to add tape to the edges of the exercise BLUEFOR tags, because it seems like most vehicles had tape, or the tags were peeling off!

The chalk marks on the side of vehicles were convoy codes, any time a US Army unit was on its way to train by road or by rail the chalk codes were written on the vehicles. Sometimes when vehicles were transported by flatcars, the Germans would switch locomotives and sometimes flatcars would be put on a rail siding and left there and the other part of the train would proceed. This rarely happened but if it did, the convoy codes would tell them what unit the vehicles belonged to.

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The chalk marks on the side of vehicles were convoy codes, any time a US Army unit was on its way to train by road or by rail the chalk codes were written on the vehicles. Sometimes when vehicles were transported by flatcars, the Germans would switch locomotives and sometimes flatcars would be put on a rail siding and left there and the other part of the train would proceed. This rarely happened but if it did, the convoy codes would tell them what unit the vehicles belonged to.

Ah! interesting. Somewhere I picked up a photo of a German railway guy measuring whether U.S. vehicles were properly mounted on flat-cars for clearance. (Probably Defenseimagery.mil) It must have been interesting working with another country's (and language's) railway system to ship so much gear. I guess they shipped US stuff by river or canal barge, too.

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Alpha13   
Ah! interesting. Somewhere I picked up a photo of a German railway guy measuring whether U.S. vehicles were properly mounted on flat-cars for clearance. (Probably Defenseimagery.mil) It must have been interesting working with another country's (and language's) railway system to ship so much gear. I guess they shipped US stuff by river or canal barge, too.

When we used to go by rail we had to tie the APC's down on the flatcars, we had to use cables on the front and rear of the vehicles and diagonally ran the cables to the flatcar, making an X. We had 4 blocks of wood that had to be nailed in front and the rear of each track. The specifications by the Germans was that at least 3 nails were to be driven through each block into the flatcar. We use to cheat, when we got ready to go on manuvers we would drive 3 nails in the block and cut the ends off 2, so in reality only 1 nail would hold the block down. Once in a while the German rail workers would check the blocks looking for the heads of 3 nails and with a prybar and when the block came loose, they would hold up the train until we did it right. It was a way to screw with them and to delay our departure to the grind of the woods.

Edited by Alpha13

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Actually the bumper markings should read "5I1A40"= "5th Infantry, 1st Battalion 40th Armored" The US Army did away with the Regimental system as it was known during WWII and after in 1963. Everything since 1963 is referred to as Battalions. You will not see any bumper markings with Regt after that date. But the Army has reorganized again so it's possible they do again, I know they refer to Brigades as Task Forces now. I was with the 5th ID at Ft Polk in the late 70's with the 10th Infantry Battalion and the division had the following armor battalions, 35th, 40th, 70th, and 77th.

Sort of. The Battalions still belong to Regiments, but the regiments are no longer pure. Before the Battalion system was instituted, the Companies were labelled Able (A) through Mike (M). Now each Bn has an HHC, and 3 companies, all labelled Alpha through Charlie. There used to be 4 line companies, but the Delta Companies was deactivated and each Bn was reduced to 3 Co's in 2000 or so.

For WWII:

"During World War II, most infantry regiments consisted of three battalions (a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd) with each battalion consisting of four companies. That is, companies A, B, C, and D were part of the 1st battalion, companies E, F, G, and H constituted the 2nd battalion, and I, K, L, and M in the 3rd. There was no J company. [The letter J was traditionally not used because in 18th and 19th century old style type the capital letters I and J looked alike and were therefore too easily confused with one another.]"

These links explains it well.

U.S. Army Combat Arms Regimental System ('57 - '81)

United States Army Regimental System (post '81)

So the bumper number would be read as 5th Infantry Division, 1st Battalion, 40th Armored Regiment. Also, the A in 5I 1A40 would most likely have been a triangle, either solid or open. Armor is represented by a triangle in military unit symbols.

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