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135
M74 ARV

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Introduction
I have recently received the Legend Production M74 conversion set for 1/35 Sherman w/HVSS kit # LF1297 for review and build from Jim Starkweather. I'm going to use the chassis and any other parts needed for the conversion from the only HVSS Sherman that I have. That is the Dragon M4A3 HVSS POA-CWS-H5 Flamethrower.

I have searched for more information and pictures on it on the internet but there was little out there when I did my search and I used these two sites for reference.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M74_Armored_Recovery_Vehicle has some and http://www.przemkko.strefa.pl/m_walkaround/m74_trv.html. plus this site http://translate.google.ca/translate?hl=en&sl=pl&u=http://www.przemkko.strefa.pl/m_walkaround/m74_trv.html&prev=search

I know that it was developed by the US Army in 1953 after the outbreak of the Korean War to replace the aging M32A1B3 ARV which were later converted to the M74 standard for the heavier tanks like the M46 Pershing and the M47 Patton. The M74 ARV where shipped to the Korean War and never saw any action due to the war ending a few weeks after landing there. M74 ARV served well with US Army into the 60s until eventually being replaced by the M88 ARV. There are other countries that used it as well post war such as Germany, Belgium, Middle East, Chile and Japan to name a few.

The M74 is very similar to the M32 as being fitted with a hydraulic lift for large A-frame crane with lifting capacity of 11000 kg, a main towing winch 41000 kg pull, an auxiliary winch upper hull front with a pull of 4500 kg, and a manual utility winch at the back lifting power of 900 kg as well as being fitted with a front mounted spade that can be used as a support or as a dozer blade.

Contents
The package arrived in excellent condition. When I got a chance and I started to check the contents of the box as you can see in the picture. 3 bubble wrap packages, brass wire 0.3mm and 0.5mm wire 25cm long, 5pcs of 0.7 brass rod, thin thread 70cm, thick thread 100cm, PE plate and one decal sheet US option only. Two packages have bubble wrap all around them and the main hull with bubble wrap around the sides and none on the front and back. The instruction is 4 pages of the built model showing close up pictures. It is printed on glossy paper and it was hard to photograph.

After un-wrapping the main hull, I saw that the front and back came with some damage on it as per the pictures. I found some small pieces but not all of the damaged pieces in the bottom of the box. I will try and fix the damaged areas.

Legend Production did an excellent job of casting the main hull with all the fine detail and for such a large piece no warping, I'm impressed with their casting techniques. After opening the one piece boom, again excellent casting with no warping of the boom. I opened the small detail package and again excellent casting of all the fine detail with fine attachment points.

The Build
The casting block on the main hull was large and it took me a lot of time to cut it with a fine tooth hand saw so as not to damage any detail on it and then using files and sanding blocks to finish the removing of the pour block. At this time I discovered that if I took my time the resin that Legend Production used was almost like styrene and it could be shaved with a #11 Exacto blade. This made the clean-up of the pour blocks much easier.

Legend Production provides almost everything for the upper hull and a new transmission housing due to the attachment points of the plow. The parts that you need from the donor kit are the chassis, suspension and tracks. For detailing you need tail lights, all the tools, lifting hooks front and back, 30 cal. front hull machine gun and the top 50 cal. machine gun from the donor kit.

A lot of time is required to clean up the large pour blocks on the main hull the turret housing or upper hull and the housing for the rear winch. Note look very closely at all the small parts that have holes in them there is a fine film in the hole that has to be drilled out. Check all pictures in the instructions and you will see what I mean.

After cleaning up the main upper hull I proceeded in finding the broken pieces in the box and reattaching them and the parts that were missing I fabricated them with styrene plastic and attached them all with CA. Clean up of all the smaller pieces required for the hull was a lot easier keeping in mind to look at the instruction sheet often so that you only remove the pour blocks and runners and none of the fine detail. The trial fit and line up of all the resin pieces for the main hull was excellent so I proceeded to glue one piece at a time. The drivers and co-driver hatches where installed in the closed position and I drilled them through the hinge point and installed a stretched prune dowel so that I have the option in the future to have them open or closed. I did the same thing with the top hatch so that it can open and close. I do have a tendency to jump around while the glue is drying or cleaning parts.

Note all the cable ends where cleaned up and the ends that receive the thread cable where drilled out for a better fit and looks when the time came to attach them together with CA.

The cleaning of the boom A frame was next. You have to be very careful with cleaning the fine pour webbing between all the A frame parts that has kept the structure on a true plain with no warping. There is a lot of detail where the pegs go on that form the steps are located with pieces cut from the 0.7 mm brass rod. It would have been nice if Legend Production would have provided dimensions for these pegs. I have an Italeri M32 ARV and measured the pegs on their A frame and made them 1 mm longer and made a jig to bend the slight angle and then cut to length so that after I hand drilled the A frame, it would be easy to insert them and align them. The rest of the parts are the pulleys and support brackets, after cleaning them up and checking fit the installation went easy and the pieces were glued making sure that every think that had to move moved.

I fitted the transmission on the Dragon hull after cutting it and the fit wasn't good. Legend Production used the Tasca M4A3E8 kit for their build sample. After more cutting and filing I got the right dimension from center of sprocket to center of idler wheel and I then glued the two pieces together and then drilled out the tow hooks when everything was dry. I fitted the plow and drilled holes at the pivot point so that it can move up and down for any future position that I may want to put it in. I then decided to detail the dragon hull with all the missing bolts. The Dragon kit did not provide the right exhaust pipe flare so I had to scratch build them from sheet styrene and molded the curves with styrene cement. I fitted the lower hull to the main hull and noticed big spaces on the right and left sponsons and the rear. I measured and cut styrene sheets to fill in the open areas.

After cleaning all the small parts for the upper hull or turret all parts for the winch, guide rollers, boxes and doors. I carefully drilled out the clamps for the tow cables and then checked for fit and then glued all the individually parts to the upper hull. I made all the pull handles from the supplied brass rod as per the pictures for everywhere they were required. The only thing that gave me problems where the resin springs that kept breaking on me for the upper hatch springs. After three attempts I decided to make my own with fine wire.

When I finished cleaning the rear bulk head, winch, tow bar, tow hook and support pipe I checked all them for fit and started to glue them one at a time. The tow bar eyelet was heated in warm water cut in the center and bent it to fit through the tow hook and then straighten. You can see it in some of the pictures.

After I completed all of the sub-assemblies it was time to start with the photo etch to add that extra detail. I had no hold and fold and could not locate one in the few hobby stores that are still here, so I decided to make my own so that I could keep this build on track. The PH fret is really nice with lots of tiny detailed pieces. Some of items are front fenders 4pieces each, tool or parts basket 8 and 6 pieces for the mounting, headlight and tail light guards, turn buckles, brackets to hold the jerry cans 3 pieces plus 0.7 mm brass rod cut to size, tool frame to hold pick head and handle plus shovel and axe to mount on top of the transmission 7 pieces and the air exhaust hood 12 pieces. I cannot stress enough to keep checking the instruction sheet pictures for location of all the pieces as there are pieces that are made for left and right sides.

I placed the PH fret on top of a small block of hard maple wood and with a sharp #11 blade tight to the piece I was removing I had no problems pressing down and cutting the attachment point, removing it cleanly from the fret. Some of the tiny pieces that are used on the door handles lock angles I cut the section of fret and folded them all same time. After I pre-assembled the bracket to hold the two jerry cans, through trial and error I made a jig to the right height to sit on top of the fender so that I could glue it to the main hull. I arched the two front fender tops p34 and 35 to the arch on the side supports brackets and then after bending p37 and p38 90 degrees I glued parts p39 to p37 and p38 and then I assembled them together and set them aside to install them after the chassis and main hull where glued together and then they could be installed and painted.

With the exhaust air louver I curved part p3 around my exacto handles until I matched it to the curve on part p1 which were still on the fret. I removed parts p5, p6, p7 and p8 paying attention to the little tabs on the end of each piece. One part p2 was removed from the fret and paying attention to the tiny tabs, with a fine pin started to put a tiny drop of glue on the tabs of p5 and p6 and inserted them in the slots of p1 making up left and right. Then I proceeded with parts p7 and p8 into one of the p2 when it cured I installed the other p2 to form the centre section. To assemble all the sub-assemblies I made a jig to glue them all together and it worked out great. I personally think that Legend Production could have made this with fewer parts. Parts p2's two slots half way and parts p5, p7, p5 one piece and p6, p8, p6 one piece with two slots each half way and this would have been easier to assemble. After separating all the pieces of the basket I began with folding the length and forming the small angle on top 90 degrees and the other side on a slight angle then I folded the bottom of the two lengths. Once done I proceeded with the ends starting from the top and proceeding to the bottom fold. The bottom fold of the ends had to be completed by hand. Once everything was lined up I began with the test fit of the bottom mesh and the set it with a couple of tiny dabs of ca. The same procedure was done with all the mesh and the two lifting triangles where located and glued. Next was the mounting posts parts p21 folded and glued to resin dowel 46 ounce cured it was cut to 2 mm in length. I repeated this six times and then glued them to the basket according to the picture in the instruction. After removing all the PE parts for the tool frame I bent p27 all four sides 90 degrees as well as parts 2 x p31 and p26 and then with parts p28, p29 and p30 started to locate them on p27 and gluing them. the last was to attach all the tools and make straps from lead foil and insert them into p33 the PH buckles.

Itís time to paint all the sub-assemblies.

I started with the assembly of all the bogies and cleaned up all the contact points for gluing to the hull. The chassis was cleaned of paint where the bogies went. I used a small dab of Testors glue to the contact area and then put the chassis on a flat surface and lined up all the bogies with a metal straight edge to make everything square. I did a lot of clean up on the track and I started to install them on the front sprockets and then on the rear idlers, while doing the installation it showed me how much to bend the end connectors so that they looked like they were in dependent of the pads and it worked. The rest of the tracks where made in sections.

The next stage was to put the top hull on the main hull and measure the length to cut the tow cables. I removed the top hull and attached the boom to the main hull so that I could measure the boom stay cables. The boom connection with the main hull gave me problems. I did not think that the thickness of the paint would not let the boom fit in. I had to shave a few thousands of both sides of the boom and repaint it and everything worked out. Before cutting the cables I put a tiny drop of ca on them to keep the ends from fraying and making installation of all the cable ends easier into the holes I drilled earlier.

Decals are for US options only. I decided to install all of the decals now. I started by spraying a couple coats of clear gloss lacquer finish where the decals are located as per the instruction pictures. As I installed the decals in their location I finished them off with Micro sol to set them. After they were dry I sprayed them with flat clear coat.

The last process to assemble everything and do any touch up. I decided to pose the M74 in the traveling position for now and it has the option to set it up in the recovery position should you decide to do a diorama that way.

Conclusion
This conversion that I received is highly detailed with no warping or air bubbles with a lot of tiny fine detail in the resin and photo etched parts. I would see this kit as more for the experienced modeler. The fit of all the parts was excellent and I had no problems with anything.

My sincere thanks to Darren and Jim for giving me the chance to do a build review of this conversion.
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About the Author

About Ralph (Mech)
FROM: ONTARIO, CANADA


Comments

Great looking review and build, impressive.
OCT 19, 2015 - 02:52 AM
Thanks! Got to build that one eventually (have it in the stash).
OCT 19, 2015 - 06:54 PM
Thanks Ralph, great review
OCT 20, 2015 - 02:36 AM
Kevin and Philip, thank you very much for the compliment. I had a great time doing this review build. Christophe, enjoy your build. I certainly did. I posted more pictures on my web page. LINK Cheers, Ralph
OCT 20, 2015 - 04:27 PM
Impressive build, thanks for sharing!
NOV 07, 2015 - 04:54 PM