M26 and M26A1 Dragon Wagon with trailer and Seehund minisub - case report

Soldiers!!!
My next project will be double (or triple...) job:
Tamiya´s M26 Dragon Wagon.  One is in the single tractor version and another tractor is complete, with trailer.
single tractor and tractor with trailer
The tractor will be a M26 version, with armoured cabin.
Tamiya´s old (and good...) tractor kit
        And the complete version will be the M26A1 version ( using the Trakz resin conversion kit cabin )  with a midget submarine Seehund (Bronco) captured as a war booty,  in his trailer .

the "complete" version...
History:
      The M25 Tank Transporter (G160) was a combination 6x6 M26 armored heavy tank transporter/tank recovery tractor with companion 40-ton M15 trailer introduced into US Army service in Europe in 1944–45. 
M25/M26 tank transporter Dragon Wagon
      Manufactured by Pacific Car & Foundry Co., it was a substantial upgrade over the Diamond T M19 transporter/trailer duo introduced in 1940. Nicknamed the Dragon Wagon, it was replaced by the 10 ton 6x6 M123 semi-tractor beginning in 1955.
M123 semi-tractor 6x6 10 ton.

Development:
      In 1942 a new 40 ton semi-trailer tank transporter was needed with better off-road performance than the M9 24 small-wheel trailer, and greater capacity than the 30 ton 8 large-wheel Shelvoke and Drewry semi-trailers used by the Diamond T tractor unit. 
M19 Diamond soft cabin 6x4 tank transporter with M4A1E8 Sherman
Dutch Army - pos WWII era
      Designed by the Fruehauf Trailer Company of Detroit, Michigan, it was heavier than the Diamond T could manage. A companion M26 tractor was designed by the San Francisco-based Knuckey Truck Company. When it could not keep up with the Army's demands production was awarded to the Pacific Car & Foundry Co. of Seattle, Washington.

      Designated TR-1 by Pacific Car, the chain-driven 12-ton 6x6 M26 tractor was powered by a Hall-Scott 440 1,090 cu in (17.9 L) 6-cylinder gasoline engine developing 240 hp (180 kW) at 2000 rpm and 810 lbf·ft (1,098 N·m) at 1200 rpm. 
The Dragon Wagon chain drive


      Developed for the M26, it was used to uprate the Diamond T. Some 2,100 Type 440s were built. Baxter notes "over 1,300" M26 and M26A1 being built.
      Unusually, the tractor unit was fitted with both an armored cab and two winches with a combined pull of 60 tons, allowing it to do light battlefield recovery work.
      A later unarmored version of the M26 tractor was designated the M26A1. 
M26A1 tractor with M15 trailer
      After the war, some of them (both armored and unarmored) were bought as surplus and used to carry oversize loads such as transformers, locomotives and heavy equipment.
A M26A1 in civil hands
Notice the customized cabin

Specs:

















M26 Tank Transporter
Type40 ton (36,287kg) 6x6 Tank recovery truck-trailer
Place of origin                              United States
Service history
In service1941–1955
WarsWorld War II
Production history
DesignerKnuckey Truck Company
ManufacturerM26: Pacific Car & Foundry Co.
M15: Fruehauf Trailer Co.
VariantsM26A1, M26A2
Specifications (M25)
Weight
Empty
M26: 22,000 kg
M15: 16,600 kg
M25: 38,200 kg
Loaded
M26: 27,000 kg
M15: 46,600 kg
M25: 74,600 kg
LengthM26: 7.72 m
M15: 11.71 m
WidthM26: 3.32 mM15 3,810 mm
HeightM26: 3.48 m
Crew7

Armorfront 19 mm
sides, rear 6.4 mm
Main
armament
.50 cal M2 machine gun
EngineHall-Scott 440 gasoline
240 hp (180 kW)
Transmission4 speed x 3 speed
Fuel capacity450 l
Operational
range
193.1 km
Speed45 km/h

The kit's building:
      Well, let´s go !!! Following the Trakz instructions, making surgery in the M26 Dragon chassi and parts, to fit the resin cabin in the chassi. Tense moments...
Surgery with Dremel...Beware with your fingers...
The surgery continues...
side by side
another cuts...

The instructions are spartans...There is an excellent step-by-step in PMMS. The resin parts and the instructions:
Trakz kit: no bubbles and minor warpings...
      Building the soft cabin. The Trakz kit is very good...

minor gaps to fill
      And the paralel build continues...
see the cuts (arrows)


front winch

Testing the soft cabin:
first dry-run
chassis with details
soft cabin with upper structure


The double construction continues...
front axles
rear suspensions
the two girls with rear feet
wheels, wheels, wheels...
rubber tyres
the internal structures of the armoured cabin
internal details in the soft cabin
painting the cabin´s interior
ups and downs in the colors...
my workbench is a mess !!!!
Detailing the interior with paint and decals ...soft cabin:


And the armoured cabin:
internal rear panel
engine bay
internal roof
      And the cabins are ready:  The  M26 armoured  (glued in place...I hate kits that open or disassemble ....):


armoured cabin: M26
And the M26A1 soft :



soft cabin: M26A1
The two girls together:
Tough Big Girls
The 5ths wheels in place, with movement in all axes ....
5ths wheels
Details in the armoured cabin;

And in the soft cabin.
The siren and auxiliary headlight in the grid area
Rear equipment under construction:

I started to build winches ...To save the Tamiya thread, I made a previous layer with thicker cotton string.
thickening cables...using cotton string as first layer
close-up
The four reels ready:
reels ready with tape to keep the cable wound
And the reels in the winches...
winches
In the cabin´s rear

winches ready
The "A" frame with differences between the models. The simple tractor use the frame erected
"A" frame erected
The tractor with trailer use the frame lowered...
"A" frame lowered in the chassi
The two sisters...
Frames in positions...
      Well, many details that do not appear, but they take a long time to be built ...this stage hardly earned, but it was laborious ... In the M26A1:
The crane in the tractor chassi:
the tractors are ready....
And beginning the construction of the trailer:
starting the trailer
huge !!!
The trailer suspension:
wheels and rear suspension of the trailer
And anticipation of a load on the trailer ...
cargo´s dry-run....
The trailer was build.
trailer done...
Time to build Seehund. The kit is simple and easy to build...
Bronco´s Seehund midget submarine.
The torpedoes almost done...
Torpedoes !!!!
And the midget sub in her future place...I choose the early version of the Seehund to build...
almost there...
      I'll planning a "cradle" of wood in the trailer to transport and support the submarine. If I were an engineer ally in 1945, how would I build this cradle??
Seehund almost done:
Seehund almost ready for action...
Starting the cradle. I used balsa wood to do this...
balsa wood cradle
Transversal beams to distribute the weight of the submarine
the cradle is growing...
Making the keel support: More two longitudinal beams ...
the keel support in the cradle...
And the keel of the submarine docked in the cradle... Very good !!!
Seehund stabilized in dry-dock
Testing the cradle in the trailer....
the cradle in the trailer. notice that the rear invade the wheels space
Seehund in the trailer
I installed the wheels on the trailer to test the adaptation of the timbers of the crib.
Some cuts are needed ...
the cradle adjusted in the trailer
And the sub in his place...So far, so good !!!


Voiláaa !!!
Using toilet paper to mask the inside of the cabins:
toilet paper is very useful...
Primer:
gray primmer
Galons and galons of Olive-Drab:
The Girls:
olive drab in the cabins
The wheels:
All wheels...
and the trailer;
trailer for M26


Today, I open the Panzerserra´s Tire Store !!!
30 Dragons´s tires...
Super sale !!!!   Thirty brand new tires !!! Natural rubber !!!!
      But the seams spoils the tires .... Dremel time !!!
with and without seams
The seams removed !!! Much better !!
all tires "used"
And the tires in the wheels...
top: tractors rear wheels; center:front and spare wheels; bottom:trailer wheels
Accessories under paint...
Accessories
The grill and siren of M26A1:

done !!
Starting the trailer´s weathering...

Testing the cradle:
cradle in position...
Decals, after Future´s layer...

decals
And starting the Seehund´s paint:
torpedoes in primmer
Midget sub in primmer, too
the girls waiting the paint dry
      Seehund painted with medium-gray, with water cammo in light-gray:


The Girls with shoes...until now, clean...

The torpedoes in their racks...Notice  the graffitis "safe" , in chalk...

Increasing the stability of the submarine, with wooden wedges locking the torpedoes ...
wooden wedges....
wedges in position
And the Seehund in the trailer. Notice the chains and mooring lines...







The armored M26:


...and the M26A1 (Blondie):

The kits are almost ready...

Finally, I finished this project yesterday!!! As Jack the Ripper always said: "The pieces make the whole ...."
      Let's see from the beginning ... Headlights, from Tamiya ...awesome effect...
M26
M26A1
...and load lights. Notice the colors in the winch clutches...
M26
M26A1
I hated the decal (Star) on the side of M26A1. Appeared the infamous silvering ...
side star decal with silvering ...Hell !!
I ripped it and applied a smaller star ...
new side star: much better !!!!
And the Girls are ready for battle !!!

The long girl, first: M26A1 with Seehund in the trailer...
M26A1 with M15 trailer
M26A1 "Blondie"
german midget submarine captured Seehund
torpedoes with warheads and detonators disarmed

perspex cupola
notice the mooring
bow of the submarine
3/4 front view
notice the warning in graffiti, with chalk



M26A1 tractor, alone






And the armoured M26:






M26 tractor "Blacksheep II"
And the two huge girls together, side by side:

M26 and M26A1 tractors
      This triple project was threefold really fun !!!!!Thank you for follow up and stay tuned for new novels, the following ...