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  1. Starting where we left off, step 4 builds up the engine. This is a nice rendition of the HL62/64TUK and apart from one area that needs work to ensure it fits in the chassis, only requires a few extras to produce an authentic looking lump. It can be super detailed with photo-etch sets should you wish. The area that can cause frustration when adding it to the chassis concern’s part E19. This fits into the transmission bellhousing part E36. Unfortunately, it is a little thick and although it fits inside part E36 it does NOT sit flush. What this means is that by attaching the bellhousing assembly to the back of the engine without sanding it flush, will extend the whole engine assemblies’ length slightly and it will no longer fit on the four chassis engine mounts. As both the front mounts are separate parts it is easy to damage them whilst trying to get the engine to fit. This issue has been on all the HL62TUK engines that I have built up by Trumpeter and is an easy fix if you know in advance. I will not be leaving any engine side panels off so I have just built up the basic engine as the sump is still visible on the finished model. Step 5 adds all matter of additional chassis components and as mentioned above the two front engine mounts are separate parts. Make sure these are added well before you pop the engine on them as they are easily distorted if not fully cured. Another tip in this step is to build up the fuel tank (parts A10, A11, A42 and D59) from Step 7 BEFORE adding its chassis attachment brackets (parts D41, D42, D43 & D44) This will allow you to use it as a spacing template to ensure the tank fits inside the bracket top cut-out slots. Soft stringy material is offered in the kit to replicate the winch cable. It is not ideal and too easily frays. A lengthy of suitably sized copper cable is a much better substitute. I won’t be adding any cabling to my winch, and I have also left off the securing bars and rods (part PE-WA17) The rear chassis panel in step 6 has many components, even the tiny external cable roller is unnecessarily engineered in two parts! The tow bar part A39 had huge mould offset in my kit and required a fair bit of work to look decent. Although not fitted yet in the pic below Part PE-WA19 can be seen fully installed in the final ‘Install shown’ image in step 6. Moving on to step 7 the winch assembly is added and this is where any incorrect correct spacing of the two photo-etch pieces (PE-WA5 & WA6) from step 3 will rear its ugly head. They are however easily accessible if they do need re-positioning. You are instructed to add all four-leaf springs in this step. The recessed holes in the chassis for the rearmost springs B18 will likely require deepening a little with a drill. IMO, they don’t locate securely enough without doing this. Also, it is advisable to move straight on to step 8 before the leaf spring to chassis connections cures. This is because all the axle location brackets (Parts A3, A4 & the B35 x 2) connect to the ends of the leaf springs. Whilst the leaf springs are still pliable you can line them all up neatly. Lastly, part A22 is asking to be damaged if attached in this step. It can be safely added just before the bodywork goes on in step 17. Another tip in step 8 is to leave the idler axle mounting points (parts A17, A18, A19 & A20) un-glued until you are ready to position the tracks. This way you will be in control of the final track fitment. This will prevent an overly tight or loose fit of the tracks and give the opportunity of getting the perfect ‘sag’ you want. In fact, as the idler wheel to idler mount has such a shallow and weak connection, I found it best attaching these two parts together well before any tension might weaken the joint from fitting the tracks. You can always drill and pin them together for an even stronger bond. Progress so far. Fuel tank and engine both test fitted so as to leave the chassis open to aid airbrushed paint getting into all the knocks and crannies below it.
  2. I have always been a sucker for WWII halftracks and soft skins ever since I returned to the hobby, with Axis vehicles being a particular favourite. Over the last couple of years I have built a fair few Sd.Kfz.7 8 ton variants. Dragon (D) and Trumpeter (T) are the only manufacturers to offer the vehicle in 1/35 scale and currently offer eleven different versions between them. At last count both manufacturers offer twenty-six kits with both producing early and late towing vehicles as well as Flak variants. Both offer the same models with the odd variant being produced by just one. Dragon also offers combo packs including artillery pieces. Gun crew vehicles are available in initial (D), early (D & T) and late (D & T) Wooden bodied (Holzpritsche) versions are offered by D & T Self-propelled Flak versions carried four main weapons. The early and later armoured cab model 7/1 version Flakvierling 38, (D & T), and the three 7/2 versions; early and late Flak 37 (D & T), early Flak 41 (T), and late Flak 43 (D & T) Two kits that only one manufacturer offer is Trumpeter‘s 7/3 Feuerleitpanzer version which was used specifically at Rocket sites and Dragon offer the specific 1943 HL m11 version of the gun crew vehicle. Cyber Hobby released an early Flakvierling 38 variant in 2011 but I have no idea if that differs from the Dragon boxed kit #6525 of the same name that was released in 2009. An early gun crew Sd.Kfz 7 in North Africa As regards to builders, both the main ones were Borgward (designated HL) and Krauss Maffei (designated KM). The radiator housings received their emblems on earlier vehicles. An early model Sd.Kfz 7/1 version Flakvierling 38 One variant that is missing is the earliest incarnation of the wooden cargo bodied (Holzpritsche) These were first attached to the 1943 Typ HL m11 which retained the old-style metal driver’s compartment. The Holzpritche bodied vehicles were a solution to save on limited and dwindling Nazi supplies of raw materials. The first Holzpritsche vehicles built of the final m11 design were installed by the manufacturer Saurer as early as November 1943 and this is the vehicle I am planning to build at the end of this build log. Early Holzpritsche fitted to the Typ HL m11 With both Trumpeter and Dragon only offering the final versions of the Holzpritsche which included the revised and larger wooden cab I would likely have to combine elements of different kits. It would be made far simpler if just one manufacturer got things right, but alas, both do suffer from their own inaccuracies and issues. To this end I am going to first begin by building both the final Holzpritche versions to see what will work best. Once completed I will attempt to create the early version with the best of what both manufacturers can offer. First up is Trumpeters 2009 released kit # 01507 which they simply brand as a KM m11 ‘late version. Having built this kit quite a long time ago not long after I returned to the hobby, I recall a few concerns that made it a less than pleasurable build in places, so let’s do a quick recap before I start the build. The main spoiler concerns the sprockets. First up, they look a little odd. That is because they have bevelled groves on the main face which were never present. Trumpeter don’t even show them in their own painting guide or box art, so something was at odds! The biggest problem however is that building them up as per the instructions means the tracks will not fit over the sprocket without leaving a nasty gap. The kit’s engineering lacks the important drive sprocket teeth offset (seen on many German running gear designs) which prevents the track from sitting evenly around the sprocket. In addition, the part containing the outer roller detail once fitted is hidden on the reverse side! Trumpeter never designed the teeth offset of the rollers against each track pad as per the real thing, so the track links do not sit flush against each track pad. Each sprocket is also ‘handed’ so any surgery will require removing the same part from each sprocket then a test fitment of a small track run will then determine how you re-assemble each sprocket. The recommended surgery is not complex and TBH re-fitting the small tabs that require removal for the modification to work are not completely necessary. The sprocket modification explanation with pics can be found here: https://www.perthmilitarymodelling.com/reviews/vehicles/trumpeter/tr01523d04.htm If you want the sprocket to resemble the real thing aesthetically the groves will still need to be filled in, which will not be an easy task. Even then the track pad inner fitting plates and bolts are missing so for the ultimate authenticity an aftermarket photo etch set will still be required. Even better still, try and locate a 3D printed pair. The second biggest kit failing is the omission of the wooden equipment rack in the load area. Although the equipment rack was designed to be removeable to easily convert into a flatbed the rack is an important element of this variant so why it is missing is a mystery. Trumpeter do offer some additional internal planking, but it is totally inaccurate. They do however offer a nice tarp for both the cab and load area, so there is a ‘cover up’ alternative. Another distinct anomaly is the inclusion of a Flak variant cab bench. The bench did not have an angled cut out on the passenger side and the driver’s seat cushions were much deeper with a cut out in the horizontal framework to accommodate. The Panzer Tracts book quite clearly illustrates the correct layout which also shows a battery box instead of the two exposed batteries that the kit offers. Comparing the kit dimensionally with the Panzer Tracts book 22-4, the overall length is a smidgen long compared to the drawings and the profile of the front fenders is slightly out. Neither warrants the amount of work which would be required to correct IMO. So, with the major fitment issue, the missing part exposed and a dodgy cab seating arrangement, what else can we expect? The kit offers these licence plates decals Even if accuracy is not a major concern, then some ‘interesting’ engineering and odd step sequencing is still worth highlighting IMO. The chassis engineering is overly complex so rather than a nice strong one piece moulding that all the Dragon 8t kits offer, a multipiece affair will need to be cleaned up and carefully aligned together. Personally, I believe this is the main issue with all the Trumpeter 8t kit. Too many parts when one or two would have been perfectly fine. I guess Trumpeter never embraced slide moulding technology like Dragon did! To complicate matters, the instructions have you add some of the smallest and most fragile parts in the very first steps! Considering the amount of handling still required this is a recipe for disaster. These are kit’s where the builder needs to plan ahead. Kit content and sprue shots. To save myself a whole bunch of work they are all conveniently available to view here: http://www.trumpeter-china.com/index.php?g=home&m=product&a=show&id=1250&l=en Compared to the Dragon versions the detail is a little ‘chunky’ in places and although there was no flash present there are a few pin holes, many of which will remain visible. There is also a fair bit of mould offset on many parts so seam clean-up will obliterate some detail. Along with the main problems already mentioned I will try and point out any further issues as I go along. The multi-part affair for the chassis is the same across all the Trumpeter kits with only minor differences across the variants. Whilst far more detailed than the Dragon equivalent it is a bit fiddly to assemble. Dragon kits sacrificed detail in this area but much of it is unseen once assembled and it is a much stronger sub assembly and saves at least a couple of hours of work. Following the instructions, we commence in step 1 with the gearbox. This is instructed to be fitted between the chassis legs. It is a heavy part and dangles between just one contact point on each side and does not actually provide any real structural rigidity. To make life easier constructing the chassis components in step 2, it is best left off. The flex in the chassis legs will accommodate it once the chassis frame is built up so let the chassis assembly fully cure first. It is also recommended NOT to add the photo etch and plastic cab levers (parts D13, D38 and D54) until it is ready to receive the cab floor as they are easily damaged. The front leaf spring assembly connect the two chassis legs at the front and the flat rear tray (part WA15) connects them together at the rear. Part A41 shown in step 3 can be used in-between to aid alignment. The gearbox fits in-between, and it must sit perpendicular to the frame. It’s connection points to both chassis’ legs rely on just the tiny and imprecise ends of part A7. The weight of the gearbox tends to make it droop making both chassis legs in the middle bend inwards at the top! Not the best engineering as the gearbox needs to align in one direction to accept both winch and engine shaft in later steps! The only reference for lining up the gearbox straight is to sight it up using the two holes in the legs behind the sprocket housings. TBH the upper middle parts of both legs have way too much flex and don’t get any rigidity until the fuel tank in step 7 is attached. There’s plenty of manhandling beforehand so handle with care! Step 3 connects the myriad of parts that connects the suspension pick up points. Plenty of clean-up is needed especially on parts D23 and D24 so dry fitting everything before committing placement is recommended. There are also two small pieces of photoetch to add in this step and they need to be assembled correctly as the holes in them accept the winch housing. Progress to step 3 so far.
  3. The only thing that I found different is it does take a while to build up a good covering for base coating. A decent opacity takes a fair few coats. It does leave a beautifully smooth finish though
  4. Have you tried MRP Acrylic Lacquer Paint? No thinning required. Shaky shaky the bottle, pop it in the airbrush, Pressure down to 8-12psi and off you go. Nice and accurate three tone German colours with the ability to spray really tight patterns.....and best of all, ZERO clogging
  5. Currently building Trumpeter's KM11 #01507 kit myself. Chassis sitting in a fetching shadow coat mix of caramel I've always added the idler wheel pairs to the arms and then the whole sub assembly to the chassis well before adding any tracks on all the 8T kits I have built. The reason for this is the attachment points are very shallow and will not stand any tension unless the glue has completely cured. To get a decent track fitment the idler assemblies can first be test fitted inside the snug fitting square slots in the chassis. Dry fit the wheels, sprockets and track run and then push or pull the idler assembly in or out of the slot until you get the track tension you require. Once happy with the idler assembly position it can be marked for final placement. A little tip for the track construction is to position the cleaned up side of both the pad and carrier parts all on the 'dark side' of each run you create. The links clean up well but even after some diligent sanding the pads and carriers can look a little messy. If you look at the pic below, I managed to do this on all but one pad (over top left of sprocket) Sprocket error fixed in this pic so you can see how each link now sits snug against each track pad.
  6. I would love to say that the build is shuffling along nicely, however........ Getting to step 12 has been painless so far but from this point it appears confusion rains Looking over all the steps for adding the interior components it becomes evident that something is not quite right. Instruction sheet can be found here https://www.scalemates.com/products/img/2/7/1/1426271-97-instructions.pdf Without any great knowledge of internal layouts of the 250 variants it is still obvious Dragon have really messed up the interior. In step 12 you are instructed to add all the many accessories to both sides of the interior side panels, however a red flag is raised immediately as no seat back for the seat bench parts C2 & C3 already added in step 10 on the driver’s side is called out for! If you add, as instructed all the various crew paraphernalia there simply isn’t any room for it! Yet, if you turn the page and look at step 14 the seat back on the driver’s side is visibly shown! Before adding any more items to the interior, I decided it would be prudent to do some further digging into what the interior of the 250/1 looked like. First up I began searching the tinterweb for specific build logs of the 250/1 Neu version and it became apparent that many builders pointed the finger at Dragon mixing up the interior and adding items that would only be found in the 250/5 variant. Not ever intending to go mad super detailing the interior I did at least want the basic layout to be correct. If anybody has got any decent period images of 250/1 Neu interiors, it would be appreciated.
  7. Absolutely stunning build Nenad. Your paintwork and weathering is beautifully finished. Subtle but so effective. Very inspirational. Love it
  8. Just caught up with this build. Lovely clean addition of detail in the interior and love your weld detail. Is the cabling scratched or does that come in one of the etch sets?
  9. So glad you managed to fix all the damage without too much surgery. Progress is coming along nicely with an excellent attention to detail. I never noticed Zvezda’s omission of the front mudguard bracket rivets so good spot
  10. Das Werk le.SPW Sd.Kfz.250/I Ausf .B (neu) Box art Finally found a few hours to start work on the little SPW. This is the 2022 Das Werk re-issue of the 2007 Dragon kit #6427 which is extremely difficult to find these days, so it is good to see it released again, and not for Dragon kit money! Comparing the instruction sheets the only difference with the contents appears to be that Das Werk omits the rolled back tarp and the brass width indicators that were in the original kit The instruction sheet can be found here: https://www.scalemates.com/products/img/2/7/1/1426271-97-instructions.pdf with a quick kit review and the obligatory sprue shots available here: https://www.themodellingnews.com/2022/08/in-boxed-lespw-sdkfz2501-ausfb-neu-http://in.html The kit comes in a huge box dwarfing all the sprues, of which the majority are wrapped individually. There is also a photo-etch fret. Das Werk have added their own instruction sheet with colour painting guides and decals for four of the seven offered originally. Apart from maybe a few 3D printed tool clasps this will be an out of the box build using all the photo-etch included in the kit. I don’t have any reference books on the 250 but armed with plenty of period images I figured this would be good enough. Photo-etch fret. As in normal fashion we start off with the running gear. The hull tub is a one-piece affair but be aware, in typical Dragon fashion, there are two in the box so make sure it’s the right one! This all fits together without issue although the dual inner wheels have ridiculously small alignment detail so it would be quite easy to misalign the spokes. The torsion bar suspension is not workable so there are little tabs to align the visible ends in the hull tub. There is however, a little wiggle room in the attachment should you wish to show a little weight or show the tracks articulated over groundwork. The tracks are of the original ‘magic track’ type which come in small sealed bags. Although shallow there are two pin marks on the inside of each link, and I found every tooth had a small ‘pip’ which required a quick swipe of the modelling blade. Overall, they are relatively quick to clean up, but they are extremely small and to make each link moveable requires careful application of adhesive! Tedious and fiddly as hell, I managed to clean up and connect both runs in around four hours. I have added the torsion bar ends in the hull stepped down towards the front to show some weight to the rear of the vehicle. This makes the 38 link track run look tighter than it would if the torsion bar ends were aligned in a straight line. I had already checked fitment of a small link run around the sprockets and TBH I was not impressed. The sprocket rollers should be offset from the trackpads and thus each sprocket is ‘handed’ This allows the links to sit flush against the sprocket track pads. Although there is a small offset on the moulding it is nowhere near big enough, however, this doesn’t appear to be the reason for the fitment issue. The problem is with the track teeth. They were too thick to fit far enough down inside the sprocket. Shaving them thinner helped but I eventually resorted to completely removing them where they sat round the sprocket. 38 links are called out for. As with the torsion bar ends the idler has a little wiggle room in its attachment point to the hull so there is some room to play with the track sag without adding or removing links.. Both track runs have had the track teeth removed around the sprocket to get as flush a fitment as possible. The front wheels are fixed on the axle in the straight-ahead position but are easy enough to manipulate should you wish to show a little movement. You get the option of two types of front wheels. An old style split down the middle and the much nicer ‘sandwich’ arrangement. The interior is where most of the parts in this kit end up. First, we start with the floor, seats, and bulkhead. These are nicely engineered so you can paint them separately as access with the airbrush will be tight when fully assembled. Bulkhead and two part floor panels dry fitted to aid painting later on. This is as far as I got but looking at the next steps there is quite a comprehensive amount of crew gear to add to the interior walls of the side panels. Thankfully their locations are clearly laid out in the instructions. There are a multitude of witness marks from all the various models Dragon produced so you need to remove quite a few before placement of the parts can begin. A large portion of the photo-etch fret is used up here; storage boxes and frames, straps to add to all the crew gear such as the gas cannisters, mess tins etc, and all have to be added individually. This arrangement does give you the option to show empty spaces with gear removed which always adds a little realism. Thanks for looking Los
  11. As well as the laughable size see how the rollers are not as well offset against the track pads as they are on the Friuls. The real things are handed so the Sprockets are different on both sides to accommodate the track direction. I will be starting Das Werk's re-boxing of Dragons Sd.Kfz 250 B for this GB shortly and although the sprockets are now fatter they still look undersized and the rollers are still not correctly offset. I built up a short run of their individual links to test fitment on one side and they do not fit the sprockets well at all! Although the roller offset issue is obvious when you add the track links, I'm not at all convinced the engineering in this kit ever took the roller bearing offset into consideration as the track teeth are spaced to fit as is. TBH they are spaced to fit but either the teeth are too wide, or the gap is too narrow because the ONLY way these will sit flush against the sprocket is to thin the teeth or remove them entirely where they run around the sprocket It is naughty that kits like these are allowed to be re-branded, and the moulds sold on when there is clearly a major fitment issue
  12. It is a shame, that in kit form, unlike the Trumpeter kit, the front wheels do not articulate. Saying that if you were building the Trumpy kit you would still be a week off starting on the front wheels!
  13. As for colour, most of these vehicles would have had their grey base coat overpainted once they arrived in North Africa Not a Flak variant but a dusty 7 in its original grey coat. Note the engine side panels removed for better engine cooling.
  14. Hi Trevor, nice choice and progress but tread carefully in places. I've said this before but having built quite a few Trumpeter Sd.Kfz 7 variants they are far more challenging to assemble than their Dragon counterparts. More accurate, yes, in places, more pleasurable to build, certainly not! They are definitely not a kit that can be rushed, or you are guaranteed an extremely FRUSTRATING time at the bench. If you have not built any of Trumpeter's Sd.Kfz 7 series of variants there are a few inherent issues which effects them all which will really spoil the build experience unless addressed. The sprocket being the worst offender. The tracks will simply not fit flush round them unless you do some remedial work. Look up the review and fix on the PMMS website. https://www.perthmilitarymodelling.com/reviews/vehicles/trumpeter/tr01523d04.htm *I personally found you don't really need to replace all the cut off tabs so the extra work really can be a 'quick fix' Although almost completely hidden once built, the chassis and suspension components might have far more detail, but it is at the detriment of an overly complex construction arrangement. If you rush this, further problems could occur. They also instruct you to add far too many fragile components early on which are asking to be broken off during further handling. Adding gear levers in early steps only to find you must then juggle major floor mouldings through them all is a recipe for disaster. Likewise, adding the steering shaft only to find the next step involves turning the whole assembly on its back to add the running gear is madness! As for accuracy, many panels are too thick and out of scale. Detail can be crude in places, attachment points vague, thus prone to misalignment which can lead to frustration adding further parts down the line. It all sounds like a kit to avoid, especially when Dragon makes equivalent kits. But hold on…… If you are prepared to spend more time than you maybe normally would and build them up without following their instructions to the letter you are rewarded with a great end product. Trouble is, struggling through one is more than enough for many and we all know how easy it is to simply pop it back in the box never to see the light of day again. Now I know how to avoid the many pitfalls I personally prefer these to the Dragon kits. The mouldings are a little overscale in places and replacing their trailer with a none fantasy option helps, but they do look good once completed, even more so with a Flak gun sat on the back
  15. Hi Ian 234/4 in stock and on 'offer' here https://tankmuseumshop.org/products/dragon-models-1-35-sd-kfz-234-4-panzerspahwagen?variant=41673392586943&currency=GBP&utm_medium=product_sync&utm_source=google&utm_content=sag_organic&utm_campaign=sag_organic&utm_campaign=gs-2019-10-18&utm_source=google&utm_medium=smart_campaign&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIxPylo5y4-wIV5OjtCh3NzQi3EAQYASABEgJ3BPD_BwE ..and even better value here https://www.emodels.co.uk//dragon-1-35-german-sd-kfz-234-4-panzerspahwagen-6772.html?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIxPylo5y4-wIV5OjtCh3NzQi3EAQYAyABEgLrivD_BwE
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