M3A2 Halftrack FLY #22 - a warning

Discussion in 'Armory & Military' started by Gecko23, Nov 6, 2004.

  1. Gecko23

    Gecko23 Member

    Ever find yourself in the middle of building a model and realize that the designer must have been building something entirely different than what you are?

    This is an older design, typical semi-decent print registration, occassionally vague and/or completely mislabeled diagrams, etc. None of that was really shocking. (I've built a couple of old Maly kits. It can be much, much worse. :) )

    But then I got to the track suspension in the rear. Oh my. There is just no way this thing got test built before it hit the press. No way at all.

    Everything is the wrong size. Most of the strips that form the outer faces of wheels are too long. No big deal, just trim them down. But what about all the ones that are too short? And what about the disks that form the outsides of the wheels being different sizes, when they're supposed to be opposite sides of the *same* wheel? (And the ones marked **, which would have fit fine if they *hadn't* been thickened?)

    The armature that holds the main set of rollers is over 1/2 cm too short to actually reach the ground. For whatever reason, its drawn with the side arms about half the angle they should be. Go figure.

    The next section to tackle is the body, and I'm almost dreading it.

    I just thought I should let any other prospective victims, err... builders that have this kit to be on guard. Fudging and random fabrication are going to be musts. Not that it is a terribly accurate representation to begin with, more of an impression really. :)

    But of course I'm still having fun building it, in a slightly perverse way. :) Although I'm a bit nervous, I've bought more than a few FlyModels for the stash, and I'm guessing others will share in this one's less than spectacular quality. <sigh>
  2. Gecko23

    Gecko23 Member

    Well, after a little digging, I found a picture of this model built-up, on the inside cover of the M3 Stuart (FLY 65).

    Noticed two things:
    - They've cut down the front leaf springs to mount the front axle much closer to the frame than it appeared to be in the contruction diagrams (Assuming that the spring brackets are mounted on the chassis rails as marked.)
    - And the armature for the road wheels is also mounted with a spacer between it and the brackets fixed to the chassis. The picture angle doesn't show it, but the markings on the side of the armature wouldn't show if they had been mounted flush.

    Learned a good lesson from this one. I should have built all the suspension parts and attached them at the same time when I had them all ready instead of assembly-by-assembly. It at least wouldn't have required chopping anything off after the fact. :D
  3. Gecko23

    Gecko23 Member

    OK, a lot more done. In fact, it'll probably be a wrap tomorrow evening.

    This thing has continued on as it started. Every single time a curved part meets anything else, they are as if drawn by two different people. And of the three compound curved pieces (the headlight cowlings and differential housing), not a single one can actually be formed completely. The petals are just too short on all of them. And there doesn't appear to be any part at all for the rear half of the drive-shaft.

    Interestingly enough, I've aquired a nice pile of parts whose usage completely eludes me. Luckily, the M3A2 came in so many configurations, that you could put just about anything just about anywhere, and it'd still pass as fairly represenative. :) I've found detailed photos of 4 or 5 vintage examples, and they all vary wildly in every way inside and out.

    Anyways, I've tossed some pics of this beast in my album if anyone is curious. I figure they might be inspirational to those who get discouraged marveling at the fine, super detailed work of others, since even vaguely talented folks like myself still have a lot of fun building these things. :) (I wish I could claim that the glue blobs on the sides were "rivets" :D)

    Next is the tracks, which are a simple affair really. Although why they printed the rubber blocks in gray escapes me.
  4. Gecko23

    Gecko23 Member

    Well, its done. Still need to permanently glue the tracks to the wheels and all, but that'll be whenever.

    Anyways, if anyone ever wants to know what the flymodel M3A2 looks like, there you go.

    BTW, is this forum always this dead? Kinda depressing. Maybe the regulars are too busy cutting out tiny little track treads or something? :D

    Anyways, I'll just slip out as quietly as I came in.
  5. Gil

    Gil Active Member


    I've been reading your posts. Thanks for the warning on Flymodels. They're a little "loose" to say the least and are getting a bad rep as the "pulp fiction" vendor of Cardmodeling. Unfortunately I'm one of the guilty owners of more than a few of their items (nothing as bad as a repeat offender). One suggestion for you is to post build photos in your post as well as your gallery. You have to cater to an interesting phenomenon with this group as most suffer from Total Attention Deficit Disorder or TADD for short. Wait a bit, things will get interesting. You're just experiencing one of the periodic slow downs that occurs after a sporadic and severe outbreak of Mass TADDs. It takes several days of peace and quiet with lots of rest for the inmates I mean sufferers to return to normal. So please don't disturb their slumber as they're sleeping now with the most angelic but totally imbecilic look on their faces. Don't mind the thumb sucking it's good for them in their sleep and the drool will come out of the blankies in the wash. Cute bunch this lot...,

  6. charliec

    charliec Active Member

    Hey - I resemble those remarks.

    I've been following the M3 saga - but have been loathe to comment since from experience there's nothing much people can say when a build goes bad - especially if it's the kit at fault. It sounds like you should treat yourself to a Halinski or maybe a recent Modelik for your next armour build.

    ( Makes mental note - Flymodel may not be worth the money )


  7. nebeltex

    nebeltex Member

    i've been waiting...

    ...for the completion of your project. extra parts, eh? it is always good to know about errors/quality of costly models. sometimes it could be the modeler but your fine photos rule that out. thanks for sticking with it. cheers, c.b.
  8. barry

    barry Active Member

    Hi Gecko

    No do not slip out queitly kick a bucket or something and wake em up

  9. Gecko23

    Gecko23 Member

    This project was starting to make me twitchy, since I've got several other flymodels in the stack, and they probably have the same kinds of flaws. Not that I don't have the skills to make a perfect model look flawed anyways.

    To be fair, most of the badly fitting bits were too large and needed cut down. I imagine that was a fairly standard practice with hand-drawn designs, since its always easier to remove paper than put it back on. And as for the mislabeled, and often vague or non-existant diagrams? Isn't that a polish card design tradition? :D

    And the extra bits where mostly third copies of parts that only needed to be there twice. Maybe the editor complained about too much white space?

    But bottom line: They were really cheap. And that's a very compelling point in my book.

    I'm not sure what I'm going to work on next. I know some people stick with one subject (planes, ships, whatever), but I find myself enjoying everything I pick up.
  10. nebeltex

    nebeltex Member

  11. Corporal_Trim

    Corporal_Trim Member

    Do you plan to paint the edges and weather the tracks a bit ? Anyway, very nice work, Gecko. :) 8)
  12. Gecko23

    Gecko23 Member

    Nope, its as done as its going to get. I like gawking at the craftsmanship some of these folks put into their works, but I don't mind the edges showing.

    I actually like the paper models to look like they are made of paper in the end.
  13. david n

    david n New Member

    M3A2 was a one-of-a kind

    It seems Fly based their paper model on the Tamiya plastic kit of the M3A2 halftrack. This is well known as being a model of a one-of-a-kind prototype. The earlier M3 and revised M3A1 were widely used in W.W. II. By the end of the war, it was decided to streamline the older M3 and the A1 upgrades into a new vehicle, the M3A2. Half track production was terminated before it could be built.

    The plastic kit is somewhat easy to backdate, but I don't know about the paper Fly model. The M3 does not have the MG pulpit, no ladder racks, and no rear luggage racks. The M3A1 again does not have the ladders, but could have field mod racks (where the idea for them on the A2 proposal came from) and has a different MG pulpit mount.

    Nice model though!!
  14. Gecko23

    Gecko23 Member

    Re: M3A2 was a one-of-a kind

    The racks and pulpit could all easily be left off, they aren't integral to anything.

    The model itself is very plain, and very simple really. There is a ton of room for little scratch built details and additions. (As the current front page picture shows all too well.) I was pressed for time, so I just tried to finish it as-is, no frills.

    Its less a model 'kit' than a grab bag of approximate halftrack parts really.

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