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  1. Correlating battery life to range, I've seen the range quoted as 10-15 nautical miles, the kit booklet stating the upper range being possible 'at the 2.3 knots economy speed'. Assuming that the Pigs were dropped off a few miles away from their targets, I guess they'd have a bit of leeway to potter around looking for multiple victims - albeit slowly. Before getting stuck into the pipework, I thought I'd do something about the strange circular depression on the spine section of the Pig. I couldn't find any clear references, only tantalising glimpses of what looks like a shallow flan tin below the dorsal skin. I cannot hazard a guess a to what it may be, but let's see if we can improve on the kit offering... The hole was opened up in the spine, a 'dish' was scratched from evergreen's finest and then attach to a filed depression in the main body of the Pig. When the spine section is subsequently overlayed we get something similar to the 'thing'... The spine section could then be attached to the main body. Credit to Italeri here as the fit was exemplary with neither fettling nor filler coming into play... With that done there was no reason why the pipework couldn't start to be recreated. Beginning gently, the initial focus was on the pair of pipes that emerge at the stern and run the length of the Pig towards the helm position... Towards the helm the pipes terminate in a veritable rat's nest of messiness (I think they must have used the same plumber who did my central heating ). I thought it would be wise not to attempt a full pipe run, feeling it would be better to have a break at the driver's leg support area (where joins could be readily hidden). The 'fiddly bits' up front could then be dealt with separately in smaller manageable sections... The pipes at the stern have some pretty substantial connector nuts which I'd need to replicate. I found a pretty rough piece of hex rod, mounted it on some brass rod, sanded it to approximately the correct size, and then sliced several 'nuts' off... Then it was a case of 'trial and error' bending of 0.8mm brass rod to produce the first stretch of pipework. One of the manufactured nuts was then threaded on, along with a smaller nut sliced off a 1/35 sheet of 'nuts and bolts' from Meng. Two small 'collars' of 1.0mm brass tube were also cut and threaded on, these being used as the attachment points for the pipework on the Pig. They will also serve to provide some separation between parallel runs of pipework... Repeating the process resulted in the second pipe run. The front collars provide an attachment point for the fiddly pipework to come in the 'rat's nest'... Truth be told I'm not 100% sold on the connector nuts as I think they may be a tad too big. I may try to reduce them a bit, but not sure how in all honesty so may just live with them... Cheers, and thanks for looking, Paul.
  2. Excellent choice Andrew - looking forward to an APA special on this one. Careful you don't get eye strain when you replace the individual bristles on those brushes
  3. I too usually conform to the 'don't trust instructions until you see evidence' rule Mr P, but more on this particular topic shortly... Cheers Filippo - I'm flattered to get four thumbs up rather than just one Thanks Kristjan, much appreciated. This update will be a bit of a ramble I'm afraid, being a continuation of 'The great gear stick location mystery', one of the more boring episodes in the Columbo series. I've been using cab reference pictures from here, and you may recall that I was puzzled by this image which clearly shows the gear stick to the left of what was assumed to be the 4WD lever... The kit instructions however indicated that the gear stick should be in the middle with the 4WD lever to its left. So what's the truth? Well firstly it may be useful to mention that there was a L4500S which was rear-wheel-drive (RWD), and a L4500A which was all-wheel-drive (4WD). Our kit is an L4500A, hence my assumption that the small lever is to engage the 4WD. Looking more closely on the site where I got the reference pictures we see a caption. It's in German, but running it through a translator we get this... 'The bumper was omitted in later versions. The flatbed structure of this 4500 S comes from the post-war period.' Oh, hang on, so that's a L4500S then, the version that's not 4WD. What's that small lever for then? Lord knows, but It may well be nothing to do with engaging 4WD. Nuts! That would probably explain the discrepancy with the instructions, but it would be nice to find a supporting picture somewhere. Well no such luck, I searched high and low but came up with a blank. Not all bad news though, as in the depths of my reference folder I found a diagram. I'm afraid I can't recall the source of the diagram, but it appears to be very accurate... Zooming in on the plan view of the transmission we see a small lever to the left of the gear stick. Bingo...! I therefore decided to ignore the reference pictures with the 'odd lever whose function is unknown' and go with the instructions. A replacement gear stick was knocked up... The 4WD lever was then moved from the centre position being replaced by the gear stick... The Voyager set provides a replacement for the accelerator pedal, which although having questionable accuracy, it is a vast improvement on the kit 'slab'... Voyager also provide replacements for the kit clutch and brake pedals... Voyager suggest that you attach the folded etch to the cab firewall recess 'as is', but methinks we can do better than that. First chain drill holes in the firewall recess and fashion some pedal slits... Then thread the folded pedal legs through the slits from the rear, glue in place, bend the small supporting tabs over, and then attach the pedals to the legs... A final shot illustrates how the pedals orientate with the other controls on the cab floor... That's it for now, Cheers, and thanks for looking, Paul.
  4. Erm, truth be told I don't know Mr P, but it is an interesting question. Information on the double warhead is quite sketchy, the booklet that comes with the kit merely saying that they are 'rare'... You may know this already, but the warhead was slung under the keel of the target, in what must have been a time consuming process that was fraught with danger. The attackers would then set the fuse timer, and scarper pretty quickly I'd have thought.... I guess they're hoping to break the back of the ship when things go boom. So maybe the double warhead is just to get a bigger boom and so more chance of a mission kill? I suspect not as the warheads appeared to have separate fuses and separate suspension rings (highlighted) as if they would be used independently... My guess (and it is a guess) is that the goal would be to use the double warheads on separate targets. Breaching the harbour defences would always have been have been a major challenge, so if you manage to get in there why not double your chances by having two warheads? That being said I'd have thought you'd be hard pushed to find two targets, string up the changes, and get out of there before your batteries ran out of juice. Maybe, maybe not? Paul.
  5. Cheers for the comments Mr P, There are a few surviving examples, my prime reference being the one at the Museo Storico Navale in Venice. As for your query on the model length, well the answer is 'it depends' If you exclude the warhead, I measure the model at approximately 140mm long, this taking into account the propeller assembly which is yet to be added (the picture doesn't reflect this measurement I assume due to parallax effects). I've included a penny and my faithful scalpel to give some indication of scale... The standard single warhead measures approximately 53mm, and the rare double warhead 70mm... So in summary we'd have lengths of: 140mm for a Pig sans warhead. 193mm for one with the single warhead. 210mm for one with the double warhead. Which ends up being a ridiculously complex answer to a very simple question - sorry about that matey
  6. Cheers Mr P. Playing Devil's advocate, I can see that some would prefer the moulded on pipework. The alternative would be for the pipes to be provided as separate frangible parts, which no doubt would cause cries of 'Why on earth couldn't the pipes have been moulded on? I've got all these small part to clean up and I've broken most of them.' Recently I've been focused on the 'control wire tubes' (not sure what they should be called but they'll simply be 'tubes' from now on). The tubes run along the spine of the Pig, containing wires that respond to movements from the yoke at the front, to control the rudder and diving planes at the rear... The tubes are represented on the kit by moulded pipework on the spine section, with simple rods being glued on at the rear (parts 29A)... I'm sure that we can improve the tubes, the first job being the removal of the moulded on pipework which will be replaced by 0.8mm brass tube... Holes need to be drilled through the Pig seats to accept the brass tube, which looked like a tricky job given the need to keep the drilled hole true along the length of the seats. Fortunately the seats were hollow, so the drill bit could be guided from below... After some careful drilling we could do this... The next stage was to widen the holes to accept some lengths of 1mm diameter brass tube that will act as 'bushes' for the main tubing to pass through. Is it just me, or does that second picture look like a Hippo? Maybe I need more ventilation when using the TET... The 'bushes' provide a couple of benefits. Firstly, they act as a guide making it easy for the main tubing to be slid on and off the Pig, Secondly, they neaten things off nicely... The seats as provided in the kit are a bit of a disappointment, bearing little resemblance to the rough and ready wooden seats seen on the real thing. The seats remind me of something knocked up in a school woodwork lesson. I made a bird-box that looked quite similar... Some scribing and scraping attempted to give an impression that the seats were separate from the Pig body. I also scribed lines to suggest how the seats were constructed, all of which may be visible in these admittedly poor pictures... Finally, the kit originally had a rivet line midships which was totally eradicated during seam cleanup as I couldn't find any evidence for the rivets in references. When looking for seat information however, I did find evidence of the rivets. The rivet and panel line was duly restored... And that brings things up date. Here's a few shots to give a flavour of the current state of play. The spine section and tubes are not affixed as there are one or two outstanding jobs to compete... Cheers, and thanks for looking, Paul.
  7. Thanks Mr P, but steady on old chap, rip off one of the steps after all the blood, sweat and tears that went into making the blighters! Actually it is quite tempting now you've mentioned it. I had a poke around too on the off chance that something may crop up, but no such luck, The home base for the Pigs appeared to be La Spezia in north Italy, still under German control after the Italian surrender, and still active operationally (and actually attacked by previous Pig operators now working with the allies). So the 'evaluation' scenario could have been a thing maybe, though unlikely. I'll be continuing with the Maiale build over in the Maritime section, but still undecided whether it will end up on the truck or not, The 3RO looks nice, but I don't plan to build another truck just now - it's going to take be long enough to finish this one! Though kinda off topic here, it's an interesting read to learn what the Decima Flottiglia MAS got up to with their Pigs and attack boats. A resourceful and brave group of chaps: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decima_Flottiglia_MAS Cheers John, much appreciated. Now, where were we? Ah yes, the cab. It's been a while since I'd worked on the cab so it was a case of blowing the dust off and seeing where we'd got to. One area I wasn't happy with were the gaping holes around the top of the dashboard. Mind the gap..! That cannot be right surely? It's surprising hard to find a clear picture of the area, but it certainly looks like there was a 'coaming' above the dash... Out with the plasticard, and after much careful trial and error trimming/sanding we end up with something to bridge the chasm... It's strange when you return to something you seem to have a more critical eye (or is this just me?). I wasn't happy with the half-moon rods I'd added to represent the strengthening(?) lines embossed on the dash. So off they came, to be replaced by something a little less agricultural, taking the opportunity to add the ones at the ends of the dash that I'd missed previously... Here's a view that shows the embossed lines I'd attempted to replicate. Also in evidence from left to right is the gear stick, what I'm assuming is the lever to engage four wheel drive (4WD), and the hand brake.... The 4WD lever that come with the kit is a bit, well, odd, having a small, misshapen knob (no giggling at the back). We'll have to do something about that... To fashion a new knob I started with an appropriately sized sprue gate thing, do some initial shaping, then mount on some brass rod for the final shaping, rolling between fingers like a mini lathe. The mounting on the cab floor was a pretty uninspiring half-moon hole, which was quickly replaced by a slot containing a small piece of brass tube. The new 4WD lever could then be added to the cab floor... The kit hand brake was next for the treatment, being added to the cab floor alongside the 4WD lever... Things were going swimmingly, but then I noticed the instructions. Ah, it looks like I've mounted the 4WD lever where the gear stick should be! Note to self: The instructions are there for a reason. Check them now and then, you lummox! But hang on a second. In the cab picture above, the 4WD lever definitely looks to be between the gear stick and the hand brake. Or am I going mad? Hmmmm. Are the instruction wrong, or is the picture some modified or later version L4500? Time to do some digging... Cheers, and thanks for looking, Paul.
  8. I'm loving your work Vytautas. So intricate, so skillful and so neat. You mentioned in a previous post that you were concerned about spending too much time on the small details, but please don't change, it is the small details that make such a big difference. Truly you are a master of your craft sir. Paul.
  9. Cheers Mr P. According to the booklet that comes with the kit, only around 50 SLCs were built, these being 'virtually hand-made, and different crafts showed different details'. I guess this explains the variations that are evident from Pig to Pig. Italeri have generally done a pretty good job, it being a lovely little kit. The conspicuous pipework looks clumsy though, there being a limit to what can be achieved moudling wise without resorting to separate parts for the pipes. The kit does include separate ends to the pipework, but the main plumbing runs do look rather unrealistic... The plan is to remove all the moulded on pipework and replace with brass rod/tube. At the rear we see various pipes emerging from (or disappearing into?) the body of the Pig. These junctions will serve as handy anchor points for the brass work to come. The two examples here further serve to illustrate the variations between machines (see the orientation of the pipework emerging from the side, and the panel line rivet detail)... A drilled piece of sprue will form the anchor point for the rearmost pipe emerging from the centreline. Brass tube will be inserted into the opening later... More drilled sprue with brass tube inserts created the anchor points for the pairs of pipes emerging from the sides... Another large drilled sprue section was inserted midships (look at me with the nautical terms ) which will serve as a 'socket' to mount a handle of some kind. All this may seem like overkill, but I like to add these solid drilled sprues at any point where something may be rammed in later on (a lesson learnt from too many seam splitting incidents in the past)... It was then a case of gluing the Pig halves together and then slicing, paring, scraping and sanding to eradicate the moulded on pipework (which was a surprisingly lengthy process). Once the pipework had gone, it was then a case of restoring detail lost in the clean up process, or create detail underlying the 'ghost' pipes. The teardrop depressions here were tricky to replicate - fortunately there will eventually be new brass pipework to disguise things... Some detail lost in the seam cleanup was the rear panel line and associated rivets. Not such a bad thing as the panel line was indistinct and misaligned (one of the few poor areas in the kit). The existing detail was fully eradicated, a new panel line scribed, and Archer rivet decals added... An attempt was made to replicate the flange surrounding the pipe exit points. A search through the spare etch box came up with some pretty close matches which tidy up the area nicely... That more or less covers the preparation of the Pig body ready for the introduction of the pipework. The instrument 'binnacle' has also been hollowed out aiming to give some depth to the instruments (which are very 2D, more of which in a subsequent post)... Cheers, and thanks for looking, Paul.
  10. Cheers Andrew, much appreciated. The reason why you can't see any CA is likely due to the fact that I didn't use any. Klear is generally my weapon of choice for the fine etch. I think I'll go with the tool locations as per the period photos Mr P. It may look a tad cluttered up front though what with the engine on show. We shall see I guess. That looks really cool! I'm willing to wager that it performed as poorly as the real thing? I remember taking my Dad's Airfix 1/600 HMS Victorious into the bath and being very disappointed with it's stability (or lack of it). I suspect it was the overhanging angled flight deck that didn't help matters much. My Dad wasn't best pleased with my experimentation as I recall, although it did dry out eventually! Must admit that I hadn't really considered the fact that the Italians may not have had access to the Mercedes trucks, I didn't think things through, naively assuming that as allies the Italians would have access to the German gear. Realistically the trucks would probably more likely be in great demand on the eastern front and so not be issued to the Italian backwater. Thanks for the reality check Mr P, I'll have to mull things over. Meanwhile, back on the truck, I've been dabbling with the cab access steps. The kit steps are pretty basic missing tread plate detail. Fortunately the Voyager set provides a replacement. Unfortunately the Voyager offering bears little resemblance to the thing it is replacing. The instructions are rather basic too. Is the etch supposed to sit over the kit steps? Your guess is as good as mine... It would appear that Voyager have had a stab at replicating the step arrangement of the L4500 example at Saumur, this being very much the exception rather than the rule... In general we see a simpler step arrangement, which is basically tubular supports with a tread plate slapped on top... The first job was to manufacture the step supports, which shouldn't strictly have been necessary if I hadn't somehow managed to break one kit support and lose another. Never mind, find some suitable brass tube (Albion alloys slide fit 1.1mm diameter), anneal it (to reduce the chance of crushing when bent), and produce replacements using one of the remaining supports as a template... We then need to add some pins to to be used when attaching the steps to the chassis. Brass rod was therefore soldered to the supports... Trim and tidy the brass rod and we end up with four replacement supports... Now for the tread plates. The etch plate was separated from the unwanted 'thing' (repeated bending makes and easy and neat job of this), and bends were made to produce the plate edges. The kit plate was used to mark the support location on the etch plate, and 1.3mm diameter tube to act as the support holders was cut to size... Soldering time. Not the neatest of jobs I'll freely admit, but a bit of a clean up, slap on some 'mud', and no one will be any the wiser... Slide the supports into the holders and we have some steps... I think they are an improvement over the kit offering... Handily the supports are a snug fit, but still adjustable in two planes, so there is 'wiggle room' to fine tune attachment to the chassis... The front mudguards will dictate the step location (the step butting tightly up to the mudguard edge) so I'll need to progress the mudguards before I can attach the steps. The mudguard location, however, is dictated by the cab location. The cab will therefore be next. Cheers, and thanks for looking, Paul.
  11. Mmmmm, now that is lovely Cesar. Fantastic subject matter and fantastic execution - very well done sir! I may steal the idea of the chain separating the drums from the rest of the cargo in the truck bed. I hope you don't mind. Paul.
  12. It is indeed a little gem of a kit Beefy. It was your cracking build that sparked my interest in it truth be told, so the blame lies squarely on your shoulders. You know me far too well Mr P - there will indeed be some nice shiny brass replacements for the moulded on plumbing! Meanwhile, I've been beavering away on the front shield. Looking at references, there doesn't appear to be a 'standard' shield for a Pig, there being much variation on shape and appearance. We have a shield with a window and eight ridges (as per the kit), a windowless variant with only four ridges, and seeming the most common are the windowless and smooth examples... Looking more closely at our variant, we see that the ridges appear to stop short of the shield edge. The kit, however, continues the ridges to the edge (if anything slightly over), giving a ragged, 'webbed' appearance. No matter, load the Swann-Morton with a new blade and the ridges are trimmed back quite easily. The end result is much improved, being neater, and looking to have thinner shield edges for good measure... The interior of the shield also has structure which again seems to vary greatly from Pig to Pig. We have an example of a quite complex ribbed structure, a variant with a much simplified rib arrangement, and an example of a totally smooth interior totally devoid of any structure. The kit had raised detail on the interior something similar to the complex example here, but much of this detail was lost during the work to thin the shield... I needed to reinstate some detail on the interior, but didn't fancy going the whole hog with the complex ribbing. I opted for a compromise and aim for a simple structure just to add a bit of interest. Zooming in on the example above we see that the ribbing is quite crude, being akin to metal rod roughly attached to the interior... Crude is good in my book, it being a perfect excuse to explain away my ham-fisted attempts of replicating the ribs. My process was to firstly scribe the rib locations using some dymo tape as a guide, and then glue some suitably fine plastic rod into the scribed lines... It proved to be quite a lengthy and fiddly process, but eventually we had some simplistic internal ribbing... And with that the major refinement work on the shield was complete. I probably spent far too long on it than I should have, but the end result is much more delicate and to scale in my mind... There were one or two little jobs left to do though. While looking through references I noticed some rivet detail around the window. The box art shows some similar detail, but the window in the kit itself is rivetless. Out with the Archer rivet decals and the job is done (the rivet counters can have a field day here )... Another small job was to back drill the holes on the shield roof. 'Why do that?' you may ask. Well the plastic is quite thick here so the holes look more like tunnels, Back drilling gives the impresson of a thinner shield (though you have to be wary that you don't drill too far and end up with larger holes than you should!) The second image shows the effect when just a single hole is drilled. It's quite surprising the difference it makes... And finally, a small piece of spare etch was added to the shield front to replicate a fixing bracket, along with a small pin to aid fixing of the shield to the body of the Pig... And with that the shield done. 'Thank the Lord for that', I hear you say. Don't worry, It'll be something totally different next time... Cheers, and thanks for looking, Paul.
  13. Crikey, that's some compliment John, and I appreciate it greatly, but I think we may have to agree to differ slightly. Cheers Mr P. It's a lovely catch-all in AFV modelling when you can say 'well it would have been bent like that in real life, honest'. It's going to be a bit of a hotch-potch update this week, starting with my thinking on the cargo. It wasn't an easy decision to make, there being several options: 1) Leave the bed empty. Never in the running really as it's, well, a bit dull to be honest. 2) Fill the bed with miscellaneous 'stuff', e.g. crates, oil drums, coal, food, ammo, scrap metal, etc. 3) Mount a flak piece of some kind. 4) Haul something 'interesting', in effect, a model within a model. I was tempted by option #3, especially when I saw a mounted flakvierling... In the end I was sold on option #4, but what would the something 'interesting' be? The load capacity of the L 4500 needs to be taken into consideration, and here the clue is in the name, the capacity being 4500kg. So 4.5 tonne ruled out any armoured vehicle, but a Kubelwagen, Schwimmwagen, Kettenkrad, etc. would be fine. In the end I opted for something completely different... I appreciate that this may not be of interest to anyone here, so I'll be building the "Maiale" in parallel over in the Maritime section... And now back to the build. Although I said that in a previous post that I'd finished with the bed, I may have been a tad hasty. The Voyager set provides elements for tools to be mounted on the side of the bed... Included are the obligatory and hateful tool clamps. I despise these little blighters, and freely admit to cheating during their construction. I wonder what the 3D printed equivalents are like? I'll have to give them a go one day... Voyager provide a resin pick axe which is not that much finer than the DML equivalent, and has a weedy, misshapen shaft (story of my life ). I think the shaft will end up being replaced (or if I'm lazy I'll just use the DML one)... Voyager indicate that the pick axe should be mounted on the passenger side just above the rear wheel, the spade being mounted on a similar location driver side... These tool placements puzzled me, and off down a rabbit hole I went. The rear mud guard protrudes slightly from the bed, which in my mind would cause the tools to foul on the guard whenever the bed sides are lowered. Why would you mount the tools in that location when you could move them either forward or backwards along the bed to a point they wouldn't interfere with the mud guard...? Wondering if there was a mistake in the Voyager instructions (it wouldn't be the first after all!) I thought I'd check references. Here's the kicker, I couldn't find a single period example where tools are mounted on the bed sides. I did find examples, however, where the tools are mounted on the front mud guard and bonnet area. Pick axe on the passenger side... Spade on the driver side... Hmmm. Think I'll reserve judgment until the front mud guards are on. A bit of a meandering post I'm afraid, but cheers, and thanks for looking, Paul.
  14. Hello everyone, I'm venturing into uncharted waters here, normally being a landlubber over in the AFV section where I'm half through a Mercedes-Benz L 4500 truck build. While mulling over cargo options, I briefly considered a S.L.C. "Maiale" as 'somethings a bit different' but thought it would be too long and too, well, 'torpedoey', to be feasible. But then I stumbled across the following which got the old cogs turning... Early in the video we see a 'truncated' "Maiale" separated from it's warheads... The warheads subsequently being bolted onto the 'nose'... Hmmm, interesting. The "Maiale" sans warhead would probably fit onto the truck bed quite nicely, and the detached warhead(s) could then sit alongside, something like this with some rearrangement... It's a total flight of fancy with no evidence that they ever put one of these things on a truck, but why not? The decision was made, let's have a "Maiale" cargo! I knew that Italeri did a nice 1/35 Siluro a Lenta Corsa (S.L.C - Italian, Low Speed Torpedo) also known as "Maiale" (Italian for pig, hence the topic name). I didn't know, however, that the kit is discontinued and so a bit tricky to get hold of. I did eventually managed to acquire one... I won't go into too much detail on the kit contents as there are several reviews available elsewhere. Suffice it to say that the kit is quite simple, being contained on a single sprue, with the warhead(s) already separated from the main body of the Pig (which needless to say is very useful for what I plan to do - result!)... The kit also contains a small etch fret, some diver figures (probably won't be used), and a booklet giving additional information and a pretty comprehensive set of photos (which is a very nice touch)... I've made a cursory start on the build by starting a tidy of the welders mask front shield. Holes were drilled in the shield roof as indicated in the instructions, using small moulded depressions as a guide. The shield walls are far too thick, looking like they are fashioned from substantial armour plate. Some thinning will be needed here, which will unfortunately result in the shield interior detail being lost (not a bad thing given the ejector mark and general untidiness of the interior)... The shield should be thin plate similar to this photo grabbed from the kit booklet... After some scraping, sanding, sanding and scraping things start to look a bit better. I'll leave it to you to work out which side has been worked on in this before/after comparison shot... I need to be a bit wary though as the plastic is starting to get a tad thin... A quick word of warning before I sign off - there may be the odd truck picture appearing in this thread! I'll try to keep these to the minimum, but if you want to venture over to the 'dark side' and see more, the parallel truck build can be found here.,.. Cheers, and thanks for looking, Paul.
  15. Cheers Kristjan - high praise given the exemplary work on your Panzer IV. The fixtures are indeed tricky to make out Mr P, but that's the best resolution image I've found unfortunately. I've assumed that the top rails are removable, and bitten the bullet. One benefit of not using CA to attach the etch is that you can rip if off again without too much fuss... The remnants of the top rail 'legs' were removed from the tailgate, some rudimentary fasteners added where the legs were, and the etch reapplied. I also reinstated the bottoms of the top rail 'legs' and drilled holes to indicate fastenings of some kind. I'll paint up the top rail and lob it in the bed to supplement the cargo... I'll gloss over the bling on the tailgate as it's similar to what's been covered previously. The Voyager instructions, however, indicate that the latches should be mounted on the bed sides and 'hook' onto the tailgate, but this is incorrect... The latches should actually be mounted on the tailgate and 'hook' onto the sides... Voyager do seem to make some silly mistakes in their instructions, but their etch is quite sweet, and I especially like the way they've represented the latches... The bed was now approaching completion but, as per Columbo, there was a loose end to take care of - the canopy frame support things. Zvezda provide the five frames grouped together for storage, the moulding being OKish, but a bit too regular and indistinct. It was, however, useful as a jig/template once it was narrowed by cutting a section out of the middle and glued to a base... Using 0.8mm diameter brass wire I produced replacement frames. Truth be told, this was easier said than done, it being tricky to keep the frames identical and true in the vertical. Eventually we achieved five frames that were kind of similar. The close up compares a replacement frame with a kit version... All five frames fit into the etch holders, but only just, it being very snug. I suspect that the frames will have to be painted in situ as I cannot see the paint surviving the insertion into the holders... The five frames being in close proximity highlights the fact that they aren't identical, the tops looking 'messy'... I'm not too bothered about the messy frames though as it looks quite realistic... And with that the build of the bed is, well, put to bed. It's been a long haul, it being a kit in its own right. You never know, the next time you see this lot it may actually have some paint on... What to do next I wonder? The cargo will be near the top of the list. I think I've decided what we'll be hauling, but I'll be a tease and only reveal when the postman delivers the goodies. For now I'll leave a little clue by saying it may be a bit of a pig. Cheers, and thanks for looking, Paul.
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