Accurizing and detailing 
the Tamiya M2A2 IFV kit.

Tamiya  1:35

PART 2

 REAR OF THE VEHICLE

    The loading ramp and rear door in it can both be attached open or closed, but as there is no interior in M2A2 kits, you should attach both closed, unless you want to scratch build your own interior (or use interior parts from older Tamiya or Academy M2 kits). Hinges for the ramp are workable, but slightly over scale because of this. Details on outer side of doors and rear ramp are quite accurate although a bit simplified -  they could be improved with some photo etched parts, but currently there is no PE set available dedicated for M2A2 Bradleys. Parts form Eduard "exterior set" for M2 Bradley can be used here (and in other areas of the vehicle as well, although many parts in the set are not suitable for M2A2 variant). You may also want to replace the plastic towing rope with some metal one (I used Karaya brass rope in my model). Two heavy "steps" are bolted to the bottom of the hull of the real M2A2/M3A2 vehicles, under the loading ramp - these are not present in Tamiya kit, but very easy to add from a piece of styrene (see photos below).

Details of the "step" bolted to the bottom of the lower hull. On this photo you can see where two steps 
are attached under the loading ramp..

    Two large stowage boxes have simplified hinge and lock details - again some PE parts could be used to improve this area. Taillights attached to the top of boxes have metal guards over them and these are much too thick in the model and are not quite correct shape. Mentioned Eduard PE set for M2 includes nice new taillight guards, but I made my own replacement parts from aluminum sheet. Under the stowage boxes are two rubber mud flaps. These are way too thick in the model and should be replaced with pieces of thin metal or styrene sheet.

    One of the major inaccuracies of the model is the way the rear armor plates (behind stowage boxes) look like. Tamiya simplified this area way too much. Heavy surgery is needed to parts B44, B26, B30 and E14 to make it all more accurate and some styrene sheets are needed. I was not able to find pictures that would clearly show this area, so below are my drawings based on what I was able to discover - there are still some question marks left however...

Cut off parts of back wall marked in red. 
Also cut off the back of lower hull along red lines.
Glue pieces of thick styrene sheet cut to shape to the back wall. 
The back wall part should now be flat. 
Fill four rectangular holes marked in green.

Do not treat this drawing as a template - I drew it out of scale, 
using only Eyeball Mk.1 for measurements!
"Wings" on both sides of back wall are now made of styrene sheet (see previous picture).
You have to modify the back of the upper hull part to match changes made to back 
wall and lower hull. You have to cut part C7, so that the back of it is flush with 
the new back wall part (do not cut exactly along the red line shown above, but fit carefully 
to other parts first! The line is there just to give you general idea of what has to be done).
Once the upper hull is attached (red lines) the edges of sloped plates on both 
sides should be flush with our new styrene back plate "wings"
Attach two plates cut from thin styrene or metal sheet. Swim barrier 
is strapped to little tie-downs welded to those plates in real vehicle.
Cut four trapezoids from thin styrene sheet (0.010") - two identical for each side.
Use the picture above as a general guide, but use kit parts as a template 
to get correct size of plates (red dashed line).
Attach four plates cut earlier to the back wall - use spacers (blue on picture) cut from styrene rod.
Unfortunately I do not have exact information regarding the size, shape and placement of spacers, 
so you have to use your imagination, of try to find some references...
Remember that loading ramp must fit between these new parts!
You have to scratch build parts drawn in red (see also photo below). 
You can try to modify parts B26, B30 and E14 to resemble real things, 
but it may be easier to scratch build both parts completely from styrene sheet.
Ribbed detail is on one side of these parts - they are flat on the other.
Attach stowage boxes and all remaining parts.
On this photograph you can see the back of M3A2 Bradley. Note that there are some (vent?) pipes 
on both sides of the ramp, behind the outer armor plates - you can add them using styrene rod 
or solder wire (as I did). Both pipes have small hinged covers on top - with round "wings" on them.
Photo VP.

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Most of the photos of real vehicles in this article came from various sources on the Internet. I have so many of them downloaded on my computer that I lost track of where each of them came from. If you recognized some of the pictures as yours and want me to credit you for them here, or you want me to remove them, let me know - I'll sure do it.


          

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