by: Steve Brodie [ ]
The kit arrives in a sturdy cardboard box with an outer sleeve depicting an image of the armoured car firing its main gun, once the sleeve is removed you have an, unconventional by most kit manufacturers designs, of a single box with a flap lid that is secured by a tab on the side. Open this tab and pull the lid back and you have a nice collection of sharply moulded tan coloured plastic. The sprues been split into:
Sprue A Contains the main body parts plus engine details
Sprue B Holds doors, panels and other body parts
Sprue C On here are the rest of the internal pieces
Sprue E Wheel Hubs
Plus one decal sheet, one set of rubber tyres and a nicely produced instruction book let. Colour call outs throughout the instruction can be referenced back to the colour list on the cover page (Tamiya colours are quoted), using simple A, B, C etc.
Part 1 - Hull
Step 1 - 4 Internal Walls
The one thing I did before construction and as I had the airbrush out already, was to spray the internals white and the bulkheads green as called out on the instruction sheet, its only now as I write this review that I am not 100% convinced that the total wall should have been green, maybe just the area pointed to in step 2 (on part B5), so I have gone back and repainted the internal walls white. I jumped ahead here to Step 4 as when fixing part B5 if you lined up the part at the bottom, you had a slight angle that threw the lining out on the far side, so I added part B10 (also painted Green, again I have repainted the one side white) at this point. This made a better joint, but required some super glue where this part joined the front of A8, as a slight warp was in evidence.
Step 5 – 9 Engine
Once all these parts were straight and true, I proceeded to start on the construction of the engine using parts A4 and A6, main block and added the rest of the engine parts as per the instructions, with the exception of part C20 (Fan), deciding to fix this to the main fan to allow easier lining up of the three attachment points later on. I managed to find a couple of photos on the web of this engine so added the spark wires, a few cables on the distributor cap and finally used some of ‘artistic license’ and added the cables running along the engine wall. The engine was painted as called out and weathered with AK oil spills, engine spills, and Vallejo engine grime. The exhaust was rusted up and the same weathering items were also added to the engine floor and walls, to give the whole area a well-used look, along with the rear facing driving compartment.
Steps 10-12 Steering
Again I skipped the suggested steps here and fixed parts C57 and C58 straight to the chassis as the fixing points didn’t seem that strong and I was concerned that if the steering wheels were attached first the weight may cause the steering columns to droop, nothing worse than droopy steering columns!. The actual steering wheels are held on the sprue inside a circular sprue join, I considered removing them with a blade, but was scared they may snap with any pressure, so I removed the whole containing sprue and then chopped off the ring in sections until I could get to the attachment points and snip them off, a little filing and all was sorted.
Step 13 Pedals and Ammo
No issues here, pedals and levers were attached with no issues, though take care as the sprue attachments are quite thick here and the plastic is quite fragile. The ammo rack was also fitted at this stage, been pre painted.
Step 14 – 15 Doors
These were removed from the sprues and test fitted, but not glued in place as they would be fixed in an open position at the finish of the build.
Step 16-17 Ammunition drums
These parts (C9) were removed from the sprues and sanded on their rears, I did notice that the ‘mounting’ lugs on the back of each round were slightly longer than the mounting holes, so using a blade I halved their height, to ensure a better fit. All 11 were fitted in step 16 and a further 4 were fitted during step 17. Parts C13 & C14 (instruments) were fitted along with C73 with no issues, last piece to fit is a machine gun to the side wall (C62)
Step 18 Side walls
In this step we add the left and right side walls onto the already constructed floor plan, you do have to be careful to ensure everything is lined up before adding any glue, I found it easier to glue the rear section and then glue the sides as I went along, ensuring everything was straight. There are a couple of small locating tabs that align part B5 (step 1) onto the side walls.
Step 19 Front bonnet / Hood
Part A3 is added first to close of the front of the vehicle, a couple of guide slots ensure you add it in the correct place, once glued then part B6 is added and this follows the lines around both sides of the chassis, just a run of glue along here is needed to fix this part, although I did need a bit of filler on both sides where the front uprights meet the side walls.
Step 20 radio
Built as per instructions and painted before fitting into the hull.
The radio constructed in step 20 is added to the sidewall and then the rear plate (B2 ) is added, this took some persuading to line up with the other pieces and so I resorted to the use of superglue here. The exhaust link (C21) needs to be lined up with the engine and the outlet hole on the side of the vehicle and then that completes this step.
Step 22 – problems
I had trouble fitting both the pieces in this next step – B7 Rear and B13 Turret plate. With B7 I found it was fouling where part B3 (step 13) had been glued to the side wall in step 18. So had to re align this part and ensure it was fitting flush with the side panel and then I could fit part B7. With B13 it was sitting proud of both sides and the rear, I discovered that the central firewall (part XX) was sitting proud of part XX by about 2 mm, this needed to be sanded back until the turret plate could be glued in place, not sure what happened there as in the previous step (XX) it couldn’t have been fitted in any other way.
Step 23 Engine Covers
I checked the fit of B9 and B11 (engine covers) and they fitted perfectly, Part A10 though would need some re-adjustment if you were to model the car all closed up. At this point the whole car should be in a buttoned up state and it’s a testament to ICM’s engineering that after adding 10 body panels, I only needed a smidge of putty in about 4 places. Well done ICM.
Steps 24-27 Side boxes
In these 3 steps you add the rear stowage boxes and the front side holders, all straight forward, but be careful removing parts A7 and A9 from the sprue as their attachment points are a bit heavy and are in between the hinge details.
Step 28 Rear Drive / differential part 1
Parts C50 and C52 are joined together here, but they do leave a large gap along the axle, it’s down to you if you want to fill this gap in as it can’t be seen once the model is completed, unless you show it on its side or back!.
Step 29 Rear Drive / differential part 2
There is a mistake in the instructions at this stage, as it shows a completed stage of (27) and it should of course be (28). Part C59 is added to part C52 to complete construction of this element.
Step 30 Front Drive Housing
Parts C69 and C49 are glued together to create the drive housing, it’s quite a loose fit as no real lugs or pins to attach each part with.
Step 31 Fitting drive trains to chassis
Step 29, although a bit tight does eventually fit into place, the square locating lugs are a bit of a mishmash, but with a bit of filling they do attach to the axles. When fitting step 30 to part C53, please FOLLOW the steps in the order given, trying to be smart I built this whole assembly earlier on when I was waiting for some paint to dry and no matter how hard you try once, step 30 is glued to part C53, there is no way of getting this assembly under the springs. I had to resort to chopping both axles off, fitting the drive shaft and then super gluing the axles back on, lesson learned and wasn’t very happy with myself. My only saving grace is once the wheels are fitted you won’t see anything of my epic mistake.
Steps 32 - 33 Suspension
During these steps you add parts to the suspension and axles, just need to be very careful when removing from the sprues as they have rather thick attachment points, I found it best to cut further down the sprue and then file the remaining plastic away. Besides this no issues at all, would recommend a good set of tweezers here.
Step 34 - 35 Wheels
The front and rear set of wheels are slightly different in the use of the rear part of the wheel Parts E1 and E 4 been different (E1 for the front and E4 for the rear). I left the actual tyres off until after painting, more on that later.
Step 36 - 38 Wheel Attachment
Parts C11 and C24 need to go between the wheel and the hull side, first time round I tried attaching these parts to the hull and then adding the wheel, this just proved to tricky, so I attached the parts to the wheel hub first then attached that part assembly to the axle, this was much more easier.
Steps 39 – 40 Ancillary and tools
During these two steps various small items are added to the engine deck including a pick axe and a shovel along with a couple of lifting handles, (there is a mistake in the instructions – on Step 39 you add part C6 (Two handles) and then in step 40 these two parts are shown again. Nothing major just don’t spend time looking for a place to put them, as there isn’t one. At the end of step 40 you should have a nicely completed hull. Now it’s on to the turret.
Part 2 – Turret
Step 41 Turret shell
Big issue here, there are two different versions of the turret shell, depending on which paint scheme and markings you decided to choose, problem is the turret shells are not marked differently on the sprues, so you need to look ahead (I was going for variant 3) so had to look at step 54 to see which turret shell is which on the sprues. Once worked out which was the shell required it was simple to follow the ‘variation’ instructions where called out.
Step 42 - 43 7.5mm Coaxial Machine Gun
The machine gun is constructed from 3 parts, the gun, ammo round and a front plate, What I found out in the nick of time and jumping ahead in the sequence, is if you mount the front plate as instructed, it will leave a near impossible gap to fill when you add the turret base, so I managed to re-align this part whilst dry fitting the base.
Step 44 - 47 25mm Main Gun
The main gun is constructed of the main barrel been split horizontally, a few quick swipes with a small sanding stick and a polish soon removes the join line. The gun elevation mount is added in step 45 and the traversing gear is then added in step 46, Step 47 and the completed gun assembly is added to the turret base. NOTE turret base is upside down when you glue the gun into place.
Step 48 Joining The turret together
In Step 48 you join the top and bottom of the turret together; the pieces needed a bit of persuasion to get them to fit both at the front and the rear. I fixed the front part of the turret upper and lower halves first then glued the remaining parts bit by bit, glue and hold then repeat, until it was fixed together and nice and square.
Just builds up the gunner(s) seats and their attachment to the swing arm.
Steps 51 -54
These steps are dependent on the version you have decided to build but in essence detail the adding of the turret doors back and top and various sights used on different vehicles.
This deals with the building of the rear drivers vision flap, again depending on version selected.
The drivers vision cover is added along with the external part of the exhaust, as with the main gun its built from two halves so needs careful aligning and sanding, mind as it will be ‘rusted’ doesn’t need to be perfect, is it bad to admit that?
Steps 59 -60
Unfortunately due to the way the new items were packed in the bags, one of the aerials suffered a breakage in two places, so required some very careful gluing, a case where three hands would have been very useful.
And that’s the build completed, you should now have a very nice replica of this very smart looking armoured car.
Part 3 Painting
The model was given a coat of Tamiya XF69 NATO black and left to dry (after all the doors were tacked shut with white glue), this was then followed by a Coat of X5 (green) sprayed onto the model, trying to keep some of the black showing through in corners, edges, etc. This paint dries very dark, dark compared to the bottle top. A lighter tone was made by adding XF2 white to the mix and this was sprayed into the centre of panels and a misting on the large body parts.
There are a lot of rivets on this car, and I mean a lot, so out with Vallejo’s wash for dark green a small brush and off I set ‘pointing’ these rivets, and a damp brush used to blend some of them into the surface, some were left as is as, as a sort of worn area. Dry brushing was carried out with Tamiya XF89 JGSDF green, a dry brush and also some sponge pads (hobby craft) to lighten up areas. The first dirt coat was added with Vallejo European Dust, added to the lower hull, wheel rims and tyres. Followed with a light dusting of Vallejo desert dust and Pigments. The tyres proved very difficult to get onto the rims, in one place a suspension arm cracked, so what to do ?, boil a kettle and fill a mug with the boiling water, dip the tyres in and remove (used tweezers), you get enough time to stretch the tyres over the rims and they sit rather nicely.
Dot weathering was added to the main areas of the car, sides, doors front and the Louvre covers were dirtied up with oil, engine grime, fuel spills.
The decals, the few I used, are very brittle and do not seem to like any setting solution. Both the roundels split when I tried to get them to bed onto the details, the ‘CHAMPAGNE’ wording just seemed to split in various places and was a nightmare to align on the doors. The smaller Champagne wording was un-useable, most of the letters just breaking up after being dipped in water. Shame! Once all this was done the engine covers, doors and hatches that were to remain open were fixed into place and the build was finally finished.