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Andreas' Armour Pages

M48A3 early

My intention on building this kit was to rebuild an old kit I had already assembled to my current standards without using any expensive PE or add-on parts.
The idea was to take the TAMIYA M48A3 and rebuild it into an early version M48A3. The major differences were the VSS-1 searchlight, the CWS minus the vision riser, without the bulged hatch and two more vision ports to the rear of it.
The VSS-1 came from a DML M46, it was upgraded with some wiring. The attachment to the mantlet was also changed. The VSS-1 was attached to a plate which in turn was fixed to the mantlet. The electrical wiring was not connected via the electrical plug used on later M48’s but through a direct connection in the mantlet.
The plug was therefore deleted from the turret roof.
I also deleted the CWS vision riser and filled the hatch from the inside with putty. I then sanded it off from the outside to match the new outline without the bulge. The vision ports are shaved off parts from a M60 CWS.
I added a little detail to the loaders’ hatch by using metal coil springs instead of the molded-on parts. I used small diameter wiring for this. Another addition was a small metal strip to the front end of the hatch (to secure it with a lock). Finally I added the latch on the turret roof for the loaders’ hatch. I had this part left over from a CMD conversion.
The tow cables were relocated to the glacis. Therefore I had to build the turrets’ clamps from metal sheet bend into a double U-form to make the empty clamps.
Moving to the hull, my major amendment was lowering the running gear and sanding and filling a few seams. TAMIYA moulded the bumpers onto the suspension arms so I had to cut these in two in order to lower these.
The last amendment was cutting the fenders. The front end was shortened, a quite common sight in Vietnam. The rear end of the left fender was shortened considerably to show a common field repair, whenever the fenders were severely damaged they were simply cut away so they could not interfere with the tracks anymore and cause even more damage. I wanted to show less damage on the right hand rear fender. I replaced only the inner portion with lead foil to bend it realistically. Plastic just does not look as good as lead foil.
Finally I added the tow cables to the glacis where they are more readily available.
All in all it was a pleasure to rebuild this kit. A new experience and a real cheap one, too. Most of us have huge spare parts boxes and simply do not use them to the full. Mine was a great help for this project.

Osprey - New Vanguard - The M47 and M48 Patton Tanks ISBN 1-85532-825-9
Steven J.Zaloga Jim Laurier - New Vanguard Patton Tanks ISBN 1-85532-825-9
Concord Publications – Armor of the Vietnam War ISBN 962-361-611-2

Copyright © 2000 by Andreas Hüger. All rights reserved. Reproduction without written consent is not permitted.