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Das Abteilung

Personal WW1 Group Build: MkIVs & Whippet

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So.  Big Ugly Muddy Tortoise is done.  Paper Panzers expunged.  What next?  The WW1 stack in the stash has been burning a hole in my pocket, so to speak.  I have 3 Takom MkIVs, 1 male and 2 female, plus a Takom Whippet.  Also a Schneider and an FT17, but they can wait.  I'm thinking I might as well build the 4 in parallel rather than sequentially. But I might regret that with all those rollers to clean up!

 

One of the females will be a Beutepanzer.  The Male will have a Crib.  Here are the things I've assembled.

  NUZFhWw.jpg

 

Male with Model Cellar resin crib, Aber gun barrels, Airwaves etch for the old Emhar kit and Takom's workable tracks.

 

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Female with Airwaves Emhar etch, Aber metal barrels, Zebrano Hotchkiss barrels (hold that thought), MR Modellbau resin stowage to share with the Male and more workable tracks.

 

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Beute Female with the Airwaves etch, Takom tracks and Zebrano MG08.  Some Females has these, some had Lewis (possibly re-chambered for 7.92mm) and some had both.

 

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Whippet with Airwaves Emhar etch, Zebrano resin Hotchkiss barrels and DN Models marking masks.  I managed to get the rare Airwaves set with the resin track spuds.

 

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Some other stuff that might come in handy.

 

On the Hotchkiss front, the current wisdom is that no MkIVs were fitted with Hotchkiss while no MkVs had Lewis.  I can find no photos but some books suggest that some MkIVs were fitted with Hotchkiss.  Interestingly, the Bovington Male does have Hotchkiss ball mounts in the sponsons.  While these could be later substitutions, I'm told they are original.  I'm not sure they were interchangeable. There are only 4 surviving MkIVs in the world plus a couple of recovered wrecks, so real evidence is thin on the ground and there are comparatively few photos for the number built.

 

Regarding Beute colours I saw an interesting suggestion that railway colours may have been used.  The repair works was certainly in a railway works, an independent company who made rolling stock for railways all over the world and might therefore have had many colours in stock. I did some research with Belgian railway preservation people and railway modellers, who concluded there was no clue as to the colours that might have been held.  But, more tellingly, they reckoned that the factory would have been looted and stripped of anything useful to be sent back to Germany on occupation.  So standard German camouflage colours are most likely after all.  But at that time paint mixing was far less precise than today and colours weren't even codified until the 30's.  I've got some AK and Ammo MiG WW1 paint sets allegedly covering British, French and German colours.

 

Oh, well.  Here goes.  This may take some time.............

 

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Looking forward to seeing how this goes :)

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Wow, a big project with 2 tanks and many accessories :popcorn:

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Actually Carius, 4 tanks.  Double double trouble!

 

I'm wondering whether to invest £17 in the DN Models camo masks for the Beutepanzer.  In reality they would of course have been hand-painted and I'm not entirely convinced that vinyl masks will work over all the rivets and flanges.  And a pack of White Tack is very much cheaper..........

 

Here's a 6cm stack of track link sprues I don't need to build.  Why did Takom ever think this would be a good idea?

1hPAik4.jpg

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With all these additional detail packs these should turn out even more crazy than these already are. The workable tracks are only 1 piece per link? Versus how many on the kit?

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15 hours ago, Das Abteilung said:

Here's a 6cm stack of track link sprues I don't need to build.  Why did Takom ever think this would be a good idea?

1hPAik4.jpg

Just that they can put on the box "over 1000 parts" I suppose :lol::lol::lol:

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Like that's A Good Thing ......................  I'm all for separate parts to enhance detail and accuracy: we all remember the Old Days of poor detailing.  Oh, hang on - Tamiya and Revell still sell a lot of their decades-old tat that I made when I was a teenager (I'm in my 50's!).  But there is such a thing as going too far.  Takom can obviously make clip together links, so why not just do that from the start?  Oh hang on again - we buy more product.  Hmmmm.

 

Had a look at the Airwaves etch sets.  I wasn't sure they'd be especially useful, but were relatively cheap.  And there's a lot in there that is rendered unnecessary by the superior Takom quality compared to Emhar.  The front tow hitch and some of the unditching beam rail brackets might be useful.  The separate teardrop-shaped spyhole shutters are interesting, allowing some to be shown open.  But I'd need to replace them all so they look the same.  The etched rear male sponson door would be useful if the door is to be shown open as it's much closer to scale thickness.  Can't comment on dimensional congruence with the Takom parts.

 

I know there are some dimensional problems here and there: the angled top hatch for example.  Not sure how many of these I will correct unless they're glaringly obvious. Having read the instructions I will most definitely be deviating and building the side panels and sponsons before building the main hull.

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There has been some progress.  Maybe a faster rate now as I've chucked in the agency job I was working on early because of irreconcilable differences over legislative compliance.  So I'm unemployed again.  Ho hum.  But the dogs and the workbench are happy.

uP2L9TJ.jpg

 

Yes, I decided to tackle the track units first as I didn't much like the idea of building the hull with only the edge joins for support then trying to attach the sides.  After the first one I realised that I needed to build the tracks first to get the idler in the right position for the number of links without slack.  Hold that thought a mo.  Boy are the rollers tedious!  The good news is that, unless you're showing a track off, you don't need to worry too much about clean up as the rolling surfaces can't be seen even through the inspection holes once closed up.  The axles have a little pip on each end, correctly, but also have a damn annoying mould line across each end which is visible.  The side plates have a quite pronounced mould line all round and many substantial sprue gates to clean up.  I found that the Takom plastic had a tendency to scar even when using good sharp clippers on the sprue gates, many of which then needed filler. Point to note for later on smaller parts.

 

For a bit of variety I thought I'd show the idlers in different tension positions. Takom provide 4 holes for the idlers, but don't give any hint of the number of links to match each.  For the British Female I used the 3rd hole, shortening the adjusting bolts accordingly.  For the Beute female I thought that after what amounts to a depot overhaul the idlers would be reset to starting position: 1st hole, no bolt surgery.  Not sure what to do with the Male: I was thinking fully out, 4th hole, but I think I may have a link problem with that.  Maybe I'll do different each side, which seems to have been common.  Takom say to make up 92 links per side, which I did to start.  For the 3rd hole position I actually needed 91, which was still a bit slack.  For the first position 90 links works.  So for the 4th position I think 91 won't fit and 92 will be far too slack.  Hence why I said to build the tracks before choosing the idler position so that you can match the length without sag or slack.

 

The optional clip together tracks are a mixed blessing.  Yes, they go together in no time - I made strips of 10 links then joined these together, in under 5 minutes per complete track.  Then you find what a PITA they really are!  The first box had half a dozen broken links and some flash.  Both boxes I've used so far had some variable hole sizes, allowing the pins to go past their shoulders and the links to fall apart.  No fix for that.  Probably half a dozen per box again, but you get plenty of spares so it isn't a problem.  The real PITA are the mould line around each link and the sprue gate slap bang in the middle of the raised cleat on each link.  Yes, on the outside......  Grrrrr!  In both cases I found it easier to deal with once the links were assembled.  The mould lines are not so noticeable front and back but are very visible on the sides.  I dealt with these by coiling the tracks up tightly and then sanding the link edges as a single block on the bench.  The sprue gates were more tedious, requiring a scalpel on some and sanding on all links.  Here's how I found to hold them to allow sanding: because the sprue gates are on a curved surface you need to sand from several angles.  Held between thumb and index finger and supported on 2nd finger.  I used Tamiya sanding sponge, doubled over into a U shape, and now have very smooth and somewhat thinner epidermis on parts of thumb and forefinger......

Rion0dr.jpg

 

I thought I'd use the grousers on one track set, destined for the British Female.  The Male will have some piled in the top stowage box and the Beute won't have any.  More problems.  Mould lines again, and over-thick edges.  But they're also the wrong profile.  Takom have moulded them flat, whereas they were deeper at the outer edges: the front and back, if you like.  No fix for that either: so mud it is, then.  They fit on every 6th link: except they damn well don't!  Buggers kept falling off.  The links are a strange plastic and MEK doesn't work very well on it: hardly scars it at all.  I think I've got them all on now after much MEK, but if they fall off again I think it will be cyano time.  I distressed a few by bending them up, twisted a couple badly and removed the plate from one completely, leaving only the attachment.  The edges of most were dinked with a pair of round-nosed pliers to show stone damage.

LH5g8Q4.jpg aCpMsAh.jpg

 

There are a fair few shackles on the outside and I don't fancy cleaning up the kit mouldings.  I found some RB Models brass ones, but mostly really too large.  Then I found some smaller TMD resin ones - already allocated to another project - so I bought some more.  Another mixed blessing.  The second lot arrived with far more flash than the first, and TMD no longer attach header cards - to cut costs - so some detective work is needed to work out what's in each packet.  One wonders about QA under the new owner.

UtwDE9G.jpg

 

Lastly I acquired yet more soft stowage, this time from Red Zebra (http://www.redzebramodels.co.uk).  Variety is good in stowage: you don't want the same few things appearing all the time.  Paul at Red Zebra does some nice stuff, although his range changes and not everything is available all the time.  These stowage sets are new: £9 a set, not unreasonable and I think just as good as Value Gear (which aren't such good value as they used to be).

aBrUndp.jpg oP3Ccsn.jpg

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Looks like you've got Christmas covered, big project, there's some nice kits and bits there

 

 

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Yep.  Christmas arrived early ..................  I've actually had the kits and specific AM parts for a couple of years.  Most of the other bits are just hauled out of the bits boxes as being potentially useful.  I should have mentioned earlier that I originally got the Lion Marc gun barrel sets, but was disappointed and changed them for the Aber versions.  Nothing much to choose between the 6pdr barrels, and Takom give decent ones anyway.  But the Lion Marc Lewis barrels are just the end muzzle shrouds to fit to the kit barrel mouldings, which is really no better than thinning out the kit parts as hollow but over-thick muzzle shrouds are provided.  The Aber Lewis barrels are all brass, completely replacing the kit barrels.

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The unditching beams in the kits are pretty rubbish so I think I'll replace them with real wood and plastic or metal sheet.  Most photos show one angled side, although some are square.  Modelling wood stock seems to come readily in only 6 or 9mm square, whereas a 9" beam would be closer to 7mm.  I did however find some balsa wing leading edge section which is 7mm on the square sides and already has an angled face - but 2 curved faces.  But I reasoned that, being balsa, sanding these flat wouldn't be difficult.  Worth a try, and perhaps a better bet than sanding 2mm and an angled face off hardwood strip without a bench sander.

 

This led me to look at the Model Cellar all-resin crib set.  First impression: unimpressed.  Lasting impression: still unimpressed.  Maybe I should have gone for the MR Modellbau version.  The woodgrain effect is far too deeply engraved and out of scale and I don't think a single one of the angle iron braces is straight.  Those cry out to be in brass.  But, looking closer it's actually only made of 4 different parts.  The hexagonal rings are made of 6 identical pieces each and the longitudinal sections are all the same, as are the angle iron braces and fishplates.  So I think I will use the resin parts as a pattern to make a real wooden one.  I have some close-grain model boat hardwood strip of exactly the right size.  The fishplates are just flat plates, which could be plastic or thin metal with added bolt heads.  The angle iron pieces are all the same with a bolt at each end.  I couldn't find brass angle the right size, 1.5mm, so these will have to be plastic L section.  I also found some twigs and cut off bass broom bristles among my scenic materials stash which might make a passable fascine as an alternative, or perhaps for the Female.

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Wow, what an incredible build and what massive undertaking! There are some many awesome builds and projects going on here atm, it is like heaven. I will have another blog for my daily good night story list... Thanks for that.

I wish we had a 30hour day to contribute more on here.

/Stefan

Edited by Blaubar

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A minor undertaking compared to you virtually scratchbuiling a BR52, herr Blaubar!  Nothing I am doing is particularly difficult, just tedious.  A bit of simple woodwork for the crib and beams.  But I am seeing rollers in my sleep .........

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On 11/8/2017 at 3:21 AM, Das Abteilung said:

There has been some progress.  Maybe a faster rate now as I've chucked in the agency job I was working on early because of irreconcilable differences over legislative compliance.  So I'm unemployed again.  Ho hum.  But the dogs and the workbench are happy.

 

Blanket determination of 'Off Payroll rules' by any chance? Do not get me started!:angrysoapbox.sml:

 

Anyway, nice progress so far Peter. Those tracks promise to look very good once painted.

 

Still watching with interest! :popcorn:

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Actually, no.  I was PAYE with an agency so no IR35 entanglements and I knew I was off the books.  Problems with compliance with the Public Contract Regulations.  I didn't want Malfeasance In Public Office on my CV, having spent 32 years trying to avoid it.  Although technically as an agency employee i wasn't in a public office any more.  I left that life behind in March.  But I found myself unable to put up and shut up faced with intransigence, ignorance and unwillingness to listen.

 

So, bonus modelling time.  Downside: 4 months less money towards a house move unless I can rustle something else up until March/April.

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Very impressive idea for a project. :popcorn:

Kind regards,

Stix

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Last night's able assistant ..........  He's still getting over the fireworks, of which he is very frightened, and likes to stay close after dark.  I need a wider chair.  Or a narrower butt...

 

bQMtXLr.jpg

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Visitors all weekend, plumber this afternoon (hopefully!) and 2 viewings of the house this evening now it's back on the market.

 

Had a go at making a couple of fascines, one log and one chestnut paling.  Not overly happy with the log one: doesn't look very loggy.  Need some different twigs, with bark.  The chespale one is made from bass broom bristles, for which a cheapie broom was sacrificed.  Learning point for next time: tie up the bristle bundles with elastic bands before cutting them off.  I just cut them all off loose into a box and gathering them up again turned into a good game with swearing.......... 

 

There is an inner bundle tied round with Gorilla DPM tape and then an outer layer which was again wrapped tightly with tape in the centre, removed once the outer ties were in place.  I tried fine chain for tying round, but just couldn't get the tension on it to hold the bundle without it snapping.  Rather than resort to over-scale chain I decided on rope.  Black to simulate tarred or creosoted rope.  I might replace it with hemp colour.  I can't say for certain that any fascines were rope-bound rather than chained, but it seems likely.  Many were made at Central Workshops or by the Chinese Labour Corps, but many were locally made in the field.

 

vso3DKC.jpg

Q9Tw5vX.jpg

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Would the log one look better if it had a sepia wash, or similar, applied to it? Just a thought...

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Yes, Mr Clive, I had wondered about that.  But I think different material is needed.  These "logs" came from a range of scenic materials marketed by a store in Kiev I use from time to time.  Some are good, some not so much: these are the latter.  Fortunately the parish grounds maintenance people have been round recently trimming the shrubs and hedges so there's a fair few twigs lying around.  I must collect some, but I can find little evidence that log fascines were actually used in WWI.  I imagine a log fascine of sufficient diameter would have been far too heavy.

 

Looking at photos, chespale fascines do seem to have varied in diameter but the oft-seen photo of 2 trainloads of MkIVs all carrying fascines - and other photos - show them at their largest to be about the same diameter as the height as the tank itself.  Logical when trenches were 2-3m deep.  So mine needs to be larger yet.  I think I'll leave the lashings rather than use more DPM tape this time and add another layer of bristles with new lashings.  I only bought a very cheap broom with a single row of bristle bundles, but this fascine will use pretty much all of it.

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I'd agree brushwood is the more likely: certainly at Cambrai they were brushwood and that's where the MkIV was the headline tank, and facing Hindenburg Line anti-tank ditches.  In subsequent and previous battles they were rarely a problem.

 

Log material was far more useful for trench and dugout construction, anyway.

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Having a break from rollers before starting on the Whippet track units.

 

Had a go at making replacement unditching beams.  The ones in the kit are naff at best.  Only made 2, as the Beute Female won't have one.  Kit-provided chain is chromed and impervious to blackening, and the wrong pattern anyway.  Need to rummage in the chain box for something more appropriate.

 

These are balsa, stained with a couple of washes with Warhammer's Agrax Earthshade: passable creosote.  I tried the MiG Wood Ageing Solution first, but that just came out like a thin black wash.  The metal bands at the ends are from the kit etch fret, blackened.  The metal sheets are 0.1mm aluminium dunked in blackening agent then washed over with a MiG rust wash.  Bad move with the blackening, or possibly the sheet was too thin: maybe I should have used the 0.2mm.  It was eaten away to a very thin delicate state and the finish was inconsistent.  And it turned my nice clear blue blackening fluid into something resembling Brown Windsor soup.  Alexa, re-order blackening fluid ...........

 

Bolt heads are Grandt Line drilled through the metal and just pushed into the balsa.  Holds well enough.  Kit shackles cut off and swapped for TMD resin ones.

 

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