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The LEGO M7 Medium Tank Project 2

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#1 Neyo Wargear

Neyo Wargear

    Gloria fortis miles

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Posted 09 November 2018 - 07:33 PM


Greetings SSLFer's. I'm back at it again. This time I return to my first project, the M7 Medium Tank of the US Army during World War II. I was making this 1/35th scale to match all my other vehicles. So, it was to be 3.2in wide at 10 studs, 5.89in long at 17 studs, and 2.66in tall at 17 studs. The blue studs are to mark the length, red is width, while purple is height.
The original topic can be found here. > http://forums.saber-...showtopic=10389

The suspension is the first thing I do. Getting the length of the vehicle while having an accurate suspension system is very difficult. You've got the drive sprocket, idler (in this case a trailing idler), roadwheels, and return rollers. As you can see the vehicle is within the length perimeters.
Here I am figuring out the fenders/sandshields and the frontal sloping of the vehicle. Interesting thing about the M7 MT is that it had a rounded hull as opposed to the angular hulls of most American tanks of the period. The only other tank at the time that had a rounded hull was the M4A1 Sherman MT and M22 Locust light tank. Thugh, most Shermans had angular hulls due to them being welded. It took me an hour to figure out the sloping of this vehicle, but what made the front hull so difficult is that it has two different slopes. You have the lower glacis plate that covers the transmission and reaches up to above the bow mounted MG, then the second slope begins until the roof of the hull.
Then I started on the side hull armor which is also sloped and had to be the same height as the rest of the hull while trying to make it look like it flowed together was no simple task. I had realized after designing this part of the tank, that the fenders/sandshields were too low to allow the installation of track links, so I had to take it all off, increase the height by a stud, then put it all back on, then had to redo the entire front hull to make the slopes match. That was a very long process.
As you can see, I finished all the side and front hull antics, and was able to finish the front hull. I put in two working hatches for the driver and co-driver/bow gunner, started on the rear shaping, and finishing the hull roof.
More work upon the rear hull. The M7 MT had a strange curved rear hinged plate that lifted up to allow access to the engine, this is not found in this model sadly, and was hard to create, but I found the near perfect piece, it is sadly 2 studs too wide, but was good enough.
I redid the rear hull armor to add the storage racks found there. I debated adding this or not, but decided to make the model as accurate as possible with my limited skills.
Finished hull assembly. Notice the raised engine deck due to the curved plate. All the angles/slopes flow together neatly except for the corners due to no piece able to make it so.
Sadly I have no screenshots of work of the turret. I worked on that single part for at least an hour. This is the finished product, I did a minor rework of the front hull right by the hatches to make the model slightly more accurate by adding the periscopes of the driver and co-driver/bow gunner.
The profile of the model. It is slightly longer than the goal by 2 studs due to the rear fender/sandshield and the barrel. The turret is quite long, about 2/3rd of the hull length. The rear turret bustle was standard for American tanks at this point to house the radio, but the storage box bolted onto the back of that made it even longer.
Here you can see the rear shaping and detailing. This tank has the oddest rear hull shaping I've ever seen on an American WWII tank. A weird trapezoidal shape on the lower rear and then the curved engine hatch. Most American tanks had doors on the rear hull with the engine that could slide out for easy access, but the M7 MT made you have to lift up the engine hatch, you'd have to traverse the turret to be able to do so, and then reach down into the engine compartment and lift it out. The cone on the turret roof is to be the pintle mount for the M1919 .30in cal LMG.
Here I hid the purple Z axis for the height to allow a nice shot of the model. Both hatches on the turret roof do open. The turret also does traverse. Plus the main gun can elevate, but not depress.

The model measures in at 19 studs long, 11 studs wide, and 23 studs tall (top of the cone of the pintle mount). Or 21 studs at the turret roof. Wider, longer, and taller than my original perimeters, though it came out well. The length increase is no issue, nor the width. The height perimeter was not obtainable. Due to the suspension using well over half the height allowance, then the rest of the hull, and finally the turret. I knew I was not going to be able to make it the height I desired, which is fine, as all my models are too tall due to the dimensions of LEGO bricks.

I will be buying a BrickArms M1919 LMG, and Brickmania's 1 stud wide track links.

I do plan to improve this model again as the turret is too blocky for my tastes and looks very WWII Japanese tank-esque. Though getting a turret that is shaped like a hexagon that slopes on all sides so that it is smaller at the top than the base is rather difficult and I know not how to shape it correctly. Though the M7 MT has a wider hull than the M4 Sherman MT, the turret of the M7 is narrower, which doesn't help.

The M7 medium tank started as a replacement for the aging M3 and M5 Stuart light tank series. The new tank was to mount a 75mm gun like the M4 Sherman, but still have the mobility and light weight of the M3/M5 Stuart LT's. It started as the T7 light tank, then became too heavy to be considered a light tank by the US Army. When it finished completion, it had worse armor, the same firepower, and slightly faster than the M4 Sherman. By the time it was deemed a failure, 7 M7's had been accepted, and for many decades this was known as the entire production run of the M7 Medium Tank. Though new found pictures of the Wisconsin Historical Society show at least 40 M7 MT's in varying states of completion at the Quad-Cities Tank Arsenal. The M7 MT I have recreated is a T7E5 MT, which was a T7E2 rearmed with a M3 75mm tank gun instead of a British Ordnance QF 6-pounder Mark III or a 57mm gun. The Army looked into the mobility performance of the M7 MT and found that the castings of the tank were much thicker than normal, so 6 vehicles were modified to have the thinnest armor thickness allowed, speed was barely improved. These 6 modified M7's were not accepted, leading to an accepted production run of only 7 vehicles.

Weight: 26.975 tons
Length: 17ft 2 in
Width: 9ft 4in
Height: 7ft 9in
Crew: 5, Commander in turret left rear, Gunner in turret left front, Loader in turret right, Driver in hull left front, and Co-Driver/Bow Gunner in hull right front.
Armor: 13-64mm or 0.51-2.52in
Main Armament: M3 75mm Gun (71 rounds)
Secondary Armament: M1919A4 0.3in LMG, ball mount in front right hull, coaxial to 75mm gun, and flexible in pintle mount. (4,500 rounds)
Engine: Continental R975-C1 (350hp)
Speed: 30MPH on roads
Range: 100mi on roads

Omnius mille passus expeditio, omnis fossa bellum.

"The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war."

- General of the Army Douglas MacArthur

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