8 and 9 proceed in a fairly straightforward manner. I did hold off on gluing the
battery box (B4) into place until after I'd put the engine walls and hood in place.
If you're ambitious, you can add some bolts and screws to the box cover. I only
did the bolts, seen at rightand actually, they are Tichy Train Group .25
rivets, as I didn't have any bolts that size on hand and they match the rivets
on the face. It's pretty hard to tell the difference. And the screws are even
interior of the cab is well appointed, as they say. It was nice to see inclusion
of the handle (B18) for opening and closing the louvers for the radiator. However,
the cloth folds on the covers of the seats (both here and back boards in the fighting
compartment) are identical; this is one of those dumb shortcuts that severely
undercuts all of the other painstaking research of the DML production team (of
course, they're not the only ones; and this is the same complaint I've had about
musette bags and other soft gear from numerous manufacturers). How much more effort
would it take to sculpt a unique second seat? I worked the hobby knife and some
putty over the duplicate parts to alter their appearance.
was disappointed to see door handle "blobs" molded in place. I carved
them off the outer doors and replaced them with modified sponson handles from
Tiger Model Designs for a more realistic appearance. It's certainly within the
realm of possibility to create these handles in plastic (a handle is provided
for the back door). Again, a dubious shortcut.
inclusion of photoetch parts for the armored shutters on the windshield and doors
enables you to have the ports opened or closed. Be careful when you assemble the
top frame pieces over the doors (parts G4 and G5) so they sit correctly on the
windshield frame. The instructions are rather vague, but the images below should
help you place these parts correctly.
opted to have both the windshield armor and top halves of the doors in the "down"
position, which often appeared to be the status when the gun was in use. In order
to get the upper sections to sit against the door properly where the hinges are
and on the bottom, it was necessary to scrape off some of the unseen detailing
that forces the top half to stand off from the lower door.
instructions point to B21 as the mattock tool to mount to the driver's side exterior
wall, but the amputated pick end was not as noticeable when concealed by jerry
cans on other versions of DML's half-tracks. Here, this weird "shortcut"
is egregiously exposed. You either can flip the tool over so the pick end disappears
behind the shovel, or swap it with the "anatomically correct" mattock
among the spare parts on sprue J, but you'll need to add a retaining strap and
bracket. I carved the weakly represented straps from all of the tools and replaced
them with spare parts from Eduard. (Including these on the DML photoetch fret
would not break the bank.)
of the main clean-up hassles with this and other recent DML kits is the preponderance
of small molding pips attached to parts in numerous places. These serve as reservoirs
that help ensure the injected plastic circulates through the narrow parts of the
mold. I bring this up because one place where a couple of these pips would be
welcome is on the brush guards for the headlights, to which should be attached
the small, pip-like blackout lamps. About a third of the length of a grain of
rice, it needs to sit just so on the inside of the guard. Ha. I got the first
one into place after a couple of bobbles and recoveries. The second one leapt
out of my fingers right off the bat and was lost among all the
. pips that
littered the floor. Fortunately, I still had a leftover from the MiniArt Bantam
jeep (where its mate also had gone AWOL). This is the type of small part that
should be-and could be, given DML's experience in pip production-incorporated
into a larger part.
fragile photoetch grills for the brush guards do not sit on top of the guards
but fit within them. I opted to glue them while the plastic parts were still on
the sprue. It's essential to get the blackout lamps set correctly on the guards
or they will interfere with placement of the grills.
drilling holes in the rear of the headlights and tops of the fenders, I glued
thin solder wire to the light housings and allowed them to dry. I slipped the
loose ends of the wire through the fenders and glued the lights in place. The
brush guards would be added later after painting and installing the clear lenses
on the lamps.
get the option of having the engine louvers opened or closed. I opted with open
since I wanted to put this in an arid setting and experience the DML photoetch
approach. I needed to slightly shave the inner sides of part H2 so the thin brass
slats wouldn't bow. The brass secured nicely into notches in the plastic. Just
watch your alignment and don't open them wider than horizontal. Then set the cover
aside for installation with the half-track body.