Author Topic: Scale-O-Rama Glencoe Models M274 Mechanical Mule 1/15th to 1/35th  (Read 2144 times)

Offline Jeffry Fontaine

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Original title: Horribly Warped Kit Parts.--jjf


My infatuation with this vehicle started at a very early age thanks to the old U.S. Army propaganda series on television that I used to enjoy watching as a young kit while living in Panama back in the early sixties.  I always thought the concept of such a versatile vehicle was a great idea that the Army managed to acquire and put to good use in helping the infantry move around while carrying the heavier loads and keeping everything "mobile" or so I thought.  In later years and having discussions with people that used to operate these marvelous little vehicles I learned that they were a real maintenance nightmare and not something that could be relied upon to get your stuff from point A to point B.  That being said, I still like the vehicle and the idea behind what it was supposed to do in helping the soldier carry the heavy things. 

Wikipedia link:  > M274 Ĺ-ton 4◊4 Utility Platform Truck

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Original post:
I was on a quest some time ago for a 1:15th scale Glenco M274 Mechanical Mule kit.  Found several at a reasonable price.  Was not overly concerned with the accuracy as I wanted to experiment with a bit of kit-bashing and a dash of scale-o-rama.  So the recoilless rifle bits and other parts not useful to the project were removed and I was left with the flat platform of the M274 Mule.  Much to my dismay, every kit had the same problem, the platform was horribly warped and not just in one plane, it was as if the thing had been pulled from the molds, tossed at the wall before falling to the floor in a rather crumpled heap of green styrene. 

Adding to this problem is that each of the M274 platforms had a guard rail molded to the platform that was also subjected to the deformities of the platform.  I gave up on the whole thing for a time and put the parts away in a time-out as I focused on other more easily to keep my interest things to do. 

This week I decided to revisit the project/problem.  I decided to just cut away the guard railings on the M274 platform and be rid of it.  It could easily be replaced with something else later if I were to have any success in fixing the multi-dimensional warping of the part. 

My last foray into using thermal therapy to unwarp a part was an internal frame from a 1:48th scale C-130 Hercules.  I had the good fortune of having a chunk of flat steel that was about 6.0" X 6.0" square that I heated up on a stove burner and then placed that warped C-130 part on top of it with a weight on top of that to hold it down.  While that effort resulted in a part that was no longer warped the Glenco M274 Mule platform was a lot larger and solid unlike the Italeri C-130 part that had a framework to allow the heat to dissipate more thoroughly.  Also the steel was not available this time so I opted to use a large Corning Ware pie/torte plate as the working surface with a bit of boiling water inside and the part placed under the plate on a glass cutting board.  The effort was further enhanced with a pot of boiling water placed inside of the pie/torte plate to concentrate the heat directly over the M274 Mule platform to keep it warmer for a longer period of time before it cooled down to room temperature.  I heat-treated two of the M274 platforms under the Corning Ware plate and had some success but it took three evolution's of boiling water to finally see a visible success to the point that the warpage is now minimized. 

What little warpage that is left in the parts can hopefully be further minimized during assembly, otherwise it will mean more heat treatment until morale improves... 





***Edit to change topic title--jjf
« Last Edit: April 06, 2023, 02:33:33 AM by Jeffry Fontaine »
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Offline Old Wombat

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Re: Scale-O-Rama Glencoe Models M274 Mechanical Mule 1/15th to 1/35th
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2017, 04:25:57 PM »
Yikes! :o
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Offline finsrin

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Re: Scale-O-Rama Glencoe Models M274 Mechanical Mule 1/15th to 1/35th
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2017, 03:39:43 PM »
Have same kit somewhere in depths of armor stash.  When found, must check for that "feature"
Did find Glencoe Jupiter C to be warped beyond trying to deal with it.

Offline Jeffry Fontaine

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Re: Scale-O-Rama Glencoe Models M274 Mechanical Mule 1/15th to 1/35th
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2017, 01:31:18 AM »
Not sure if the warping problem is due to the age of the molds or just shoddy production technique.  The original plan was to scale-o-rama the 1:15th scale Mule into a 1:35th scale cargo truck with all of the features of the M274 Mule for the driver in 1:35th scale. 
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Offline Jeffry Fontaine

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Re: Scale-O-Rama Glencoe Models M274 Mechanical Mule 1/15th to 1/35th
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2023, 06:18:54 AM »
After a long break from this project I picked up where I had left off on the ancient Glencoe 1/15th scale M274 Mule and decided it was time to start over on the build.  I destroyed the work I had done previously since the chassis frame was warped beyond repair.  This set of frames was also repaired previously when one of the frames broke.  During repairs the parts may have been reattached at an odd angle which contributed to the whole warping problem later encountered.  I removed the cross members and frame from the cargo platform then started removing all of the obstructions from the bottom of the cargo platform to get a flat scrap of plastic.  No idea what to do with it but it was something to take my mind off of the failure to get any further with the construction of the Mule. 

My next attempt has been a little smoother since the frame is now attached to the cargo platform and it is still warped (new parts by the way, I have about six of these damned things) but the warping is not as severe now that the frame/chassis is holding the cargo platform to a better shape.  With that done I let the whole thing dry under some weight overnight and took a look at it last night and it was worth the wait as it appears to be a strong assembly now that all points are attached to the underside of the cargo platform.  I was not aware of the very "Toy-Like" steering features on this kit until now.  The All-Wheel" steering feature requires a linkage between the front and rear axles that includes an extended portion that juts out the front of the Mule so you can turn all wheels at the same time.  A straight pull forward and back feature that is very clunky and primitive and resembles nothing like the actual features on the real M274 Mule.  I assembled the steering linkage to get an idea of what it does without having to glue it all in place.  Thankfully the axles attach to the frame tight enough to allow you to set the Mule right side up or upside down without much issue.  Now that I know what I am dealing with I will remove the portion of the one link so that it is not sticking out the front of the vehicle and glue all of the axles in place. 

Some of the other improvements I have been trying to apply to the Glencoe Mule include fitting a battery box to the underside of the cargo platform to imply that the vehicle has an actual electrical system to allow the engine to be started with something other than a rope.  Not needing an actual starter motor helps but space between the tires is critical since the fuel tank occupies the one side this leaves the opposite side as the only space or spot available on the underside of the cargo platform.  The other realization that came up while fiddling with this is that the what-if vehicle needs some kind of steering control that is not mechanically linked since this is a what-if I am leaning towards some kind of electro-hydraulic-mechanical feature that relies on some control boxes at the front and rear axles with some hoses and wires to reflect this feature.  Trying to create an actual linkage for a mechanical connection is beyond my abilities and imagination at this point not to mention my patience. 

Images to be added at a later date. 

***Edit to change subject title--jjf
« Last Edit: March 18, 2023, 06:21:16 AM by Jeffry Fontaine »
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Offline Buzzbomb

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Re: Scale-O-Rama Glencoe Models M274 Mechanical Mule 1/15th to 1/35th
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2023, 05:20:31 PM »
It will still probably build as well as an ICM truck that has the chassis down to components that require the builder to get it straight and square.

Offline Jeffry Fontaine

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Re: Scale-O-Rama Glencoe Models M274 Mechanical Mule 1/15th to 1/35th
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2023, 02:31:28 AM »
It will still probably build as well as an ICM truck that has the chassis down to components that require the builder to get it straight and square.
My enthusiasm for this project has pretty much disappeared.  While I am still keen to try and build some kind of vehicle, at this point I am of the opinion that any further efforts involving this Glencoe Mule are just a waste of time. 

That being said, I pulled out my HobbyBoss AFT-9 4X4 ATGM vehicle that I had acquired a couple of months ago when it was on sale at HobbyTown (my LHS).  I have started preliminary work on converting the lower hull of the AFT-9 into a cargo platform which looks like a better choice now that I have attached the rear hull bulkhead to the rest of the lower hull and cut it down to the same height.  The entire lower hull of the HobbyBoss AFT-9 provides a larger area to use as a cargo platform plus it covers up all of the internal features that were exposed on the Glencoe Mule which means less to be seen which I think is a great solution to part of this problem I got myself into with the whole scale-o-rama idea.  Some parts of the Glencoe Mule can still be put to use such as the cargo platform which is large enough to park a 1/35th scale HMMWV on top of so I can use that part with my twinned AirGeep flying cargo platform. 
"Every day we hear about new studies 'revealing' what should have been obvious to sentient beings for generations; 'Research shows wolverines don't like to be teased" -- Jonah Goldberg

Offline Jeffry Fontaine

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Re: Scale-O-Rama Glencoe Models M274 Mechanical Mule 1/15th to 1/35th
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2024, 04:40:01 PM »
Not wanting to waste good parts from the Glencoe Models 1/15th scale M274 Mechanical Mule kit, I decided to convert one of the wheels from the kit into a 1/35th scale by removing the five-lug nut rim that was molded into the tire and replace it with a rim from an AFV Club Stryker IFV kit.  The replacement rim is included in one of the Stryker IFV accessory kits so I had a few spare that needed tires.  The 1/15th scale tires appear to be almost perfect in size to the tires used on most 2.5-ton and 5-ton trucks (M35 and M54 series vehicles).  This was my second attempt at this as my first attempt resulted in too much material being removed the first time.  While it was a minor success the Stryker rim did not have a snug fit.  I set this project aside for several months to focus on other things and decided to try again last night.  This time I was successful and the Stryker rim has a snug fit in the tire. 

Four images attached showing the the original wheel/tire, Stryker rim, the converted tire, and the converted tire with the new Stryker rim inserted. 
"Every day we hear about new studies 'revealing' what should have been obvious to sentient beings for generations; 'Research shows wolverines don't like to be teased" -- Jonah Goldberg

Offline finsrin

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Re: Scale-O-Rama Glencoe Models M274 Mechanical Mule 1/15th to 1/35th
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2024, 06:55:57 PM »
Looking good there Jeff !

Offline Old Wombat

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Re: Scale-O-Rama Glencoe Models M274 Mechanical Mule 1/15th to 1/35th
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2024, 08:22:29 PM »
Looking good there Jeff !

What Bill said! :smiley:
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Offline Frank3k

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Re: Scale-O-Rama Glencoe Models M274 Mechanical Mule 1/15th to 1/35th
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2024, 11:44:16 PM »
That looks good, Jeff!

Those AFV Stryker add-on and M151 RWS kits are awesome, well worth the price just for the extra bits on the sprues.

Offline Jeffry Fontaine

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Re: Scale-O-Rama Glencoe Models M274 Mechanical Mule 1/15th to 1/35th
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2024, 12:43:54 AM »
That looks good, Jeff!

Those AFV Stryker add-on and M151 RWS kits are awesome, well worth the price just for the extra bits on the sprues.
Yes they are an excellent source for some rather specific and peculiar bits and pieces.  The most satisfying sound that I have heard in years was the sound of the Stryker rim snapping into the center of the Mechanical Mule tire.  It was such a snug fit that I had to really push on it to get it free.  Now I have to craft more of the same to these very same tolerances that were achieved with "by guess and by gosh" and this will be another small win for me. 
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Offline Kerick

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Re: Scale-O-Rama Glencoe Models M274 Mechanical Mule 1/15th to 1/35th
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2024, 06:07:50 AM »
Now the question is, what are you going to build with these new wheel combos?

Offline Jeffry Fontaine

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Re: Scale-O-Rama Glencoe Models M274 Mechanical Mule 1/15th to 1/35th
« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2024, 07:08:09 AM »
Now the question is, what are you going to build with these new wheel combos?
I am so glad you asked.  Not that I was looking forward to providing an explanation but I suppose it is for the better that I reveal some of the things I have in mind for these modified wheels and tires.  :smiley:

I realized there was a need for some decent looking wheels/tires for the Scale-O-Rama Glencoe Models M274 Mechanical Mule.  I wanted to make the Glencoe Mule 1/35th scale and in doing so it needs a better set of tires and rims.  Sizing the M274 down or is that up to 1/35th scale means you have a larger cargo platform with a much greater payload.  The actual M274 could carry a 1-ton load on hard surfaces and about half that when traveling overland.  So a 1/15th scale M274 scaled to 1/35th scale all of a sudden becomes a 2.5-ton cargo platform.  While the tires in the Glencoe Mule kit look to be appropriate in size for a 2.5-ton truck the rims are rather out of place with only five lug nuts per wheel, something more appropriate for a regular size automobile or light truck, definitely not for a 2.5-ton truck.  So a casual search through the spare parts bins and discovering that I was a bit skint on decent size truck tires and wheels left me with two options; make my own or outsource from one of the on-line stores that offer resin replacements which are getting to be stupid expensive.  Since I am not going for exact details, I felt no pressing need to spend more money when I had the resources at home.  Thus began the first attempt as mentioned above where I bored out the centers of the Glencoe Mule wheels a bit too much and had to set it all aside to give me time to get my head back in the game.  Measure twice, cut once instead of charging through and failing again.  While this Scale-O-Rama M274 Mechanical Mule is only in the initial stages of construction it was really bothering me with the wheel issue so I see this as a step forward with that project. 

Another project that is in need of some better wheels is a the Great Wall Hobby K44 12.8cm Towed AT Gun.  I recall seeing something very similar to the K44 at a Russian artillery test center many years ago on imagery that was called the "Perm Gun" (temporary name given for reporting purposes before formal designation was assigned).  While not quite an exact match it was close enough to the 12.8cm K44 to get the imagineering juices flowing.  The Great Wall Hobby K44 kit comes with the usual and very ugly wagon wheels that many of the WW2 German artillery pieces were fitted with.  I had to get rid of those wheels and felt no remorse in doing so.  This however, left me with a pressing need for replacement wheels.  So if luck is on my side, I may find a way to get some new shoes for the K44 that do not require purchasing some resin replacement wheels from some on-line store.  Fingers crossed that it works out. 

I have some other injected plastic wheels from an ancient Trumpeter VAB 6X6 clone that are absolutely horrible looking but they have that clunky/thick appearance that I am hoping will work out for the K44 project to turn it into a "Perm Gun" wannabee. 
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Offline Jeffry Fontaine

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Re: Scale-O-Rama Glencoe Models M274 Mechanical Mule 1/15th to 1/35th
« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2024, 12:26:48 PM »
Round Two with wheels and tires. 

This evening I worked on the wheels from the Trumpeter Chinese PLA clone of the French VAB 6X6 wheel AFV.  The wheels is slightly wider than the Glencoe Models M274 Mechanical Mule wheels which made it easier to work on.  I bored out the wheel/rim portion in the center of the tire to a diameter that provides a snug fit.  I have seven more of these to deal with and I am not sure if all the efforts are really going to be worth it.  I suppose by the time I have finished all eight I will have determined a use for the things.  I will say that I am happy with not having destroyed this first wheel from this batch. 

First image showing the original and modified parts with the AFV Club Stryker IFV rim. 

Second image shows the original and modified parts together. 

Third image shows the modified wheel again. 

Fourth image is a closer look at the modified wheel. 
« Last Edit: March 22, 2024, 12:30:00 PM by Jeffry Fontaine »
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Offline Kerick

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Re: Scale-O-Rama Glencoe Models M274 Mechanical Mule 1/15th to 1/35th
« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2024, 01:20:44 PM »
Thatís a nice combo of wheel and rim. Not sure about the tread pattern but I suppose it depends on what you are building. A little file or razor saw action would help get rid of the glue joint and give a continuous groove across the tire. Just thinking out loud, Iím sure you thought of that. How many of these Stryker rims do you have? I wonder if they would fit on some wheels I stole from some toy monster trucks? I might have some of these rims at home, I need to check when I get home. It could lead to a Mad Max survival vehicle!

Offline finsrin

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Re: Scale-O-Rama Glencoe Models M274 Mechanical Mule 1/15th to 1/35th
« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2024, 06:34:19 PM »
Ambitious job Jeff.   Is rugged looking tire/wheel combo  :smiley:

Offline Jeffry Fontaine

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Re: Scale-O-Rama Glencoe Models M274 Mechanical Mule 1/15th to 1/35th
« Reply #17 on: March 23, 2024, 04:40:30 AM »
Not much ambition, more like procrastination on my part for taking so long to getting around to doing it.  Something that has been on the to-do list for ages but always hesitant to take it on for fear of ruining it.  So far I am two for two on success, I hope to not cock this up so will be taking it slowly on all of these wheel/tire conversions. 

@Kerick:  Ken, good luck with your own pursuits on this.  Not having a workshop and a drill press kind of sucks so all of my efforts have been with hand tools and a hole-making device/tool that was intended for R/C car enthusiasts to cut holes in their car bodies.  It is handy but also quite dangerous if not held properly.  It can make the work easier but it can also ruin your efforts if too much rotation is used while working on the piece in your hand.  It also cuts fingers easily! 
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Offline Jeffry Fontaine

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Re: Scale-O-Rama Glencoe Models M274 Mechanical Mule 1/15th to 1/35th
« Reply #18 on: March 23, 2024, 08:15:08 AM »
How about some images to support my description and rants in my original posts? 

Two images to show the platform with all of the associated issues.  As described in my previous posts above.  The warp issues were nearly impossible to ignore.  Some of the warping was addressed when the tubular frame was attached but on closer inspection it is still warped.  Some of the warpage was addressed by a very hot water soaking followed up with a very heavy steel weight applied for a couple of days.  This brute force application did a lot to improve the situation but it was not a complete fix. 

I sanded one platform top to remove all features and the second platform had all of the bottom features removed.  I considered gluug the two platforms together to double up the thickness but the warping issues remained on the platform that retains the top surface features and other imperfections on the bottom surfaces. 





***Edit to correct spelling errors from wayward fingers on my mobile phone --jjf
« Last Edit: March 23, 2024, 03:52:02 PM by Jeffry Fontaine »
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Offline Kerick

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Re: Scale-O-Rama Glencoe Models M274 Mechanical Mule 1/15th to 1/35th
« Reply #19 on: March 23, 2024, 10:42:27 AM »
Do you have medium or fine round file thatís just smaller than the hole in the tire needs to be? Might be worth the cost if it prevents cut fingers. I know I donít mind using hand tools for 98% of my model work.

Offline Jeffry Fontaine

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Re: Scale-O-Rama Glencoe Models M274 Mechanical Mule 1/15th to 1/35th
« Reply #20 on: March 23, 2024, 10:56:38 AM »
Do you have medium or fine round file thatís just smaller than the hole in the tire needs to be? Might be worth the cost if it prevents cut fingers. I know I donít mind using hand tools for 98% of my model work.

That file would need to be around 1/2-inch in diameter so, no I do not have a file of that size available.  I have been using sandpaper and alternating between my index finger and the conical aluminum protective cover from that hole boring hand tool. 

Attached images showing front and back of two more modified wheels with the spare wheel rims so you know that I have not "cheated" on my efforts.   :smiley:
"Every day we hear about new studies 'revealing' what should have been obvious to sentient beings for generations; 'Research shows wolverines don't like to be teased" -- Jonah Goldberg

Offline finsrin

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Re: Scale-O-Rama Glencoe Models M274 Mechanical Mule 1/15th to 1/35th
« Reply #21 on: March 23, 2024, 12:45:16 PM »
Gee Jeff,,,  you be the official wheel & tire guy for BTS  :smiley:

Offline Jeffry Fontaine

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Re: Scale-O-Rama Glencoe Models M274 Mechanical Mule 1/15th to 1/35th
« Reply #22 on: March 23, 2024, 01:15:32 PM »
Additional progress this evening since I had the project out I decided to work on it.  I mated up the platform without the top surface features with the platform that has no features on the bottom.  This did not go as well as I had planned due to the warped parts and my use of CA glue that did not allow me to align the parts as well as I would have liked.  The edges did not match up at the front and back ends and the warped edges created some ugly gaps.

After sanding the problem area smooth I added some Evergreen plastic strips along the edges with the exception of the curved corner edges since the plastic strips were not that flexible.  Once this has cured/dried l will do some sanding and try to blend the strips with the edges at the corners. 

I also added a Trumpeter pre-cut plastic circle over the hole in the platform. 

"Every day we hear about new studies 'revealing' what should have been obvious to sentient beings for generations; 'Research shows wolverines don't like to be teased" -- Jonah Goldberg

Offline Old Wombat

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Re: Scale-O-Rama Glencoe Models M274 Mechanical Mule 1/15th to 1/35th
« Reply #23 on: March 23, 2024, 02:17:54 PM »
The angled shots, in the previous post from you, Jeff, really shows how good those tyres look. :smiley:


Just wondering;

Would it not have been better to maintain the Glencoe attachment method, or are you intending to upgrade the drive-train to match the Stryker attachment method? ???
"This is the Captain. We have a little problem with our engine sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and, ah, explode."

Offline Old Wombat

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Re: Scale-O-Rama Glencoe Models M274 Mechanical Mule 1/15th to 1/35th
« Reply #24 on: March 23, 2024, 02:19:39 PM »
 :smiley:
"This is the Captain. We have a little problem with our engine sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and, ah, explode."