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Fenders and Hull DetailsUsing the corrected superstructure as a guide, the large curved wheel boxes were installed on both fenders along with the brace arms for the rear trail mount on the engine deck. The fender details were added in the form of the integrated jack and wire cutters, the pry bar, and a set of ready ammunition brackets on the right side. The left side also received brackets for 2 more ready rounds. Test fits with the TMD wicker rounds showed it was possible to go ahead and install the belts, so these were added now to make it easier to paint the rounds off the vehicle and install later. The rear hull plate received some additional details from the Eduard set and I removed the Notek light I’d installed earlier and replaced it with the simpler brake light to be consistent with the France 1940 layout. The PE “dog chain” retainers for the idler caps were given some 3-D characteristics by carefully counter-bending the links using two pairs of tweezers. The front hull also received its details in the form of the 3 headlamps, towing points, and siren. The front fenders were left off as was often done with the Pz Is and the Eduard latching brackets carefully installed with a touch of CA gel. The Alan superstructure had its molded on “feet” brackets removed and replaced with the Eduard supplied items, necessary for detail purposes but also to allow the brake vent hose to fit properly. The DML hose was modified by cutting it down to size, installing it at a 90-degree angle, and drilling out the now solid end with a pin vise.
Initial PaintingTo prep for the painting process, all of the suspension elements were removed from the sprues and cleaned up. Throughout the construction phase, I’d kept the vehicle “modular” by not installing the gun or the superstructure to the hull and the hull interior was protected with strips of painter’s blue tape. Small balls of blue tack poster putty were used to protect all of the mount points for the suspension to avoid complications and the need to scrape off paint in later stages. All paints mentioned from this point forward are Testor’s Model Master enamels unless otherwise noted. A primer coat of Italian Dark Brown was applied as the first step to check all the putty work and also to insure no bits of bare plastic were present. Some small corrections were needed and then a base coat of Panzer Schwarzgrau was applied in very thin, multiple passes. As a May-June 1940 vehicle, the 2/3 Panzer Gray and 1/3 Dark Brown scheme is called for and I applied the Dark Brown pattern using Schokoladenbraun at low pressure to minimize over spray. After some minor touch-ups, the Panzer Gray areas received some additional color variation by spraying a mix of 80/20 Panzer Schwarzgrau/Light Gray very sparingly in a somewhat random fashion to finish the major paint work.
Details and TracksThe suspension was detailed and installed, leaving the idlers and sprockets off until it came time to install the tracks. The suspension installation was somewhat fragile and the alignment needed to be just so on both sides. The suspension was allowed to set up overnight on a level surface before the weight of the gun and superstructure were added. The wicker rounds were painted and installed and secured in place with their leather straps on both sides. The pioneer tools on the right side were detailed in place, using a series of small brushes and lots of patience, as was the muffler/exhaust. The gun breech was painted carefully with Steel with additional Steel dry-brushed on the recoil sled rails to simulate its bare metal wear. The Model Kasten tracks were the next hurdle. After a week of working on them while watching TV in the evenings to break up the tedium, I had both runs of 101 links constructed. Each run was base coated with Metalizer Non-buffing Gunmetal, dry-brushed with Steel, and given a light wash of Burnt Umber before being joined into a single track loop for installation. This was essential due to the design of the MK tracks which have one pin molded on each link with the second pin separate. The tracks were installed along with the sprockets and idlers and adjusted to produce a desired amount of sag, then carefully tack glued into place on the return rollers and idlers to keep them secured.
Copyright ©2021 by Bill Plunk. Images and/or videos also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. The views and opinions expressed herein are solely the views and opinions of the authors and/or contributors to this Web site and do not necessarily represent the views and/or opinions of Armorama, KitMaker Network, or Silver Star Enterrpises. All rights reserved. Originally published on: 2008-05-04 00:00:00. Unique Reads: 23069