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Armor/AFV
For all military ground-force modelling subjects.
Mk23 MTVR & 16.6 ton LHS
165thspc
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Posted: Friday, November 10, 2017 - 05:11 AM GMT+7
Hey Hans, you know I probably c-o-u-l-d . . . . . .

(Insert image of me scratching my chin and looking to the sky thoughtfully.)

You know I probably could find some very useable tires off a Tonka toy dump truck at the local thrift store!
165thspc
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Posted: Friday, November 10, 2017 - 05:17 AM GMT+7
Spent some time last night getting started on my narrow CROPS Flatrack. Not sure all the details are exactly right as again, I don't seem to find a lot of reference out there on the subject.

Also I am attempting to replicate the distressed, sort of bent down, metal decking like that included in the recent Italeri Flatrack offering. We will all see how this works out!



165thspc
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Posted: Friday, November 10, 2017 - 06:19 AM GMT+7
* QUESTION: Why is not Italeri making their new, very nice, Flatrack available as a separate kit? Seems to me they are really missing out on some potential sales there. Doesn't everyone need a stack of these sitting around their freight yard?

(If you can sell 20' and 40' containers as separate kits you can sell Flatracks.)


Italeri Flatrack with beautiful and subtile deck detailing.
HermannB
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Posted: Friday, November 10, 2017 - 08:23 AM GMT+7
Obviously, flatrack don`t have the same attaction to the general modeller as a 20 foot container. I hope that some manu-facturer(s) somedays realize the potential that a flatrack offers. (Loaded with 155mm rounds, Javelin missile crates, 105 mm MGS rounds and 120mm steel ammo boxes)
165thspc
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Posted: Friday, November 10, 2017 - 09:51 AM GMT+7
I meant to add that as well; include an ammo load or anything under a tarp and it would sell like hot cakes!
165thspc
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Posted: Saturday, November 11, 2017 - 05:01 AM GMT+7
Very minor update:
Progress on decaling and weathering that first container.




This container has had kind of a rough life!

The container was painted in a base coat of Tamiya AS-29 rattle can, Gray Green (IJN) with Model Masters rust details and minor body damage added. Followed by a wash of Citadel - Nuln Oil shader. (GREAT stuff from the Dungeons & Dragons side of the hobby ! ! ! ! Highly recommended product.) Then a coat of Tamiya matte clear and finally a broad mix of yellow, brown and red pastel chalks unevenly applied.

Decals were applied over a brushed on, wet base coat of Future Floor Polish. (Yes, I still have some.) Blotted with a paper towel to settle the decal against the surface irregularities and then another heavy brush coat of Future was dabbed over the decal. This heavy coat is allowed to dry on it's own and finally a top coat of Tamiya matte clear over the entire model.
165thspc
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Posted: Saturday, November 11, 2017 - 05:50 AM GMT+7
Worked last night on my CROPS Flatrack and a second (open) 20' container:





At the risk of stating the obvious; the idea behind the CROPS system is to be able to ship sensitive material in a locked, protected enclosure - ammo, rockets, weapons, NBC - out of sight and secured. When the container reaches the local theatre distribution staging area the CROPS is only then removed from its' shipping container and the cargo, still strapped to the Flatrack, continues forward into the combat zone via PLS or HEMTT LHS. The shipping container is immediately free to be returned to general service for further use elsewhere. This reduces operating costs and increases utilization of the container equipment. The fact that the CROP must travel the last leg of it's journey via PLS or HEMTT is why the CROP rack, while being shorter and narrower, must still be LHS compatible.

Some government documents go so far as to say that future military doctrine regarding secure transport will be to purchase ONLY CROPS Flatracks.
165thspc
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Posted: Saturday, November 11, 2017 - 08:24 AM GMT+7
Best photos I could find of early design CROPS Flatracks. There are now a variety of designs, differing primarily in the construction of the A-frame structure itself. In all cases the A-frame folds flat and up to six racks can be stacked and loaded into a standard container for a consolidated return to a supply depot.





As the TM says; care must be taken with tall loads when loading/unloading from a container. The top of the load or the container itself may be damaged in the process. A ground guide spotter is required during this type of operation.
165thspc
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Posted: Saturday, November 11, 2017 - 08:32 AM GMT+7
Some alternate designs for construction of the folding A-frames:



Please note on the righthand photo: A decal detail probably left out of all the newly available model container kits - it appears we need an additional set of container number decals to go on the righthand inside wall of the interior of the container. (Red Arrow)
165thspc
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Posted: Saturday, November 11, 2017 - 02:42 PM GMT+7
CROP on standard HEMTT:


CROP (on top) of a standard Flatrack:
165thspc
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Posted: Sunday, November 12, 2017 - 02:22 AM GMT+7

Quoted Text

Obviously, flatrack don`t have the same attaction to the general modeller as a 20 foot container. I hope that some manu-facturer(s) somedays realize the potential that a flatrack offers. (Loaded with 155mm rounds, Javelin missile crates, 105 mm MGS rounds and 120mm steel ammo boxes)



I am not sure I agree that the Flatrack would necessarily be less popular than the container boxes. Regardless, when a company like Italeri has the molds already in inventory it seems silly not to be producing the kit. AND if Italeri would partner with someone, say like L.Z. Models, to produce a nicely sculpted resin load for the rack then this new offering would sell BIG TIME!
HermannB
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Posted: Sunday, November 12, 2017 - 02:27 AM GMT+7
Before any company produces loads for LHS/PLS, one must search for images of these items and make it public. I hardly believe that any AM company invests time in browsing sites like DVIDS.
165thspc
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Posted: Sunday, November 12, 2017 - 02:53 AM GMT+7
Well that brings us back to the question: Just how do the model companies get their inspiration for what to introduce next? Given the sizable up-front financial investment, how do they decide just what the "next big thing" is going to be?

I have my suspicions but do not really know the answer.

The various model companies seem to be moving like gang busters to give us almost EVERYTHING we could hope for. (At least compared to the old days.) So how do these companies decide that it is now time to offer a Russian trenching machine, a second (or third) CMP fuel truck or TWO identical British tank transporters? AND at the very same time yet ANOTHER Tiger I comes to the market (???) while we poor modelers wait still for a new, never to be seen, Bergepanther or a Mack NO artillery tractor?

How are these decisions made if not by feeling out the market in some way?

All I know for sure is these are amazing times to be an armor modeler!


p.s. No matter how many models they give us I will still find something I feel I need to scratch build or kit bash into a vehicle I could not otherwise get my hands on!
cheyenne
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Posted: Sunday, November 12, 2017 - 03:03 AM GMT+7
Stunning work Mike .
The container is absolutely beautiful!!!
165thspc
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Posted: Sunday, November 12, 2017 - 05:50 AM GMT+7
Thank you chey!

________________________________________________________________________________________________


Here is a product suggestion for some enterprising AM manufacture:

Graffiti decals in 1/35th scale. Blair Products makes them in HO and N scale but nothing for the larger scales.

Just putt'n it out there!


(I did just buy some blank laser print decal paper. I don't know how well that works but I plan to find out. I guess I need to go out and photograph the local graffiti on buildings and railroad cars and print some of my own.)
165thspc
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Posted: Sunday, November 12, 2017 - 07:00 AM GMT+7
Some general reference on containers:


. . .

Been wondering just what that little bugger (Ventilator) was.
There is one in each upper corner of the sidewalls for a total of four.
165thspc
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Posted: Sunday, November 12, 2017 - 12:30 PM GMT+7
A little bit of rusty reference:

. . .

165thspc
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Posted: Monday, November 13, 2017 - 05:05 AM GMT+7
Just an observation regarding the Experimental Oshkosh 8x8 Mk?? LHS vehicle:

As much as I admire the big 10x10 PLS for it's wonderfully massive design, it still has a load capacity of only 16.5 tons. The Experimental Oshkosh 8x8 also has a load capacity of 16.5 tons and both vehicles are off-road capable. Yet the Mk probably costs less, certainly weighs less, is physically smaller and I suspect is easier to maintain. (The engine is certainly more accessible on the Mk.)

My observation/question: Why is the Mk still considered experimental while the massive PLS is the current military standard?


Duh, because that's how the military procurement system works, dummy???
HeavyArty
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Posted: Monday, November 13, 2017 - 05:37 AM GMT+7

Quoted Text

Yet the Mk probably costs less...



Probably not. With the number of HEMTT/PLSs that the US Army already has and all the new features on the Mk23 PLS/LHS (whatever we are calling it) it probably cost more per unit than a PLS does off the assembly line. In a few years when there are more MK23s out there they may be closer in price. However, since the Mk23 is only a USN/USMC vehicle, it will probably never near the number of HEMTT/PLSs that have been produced over the years, thus never closing the price per unit gap.

Likewise, the Army already has contracts and programming to keep the HEMTT/PLSs around for a long time. Also, we (Army) don't need a 7 ton truck, so I don't see us ever buying MK23 variants.
165thspc
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Posted: Monday, November 13, 2017 - 06:47 AM GMT+7
Gino - just to add further to your statement above.

There is already an Army contract in place with Oshkosh to upgrade ALL the existing HEMTT A2's to the new A4 design. These upgraded vehicles will, upon re-delivery carry an "as new", full vehicle warranty and be given new body/frame ID numbers.

The HEMTT and PLS families of vehicles are here to stay!
165thspc
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Posted: Monday, November 13, 2017 - 10:28 AM GMT+7
Today's progress on my CROPS Flatrack:



Really going through my supply of Evergreen plastic shapes! I have to say, I really liked doing that framing under the deck!
(For some reason I'm big on detailing things you may never see again????)
165thspc
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Posted: Monday, November 13, 2017 - 12:16 PM GMT+7

Quoted Text

Gino - just to add further to your statement above.

There is already an Army contract in place with Oshkosh to upgrade ALL the existing HEMTT A2's to the new A4 design. These upgraded vehicles will, upon re-delivery carry an "as new", full vehicle warranty and be given new body/frame ID numbers.

The HEMTT and PLS families of vehicles are here to stay!



But I still think the Mk 8x8 LHS would be cheaper to purchase than the 10x10 PLS. (If the Mk were placed in full production.)
165thspc
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Posted: Monday, November 13, 2017 - 01:27 PM GMT+7
Have not been able to work on the roller end of the CROPS rack because I have not been able to find any reference on that part of the structure. However that just changed.


Waiting now for corner block castings to come in from Shapeways before continuing with my CROPS.
165thspc
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Posted: Monday, November 13, 2017 - 02:25 PM GMT+7
I was fortunate to have recently acquired a Trumpeter 20' container which I just finished tonight. I can now confirm that both the Italeri 20' container and the Trumpeter 20' have roughly the same overall measurements. Therefore my two LHS trucks and my home built CHU appear to work just fine with either manufacture.



The Italeri product is on the left, the Trumpeter on the right. The following may be of interest to some: Given the significant differences in the corrugations of the various wall panels and the layout of the parts on the sprues, I can confirm that the two offerings are produced from totally different tooling.

Comments would be: The Italeri tooling offers somewhat larger gluing areas and the container seems to go together a bit more easily. On the other hand the Trumpeter offering includes the four ventilators cast into the upper sidewalls. The Italeri container is missing these vents.

Finally, to Italeri's credit, their container comes with three different but complete decal marking sets - US Army, US Marines and Italian Military. The Trumpeter offering comes ONLY with "China Shipping" decals. As Captain Hook would say: "Bad form Peter!"

Fortunately, thanks to Italeri I had enough decals to letter both containers; one for the US Army the other for the Marines.
165thspc
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Posted: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - 02:14 AM GMT+7