I was given this Italeri kit, which had been partially built and painted and over the years sustained some damages too.
While browsing for reference images for the M3A1 Honey I came across this one:
and I thought;" yes! This is the one I want to do!"
However there are some “issues”, one of them being the transmission housing. Italeri’s is cast and round… So after a frantic quest for the proper housing I came across a reson AM-specimen from Panzer Art. Very good casting, sharp details and easily workable resin.
However the challenges do not stop there.
For one the trackguards are square and have a metal strip along side, where gear is suspended from.
Also the .50-gun mount is different as are the sides. 2x2 steps need to be added and the canopybars removed.
The reardeck is lacking the stowage baskets.
The headlights must go higher up and have different brackets.
I could remove the additional armor around the crew compartment, but most photo’s show that these were present, which save me from quite a lot of surgery. Which I might do anyway…
oh… and stowage. Lots and lots of stowage!
First thing I did was the bogies. I added tamiya wheels instead of the kit’s and then filled and sanded a lot of gaps and sinkholes. Especially in the returnrollers!
Next I had to construct the superstructure in order for the new housing to fit. That also meant cutting of the front of the lower hull.
I also cut off the extension of the MG-mount as well as the canopybrackets.
And since the kit only has 6 shells, I will be making a batch of shelltubes from sprue leftovers.
Do you need a lee/grant suspension?
Nice, classic kit and project. Will be following this
To do an initial production M7 like used by the Brits in North Africa, there is a LOT of backdating to do to the Italeri kit. The headlights need to be repositioned higher on the glacis, the folding panels on the sides and rear of the fighting compartment removed, the suspension changed to M3 bogies, and the AA MG pulpit reduced in depth. These are all in addition to the early three piece transmission housing.
I already started work on the outer appearances and I found that most vehicles seem to have those upper shields? Perhaps upgraded?
Bogies are being “negotiated”, the pulpit has been reduced and the headlights… I need to figure out how to do the brackets.
After their initial battlefield use in North Africa (El Alamein & Operation Torch) the low sides were found to expose the ammunition stowage to enemy fire. Based upon battlefield reports, the side armor plates were developed and installed, both at the factory, and in kit form for the HMCs already in the field. With the time such developments take, that would be in early 1943 at the soonest.
Then that would mean I’d have to remove all additional plating around the compartment. Ok. That would certainly make for a different appearance.
Do you, or anyone else for that matter, happen to have some pictures of how the rear of such an early one looks?
Looking at my first 2 pictures I have the funny feeling that I am looking at the same vehicle; original and upgrade, given the paintscheme, markings and such. The latter had the caption Tunisia 1943.
Here is a link with lots of photos and info on the M7
Without seeing the serial number, there is no way to tell if they are the same vehicle. However the battery markings are slightly different between the top two. The top photo has just a triangle with the letter of the gun, while the second photo has a different color inside the triangle, as well as a different letter for the gun. While the battery assignment and resulting change to the markings, could have changed while the gun was modified, I wouldn’t put that as a high probability.
Going back to your original post, it looks like the photo is from 1943. If that is the vehicle (and look) you want to model, then go with it. Then instead of having to remove the added side armor, all you have to do is fix the sand shields/fenders, which should be easier.
May I sugest to get your hands on a set of Panda Plastics T-51 Tracks. I have a set on my M10 GMC and they are very well detailed.
Panda Plastics (shermantracks.com)
I think I’ll go for the 1943 Tunisia-version as show here:
It will save me a lot of carving and I like the well “decorated” look.
caption was quite specific: Priest 105mm selfpropelled gun of 11th Royal Horse Artillery Honourable Artillery Company, 1st Armoured Division. Tunisia 22 April 1943.
They look amazing, but it would cost me the price of a new Academy-kit to get them here.
Bit of a overkill to me.
Thanks for the suggestion though!
Not to mention that the Academy M7 kit is an earlier production type with most of the features that you’re adding on your own.