Today's efforts were all about the details and that meant returning to Steps 7, 8, and 10 to install all the gear I'd left off prior to painting. All of the various parts were removed from their sprues and cleaned-up. The tools come with molded on clamp handles, but on many of them these were too thick, so I used a needle file to get them more to-scale. This was done by a combination of enlarging the interior hole as well as sanding down the exteriors to get things more reasonable. Below you can see a comparison of a before (on the right) and the after (on the left).
Once the clamps were adjusted where needed, starting with the left side fender details in Step 7, the S-hooks, jack block, and crow-bar were detailed and then installed followed by the installation of the spare road wheels. The jack block was detailed by first painting the wood areas with Leather and then dry-brushing my home-made "Wood" color to bring out the molded in wood-grain pattern a bit. All of the bare metal tool surfaces were painted with Non-Buffing Metalizer Gunmetal and then very lightly dry-brushed with Steel. I also installed the tow cables and their brackets at this point as originally called for in Step 10.
Next up was the right side fender and this one was a bit trickier. The instructions in Step 8 contain an error in that they have the arrows pointing to the wrong holes for the shovel and the cleaning rod holders. The shovel installs outboard on the edge of the fender while the cleaning rods go inboard next to the antenna rack. The mis-directing arrows causes some head-scratching at first but the position of the L-shaped rear stop for the shovel on the fender helps steer you back to the right arrangement. The starter crank, A25, didn't want to quite fit into its assigned holes either, so I carefully trimmed off the pin on the handle portion since the one near the tip did fit into its assigned hole without problems and glued it directly to the fender. All of the wood handles received a light dusting of Burnt Umber artist pastels and the canvas cover on the cleaning sponge was painted with Khaki green and dry-brushed with the Grunbraun base color to fade it a bit to round out this step.
Next up the smoke grenades were painted and installed, I left one out deliberately just to add a bit of character. These are a snug fit and I painted them first before installing to avoid problems once in their launcher tubes. Having come across a couple of reference photos for the Red 07 vehicle that I'm doing, I noticed it had the two pick-axes indicated in Step 21 as "Free Layout" items that corresponded to the box-art on the front hull plate. The points of the pickaxes were placed into the open horns of the spare track links and the handles bound together with a leather strap, so I dug around in the spares bin and modified a left-over Eduard bracket with a leather strap to fit the bill. This was installed and painted with Leather while keeping the buckle in the original metal unpainted.
Then to round out the day's activities, I painted up and installed the water jerry cans for the rear rack. The same reference photos for the pickaxes showed Red 07 with two dunkelgelb cans and the rest panzer gray, so I did the same with mine. The white crosses for the water cans were hand-painted carefully with a detail brush and some wear added by dry-brushing Steel and then counter-dry brushing Panzer Gray and Dunkelgelb back over it to dull the shine but preserve the effect.
I've also applied the foundational Future coat and will let that set overnight before applying the decals in the morning and sealing that up prior to beginning the weathering. Down the homestretch now!