Author Topic: Detailing the Micro-Trains DODX M1 Abrams Tank Sets  (Read 9311 times)

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Mark W

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Detailing the Micro-Trains DODX M1 Abrams Tank Sets
« on: October 10, 2018, 07:16:04 PM »
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The call finally came; The DODX Flat Cars and M1 Tanks have arrived!

Over the past year, chances are you've come across the BNSF Fuselage Detailing thread.  If not, go check it out and witness an amazing collaboration of the Railwire researching, discussing, and sharing techniques to super-detail the Micro-Trains Fuselage Set. 

Since the announcement of the DODX M1 Tank sets, I've been looking forward to another Railwire Collaboration Project!

I won't actually get my first set until tomorrow, so until then, let's take a look at what we know based on MTs marketing. This is the first set released of 3 sets currently announced.  Three 4 axle flat cars with a single tank per flat.  The next two sets will be three 6 axle flat cars with two tanks per flat car.


https://i.imgur.com/A29PMhA.jpg

At first glance, I thought they posed the turret backwards, but later learned this is how the turret is positioned during transport.

Micro-Trains also recently announced the M1 Abrams will be available as a separate 2 pack, without flatcar.  Photos from this announcement reveal more details about the kit. 


https://i.imgur.com/lDB9IKo.jpg


I'm surely not the only kit-lover to get goosebumps seeing a new product coming as a parts spruce!


https://i.imgur.com/VU9FQxc.jpg


And a decal sheet and etched plate!


https://i.imgur.com/7JXgeXx.jpg


We don't see the etched tie downs in the hero shot of the flat cars, and the photo of the etch plate is a little small.  I'm not able to make out individual links in the tie-down chains, but we'll have to wait and see to confirm.   I also noticed the black squares from the decal sheet are the rubber pads on the track links, which are otherwise smooth, except for some edge detail.  Perhaps there's an opportunity to fabricate separate tracks with a Silhouette/craft cutter.  Again we'll have to wait and see.


Ok ok, I don't want to get ahead of myself.  This is definitely going to be another home run (yay October!) from Micro-Trains and I can't wait to dive in tomorrow!



Until then, check out this video I found, Marines unloading a Tank Train!

« Last Edit: October 10, 2018, 07:17:42 PM by Mark W »
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Plumcrazy

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Re: Detailing the Micro-Trains DODX M1 Abrams Tank Sets
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2018, 08:58:45 PM »
+1
Mark, I liked your thread on the BNSF fuselage train . I can’t wait to see what you and other modellers come up with in this  thread . I will getting my flat cars sometime in the next week or two . Also thanks for posting the cool tank loading video

Alex

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Re: Detailing the Micro-Trains DODX M1 Abrams Tank Sets
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2018, 09:19:32 PM »
+1
Mark,

I am not sure if this helps or not, but I cropped this out of the photo I took of the tanks at the N Scale Convention in Salt Lake City.

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Jbub

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Re: Detailing the Micro-Trains DODX M1 Abrams Tank Sets
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2018, 11:12:32 PM »
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My set is sitting on the counter right now. They arrived last Saturday from Fifer. The etched chains have a profile to suggest linked chain but there are no holes. That doesn't bother me though. The assembly instructions suggest using a solvent based hobby glue vs acrylic for assembling the plastic parts. Once assembled a thorough wash and dry and a coat of dessert tan paint should be applied followed by the decals, which are minimal. 
The cars themselves are good.  The coupler box is molded into the flat car body with a "lid" to hold the coupler together. There is no offset coupler used. If you're wanting to convert to true scale couplers, there is nothing to screw into. I'm looking forward to the other sets to come.
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jnevis

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Re: Detailing the Micro-Trains DODX M1 Abrams Tank Sets
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2018, 05:12:26 AM »
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Does the tracks have any link detail or are they smooth?  If it's just the decals, that's disappointing.  You'd be hard pressed to notice the pads at N Scale, the whole track is dark almost immediately after leaving the factory, but the links are obvious.  My 1:285 micro-armor at least hints at it.
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Re: Detailing the Micro-Trains DODX M1 Abrams Tank Sets
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2018, 06:56:11 AM »
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Perhaps a gentle twist of the etched "chains" would provide a sense of depth?

Jbub

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Re: Detailing the Micro-Trains DODX M1 Abrams Tank Sets
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2018, 08:21:21 AM »
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The tracks are smooth. There are decals that simulate track pads.
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Philip H

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Re: Detailing the Micro-Trains DODX M1 Abrams Tank Sets
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2018, 08:58:06 AM »
+1
@AlkemScaleModels did tie downs in HO that are very realistic up close.  probably too big for this application, but worth a look for other things:

http://www.alkemscalemodels.com/
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Re: Detailing the Micro-Trains DODX M1 Abrams Tank Sets
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2018, 08:59:16 AM »
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If you really wanted to simulate pad depth you could use a hobby cutter (Circut, etc.) to create the pads from this or a similar product at hobby shops:

https://www.banggood.com/Black-Glass-Film-Self-Adhesive-Sticky-Plastic-Vinyl-Film-45x100cm-p-941605.html?


Mark W

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Re: Detailing the Micro-Trains DODX M1 Abrams Tank Sets
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2018, 02:02:44 PM »
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Great stuff already. 
Most of the bottom of the tracks will be out of view anyway.  Maybe we can get away with scribeing the link detail where visible. 

Perhaps more important than the tracks may be day-lighting the wheel gaps. Looking at reference, those gaps are pretty noticeable, and I think will make a huge difference in making this look more realistic.  I think I'll tackle that part first, then see if that makes track modification any easier. 
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peteski

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Re: Detailing the Micro-Trains DODX M1 Abrams Tank Sets
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2018, 07:20:50 PM »
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Great stuff already. 

Perhaps more important than the tracks may be day-lighting the wheel gaps. Looking at reference, those gaps are pretty noticeable, and I think will make a huge difference in making this look more realistic.  I think I'll tackle that part first, then see if that makes track modification any easier.

I'm actually surprised that MTL didn't mold them that way.  Some sort of technical limitation?
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Mark W

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Re: Detailing the Micro-Trains DODX M1 Abrams Tank Sets
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2018, 10:44:27 PM »
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Not sure, Pete.  But first thoughts on un-boxing, the M1 molds are IMPRESSIVE! 

Let's dive into un-boxing and take a look.


No mistakes this is kit-form, and once again, I love it!


https://i.imgur.com/0Et8URg.jpg


Three flats come in 2 jewels.  This time, both cases are "top side" oriented, as opposed to the first fuselage sets with one case inverted.  (I believe the inverted case method is problematic, so this get a bonus point from me.)


https://i.imgur.com/q2GLqUw.jpg


Under the M1 Sprues we find three decal sheets and a ziploc bag with 3 etch plates, a fortune cookie note, and an instruction sheet. 


https://i.imgur.com/YmDQgOy.jpg


Here's the full sheet.  I looked briefly, but could not find a PDF on the Micro-Trains site just yet.  I'm sure it's just pending the next site update.


https://i.imgur.com/PhKlwCj.jpg


Ok, let's take a look at the long anticipated M1 Abrams sprues!


https://i.imgur.com/5W0IMw0.jpg


Before unboxing, I figured the storage baskets would be akin to molded on grab-iorns and would need replacing.  I'm pleasantly surprised to see the rear basket very well done!


https://i.imgur.com/WN6XhNK.jpg


Taking a closer look at the other parts has me really impressed though!  Very well done Micro-Trains!


https://i.imgur.com/h2XgQTN.jpg



https://i.imgur.com/BOzHQHn.jpg


If I'm going to be picky, I'd say the gunners sight box (top left) should have a little bit of a hood facing forward.  Also the commanders station (octagon hatch) looks a little on the short side. 
Both very easy enough to correct.  Also, here is our opportunity to add a few additional storage boxes and optional accessory components, like grenade launcher tubes and spare parts! 


https://i.imgur.com/MXnOMfh.jpg


I pulled out a pack of 27 link per inch chain I had to compare with the etched tie-downs.  While the plate shows Micro-Trains logo half-etched, they do not half-etch any link detail (wasn't really expecting that anyway).    I plan to experiment with a few different options here.  First I'll see what happens if we twist or imply further detail on the etched parts, as suggested earlier.  Because these are military tanks, that may help disguise the chain size and allow us to use the larger physical chain itself.  Then I have one last crazy idea, which I don't even want to say out loud until I've tried it.   8)


https://i.imgur.com/Jy1nEwG.jpg


Ok, two more to go.  Let's see these new flats.  The tie-down tracks and deck detail is great.  But look what we have going on underneath. 


https://i.imgur.com/TSCsKI8.jpg


This is my first encounter with these trucks, so we'll have to see how they operate.  They are.... interesting... for sure. 
The arch appears to raise the bolster to level with the top of the wheel flange (these are 36" wheels).  The forks make a hard-limit for truck rotation; see fortune cookie note from earlier.
There is also a new smaller bolster pin, which I'm already skeptical of. 

The truck mounts by slipping the bolster over a peg, then the pin into a hole within the peg.  One one hand, this means the truck can be mounted with no "head-room" above the bolster, great for flat-cars.  Although, with the typical flat bar'd truck, there would still be room for the center beam of the frame to extend between the wheels and hold the normal MT bolster pin.   

Perhaps this is more prototypical for under-frame structure on this type of car.  Again, I'll wait and see how it operates.  However from a modelers perspective, the pin in peg in bolster method makes for some thin delicate parts verses the usual pin only method. 

Nonetheless, the execution is right on part for Micro-Trains high standards, so at this point it's nothing more than a design change. 


https://i.imgur.com/3PgoFBK.jpg


And there we have it.  The DODX Red Flats un-boxed and ready for the real fun to begin!
« Last Edit: October 12, 2018, 12:08:13 AM by Mark W »
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prbharris

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Re: Detailing the Micro-Trains DODX M1 Abrams Tank Sets
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2018, 03:13:18 AM »
+1
The call finally came; The DODX Flat Cars and M1 Tanks have arrived!...Since the announcement of the DODX M1 Tank sets, I've been looking forward to another Railwire Collaboration Project!

The decal sheet does not give many options. Whilst the MT  M1A1 tanks is more detailed than ours - the N Scale Kits version is still available as a resin casting - if you want a squadron of the M1 and M1A1 tanks, folks might want to look at our less detailed, but lower cost version.

However, the main reason for posting is to show our decal sheet to add variety.



Also our 68' car is the six axle version - and not four axle.
Is the 4 axle car common?

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« Last Edit: October 12, 2018, 02:19:47 PM by prbharris »

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Re: Detailing the Micro-Trains DODX M1 Abrams Tank Sets
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2018, 11:26:10 AM »
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Also our 68' car is the six axle version - and not four axle.
Is the 4 axle car common?

Peter

While I can't answer the question, the indentations under the deck of the MTL car (to clear the wheel flanges) seem to hint that it will accept 2- or 3-axle trucks.
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Mark W

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Re: Detailing the Micro-Trains DODX M1 Abrams Tank Sets
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2018, 11:49:50 AM »
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Thanks for that info Peter.  I wasn't aware of the N Scale Kits offering. 


For the flat cars, there are two different types.   

The 4 axle red flat is typically seen with single tanks.  Here is one of the exact cars from the MT set.


http://www.trainweb.org/phillynrhs/RPOTW/20100110.P1430236.jpg


And the 6 axle green flats, for heavy duty double tanks.


http://www.albraemodels.com/img/model/DODX%200009.jpg

Each of the next two sets will be 6 axle flats.  I don't know if they share the main deck/body, but Pete makes a good observation on those underside indentations.


There was a video I saw on YouTube when the MT Set was announced that showed both the green, mixed green, and red flats all in one train.  It might have even been the exact car numbers given to the sets.  Trying to find it again. 
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