M3 Lee (MiniArt) #3 – Small Parts Get Added and My Tolerance is Reached and This Build Gets Benched for Now

The next item added to the engine is the ignition wiring loom. The kit didn’t make provisions for adding the ignition wires so I had to. The first part of that is getting the loom nestled into place and then using a fine Sharpie to mark where the wiring would break out of the loom (as an aside, most permanent marker marks can be removed with denatured alcohol unless the surface is porous):

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Then I used .035″ (.890mm) styrene rod as the break out points:

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The wiring loom was painted and the major engine parts glued in place. While the paint was drying (Tamiya TS-6 Matt Black) (no relation to Jack Black, thankfully…he annoys me), I drilled out sockets in the break outs .010″ (.254mm) to accept copper wires. I added lead foil to the exhaust manifolds to replicate the mounting brackets. Wear, chips, and basic color were added with a Prismacolor Argent (silver) #PC949 pencil (this is quickly becoming my go-to tool for subtle wear and precision chipping):

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Before I could begin painting the engine bay, I wanted to see where the light would fall and where the shadows would be. Since much of that space is filled by the engine (go figure), I dry-fit the engine into its place. With it in there, I very lightly delineated where the light would “pool” using very light touches of a white pencil:

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It was while I was trying to dry-fit the hull parts to act as light blocks that I noticed they didn’t fit correctly. In order for the fit to be less off, I had to break loose the right side of the hull and reposition it slightly. In the photo below, almost centered under the square opening for the pistol port you can see the light color where the panel had originally be glued. It took three clamps to get things to stay in position long enough for the glue to set up:

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Yeah…three clamps:

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While that sat, I decided to start assembling the parts for the sponson-mounted 75mm main gun. Though the barrel was slide-molded, the bore wasn’t centered well:

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I chucked the barrel into my lathe and carefully worked the outside of the muzzle so it was less obviously off center:

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Not thrilling but it’s about the best I can get. (Reminds me of my love-life.) (OLD memories, unfortunately.)

There were more “not thrilling” observations about to be made. Once I removed all the clamps and started checking fit on hull panels is when I realized that they’re not fitting well at all. Is it possible that I made a mistake when I glued up the sides of the lower hull? It’s always possible I made a mistake. (More reminders of my love-life.) (Actually, of my life in general.) In going over the hull closely, I can see no place(s) where I did (which doesn’t mean I didn’t, just that right now I can’t see them). But for whatever reason, not fitting is not fitting…and not remotely pleasing.

I sat there for several hours spread over several days before I finally realized that I didn’t want to fiddle with this thing’s fit right now. I am NOT good at trying to do what I do not want to do and since this thing is styrene, there is a limit to how much rough handling it can withstand (visions of hammers danced through my mind…big, steel, hammers).

Right. Everything got bagged, stuffed back into the box, and put back on the shelf. I don’t always bail out on a build but when I do, I always bail out for a reason. I have a temper and no temper is a “good one.” I reached this point doing the P-51 build, set it aside, came back several years later, and ended up with a nice build. I intend on the same thing happening with the M3 Lee. Later.

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