Progress continued today with the remaining items from Steps 15/16 dealing with the external fenders, storage boxes, and other details. One of the "premium" upgrades to this kit is the inclusion of brass width indicator rods to replace the kit parts, a feature common to the 251 series of kits. The rods are provided as straight items that need to be bent to shape and, unlike the 251 kits, a jig isn't provided on the sprues so I used the original part A23 as a guide and bent to shape with a pair of needle nose pliers.
As you can also see in the above pic, the diameter of the bases is different with the brass items being slightly smaller. This translates over to the size of the locater holes in the fenders themselves and to remedy this I used some Aves Apoxysculpt putty and applied it to the underside of the fenders to provide a surface that would help hold them in place. It doesn't take much putty, just enough for it provide something to catch the base against, and a small dot of CA gel on the base did the job just fine.
The last remaining item in this step was the attachment of the right side stowage boxes, this went off without a hitch and both boxes were closed up.
Steps 17-19 had already been completed earlier and Step 20 dealt with details for the upper hull, so I skipped that briefly and went straight to Step 22 to attach the upper hull to the lower. Since the contact surfaces are narrow at the front and rear, it's important to get everything lined up solid and glued down as the hull top has a slight tendency to bow in the middle if not careful. I used liquid glue and finger pressure to glue the rear areas first to get that as a solid starting point and then used rubber-bands and liquid glue along the rest of the surfaces to get everything secured.
Once the bands came off, the details from Step 20 were added in the form of the engine bay hatches, rear AA MG mount, and radio antenna mount. The rear AA MG mount hole in the hull top isn't drilled all the way through, so I trimmed off the portion of the base that would've allowed the mount to be moveable and glued it into place. If you prefer it to be moveable, the hole just needs to be carefully drilled all the way through with a pin vise.
Step 21, which deals with the engine assembly, was skipped to allow me to save the engine for future use since I didn't want to open the hatches up on this one. The instructions do call for it to be installed first before the upper hull is secured and curiously enough the diagrams show the hatches in the closed position when you do this, a hold over from the previous kit when no engine was provided no doubt. I also assembled and installed the MG42 mount and splinter shield, but first sanded down the beveled surfaces to be an even thickness on the shield using sanding twigs. The MG42 itself will be installed later. The rear Notek light was also installed and the small triangular braces under each "step" in the fenders were installed. The instructions contain an error here, the parts E20(E21) and E22(E23) should actually be reversed in terms of which side they go on. Last but not least, the driver's mirror A24 was attached to the width indicator.
Next up will be to prep everything for painting!