Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Plastic Soldier Company T-34 conversion: 76mm to 57mm

The Plastic Soldier Company T-34 box comes with the turret and barrel for both the 85mm and 76mm versions; I needed the 57mm version, so time for a scratch-build!  I did not go for exact scale conversion, just a piece of tubing I had on hand that fell between the 76mm barrel size and the 85mm so you can tell the difference on the tabletop (yes, it seems odd that the smaller shell size had a larger barrel, but I believe the barrel was thicker to handle the higher pressure and velocity of the 57mm round).

Step 01:  nix the 76mm barrel
Cut straight across the barrel, as you will need to drill into the current housing.  I used a pair of sprue cutters, but an X-acto will do.  File the barrel stub flat after you cut, but leave the little triangular piece of barrel intact, as it will be a reference point in step 02. 

Step 02:  Drilling
Next up is to drill the housing, but because of the small size, you need to make a pilot indention in the barrel stub.  Once you are centered on the barrel stub, pivot your pointy tool around to make the hole big enough to take the drill bit.

(I have a tool designed to scribe plastic, but a nail filed to a sharp point will do just fine.  Whatever you use, it just needs to be sharp, so if you are off center, you can re-spike it in a better position.) 

And then the drilling.  You will be pinning the new barrel in place, so you need to drill almost all the way through the piece.  Use a drill bit the same size as the pin you will use.  After you drill the pinning hole out, remove the triangular scrap of leftover barrel.

Step 03:  Pinning
Dip your pin (I used a 1/2" piece of paper clip, as it exactly fit the inside of my tubing) in a small puddle of super glue (so you don't get too much on it) then stick it into the hole; be careful not to let it go all the way through, but go as deep as you can.  Then, bend the pin (if necessary) so it is aligned the same way the original barrel was.

Note:  when you bend the pin, hold the pliers right up against the plastic, not like the picture shows; I backed it off for photo-taking.

Step 04:  Barrel fabrication and attachment
Cut a piece of 1/16" aluminum tubing to 7/8", then file one end to an angle that matches the plastic.  Test fit the angle, then dip the angled end in your puddle of superglue and slide it onto the pin until it is flush with the plastic.  If you need any final adjustments to line up the barrel, do it before the superglue dries!

Step 05:  final assembly
Glue the barrel assembly onto the turret, and you are good to go!


Finished Product
For comparison purposes, here is a family portrait.  From top to bottom, the 76mm, 57mm, and 85mm versions.  The 76 and 57 share a turret, the 85 had a larger one.  Both turrets come with the kit.

Now, go get it on the table top!

1 comment:

  1. Nice walk-through, good job mate. Get some more material up!