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At the beginning of the´70th, the Argentine Army thought about the necessity to have a medium combat vehicle to endow their Armor Cavalry, beginning the deliveries in 1980.
Several aspects have been taken into account in this new tank. According to the experts, the development of a new vehicle should be adjusted to three main premises: mobility, protection and fire power, but due to the Argentine characteristics other aspects had to be considered, as the vial bridges and the railways, these are not prepared to support more than 30Tons., therefore, besides the three previous points, now the engineers should have to add the weight of the vehicle as a new premise.
We should also mention that according to the good results obtained with the " family " AMX-13, a new vehicle was studied for the Infantry, which should be based on the T.A.M. chassis, called V.C.T.P. (Combat Vehicle for Personal Transport). The new vehicle characteristics were: it should be armed with a 105mm gun, crew of 3 or 4 men, having protection N.B.Q. (Nuclear, Bacteriological and Chemistry), a minimum autonomy of 500Km., run at 75 Km/h. on road, and not to weigh more than 30 Tons.
Argentina didn't have the enough experience and infrastructure, then the services of the German Company Thyssen-Henschel were contracted for the T.A.M. and V.C.T.P. prototypes production.
In this way the German Company, developed on the SchutzenPanzer Marder chassis the TH-301 (TH, by Thyssen-Henschel), which, in Argentine Army was called T.A.M.
As Thyssen-Henschel was building the prototype, in the outskirts of Buenos Aires T.A.M.S.E (Tank Argentinean Medium Society of the State) was created, were the T.A.M. and other vehicles would be manufactured.
Until 1983 400 units between T.A.M. and V.C.T.P. had already been manufactured.
The development and construction of this combat vehicle, the TAM, took less than 10 years.
TAM, VCTP, VCTM Boletín informativo del Ejercito
Manufacturer's instruction manuals.
Armas and Geoestrategia N° 7
The Scale model
Unfortunately there is no model of T.A.M on sale, so we will have to use the Tamiya's Marder (Kit N°: 35098).
To confront a project of these characteristics, it is not always easy, and less when we talk about an Argentinean military airplane or vehicle, either for the lack of data and pictures, but you will see that the final result will encourage you.
As first we should put aside the parts that don't need modifications, these are: the road wheels, the tracks, the front and baclights, the laps and the tools.
It is necessary to lengthen the hull, for this I made two small cuts on the front of it. On the back a ramp is placed for ascent and descent of soldiers.
I had to modify this panel following the T.A.M. draw, here are the modifications done:
Radiators: they were scratch built, the central grills, in the TAM, are round steel bars, not flat.
Hatch: it is necessary to rebuild it, since in the TAM it is used either for the ammo supply or for the crew escape.
Exhaust: in the TAM it is of bigger size, I made a copy and then joining both I built the new one.
Doors: on the radiators and on the hatch there are three access doors, the ones placed aside correspond to the radiators, and the central one to the fuel connections for the auxiliary tanks, I just had to engrave new panel lines on the plastic.
The upside of the vehicle is the one that needs more modifications:
Long : verify with the draws the long of the vehicle upside area.
Driver hatches: in the original kit we have two hatches on the left, we should eliminate the one that is nearer to the upside area.
Radiators: on the back of the vehicle there are placed two radiators, which are in the Tamiya's kit but I had to relocate them following the T.A.M.'s draws.
Ventilation: on the left of the tank we can find the ventilation grill, in the TAM it is of bigger size, I built a new one using the old part as guide.
Motor Cover: Modify its shape following the draws offered.
Soldiers hatches: On the rear upper part of the Tamiya's kit there are several doors for soldiers, which I had to remove because in this area the turret is placed, I did this change adding plastic sheet and putty.
The turret was entirely scratch built, I used .05mm plastic sheet, and since the turret needs a solid structure I recommend a tight build.
All the periscopes are scratch built or copied from other vehicles. The smoke-generating pots used were the ones the kit provided, and the protectors were made with copper wire. The main gun was made in a lathe with aluminum, there are three different guns options: the L7A3 with straight edges smoke extractor, another with thermal protection along the whole pipe, and the last one with rounded borders extractor.
I painted my T.A.M. with the color used in most of the units manufactured, these colors are: the Humbrol French Artillery Green, and Earth Brown, on which I applied washes to stand out some parts. About the badges, it depends on the epoch we want to represent; we can use a black sun with the registration number (example, EA435735 during the 80th).
In some cases the vehicles take the famous battles' names, for example San Lorenzo's.
The above description are the basic tasks needed to transform a Marder in a T.A.M., I'm surely you can improve it or add many things. Use the draws I provide and the real photos published on this month issue. Please contact me if you need anything else
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