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Armor/AFV: Axis - WWII
Armor and ground forces of the Axis forces during World War II.
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Trumpeter Sd.Kfz. 7 Build
bill_c
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Posted: Sunday, July 20, 2008 - 10:00 AM UTC
Section 8: Undercarriage and wheel supports

The diagram for the idler wheel (parts A17/A19) is reversed. Make sure the tips of parts A19 and A20 point downward and to the rear.



The mounts for the road wheels go together very nicely.



Section 9-11: Steering Wheel & Front End

The steering column and front end go together with a minimum of issues. Be careful when assembling the tie rods of the front end, as the instructions call for no cement. Unfortunately, the rod pins will slip out from the pull of gravity, so I elected to glue them in position. If you plan on having the wheels turned, you should consider how you want to handle the problem.







Hisham
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Posted: Sunday, July 20, 2008 - 10:16 AM UTC
I've been following your build progress and waiting to hear you mention any major problems that make you regret buying this kit... but nothing so far!

I can't believe the bad rep this kit has been getting. Everything seems to be looking very good so far.

Looking forward to seeing it competed.

Hisham
bill_c
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Posted: Sunday, July 20, 2008 - 10:48 AM UTC

Quoted Text

I've been following your build progress and waiting to hear you mention any major problems that make you regret buying this kit... but nothing so far!


Well, I'm up to the "crunch" part where the body and chassis go together, but so far, nothing that would make me say "don't buy it." Nothing. The detailing is impressive, and the extra touches are excellent, including the workable track. I have not had a chance to look at the angle of the fenders, which the Perth Military Modelling review found quite objectionable. More on that to come.

Quoted Text

I can't believe the bad rep this kit has been getting.


The rivalry between Dragon and Trumpeter has generated quite a bit of buzz. I hope to review the DML kit when it finally shows up in the States.
wbill76
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Posted: Sunday, July 20, 2008 - 11:44 AM UTC
Coming along great Bill, nice catch on the inevitability of gravity with the tie-rods.
c5flies
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Posted: Sunday, July 20, 2008 - 06:06 PM UTC
Great build so far, Bill, looks like a lot of detail on this kit. It may be the way the photo came out but in the second pic in section 9-11 the left hand hub looks slightly turned to the left while the right hand is perfectly straight. Is the rod just a bit too long?

Keep up the great work, looking forward to more progress
bill_c
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Posted: Monday, July 21, 2008 - 03:42 AM UTC

Quoted Text

... in the second pic in section 9-11 the left hand hub looks slightly turned to the left while the right hand is perfectly straight. Is the rod just a bit too long?


There is a slight skew as you pointed out, though the photo exaggerates it (flash I thought I'd removed turns up as ghastly in photos). Those of you building it after me might want to look at shortening the tie rod a bit.
bill_c
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Posted: Monday, July 21, 2008 - 03:58 AM UTC
Section 12-14 Road Wheels & Drive Sprockets

Other than the usual sprue attachments, the wheels are crisply-moulded and a big improvement over the Tamiya and even better than the Modelkasten versions, with highly-defined bolts, etc. Be mindful of the order they're assembled in, as the interlocking series goes together in a certain way. I have not mounted them in my build, as I plan to paint them and then add them at the last moment.



There is a problem with the drive sprocket housing, as well as with the drive sprockets themselves. First to the housing: there is a pin shown in the instructions (with a hole in the chassis for the pin to align with the drive shaft from the transmission), but the pin was missing on mine:



It’s easily remedied with some stretched sprue (or better yet: some white styrene rounds from Plastrut). The review by Perth Military Modeling identified a mis-alignment here with the transmission and the gearbox pin, but it was not a problem for me.

The drive sprockets are four sections that go together in a tricky alignment. Be sure to have the four pins on B16 match up with the four holes on B15. There is also an issue with the detailing on the rollers of the sprocket: it's only on the side facing inward. Not sure what Trumpeter was thinking, but there you have it. If you plan on mucking up the tracks with snow or mud, this won’t be an issue. But if you’re a stickler for detail or plan on having them show through, I would suggest adding a tiny piece of circular PE if you have it or otherwise scoring the details. I have referenced a Toadman’s photo (his Sd.Kfz. 7 photo CD is coming out soon, and will be a “must have” for any builder of this vehicle) to show what the details SHOULD look like:


http://www.toadmanstankpictures.com/sdkfz7_90.jpg

Tires

As I pointed out in my in-box review, the vinyl tires provided are have an incorrect (possibly post-war?) tread pattern, likely cribbed from the vehicle in the Toadman's photos (a restored Sd.Kfz. 7 at the Military Vehicle Technology Foundation in Portola, CA). Again, unless you plan on heaping up the mud or snow, an AM correction is in order. I had long planned to assemble this model for an Eastern front Winter 88mm FLAK 36 diorama, so I had R&J Enterprises snow tires in-house before the kit arrived. Joy at R&J is a real gem to deal with, and they have regular tread and sand treads as well.



R&J’s website is http://www.rjproducts.com/" TARGET="_blank"> http://www.rjproducts.com/

Section 15: Tracks

The tracks are moulded in a medium brown soft plastic that reminds me of the Modelkasten tracks.



I opted for Friulmodel tracks in my Tamiya Sd.Kfz. 7 build (http://www.armorama.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=SquawkBox&file=index&req=viewtopic&topic_id=113325&page=1" TARGET="_blank"> http://www.armorama.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=SquawkBox&file=index&req=viewtopic&topic_id=113325&page=1) because it's a Barbarossa vehicle at the beginning of the invasion. The Modelkasten tracks won’t fit the Friul drive sprocket I used on that build. I chose the Friul sprocket in addition to the tracks because it has superior detailing. I discovered after working with it and the Modelkasten sprocket included with the tracks that the Friul has the correct number of teeth (14), while the Modelkasten does not!

In this case, the Trumpeter drive sprocket has the correct number of teeth and detailing superior to the Friul sprockets. The PE ring the circles the wheel nuts in the center of the drive sprocket is a challenge to assemble; as with any circular PE, there is the risk of bending it, so BE CAREFUL! I used the Mission Micro Chisel as a guide, since it's the same diameter, and solder to hold it together. Unlike with some of the other PE in the kit, you don't have a styrene alternate part here, so if you're totally intimidated by the thought of bending the part into a circle, I would recommend the Friul drive sprockets, which have good detailing and this part already attached.

The tracks go together well, better if you have a jig. The track pads are in two pieces and require some trimming to remove sprue attachment points, and you should be sparing on the glue if you want the tracks to be moveable.
bill_c
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Posted: Tuesday, July 22, 2008 - 04:42 AM UTC
Section 16-17: Fenders and Floor Bed

This section shows Trumpeter at its weakest with the entire lower portion of the floorboard and rear fenders requiring filling for knockout holes:



Is this a “deal breaker” for buying the kit? Not in my opinion, but it’s an area where the company could make improvements. Granted the holes can easily be filled, and they are on the underside where presumably they won’t show, but….

The spare tire should be left off until after painting.

The upper side of the floorboard and rear fender assembly has crisp details. Some of you may want to substitute PE anti-skid plates, but I chose to go with the kit’s. The thickness is a little more than I would like, but not inconsistent with Dragon and other kitmakers.

One superior touch is the inclusion of correct rifle stock holders. The Eduard AM PE set I had to use on my Tamiya build is simply wrong: the rifles are positioned with the stocks perpendicular to the seat backs, when in actuality, they are parallel. This is entirely logical, since the stocks would be a tripping hazzard if positioned any other way. You also have the choice of using plastic stock bases or bending the brass PE ones included.

Section 18: Assembling the Fenders & Tracks

This step seems problematical as laid out in the instructions, since you will want to leave the tracks off until after painting and weathering. The road wheels turn, but the drive sprockets are cemented in place, so adding the tracks after assembly will be tricky. Stay tuned.
warreni
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Posted: Saturday, July 26, 2008 - 09:36 PM UTC
Sometimes I find people over at the other place are far to nit-picky for my liking. One of them actually thought he ruined a kit's chances of selling due to his review. From what I have heard the sales figures for the kit are great! And one of the reviewers seems to find fault with ever single Trumpeter kit they review. I have built some of them and find no problems at all. But I digress.. looks like a fine kit with a few small problems that need rectifying. SO it is the choice of the ancient Tamiya kit that needs heaps of work and aftermarket stuff to get it to look right (if you are fussy) or just buying the Trumpeter kit and getting 99% of the stuff you need anyway... My vote will be for the Trumpeter kit when it comes down a bit.. or maybe the Dragon one will be better?? Although going on the two Railway guns the Trumpeter one will be bettera...
Remember, even Tamiya kits can have problems.. Witness my ancient Lola T-70 I have abandoned for the moment due to incredibly bad fit of the body work..
Keep up the good work mate!
bill_c
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Posted: Monday, August 11, 2008 - 09:24 AM UTC
Sorry for the delay in moving this along, I have been traveling on business.

Section 19: Air Cleaner & Exhaust Assembly

Any of you Tiger I Early builders will recognize the jar-shaped air cleaners. They are well-rendered with two PE closures to keep the tops on. The exhaust pipes are no problems putting on, though I have left off any photo of them for now.



Painting

As you can see, I have decided to begin the painting process, including the tracks:



Please be careful handling the assembled tracks, since the plastic is soft and the pivot pins may snap off as has happened here. It’s not a crisis, since there appear to be extra links, but it will mean some finessing when times comes to put them on.

Since this is an Early model of the Sd.Kfz. 7, I have decided on Panzergrau over primer. I use Tamiya’s “hull red” for the primer color. Since it’s an Eastern Front Winter diorama this baby’s going into, I will apply whitewash over the panzer gray once I have sealed it and put on a coat of hairspray.



I have circled back to the drive sprockets after mastering the “blow torch” method for bending PE. I have a Small Shop “Bug” for bending photo etch at right angles, but rounds seem to be a problem. Small Shop makes a rather expensive rounds bender (US$65 from LuckyModel.com), but a small butane lighter will heat and anneal the brass, allowing for smoother bending. Per another modeler’s suggestion, I use a folded up bike innertube. Here are the “before and after” photos of the sprockets:





Section 20: Firewall and Storage Bins

There is a small problem here in the directions for the “glove box.” Parts C15 & 16 are reversed in the directions. Just make sure the larger opening in both faces inward and the smaller one outward.

The detail of the firewall inside the engine and the dashboard support structures (none of which will be seen once the model is assembled) again charm me and make me glad I am building this kit:



The storage bins at the rear of the vehicle begin to come together in this section, and there are both jerry cans and a funnel provided. The jerry cans are poor in detailing, and I ditched them for some Tamiya ones (which are themselves inferior to the detailing in Tasca jerry cans, but these will be hidden or at least inside the compartment, so it seemed a waste of the Tascas here).
bill_c
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Posted: Tuesday, August 12, 2008 - 03:22 AM UTC
21: More Storage Bins and Now Flooring

I forgot this close-up of the firewall and engine showing the fan belts I added:



The 21st page continues the assembly of the base platform and includes the driver’s compartment. The detailing on the brake and clutch pedals makes the Eduard PE kit that was so necessary for the Tamiya kit superfluous. Here the dashboard gets assembled:



And the PE (in some cases required, others optional) brings out superb details:



The footstep anti-skid plate is a bit too short for the real thing, an unfortunate oversight. It should come right up to the mudguard and bend gently against it. If you have some AM anti-skid plates, you could easily cut your own:



22: Front Seat & Rifle Supports

Whatever mission you choose for your Sd.Kfz. 7 (FLAK, AA towing, Panzer-Grenadier mounted infantry), the men who ride along will be under arms. The kit provides a choice here between adequate plastic rifle bases and PE ones. As you can see, I chose the latter, though they are devilish hard to form consistently, and you’ll need 12 of them front and back. I'm going with the assurance that such metalwork would get kicked and bent, etc. over the course of fighting, so it didn't bother me too much the shapes are a bit out-of-shape. The hardcore among you might want to make a hard "jig" or other rifle butt-shaped mold to form these around.



The good news is that both the plastic and PE versions are correctly-angled perpendicular to the seats. Additionally, I added PE tool clasps to improve the look of the hatchet and crank shaft from my spares box:



23: Rear Seat Back & Shovels

This section includes the rear seat back and two shovels underneath the front of the middle seats. Again, I opted for PE tool clasps from my spares box to improve accuracy, and bits of extra PE for the shovel grates. Most Wehrmacht shovels include a small restraint at the end of the handle to keep the thing from sliding out, but there are none on the Portola, CA-based Sd.Kfz. 7 I'm positive this kit was modeled on:

c5flies
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Posted: Tuesday, August 12, 2008 - 05:08 AM UTC
You're making great progress on this, Bill, and the extra details really pull it together. It's a shame on the upper anti-skid plate, would it be better to leave it flat instead of angling up, or will that gap not be noticeable after it's complete? Keep up the great work.
bill_c
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Posted: Tuesday, August 12, 2008 - 05:53 AM UTC

Quoted Text

It's a shame on the upper anti-skid plate, would it be better to leave it flat instead of angling up, or will that gap not be noticeable after it's complete?


That is one possibility, James, though I may also move the plate forward slightly, as on the real vehicle, the trailing edge only lightly grazes the track mud guard. For you CA glue newbies, there are products that dissolve the stuff and let you "do over."

I also hope Chris "Toadman" Hughes will put out his CD-ROM on the Sd.Kfz. 7 soon so I can have it for the DML build when that kit finally hits the market. I had to study his on-line photos today to figure out how to do the top rifle brackets, there was no clue in the instructions.

I may also alternately replace the PE part with generic Axis anti-skid plate that I have from Lion Roar. I found the Eduard PE plates did not fit properly on the Tamiya kit I built (I know, I need to "giddy-up" on that one, too! )
bill_c
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Posted: Tuesday, August 26, 2008 - 10:13 AM UTC
24-26: Seat Assembly

Storage bins:

Be careful in section #22 that you mind the poor fit on the seat back. It's not anything untoward, but needs care.

One of the delightful features of this kit is the detailed storage bins where everything from jerry cans to tools are stored. There have been complaints the plastic is too thick, but honestly, I don't see how this could be made thinner given Trumpeter's soft plastic base.





The kit really begins to “come together” here as you build up the storage compartment walls and add the seats. They are sculpted well, showing off lots of detail, but you will need to be careful not to remove the stitching as you sand or scrape off the mold seams.





The PE in here is VERY tricky, so if you’re not comfortable shaping brackets and latches, I would opt for the nicely-rendered plastic rifle latches. As you can see, I have added equipment latches for the hand axes:






MarcosGarcia
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Posted: Wednesday, August 27, 2008 - 02:24 AM UTC
nyce model, best work!
bill_c
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Posted: Friday, August 29, 2008 - 04:45 AM UTC
Thank you, Marcus!

More on Painting the Wheels

Since this is going to be coupled with the DML FLAK 36 as part of an Eastern Front Winter diorama, I have slopped on some “whitewash.” It’s Tamiya flat white, and I was deliberately careless with it, since it was applied over hairspray and will be “weathered” off. Here are the “before” and “after” photos:





Note the mix of “filtered” paint peeking through the weathering of the whitewash:



The rubber tires will likely need some touching up with Oily Black.
bill_c
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Posted: Friday, August 29, 2008 - 05:11 AM UTC
17-28: Side Panels

The whole thing really starts to look like a halftrack once the side panels are added. Fit is generally not a problem, but be careful where the front of F1 and F2 join the dashboard cover. You may need to do a little filling there.

bill_c
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Posted: Friday, August 29, 2008 - 05:13 AM UTC
29: Rear Deck & Left Side Bins

One of the key knocks on the old Tamiya kit was the lack of detailing, necessitating the purchase and installation of AM PE sets like the one from Eduard that replicated the tool box at the rear of the vehicle. Trumpeter has done an excellent job in providing a wealth of tiny detail, right down to accurately-rendered interior latches. Since my dio will show the vehicle getting repaired in the field, I have modeled the hatches as open. The spare tire hatch will be closed (alas, losing its latch detail), but is not shown here, as I will need to add the spare AFTER painting is finished.


Since I had a set of Eduard tool box PE in-house (and couldn’t find a buyer for it once this kit was released, LOL!), I have used the retaining straps from that mix on the rear bin covers:





The hinges attaching the side bin doors are very accurate, but also quite fragile, so be extremely careful if attaching in the “open” position:





Again, the attention to detail in parts that won’t show up unless the hatches are in the “open” position:


bill_c
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Posted: Friday, August 29, 2008 - 05:13 AM UTC
30-31: More Rear Deck & Right Side Bins





bill_c
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Posted: Friday, August 29, 2008 - 05:14 AM UTC
32-35: Front Detailing & Windscreen

The radiator goes together nicely and cradles the cooling fan in a well-rendered recess. Since the engine firewall contains two brackets for the support rods reinforcing the radiator assembly (which has two holes pre-punched in it), I used some brass wire from linking up Friulmodel tracks (.020 gauge) to enhance the visuals. I will have the model with the engine fully-exposed, showing off the throttle rods added with the same brass wire.







The headlights, Notek light and “driver knows” rods pose some challenges, since the Notek light is mounted on a wonderfully-rendered PE bracket instead of the usual plastic glob. This is one of those places in the kit where the PE must be included, as there is injection-molded plastic alternative as with the rifle racks.



The “driver knows” rods intended to help the driver avoid close encounters with other vehicles, trees, etc. are well-rendered, but still lack the crispness of the Voyager ones I had in-house for this very build. Since they are cast with their own mounting brackets, you will need to file off the ones molded on the mudguards.

The windshield is a bit thick in my estimation, but within the tolerances of a plastic kit, especially considering Trumpeter’s plastic stock is on the soft side (the luggage racks at the rear of the vehicle are very soft and will warp with any undue pressure). The thickness is more than offset in my opinion by the detailing, including motor boxes for the finely-molded wiper blades:



Additional lamps mounted on the front of the unit are well-done with a longish support bracket that looks counter-intuitive, but is correctly-scaled:



The remaining work on the vehicle will be adding a “tissue” canvas top (a challenge I don’t relish, though the injection-molded top included in the kit is acceptable to all but the obsessive) and painting. I will be back with further updates and photos as that occurs, as well as an account of building the DML FLAK 36 and the diorama for the two models.

I can state unequivocally at this point the Trumpeter kit is not only literally years ahead of the old Tamiya one, but that Dragon has its work cut out for it in equaling the detail and enjoyment of building this most-famous of all Wehrmacht prime movers.
lespauljames
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Posted: Friday, August 29, 2008 - 06:51 AM UTC
kep it up bill im lovin this kit, gonna be added to the crimbo list!!
bill_c
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Posted: Friday, August 29, 2008 - 08:59 AM UTC
Thank you, Jimmy. I apologize for the slow pace, but the PE has been challenging. The good news is that in the worst parts (the rifle racks) one can opt for the styrene parts. They aren't as detailed, but certainly look very nice.

On to the spray booth!!
lespauljames
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Posted: Friday, August 29, 2008 - 09:30 AM UTC
dont apologize about the pace go staedy!!

i would most certianly go witht he styrene , that pe looks way to fiddly for my fingers!
Mobious
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Posted: Friday, August 29, 2008 - 04:14 PM UTC
Hello bill_c,
Thanks for posting the Trumpeter SdKfz7 WIP. Been looking at this new release for several weeks and having never built anything from Trumpeter, was wondering how it built up. You've anserwed many of my questions. Your work looks great and the kit looks highly detailed. The PE work your doing really sets this one apart. The open stowage doors "Very COOL"
Best Regards,
c5flies
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Posted: Friday, August 29, 2008 - 05:29 PM UTC
Excellent work Bill, and great build log. Looks like Trumpeter included a lot of fine details in this one, looking forward to the finishing and completed dio!