Jump to content
This site uses cookies! Learn More

This site uses cookies!

You can find a list of those cookies here: mysite.com/cookies

By continuing to use this site, you agree to allow us to store cookies on your computer. :)

Terry1954

Heller AMX-13 - A Cold War tank from my youth and beyond!

Recommended Posts

Time for another AFV build. I have a couple of aircraft on the go (Gloster Gamecock and Northrop F-5E) as well as an Airfix Vosper MTB, but I like to have an AFV on the go also! I started this kit a while back after completing the Accurate Armour M41DK project which had been my first AFV build in over 30 years. For those interested in that, the RFI is here:

 

 

So to the kit. I picked up a rather battered version of the Heller kit a few years ago at Euro militaire. I think I paid around £5 for it. This one comes with Swiss Army marking and also contains the fitting and missiles for an SS11 equipped vehicle.

 

20190518_164120

 

It's a typical Heller kit of it's time, but looked like it could be built into something decent with a bit of effort. I rather like the AMX-13 and always had a fascination for it in my youth, so since picking this one up I also acquired these two beautiful examples from Takom:

 

20190518_164221

 

I have plans for those in the future, they really are superb kits, and do tend to emphasise the Heller offerings age. However, I do like a challenge...............

 

So I will be helped along the way by a track set I picked up also, to replace the Heller vinyl tracks. The rest will have to be improved by scratch detail and hard graft!

 

20190518_164229

 

I didn't start to record the build until quite recently, so here is where we are at the moment. Hull is largely complete, together with suspension components:

 

20190510_210127

 

I've coloured the inside of the vision blocks and plan to use some Clearfix to add the glass, which will then be masked out for painting. If the Clearfix idea fails, I'll just fill then in and paint to represent dark glass.......?

 

The turret needed some internal bracing to hold it all together. In addition I decided to improve on the kit supplied gun/turret canvas seal by using a fair dose of Mulliput sculpted to blend in and represent what I have observed in a number of pictures.

 

20190509_190224 20190509_190232 20190510_210101

 

The close up view shows there is still a bit of smoothing/sanding to be done, but I'm pretty pleased with the effect.

 

20190510_210051

 

Before completing the basis hull, the right hand side requires the exhaust system to be assembled and installed. I wanted to try and show a bit of a rusted effect so after assembling the basis unit, I stippled it with Mr Surfacer plus some polystyrene cement and dabbed the surface to create a slightly pitted effect. This came out looking like this:

 

20190511_192047

 

Next came an airbrush coat of mixed brown/red, followed by some MIG rust pigment dust.

 

20190518_154210

 

Pretty please with the end result, not too rusty and corroded but fairly typical in service example I think.

 

So as of this afternoon, this is where we are:

 

20190518_154235

 

A long way to go yet, but I'm fairly pleased with progress so far.

 

I'd originally intended to do an IDF AMX from around the six day war, but I'm also tempted by a French Army version during the Suez crisis.

 

More soon

 

Terry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Not seen the Heller AMX 13 before, looks like a reasonable kit for its age.

I'll take a seat at the bar and follow along if you don't mind?

 

   Roger 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very nice start with some good remedial work. I imagine that comparing the old Heller offering with the latest ones from Takom is a bit like a Trabant compared to a new Audi. I've got the old Heller AMX-30, plus the Meng kit of the same. They are worlds apart.

 

John.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Hamden said:

 

Not seen the Heller AMX 13 before, looks like a reasonable kit for its age.

I'll take a seat at the bar and follow along if you don't mind?

 

It's not a bad kit Roger considering its age. Glad to have you on board!

 

2 hours ago, Bullbasket said:

Very nice start with some good remedial work. I imagine that comparing the old Heller offering with the latest ones from Takom is a bit like a Trabant compared to a new Audi. I've got the old Heller AMX-30, plus the Meng kit of the same. They are worlds apart.

 Thanks John. They are indeed worlds apart! I wonder if I can get the model to the point that people ask me if it's the Takom version at shows! 😜

 

Terry

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

nice start to making a silk purse from a sow's ear... think I will have the same with an incoming M3A1 Scout Car (italeri)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/19/2019 at 6:10 PM, robw_uk said:

nice start to making a silk purse from a sow's ear... think I will have the same with an incoming M3A1 Scout Car (italeri)

Thanks! Definitely an uphill struggle but very enjoyable. Should have some update pics in a day or so. 

 

Terry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A little more progress today. First some tidying up around the turret with a coat of Mr Surfacer to help the enhanced canvas seal look better. Still needs a bit more work but its getting there. I also need to construct a small retaining strip where both edges meet the turret, top and bottom edges of the canvas part. Many pictures show a bolted retaining strip. In preparation for this I ordered some 1mm, 0.6mm and 0.4mm bolt heads via the MAFVA website. They are truly minute!

 

20190519_200800

 

I have also now positioned the pre textured, painted and weathered exhaust inside the casing which is now glued in place. Some badly fitting joins here you can see, but should clean up ok.

 

20190519_200754

 

So she's starting to look a bit more like an AMX-13 now

 

20190519_200734 20190519_200743

 

I've also spent some time removing all the wheels, drive and idler from the sprue and cleaning these up ready for airbrushing at some stage, although there is more to add to the hull in the form of the attachment points for the idlers and numerous detailed parts around the hull.

 

Earlier this week I paid a visit to the Tank Museum which is a short drive from where I live. I go there quite often as the annual ticket costs only £14 (last year) and you can visit as many times as you like, with the exception of a handful of special events. Whilst browsing in the bookshop, I a copy of this excellent book: 

 

20190525_194703

 

It has a very comprehensive history of the type and all sub types, and is full of excellent reference photos. A must for anyone interested in or intending to build this AFV

 

More soon

 

Terry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Apologies to the AFV enthusiasts here that this one is progressing slower than I'd like, but other projects (RAF Sabre 4, Iranian F-5E and Gamecock) have taken priority recently. The Sabre 4 is now done and the F-5E almost there, so I need to think on the next steps for this one.

 

Heller's representation of the vision blocks is pretty basic. I wasn't happy with my earlier attempt to fill with clearfix, it just didn't work out neat, so I have removed it all and my next plan will be to fill the blocks in with milliput and sand them smooth. The vision windows can then just be painted on. That worked for my M41DK, so it should be OK for this one. The pics below show the state after taking the Clearfix out again, ready for filling. It shouldn't be too difficult, as on the inside Heller have provided some tabs, against which I can push the filler.

 

20190618_174521 20190618_174529

 

Next update will show if this worked!

 

Thanks for looking

 

Terry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Finally got around to sorting the vision ports today, a start at them anyway.

 

The milliput was challenging to get into some of the ports as I wanted to do it from the inside out, pushing it through, so it fully filled the port (for solidness) and then could be cut off flush from the outside. The inside out challenge was made more difficult by the two solid square supporting braces I'd inserted when assembling the turret. These were to make sure the sides did not collapse in when assembled. Those of you who know the Heller AMX-13 will be aware of how tricky getting all the sides together can be!

 

First getting it all stuffed inside

 

20190630_142436

 

Here you can see the two white square section plastic rod inside at front and rear.

 

20190630_143119

 

Outside view before cleanup:

 

20190630_142446 20190630_143143 20190630_142227

 

Then drivers hatch showing the bulged milliput oozing out (as planned), and the one below, cut flush while still wet.

 

20190630_142212 20190630_153229

 

I'll leave these for 24 hours to dry off then clean them up. Finer detail next to be added to the turret and hull.

 

More soon

 

Terry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Nice work on those optics

 

 Roger

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Roger. It's dried off nicely so will be cleaning them up later.

 

Terry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've had a bit of a gap on this one while other projects took priority (not all modelling) particularly the Vosper MTB in the maritime section, but this last week I have managed to make quite a bit of progress on the AMX-13.

 

Firstly, the canvas cover that sits between the gun, and upper and lower turret parts. Earlier you will have seen the use of milliput to try to fashion a better job of this than the small plastic part in the kit. To do a proper job, it will need the metal edging "strap" that sits around the outside of the canvas cover, and is bolted to the actual turret, with numerous bolts. This picture shows the bolt heads on the real thing. The metal strap can be seen running along the edges.

 

20190815_213628_resized

 

I decided the best way to do this was to fabricate the strap from plastic micro strip, which I cemented to the outside areas of the canvas, like so:

 

20190814_185814 20190814_185823

 

I now need to work out the spacing for the bolt heads and apply those. On the real thing each bolt head appears to sit on top of a small square of metal, so I may need to add that also. I'm currently pondering what best to use to replicate these. Probably more strip cut in squares, with my MAFVA supplied bolt heads glued on top. That will be a few hours work in its own right I reckon.

 

Before that, other work has got us to a point where most of the remaining detail on the hull has been fitted, and the running gear test fitted. The following pictures show more of the detail.

 

Hatches and rear lights on, front light guards on, front plate on:

 

20190814_185844

 

Some copper wire handles fitted as the kit ones didn't look right. The lights that sit behind the light guards will be made and painted before sticking on as the lens will need masking off and it sits VERY close to the light guard itself.

 

20190815_173134 20190815_173220

 

Next picture shows the rear end so far. Heller give you two small lights to fit on the corner of each rear mudguard as you can see here. They also give two identical lights to fit on the front mudguard corners, but most of my references pictures don't show them fitted, although one or two do. Still deciding on those. The red and amber lights on the right side in the picture, are also fitted to the left in most pictures I have seen, but Heller give the shield thing you see fitted, and no actual lights for that side, so I may change that to be closer to those in my references. The idea with the two red and amber lights is to place small masking discs on top when the paint goes on. These are clear parts on the kit, that I've painted internally.

 

20190814_185851

 

A few more detail parts yet to go on the hull including some more copper wire grab handles and of course the bolts around the canvas on the turret, but this is where we are tonight:

 

20190815_204924 20190815_205021 20190815_205058

 

Apart from finalising the details on hull and turret, the next big thing to tackle will be these. This will be the first AFV model I've built using individual track links. Wish me luck!

 

20190518_164229

 

More soon I hope.

 

Terry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Nice to this back on the bench Terry.

You have made great strides with this and I wish you luck with those bolt heads!

Will you have this at the Tank Museum in September? would be great to see it in the plastic

 

    Roger

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's a nice enough kit, even with its inaccuracies. Looks good when it's built, and you're doing a bang up job!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Terry - you are as bad as the rest of us with serial kits on the go!!

Nice job on the canvas and exhaust texturing to date

I'm predicting that those tracks will build themselves

Rob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, flashlight said:

this is looking very good already, amazing detailing job!

Thanks Nick, it's getting there!

 

11 hours ago, Hamden said:

Nice to this back on the bench Terry.

You have made great strides with this and I wish you luck with those bolt heads!

Will you have this at the Tank Museum in September? would be great to see it in the plastic

Thanks Roger. I think I'll need a stiff drink before I tackle the bolt heads, but I worked out a plan just now, so will crack on with it over the weekend. I hope to be at the Bovington show in September, on the Poole Viking club stand, and I will have this one with me, whether finished or still WIP!

 

11 hours ago, Dads203 said:

Some great detailing going on here, the canvas cover looks great 

Thanks. Glad you are enjoying it. Milliput is an excellent product with so many uses.

 

11 hours ago, Rob G said:

It's a nice enough kit, even with its inaccuracies. Looks good when it's built, and you're doing a bang up job!

Thanks Rob. Yes I've noticed some inaccuracies, especially since I have a Takon version in the stash to compare with!. It's not a bad old kit though, and it's coming together ok.

 

11 hours ago, robgizlu said:

Terry - you are as bad as the rest of us with serial kits on the go!!

Nice job on the canvas and exhaust texturing to date

I'm predicting that those tracks will build themselves

Rob

Guilty as charged Rob! There are also a couple (ok maybe more) that I haven't fessed up to on here!

I'm hoping the tracks will be good to build as you say, they certainly look the business.

 

Thanks again all. Updates might be slower over the next week due to extensive family commitments but I'm determined to get this one knocked on the head as soon as I can.

 

Terry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I got some time today to start tackling the bolts around the canvas retaining bands. I decided firstly to place the small square plates which sit between each bolt head and the retaining strip which holds the canvas to the turret. I marked the position with a very fine marker pen, by eye, comparing the spacing to pictures I had seen and with a quick reference to the Takom version I also have. 

 

I cut the strips by eye from very fine micro strip, giving me lots of these little beasts:

 

20190817_181058

 

One or two came out a bit long so I trimmed those further, again by eye.

 

Then the task of attaching them around the edges of the canvas. I tackled this in several sessions, to rest my eyes mainly, and also to take the tedium out of the job!

 

The results are best summed up in a series of pictures taken around the turret after I'd positioned and cemented them all on:

 

First the marker pen positioning. A bit blurred I'm afraid.

 

20190817_150628

 

Then, all small plates in place:

 

20190817_181641 20190817_181652

 

A very cruel close up!

 

20190817_181733

 

Under the rear of the turret overhang:

 

20190817_182804 20190817_181700

 

Before I place the bolt heads onto each square plate, I plan to blend them in a little with more liquid poly, a light sanding and maybe a coat of very thin Mr Surfacer 1200.

 

And for those interested, these are the MAFVA bolt heads I acquired a while back. 2 packs each of 1mm, O.6mm and 0.4mm hexagonal bolts. I'd say very useful bits for scratch builders etc. I'm using some of these as appropriate on my Vosper build in the maritime section.

 

20190817_182926

 

A close up of the 1mm. I think these really are superb looking.

 

20190817_182941

 

And the 0.4mm ones I think I will have to use on this build. Very hard to see but they are hexagonal!

 

20190817_182955

 

I'm saving that job for another day, and will probably focus on some small remaining additions to the hull, before I tackle those.

 

Thanks for looking.

 

Terry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, now that you've finished that part, go and lie down in a darkened room and take deep breaths.

Nice work though.

 

John.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice to see the old Heller being given the royal treatment. I spent Sunday  in Musee de Blinde in Saumur Fr. with my daughter and the highlight for me apart from St Chamond and Schenider tanks were the collection of about 8 AMX 13 vechiles of differing sub types out back. Rotting away but still really cool. The French had this modualr design thing down to a T . 

Keep up the good work ! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

How's this one coming Terry?

 

   Roger

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There has been some general modelling downtime over the last few weeks Roger, due to family stuff etc, but am back on this, and several other projects now.

 

Yesterday I test fitted some of the 0.4mm bolt heads to a few of the rectangular brackets that run around the edge of the canvas. The idea is I will lightly airbrush them to see what they look like under paint. I was contemplating not needing them fitted as it looks fairly OK as is, but that test will help me decide.

 

So here are the rectangular plates in place under some primer.

 

20190908_235339_resized

 

And in this picture I have placed four of the 0.4mm bolt heads onto four of the plates (the right hand four along the upper canvas edge.

 

20190908_234530_resized

 

Although you can see them here (they seem to be made of shiny chrome), they are so thin and small, they may not show under paint, which if that is the case, I wont bother placing them!

 

As for the rest. I'm just preparing the hull for undercoating by placement of some final bits and pieces. All the road wheels are cleaned up and ready to undercoat, so we should see some progress soon.

 

Terry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...