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Das Abteilung

French WW1 Pair - FT & CA

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Next project so I have something to build while the MkIVs are in the paint and finishing phase.  Expunging the WW1 bug, for now at least.  I think I have a couple of armoured cars in me somewhere and I'm waiting to see how the after market for the CSM Lanchester develops.  I believe some WW1 trucks are in the offing in plastic too, although I don't really "do" softskins.

 

So this is a double build of the Meng riveted-turret FT17 and the HobbyBoss Schneider CA with additional armour.  Limited after market parts here.

 

I think the FT will be an MG version, French if I can find evidence for that configuration in French service or US if not.  I have the ET etched brass set and the Blast stowage and update set.  I looked at a couple of after market Hotchkiss M1914 barrels, but decided to stick with the kit barrel.  I still have a pack of Zebrano resin barrels, which are nice but perhaps a little over-skinny and fragile: I might use one yet.  I had a Magic brass barrel but the cooling ridges (they're really too thick to be fins) were all wrong: flat-topped rather than pointed.  The diorama base won't be used, although I did invest in some etched barbed wire, metal pickets and real wood strip just in case.  Painting-wise I did buy a J's Work masking set but have decided not to use it: seems like far more trouble than it's worth.

 

The Schneider has the Blast Models upgrade for the sadly lacking kit running gear and their stowage set.  I've had a Magic gun barrel set on order for months from Nordland Models, still only shown as "processing": fortunately not paid yet.  But as noted above I have since found that their Hotchkiss MG barrel is not usable, and the 75mm BS gun doesn't really need to be replaced.  So that will be getting cancelled.  With the one-piece upper hull moulding this looks a relatively straightforward kit, but one weakness is the tracks.  Each link is made of 3 pieces and the little spuds on each link are too fat.  The Schneider used the same tracks as the FT as far as I can determine, so if anyone has any spare sets of Meng FT tracks I'd be very interested: I'd need 2 sets. I can't really justify a set of Friuls and life is far too short for the 8-piece-per-link Voyager etched brass links..........

 

CKmAoiQ.jpg

 

Fds3zAH.jpg

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Interesting topic. But you wont do tracks with 8 parts per link? Shame! ;)

 

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There is such a thing as taking the level of detail a little too far.  Unbelievable, I know..... 

 

In any case I think etched track plates for the FT would be too thin and too "square".  The link faces were cast and they have rounded edges and corners, and there is a distinct web where the spud joins the plate and a slight lip behind.  There's also that awkward step and curve to fold at the front of the link where it connects. A folded piece of square-cut, square-edged brass would not represent any of this well.

 

VHrhY87.jpg

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I shall be following this!

 

 

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When using AM parts like these I go through both sets of instructions and mark them up to show parts to be changed, modified etc.  So I don't have any "Oh bugger, I should have done......." moments.

 

Having done this with the ET FT-17 etch set, I've decided not to use any of it.  It's for the interior-detail cast-turret version, so the interior parts are no use and the turret parts don't fit.  The Blast set renders the etched tool box and trench tail parts unnecessary.  I'm not confident that my skills can make a better job of making up etched hinges than the perfectly acceptable Meng moulded parts, not to mention cleanly removing the moulded details first.  So that left nothing to use.

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Posted (edited)

Aww come on, the "oh bugger" part is the fun part isn't it?

 

Looks like an interesting project...or two, love WWI stuff, some of it so ugly it's rather handsome in it's own way.

 

Take care,

 

Lloyd

Edited by BlackMax12

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Posted (edited)

I'm not feeling much love for the Schneider.  It's relatively straightforward but unnecessarily fiddly in places and the parts fit isn't great.  I began with the bogies and lower hull as instructed, but then departed from the instructions by attaching the upper and front hull before attempting fitting out the upper hull.  This makes more sense to me.

 

It's partly my fault.  I misread the instructions for the bogies and ended up with parts facing the wrong inside/outside way, resulting in picking them apart again.  Sweary words:  even Marley the Mutt had his paws over his ears.............  The bogie bodies needed filler to remove the parts join and the sprue scars.  Because of the way the parts are moulded there are some mould lines in odd places like along edges which need to be removed.

 

None of the gun mounts would fit anywhere near correctly as intended using the sponson mounts provided, so I simply glued them directly to the inside of the hull.  Unless I completely missed something, the Hotchkiss MGs have no clear method of attachment to the mounts so I ended up gluing the cooling fins to the inside of the ball and adding scrap plastic to brace the guns and reinforce the whole thing.  The Blast set provides a piece to fill a gap at the top of the 75mm mount. The muzzle of the 75mm is far too large.  Lacking the never-appearing Magic Models brass barrel set I ordered, I inserted a piece of plastic tube, filled the join and drilled it out to 2mm.

 

The fit of the lower and upper hull parts at the front isn't great either.  I found I had to shave away some of the inner lower hull edges to improve the fit but the front join still needs attention.  I think I'll have to shave away the rivet detail and reinstate it after filling.  See photo below.

 

The Blast set isn't great, I have to say.  Not up to the standards of some other brands, and I've had better products from them.  I replaced a couple of rod parts with plastic rod.  The rear transmission part needed some serious clamping to the lower hull but there is still a hard-to-eradicate gap, fortunately mostly hidden.  There is no positive location for the central and main rear cross-braces, the latter needing a lot of trimming to fit and copious cyano.  Worst is the fit of the sprockets to the transmission, which is fairly fundamental.  The locating pegs were belled-out at the ends and the mating faces are not square and true, needing copious cyano and holding in place while setting.

 

Work so far.

hwgAPGq.jpg

 

Underside with Blast update set fitted.

1s6p5ml.jpg

 

Nose join after taping, still requiring much attention from file, filler, drill and many new rivets.  I might replace the whole of the joint strip with an overlay of thin metal after dealing with the length mis-match.  See how it turns out. 

LATE NOTE - the applique panels for the lower hull front completely cover the lower half of the joint strip, so perhaps I can get away without any re-riveting - or at least less of it.

qrwAkAk.jpg

Edited by Das Abteilung
addition

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Looks and sounds like you've got a fight on your hands with this one! Is it resin, since you're using CA glue, or is that just your preference?

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That's just for the resin-plastic joins, Mr Clive.  The blast parts are resin.  There's a little bit of etch in this kit too.

 

I'm not a fan of using cyano on plastic: solvent with tape, bands and clamps is better IMHO, and modern super glues are hardly instant.  Actually I've lately cottoned-on to acrylic glue, sometimes called alpha cyano, as used for false nails.  I've mentioned this before.  It's just as good as "normal" cyano IMHO and also comes in brushable form, which is really useful.

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Thanks for the tip about alpha cyano, Peter. I wonder, does it work on PE? My latest project has huge quantities of it, and aside from the microscopic size of most of the parts, I am finding it devilish difficult to make some sub-assemblies look like anything more intricate than a blob of dried CA glue.

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Well I've been using it for PE-PE as well as PE-plastic and resin-plastic.  I find the brush bottles really useful as you can touch small parts to the brush, brush along edges, etc.  The nozzle bottles are no more controllable than those for cyano.  IMHO it holds as well as cyano, which doesn't hold as well or as quickly these days as it used to in the past.  I got mine on eBay.  If I remember correctly I searched for acrylic glue.

 

I did find some very fine - almost hypodermic -  tube nozzles to fit cyano bottles, but despite being polyethylene or similar they clogged up and were essentially single-use disposable.  Too fine to unclog.

 

The best fix for PE-PE is still soldering,something I have never mastered.  I envy those who can solder even the tiniest parts.

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I'm calling the Schneider "done" but haven't started the FT.  Done, that is, apart from the 3-piece track links - which are driving me potty.  I'm still after a gash set of Meng FT tracks instead if anyone has any.

 

The instructions are incorrect about how much surface detail on the upper hull rear plates needs to be removed to fit the rear fuel tanks in Step 6: you need to take off all of it.  You also need to take off the hinge mounting plates, but leave the hinge pins.  The instructions show cut-outs on the tanks to fit over the hinges that aren't actually there.  I suppose you could make those yourself instead.  The lower exhaust mounting hole for the earlier version without the rear tanks is still there, incorrectly.  I shaved off the bracket detail and added plastic strip and rivet heads to replace it and cover the hole. 

 

The rivets on the tank tops weren't all brilliantly moulded and I replaced some.  On which subject, the etched brass corner strip part PE4 in Step 6 has its rivets represented just by dimples.  Drill out the dimples while still on the fret, then drill the plastic underneath once the PE is glued on and pop in some Grandt Line or EDM rivet heads.  The etched holes are for the applique plate, so don't rivet those.

 

I discovered that I'd lost the indexing of the sprockets: the kit mounts have flats and the Blast ones don't.  So I had to remove the sprocket caps, which are also indexed with flats, and re-align them correctly with the "ears" at the top.  In Step 7, try as I might I could not get the trench tail parts to fit together as shown, with the top edges flush.  I ended up cutting back the sloping ends of the braces A6 and A7 and taking a bit off the bottoms of the uprights until the pieces fit.

 

Step 8 needs some attention.  Part D12 needs another couple of rivets along its lower edge.  I couldn't get the driver's visor to fit at all using both parts of it, so I just used the outer part A16.  The metal loop thing on the glacis B7 was replaced with wire.  In Step 13 the shield on the gun barrel, D2, wasn't always fitted.  But if you don't use it you'll need to scratch the brace (?) which curved down from the recuperator on the left side.  If you do use it, file out the hole slightly: mine cracked.

 

If you're not using stowage on the roof "spine" you'll need to add the cables from part B3 to the signal flap B21.  I'm not clear exactly where they go at the flap end, and the flap has no hinges provided.  However the Blast stowage set renders this unnecessary.  But in order to use that set you need to omit kit parts shown incorrectly as C34 in Step 6 (they're actually C35).

 

The Blast stowage isn't too bad.  There are some awkward pour plugs, more than a few sharp edges needing smoothed over and a couple of mould mismatch lines to attend to.  The 2 pieces for the spine are supposed to fit together snugly, but I couldn't get them to even with careful trimming.  So I wedged a hand axe in the join.........  I made the mistake of fitting the rear piece first: don't.  Fit the front piece first: it has indents to match the kit rivets for positive location.  It doesn't say whether to fit part B21 first or not.  I already had and the Blast part seemed to fit over it, but maybe that was the cause of my fit issues.  Try dry fitting it without B21 in place first, but the absence of B21 will be noticeable.  Not all the legs of the stowage frames on the side bundles met the hull top, and neither the Blast nor the kit parts have any visible means whereby the frames are attached to the hull: just plonked there.  Rather than faff with trimming tiny pieces of plastic strip I used adhesive lead foil to cover the gaps and give some impression of a gusset plate (NB - after photos taken !).  In common with many other stowage sets, the 2 hanging bags have no visible means of attachment.  Lead foil again for bag straps over the stowage frames (also after photos!).  The jack-like device strapped to the rear tank stowage bundle had the ugly top made better with plastic strip, bolt heads and a big wing nut.  It needs a bit longer thread protruding.

 

I added a couple of Texaco 2-gallon cans on the trench tail, which will be roped on after painting.  Tow ropes seem to be commonly stowed on the tail too: mine's just hooked on there for now until after painting.  I found a couple of photos showing shovels stowed on the fuel tanks, so I added one and a couple more hand tools on top - including an ancient Historex pitchfork I'd been looking for an excuse to use.  I also found a couple of pics showing a towing attachment over the front hook behind the wire cutter.  Basically a big U bolt with a plate across.  Wire, plastic strip and a couple of drilled-out bolt heads.  Side planks (unditching?) are bass wood with brass brackets to be added after painting.  Better than either resin or plastic offerings.  I'll do something with the light lenses after painting.  In 1 photo a tank had a simple bent-tube step added on the right side just in front of the sponson gun.  Plastic rod with the end flattened and a couple of rivet heads.

 

However, my long-awaited house move is now finally going ahead so the modelling stuff will all be going into storage while that goes on to keep it out of the way of ham-fisted removal men, and so I don't have to bother with it immediately and not until I've had time to set up the garage and study again to my liking.  Probably won't be any progress now until late June.  But with getting less ££ than I wanted for this house and paying more ££ than I wanted for the new one, a lot of stash stuff may be going on eBay so that I can eat more than once a month!

 

GAu4SMN.jpg

 

76Fi3Rs.jpg

 

CRHj6mN.jpg

Oops - just noticed crooked rear doors..............  One is meant to be ajar.

 

7g71hOu.jpg

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Looking very good for all your trials and tribulations, Peter. Do the have one of these at Bovington? I am off there for a jaunt next weekend - with no kids in tow this time thankfully - so it would be interesting to get a closer look at it in the flesh as it were.

 

Good luck with the house move! :thumbsup2:

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Sadly no.  The last survivor is at Saumur, restored to running order in the mid-80's having been returned to France by Aberdeen PG.  It's an up-armoured type.  They also have a dubious replica built on an excavator drivetrain.  HobbyBoss seem to have copied some part of the replica chassis underside, which is built on bulldozer chassis.  Saumur has a St Chamond too.  There's a Schneider CD tracked load carrier at a motor museum in France somewhere.  The only French WW1 at Bovington is an FT-17.

 

If by "next weekend" you mean 21/22, then I'll be there myself all day on 22nd.  Might see you there.  Wear something obvious and I'll find you!

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Thanks Peter, sadly I am there on the 21st! That's a terrible shame, I would have enjoyed catching up with you.

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I'm constrained to Sunday.  Maybe another time.  I'll be living much closer soon, not a 5 hour round trip away.  Your ticket gives you free entry for another year.

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14 hours ago, Das Abteilung said:

I'm constrained to Sunday.  Maybe another time.  I'll be living much closer soon, not a 5 hour round trip away.  Your ticket gives you free entry for another year.

Thanks for the tip Peter, I wasn't aware of the one year duration

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House move delayed by the builder by at least a month.  Looking at end of July now.  And then my buyer's buyer pulled out of the chain.  So all up in the air again.

 

In the meantime I thought I might as well tackle the FT-17 while I can't put stuff into storage, and have actually finished it.  I managed to sell the etch fret by mistake along with an ET Model etch set, and I'm waiting to get it back.  So the etch parts are missing.  Turret and the suspension units are left separate for painting, tracks need to be assembled.  Most of the bogies are still loose so that I can get everything flat once it's all together.  (Am I alone in feeling a certain childish satisfaction at being able to use the word "bogies" quite legitimately and as often as I like without getting told off?)

 

The 4 metal springs supplied are a bit weedy so I replaced them with beefier ones from my spring box.  Ultimately I only used 2 parts from the Blast set, the tool box and rear tail skid with stowage.  That's actually set slightly crooked but the stowage disguises that from the top.  The kit wooden idler wheels are actually better than the Blast ones, where the grain effect is far too pronounced and alternate segments protrude too far.  The wooden idlers on the Bovington vehicle are noticeably smooth, even up close, apart from the segment joins.  The white overspray is where I originally thought of having the driver's compartment open but then decided against.  Yes, the visor and turret rear doors are supposed to be slightly ajar.

 

Overall it's a fiddly little thing to get together and many of the many joins are less than positive or very small or thin: lots of edge-edge.  But I guess it turned out OK.

 

JaFWFIS.jpg

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Smashing builds.....Hope you'll be joining the WWI GB with more of the same.   ;)

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I think this has scratched the WW1 itch for now.  But the CSM Lanchester (to me the F1 car of WW1 A/Cs) and Roden Holt are appealing.

 

Still got these 2 and 3 MkIVs to paint up yet .......  Perhaps time to at least spray base colours while the spray gear is all still out of storage.  I was intending to hand-paint the camouflage on these Frenchies and the Beute MkIV anyway.  I think multi-colour masking over these shapes, rivets, flanges etc will be far more trouble than it's worth and much hand touching-up is inevitable IMHO, regardless of masking material quality.  Masking putty is most likely to be successful, I think: something I haven't had the opportunity to try yet.  Maybe this is it.

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Interesting build. I like the resin stowage - didn't see it before on the models. 

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Posted (edited)

Not much happening on this for a while.  House move all still up in the air, and far too nice weather to be doing modelling.

 

I managed to track down another set of the Meng FT tracks for the CA, so the horrible HobbyBoss offerings have been consigned to the plastic recycling.  The Meng tracks are a little too smooth and square-edged for my liking (the faces are cast, not fabricated), have a mould line around the edges and a sprue attachment point right in the middle of the outer face.  Awkward.  The edges can be sanded a little rounder, but I noticed that the real links all have a number cast onto the face - presumably a mould number - which is missing from the Meng items.

 

So I found my last precious few Slater's 1.5mm plastic letters (now discontinued in favour of 2mm) and used most of the numbers I had left to add the casting numbers.  Yes, they're in slightly the wrong place and are slightly too large and thick but I used them to cover the sprue attachments.  Mud hides many sins..........!  While I was doing this I worked liquid poly all over the link faces to blend in the numbers and add a bit of texture to the very smooth surfaces.  I won't  be doing this on the CA tracks as this detail can't be seen: just clean up the hard edges.

yR325Gd.jpg

 

I was at Bovington Tankfest yesterday, and was very taken with the 2 gorgeous fully-restored FT-17s displayed there by the Weald Foundation.  Eye-watering sums spent on their restoration, including full replica radio equipment and batteries in the radio tank.

 

I questioned the colour scheme but the Weald guy I spoke to said they'd had paint layer analysis done by a university and were confident that this sand and brown with black was the original colour on both vehicles.  The brown has black swirls in it as well as black edging.  He was equally confident that the tracks were painted grey at the factory: sort of French Artillery Grey.  Another interesting point for those planning to model an FT-17 interior is that the same analysis revealed that they were 2-tone inside.  Light grey floor and lower sides, with white above.  As their tank is exactly the same version as mine, I think I might just copy this scheme.  Paint used at the time was gloss, and apparently the troops complained and were authorised to matt the surface with whatever they could find.  Rubbing with horsehair was apparently suggested (!).  Weald used Scotchbrite ..........

 

Another interesting point he made is that the suspension got covered in oil.  Each top and bottom roller's bearing and the idler and sprocket bearings were filled with 0.5 litres of oil.  And there's not a single oil seal anywhere, although it is understood that horsehair was packed around the axles at the factory as a sort of seal.  But this soon fell out and the oil soon leaked out. So plenty of oil around the suspension, especially dripped onto the flat tops of the lower "bogie".  They also leaked water everywhere as the engine cooling system was un-sealed, had no water pump or expansion tank,  Water circulation relied entirely on convection and there was just an overflow pipe from the radiator.

ga1rHvd.jpg

 

KUkeKe3.jpg

 

nqVMV92.jpg

Edited by Das Abteilung
addition

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That is indeed a very interesting paint scheme. Nice set of pics, thanks Peter. 

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Here are some more, below.  I just posted a couple to start with.  Although I managed a peek inside the radio tank I didn't get any pictures. 

 

Both tanks have the wooden idler, although it is more apparent on the radio tank.  At first I thought the gun tank had the steel idler as the segment joins are almost invisible.  Really glad now that I didn't use the Blast replacement wood idlers with their very exaggerated joins and texture.  These tanks both have the jack stowed below the tool box, but the Blast set has it the other way around.  As they just sit in a pair of brackets it could be either way I guess, but the heavy jack on the bottom seems more sensible.

 

Before the real thing, here's the kit in primer.  I've left the sponsons off to ease painting.

vSYnKBm.jpg

 

VaYJsQ9.jpg  Judmdkn.jpg

 

WXmPQYB.jpg  9ihxBYz.jpg

 

i91h0VY.jpg  GZzZ9dS.jpg

 

OlyQpDI.jpg  8Wyr3hy.jpg

 

NKxPTDz.jpg  teQePg6.jpg

 

euCMTdz.jpg  GIVRP3d.jpg

 

8EFu5oS.jpg  GuQH1yW.jpg

 

gTCBfST.jpg  MKGQJCz.jpg

 

7iUqeAc.jpg  0ZU3zrM.jpg

 

JW1O3Z9.jpg  Sb8nXOQ.jpg

 

uPY5m2t.jpg  ezIlOYY.jpg

 

UIQRr73.jpg  Dg1tnfD.jpg

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Great set of reference pics there, thanks for sharing :thumbsup2:

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