Monday, September 09, 2019 - 10:24 PM UTC
Rye Field Models announced the M551 Sheridan kit is available and on the way to the stores.
5020 - M551A1/M551A1 TTS Sheridan

On-line stores should have the kit in stock very soon. In the meantime enjoy some of the latest photos of the test model.
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SEP 13, 2019 - 11:32 AM
Thanks for posting the links Dan. Great to see the parts and instructions. The details look terrific...except for those nasty sink marks on the tracks!
SEP 13, 2019 - 02:13 PM
I noticed that as well! I'm hoping that I can easily make a '70s Era tank. Dan
SEP 13, 2019 - 02:38 PM
Dan, I see no problem at all building this as an early 70s Sheridan (post 72 at least). It comes with all the necessary parts to do so. And I think it can be backdated to a late 60s version as well, just by leaving off the LRF. I don't see the sink marks you guys are talking about-- I've only seen the original test shots of the kit sprues-- am I missing something? Those photos from Moxing Fans are all 1980s Sheridans from the 82nd ABN. The Tamiya kit can only be built as a Vietnam or very early 70s Sheridan given the parts-- this kit looks like it will make up the difference from 1972 forward. Of course, I don't know what decal offerings are provided yet-- looks like they are only for 80s era M551A1s but we'll see. VR, Russ
SEP 13, 2019 - 02:55 PM
Dan, Ok, I see what you mean now-- those aren't sink marks as much as they are sprue ejection marks. It remains to be seen if they'll appear on the production kit-- guess we'll find out. They look like they could be easily filled. About the only issue I see is the incorrect shape of the A/NVRC12 system AUX antenna insulator-- not sure if it's intended to represent a later antenna but the shape is wrong if it's a 70s version. What I do see is a quite a bit of interior detail, with a 152mm gun breech, 7.62 co-ax MG, (pre M240- so it's a 70s version MG), commander, loader and driver's seats. Those are nice interior touches. However, I don't see the LRF receiver-transmitter or sighting instruments, turret capstan, or VRC12 amplifier or the commander's turret control joystick-- those would be visible just inside the TCs position, so it looks like it's only a partial interior-- (better than nothing I suppose). But Everything looks darn good to me. The turret mantlet texture is very nice. The only other "issue" I see is the cargo rack, and that's not much of an "issue" really. The original rack for the 60s and 70s was a simple channel affair, (see the photo of the 11th ACR track above in MASSTER camo), bent downward off the turret rear. It held a fabric mesh screen that crew gear could be secured to. The kit supplied rack looks like one cobbled together during VN by enterprising crews, and then added to issue tracks in the 70s and 80s. But, I think I see the parts for an original issue rack of the 60s on the sprues too. This is a minor point, as crew storage was much modified in the 60s and 70s, to suit individual crew taste. I had six tanks in my Platoon, and every one had a different style storage rack-- mine had an original issue rack-- that is it wasn't enlarged from the original. That's because the Platoon leader's gear was kept on his M113, since the Sheridan was only used by him in the attack, otherwise, he commanded the Platoon from the M113. So, in short, if the Moxingfans site has all the parts pictured, this will be quite a kit. Just one other minor point. The M551 was not a "tank" it was an Armored Airborne Reconnaisance Vehicle (AARV), and so we always referred to it as a "track" rather than a tank. The Tank Company members in the Armored Cavalry Regiments (straight M60A1s) always took exception if we called our Sheridan's "tanks". That made for some interesting times in the German beer houses. VR, Russ
SEP 13, 2019 - 03:24 PM
Russ, Thanks for the info. I need to look at my Sheridan books and see what parts are correct for the '70s. I had a feeling I should have said track, as it was a CAV vehicle but in Armor Bns that meant 113s. Dan
SEP 14, 2019 - 12:33 AM
and journalists routinely refers to anything running on tracks, except obvious excavators and dozers, as a 'tank'. Makes me groan every time. / Robin
SEP 14, 2019 - 01:28 AM
Yes-- we referred to all the tracked vehicles in the CAV troops as tracks, that kept the Tank Company guys in each Regiment happy. It's a small point though. And I was incorrect in that I said the acronym was "AARV" it's actually an Armored Reconnaissance Airborne Assault Vehicle-- AR/AAV, which is the full nomenclature according to "official" US Army documentation-- but we never called it that. It was either known to us as a "Sheridan" or an "M551" or other unprintable names if it broke down, which it frequently did. I have lots of Sheridan stories-- it was the most interesting vehicle I ever rode in 30 years of service. But, like any veteran, my memory is fading, perhaps that's a good thing in some cases! If I get mine anytime soon, I'll try and write a review. VR, Russ
SEP 14, 2019 - 04:12 AM
I just received my sample of the RFM M551A1/TTS “2 in 1” kit. I don’t have a Tamiya M551 Sheridan to compare it with, but I’ve seen that kit in the box, and there’s are a lot more parts in the RFM kit box, as expected. I see a tiny bit of flash on a very few parts, but nothing major— easily dealt with a sanding stick. There are a few minor (as in not very deep) ejector pin marks on the inside surface of the tracks— mine are nowhere near as deep as the Moxingfans kit photos show, and may be handled easily with a sanding stick or small smear of Mr. Surfacer— I’ll figure that out as I start to build the kit. So far, everything else looks great! This kit can definitely be built as a 70s M551A1, or the later 80’s TTS version, or perhaps even backdated to a late M551. Decals are only included for the TTS version though. The detail level is excellent, and there are many options for open panels, hatches, and a partial (very partial) interior for both A1 and TTS versions. Some BII is included (shell rammer, track tool, and other items, and even the Infantry phone for the positionable phone box cover! The instructions look a bit confusing due to the way they're laid out. You definitely need to read through them at least twice to understand differences in the A1 and TTS versions. The A1 sequence is highlighted in green print, while the TTS version is in normal black ink. Unfortunately, if you are a strict “build by the numerical step” builder, you’ll accidentally build the turret sides under the gunners ballistic sight aperture for the TTS version (part E5) way before you would have gotten to the A1 version (part D39)— so again, review the instructions carefully. In addition, they’re a little confusing when you add the Coax MG, which has two different MGs pictured. Be aware the M73 (part B69) has a perforated barrel cover— and is only found on the A1 version— the later M240 (part B56) is found only on late TTS Sheridan (the M73 was a notoriously bad MG and was rapidly replaced on TTS vehicles). I see a couple of minor things which may need correction, as the AUX receiver antenna base insulator looks incorrect for a 70s version AN/VRC422/524 (or AN/VRC 12/422) set up (Parts E33 vs parts D62), but it may be correct for a late ‘90s digital set up, I’m not an expert in that area. Photo etch is included for the engine grills and the cargo rack, as well as many other smaller details like thumbscrews and tie downs. There’s a strip of 86 bolt heads molded into the long axis of the two “C” sprues— according to the instructions you’ll use a few of them, but that will leave a lot left over for other projects— a nice touch. Markings are provided for two 82nd Airborne Sheridan’s— both TTS vehicles, one looks like it’s an Operation Desert Storm vehicle, the other a Just Cause vehicle? No information is provided in the instructions for either, and no history is provided. My first impression is this is an excellent kit, full of detail and options (there’s also a ridiculous “spring” for 152mm “recoil simulation” included—I don’t know why manufacturers feel the need to include this option). Overall, it looks like it’s going to be a fun but very detailed build. It’s definitely not for beginners either, with many small (downright tiny) parts, and the instructions with 55 steps which require your undivided attention. RFM has color coded specific areas of the instructions to help in understanding, and has included an errata sheet clarifying the part numbers used for the track assembly. I can highly recommend this kit if you want an accurately detailed M551A1 or TTS Sheridan. Mine will be marked as my track in the 11th ACR— “FOX 36” from September ‘77 to September ‘78– but I’ll have to dig out some number decals or find aftermarket ones. VR, Russ
SEP 18, 2019 - 08:17 AM

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