XM723 MICV Conversion Demonstration

Submitted by David Riley

The purpose of demonstration was to explain the process and methods that I use when converting or scratch building scale models.

I also provided some personal history and made some comments on the two most commonly asked questions about model building.

Next, I provided a list of what I called the five stages of model building then I tried to explain each stage.


I returned to the demonstration and provided a list of six categories that I used to explain what I did and how. To reduce the length of this article, I will only present that list and the simplest of explanations.

List of Categories:

  1. Model selection
  2. Research
  3. Developing scale drawings
  4. Making conversion parts
  5. Removal and replacement of parts
  6. Final assembly and finishing
  1. Model Selection
  2. There are certain limiting factors that must be taken into consideration when scratch or conversion model building. They are the availability of information about the real vehicle and the materials to construct the model with. Also important is whether the conversion is to be a minor or major project.

    It always helps to choose a model of a vehicle you may be familiar with or may have already built a model of a similar vehicle.

  3. Research
  4. It is necessary to gather as much information about the real vehicle as you can in order to produce an accurate scale model. There are many books, magazines and other publications that can help with compiling this data. Of special interest are the vehicleís specifications and pictures of all four sides and a top view.

    Of course, finding an article that covers the vehicle youíre interested in and it comes with small-scale line drawings doesnít hurt.

    Using the real vehicle specification, make up a conversion chart and change them into 1/35 scale measurements. Then you can compare them to any scale line drawings that you make.

  5. Developing scale drawings
  6. With the use of a photocopier and both conversion charts and mathematical formulas that I found in FineScale Modeler magazine, I can change most scale drawings up and down the charts into 1/35 scale.

    By using the height, length and width of the small scale drawings and dividing them into the full size vehicle, you can determine what scale the drawings are. Then with the use of a photo enlarger, expand them into 1/35 scale.

    After enlarging all views to 1/35 scale, transfer the measurements from the photos onto your own line drawings to be used for conversion replacement parts.

  7. Making conversion parts
  8. Once you transfer the measurements to your own line drawings, break them down into individual parts.

    When laying out and making the internal bulkheads, always make allowances for the thickness of the outside plastic plates. Itís very important to draw all four views of the hull and include the correct placement of the center support bulkheads.

    They are the key to the alignment of the entire modelís upper hull. Most parts will probably have to be custom fit anyway.

    Scratch built and altered parts must be made from their own scale drawings. The same procedure goes for the turret.

  9. Removal and replacement of parts
  10. Once the plans to make the replacement parts are available, the real work can begin.

    A decision has to be made whether to convert a new model out of the box or backdate one already built. To save time building a suspension, I chose the latter. The model I chose was a 1/35 scale M2 Bradley IFV from Tamiya.

    This meant that a major portion of the upper hull had to be removed from just in front of the engine compartment all the way back to the rear drop ramp.

    The front slope glacis plate has to be re-angled.

    New internal frame bulkheads were carefully positioned. Next, the main upper deck was installed. Just below, on the left front, the driverís hatch step was set in place. The raised rear fighting compartment was added to the back of the main deck. The rest of the outer hull angled plates were custom fit into place. The area around the rear drop ramp was re-angled and extended. The side armor skirts had to be expanded and a new front slope trim vane was scratch built.

  11. Final assembly and finishing

Once the upper structure has been assembled, the rest of the model parts can be put in place. This is where the four-sided views help make sure all external equipment is properly positioned.

The side gun ports were custom built in place.

Choosing a color scheme is optional as the vehicles were only prototypes and their base color was olive drab. Decals are minimum. They had no unit markings and only carried vehicle identification numbers.

The proper use of the conversion charts and math formulas are somewhat complicated and would make up an article al by itself. It would be easier to explain them one-on-one.