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Armor/AFV: Braille Scale
1/72 and 1/76 Scale Armor and AFVs.
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Maco Flak 43
tread_geek
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Posted: Saturday, June 26, 2010 - 06:54 AM UTC
Greetings all! While I haven't finished the painting of the 3.7cm ammo trailer I decided to tackle the Flak 43. If you haven't read the In-Box review you can find it HERE.

After I removed the trailer frame from the sprue, I cleaned up the mould seems. I tried using an emery board and small jewellers files like with the ammo trailer but that was taking too long. I experimented and found that an Excel super sharp scalpel blade was much faster and did a very good job.

After cleaning up the springs on the suspension I glued the first one on using a slow setting gel glue. I find this glue best for small scale as it gives you some working time.



The pins on each suspension component fit very nicely into their respective recesses. This next picture you can see suspension parts in place and the forward support leg in the folded position.The right winch has been added on the back of the frame and in the lower right of the picture you can see the unattached winch.



I let those parts dray and then used a liquid weld cement to make sure they were secure. While it dried I assembled the wheels leaving one part still attached to the sprue to aid in painting later.



THe last picture is of the trailer complete with the winch handles added. The penny in the picture gives you an idea of the size one will have to deal with.



Dealing with the small size of the parts and waiting for the gel glue to set takes the most time. Once I start on the gun proper there will be more "hurry up and wait" as the glue sets between parts. While this trailer is virtually identical to the ammo trailer it went together quicker than the first one.

Cheers,
Jan
tread_geek
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Posted: Saturday, June 26, 2010 - 09:27 AM UTC
Here we go again! Just when one thinks that they already worked with small parts; parts keep getting smaller.

First up is the gun base detached and cleaned up.



Now we get down to what I believe are the shackles that are used to lift the gun onto the trailer.



You either need very good eyesight or in my case an Optivisor to see these little guys. There are two sprue attachment points for each shackle. I never saw it in my review but each has a tiny lug that fits into a slot in the base arms. You can make it out in the picture below on the left top of the shackle. I was almost going to cut it off but caught the little (microscopic) lug in time. Note, the object in the upper part of the picture is a #11 pointed blade with a bit of the point broken off.



The first shackle is in place and again I had to wait for the glue to cure.



Both shackles in place and liquid weld applied to set them.



Anyone like to guess how long this process takes? Definitely time for a relaxing beverage or four.

Comments or questions?

Cheers,
Jan
sabredog
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Posted: Saturday, June 26, 2010 - 01:25 PM UTC
We are just starting to see these kits come into Australia and I must say they look impressive, even to the microscopic parts that Dragon are famous for!

I have ordered a couple to see for myself
tread_geek
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Posted: Saturday, June 26, 2010 - 02:51 PM UTC
Michael, just be careful. As I am seeing, there are a surprise or two in these kits. Just look at the detail on the picture of the shackle above. The thing is easily up to Dragon standards but their sprue gates are much smaller. From what I have seen and read these kits have a lot of potential. Seeing is one thing but the building really opens ones eyes.

Cheers,
Jan
sabredog
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Posted: Saturday, June 26, 2010 - 05:15 PM UTC
Jan

cheers for the heads-up.

I have not done much since I got back from our club holiday. Got a lot of kits though!

I am not sure when my order comes in via the local hobby shop, but I can buy them from a hobby shop in Melbourne if I get twitchy.
Braille
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Posted: Saturday, June 26, 2010 - 08:35 PM UTC
Jan,

I have read both your MACO reviews (super job) on the Munitions Trailer and the 3.7 cm Flak 43 and have been wondering about possible assembly issues that could easily be overlooked without actually building these kits. Some of the parts are very small and fragile . . . looks like you'll have to acquire another set of eyeballs to be able to watch some movies after each build session?

I'll be following your progress as I have also, like Michael, ordered both of these kits.

-Eddy
tread_geek
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Posted: Sunday, June 27, 2010 - 08:07 AM UTC
@Sabredog - No problemo, Michael. I hope that I can help prevent people running into problems by experiencing them myself first. Speaking of which, I glued the forward support leg on the trailer pointing in the wrong direction. Took quite a while and some delicate surgery to remove the thing and put it right.

@Braille - See my comment to Michael above. For my review I have literally poured over the instructions innumerable times. The instructions are not the worst but they are a close second to Dragons'. The arrows on the exploded view 3D drawings are not helpful when it comes to certain parts. With both these kits I found myself looking at the box top model and searching out images of real Flak 43's (or trailers).

I'll address peoples comments or questions with separate posts during this blog. From the way things are going with this build it will be easier later for me to pull out pertinent text for a build feature or something. I am currently working on the gun and gun base legs. Will hopefully have more comments and pictures later.

Cheers,
Jan
tread_geek
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Posted: Sunday, June 27, 2010 - 08:53 AM UTC
So back to the build. As I mentioned earlier, I goofed on the forward trailer leg. I had to use a fresh Excel super sharp blade to slowly cut away where it was glued. The result is that it's now properly orientated.



Next up was to remove the three little legs or pads (part #2) and get them ready for attaching. I use an Xuron Micro-Shear to cut off the parts and I must say that it cuts so close that there is very little to clean up. At this point I also started to bore out the main gun. I started with a .015" (.4mm) drill and gradually increased the bit size to enlarge the hole.



To give an idea what you will be dealing with, hears a picture of the pad, the hole it's meant to occupy with the .015" drill for size reference.



Next I glued on the pads, again with gel glue, and then while they dried I continued boring out the muzzle.





What at first glance seems like such a simple kit is requiring quite a bit of time and patience. The bottom of the legs/pads had some light flash on them but I still glued them on as I felt that after I set them with liquid weld it would be easier to handle things (and it was).

I've dry fit the gun receiver halves together and they aligned like a charm. There are two oblong raised sections that fit into corresponding grooves. Even from the dry fit it appears that there will be minimal sanding required along the seem halves. The only issue I foresee is that you'll need to clamp the two haves together as the part closest to the barrel remained open a bit.

More to follow.

Thanks for looking,
Jan
tread_geek
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Posted: Monday, June 28, 2010 - 08:32 AM UTC
I assembled the two halves of the gun and as I surmised, they needed to be clamped. I used self locking tweezers as clamps.



The two halves aligned very nicely and after using some liquid weld there was very little seems to clean up.





As with other parts of this build the cocking handle proved to be a tricky item due to its size. Note the detail of the moulding.



Next up was to add the supports (parts 15,16) for the front curved shield (part 17. Here I ran into some problems. Each support has a small lug that is supposed to fit into a recess on the gun receiver. Issue one was that the holes are larger than the lugs and could cause alignment problems. The second problem is that on my kit there was a moulding problem with the left side hole. The area where it should be was sunken in. You can see the problem in the two pictures below.

Right Side


Left Side


I must stress that you'll need to take your time and make sure everything is going to align properly. Again I used gel glue for initial placement and when it looked right, the liquid weld.



With the curved shield in place.



I've started working on the guns turntable and have already run into a couple of stumbling block. Will post more later.

Cheers,
Jan
Illini
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Posted: Monday, June 28, 2010 - 09:02 AM UTC
I don't see any of the pictures. They just show as a little box.
tread_geek
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Posted: Monday, June 28, 2010 - 09:14 AM UTC

Quoted Text

I don't see any of the pictures. They just show as a little box.



Illini, I have checked with both the Safari browser and Firefox. Both show the pictures. However, Firefox shows little boxes until the images load and takes longer before you see them.

Cheers,
Jan
Gorizont
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Posted: Monday, June 28, 2010 - 10:07 AM UTC
Thanks for posting pictures of this very small kit!
This is a very clean and nice build!

My idea was, to build one of the 1/35 kits. But I will see, which kit would be my next one.
At this time, I have a lot of problems with a "civilian" kit.

greetings...
Soeren
weathering_one
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Posted: Monday, June 28, 2010 - 12:13 PM UTC
These type of Braille scale blogs are just great. It looks like it is really going together quite cleanly. I've read all your warnings about problems but they don't seem to be impeding your progress. Do you think these problems are moulding specific or you got a fluke kit?

Regards,
AJ
Illini
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Posted: Monday, June 28, 2010 - 02:14 PM UTC
I installed Google Chrome, and can now see them fine - Nice work so far. I can barely do 1/35th, let alone braille scale. Things just keep getting tinier with new technology. I mean AFV asks you to scrape pinpoints off the sprue and some how attach them. Anyway, back to Miller time.
nikon1
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Posted: Monday, June 28, 2010 - 05:07 PM UTC
Jan, looking good so far. Keep us posted. Are there no AM photo etch sets for this little gem of a kit?
Charlie
tread_geek
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Posted: Monday, June 28, 2010 - 05:43 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Jan, looking good so far. Keep us posted. Are there no AM photo etch sets for this little gem of a kit?
Charlie



Charlie, if you read my review, I have a couple of AM sets mentioned in it. They are mainly the barrel and a cartridge catching basket like affair. These kits are still fairly new so maybe Edward's or someone might make a more appropriate (thickness wise) armour shield for it. If you check some pictures on the 'Net you'll find that there appears to be a variety of shield variations that were used. I must admit that the level of detailing on other of the plastic parts is quite impressive. It's the most detailed Flak gun for its size that I have seen so far.

Thanks for looking and commenting.

Cheers,
Jan
tread_geek
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Posted: Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - 04:16 AM UTC
Moving along...

I turned my attention to the turntable/base next. It is here again that the instructions are not the best. There is just something imprecise about the layout and the arrows positioning is vague and they are too short. This could lead some to misinterpreting the exact positioning. Here's an example pertaining to the base.



If you look at the illustration part 5 can be misconstrued as being located in the slot at the top of the base when in reality it belongs in the second slot from the top. You will also have to take care of alignment when gluing it down. The locating lug on the bottom of part five is smaller than the hole and this allows for a lot of play in the positioning. Here's the part in the proper position.



With part 8, the side frame that mounts the gun, was another positioning issue. Not only is there a lug to fit into the base but there is another lug on part 7 that must mate with a depression in part 8. On my sample the depression was not deep enough and had to be enlarged with a hobby knife. An alternative might be to cut off the lug on part 7 as it won't be seen after part 8 is positioned.



I placed the turntable on the gun base and the next pictures show the parts positions.







Cheers,
Jan
tread_geek
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Posted: Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - 09:08 AM UTC
A few more parts and one in particular took forever to find where it should be located. The easiest parts were assembling the mechanism for the guns elevation. At first I thought that it would have to be glued on at a desired angle but it turns out that Maco arranged the parts so the gun can elevate.



In this next picture I added the ready ammunition tray. The parts are so small I had to conscipt some scale assistance.



While glue was drying I did a bit of preliminary painting. First up was the ammo clips. From what I have seen these were generally left a bare metal colour. I'll tackle the brass casings later.



While I had the gunmetal paint out I decided to also do the gun proper. In most pictures the actual barrel appears dark or gunmetal while the receiver/breach can either be the base colour of the gun or metallic bare metal. I chose the latter for the time being.



Now for what turned out to be the most frustrating part of the day was trying to find where the gunners seat attaches. The instructions in the kit are near useless with this issue. After searching through about ten pages of Google images I finally got a couple that showed me where the seat should be. There are no locating tabs, lugs or anything else. Here's the result.



Now to find a happy hour to relax my nerves and eyes.

Cheers,
Jan
tread_geek
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Posted: Wednesday, June 30, 2010 - 08:17 AM UTC
Progress today was slowed due to a couple of unexpected developments. While getting the hand wheels on their mounting went without issue, getting the mounting positioned correctly proved problematic. The mount is meant to have a crescent shaped pin or lug fit into a recess of similar shape in the frame. Unfortunately the pin is a fair bit smaller than the mounting recess so I again ran into an alignment difficulty.

Another issue was with the spent cartridge tray. The pin on the smaller end was smaller than the slot in the other piece. Again I can't say if these issues are common to all kits or specific to mine (plastic cooling issue?).

Here's the tray and it's problem.



The training wheels and there mount and the tray with some putty.



Cleaning or sanding the putty off the tray without damaging any detail is proving to be a chore. Finally a picture of the training mount in place.



Cheers,
Jan
weathering_one
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Posted: Thursday, July 01, 2010 - 04:06 AM UTC
Some really fabulous pictures in this build thread. I read the reviews of the ammo trailer and this gun and thought they'd be quick and simple builds. I had enough problems with an old Matchbox kit so I don't think that I'd be ready to tackle something like this. Obviously this one is a lot more involved than the ammo trailer? Thanks for sharing.

Regards,
AJ
tread_geek
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Posted: Thursday, July 01, 2010 - 04:57 PM UTC
Thanks for looking and the comments, AJ. I am taking my time and trying to be as objective as posible. From what I recall of the Matchbox kits, this one has it's issues as much as they do. Maco has some really great moulding but any problems are surmountable with patience and time.

Cheers,
Jan
tread_geek
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Posted: Friday, July 02, 2010 - 08:25 AM UTC
In this post I positioned the gun crew seats, gunners pedals and spent cartridge ejection guide. I also realized that I forgot to mention that the spent cartridge tray can be displayed in either the deployed or folded position (when the gun is in the travelling configuration).

The second crew seat proved no problem other than it's small size. The foot pedals were another case where the instructions could be clearer. The ejector guide (part 22) fit like a charm. I've taken a number of pictures to help those with parts positioning locations.

Pedals and second seat in place.



From an upright angle.



With the ejection guide in place.



My scale assistant examining my work.



Obviously from some of the parts I employed I am building the gun in a firing configuration. The paints on some parts help me to see what needs attention. Things are slowing down as this small piece starts getting more and more congested with small and delicate parts. It is getting to the point where several tweezers need to be employed at once so as not to damage existing parts.

Comments or questions welcome.

Cheers,
Jan
tread_geek
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Posted: Saturday, July 03, 2010 - 09:24 AM UTC
This update is rather limited in pictures. In the previous post you might have seen what appears to be the gun mounted on the gun frame. I forgot to mention that it was only dry fitted.

After some thought I decided to halt any further construction until I resolved a painting issue. With all the nooks and crannies, and the small size, I felt that some painting needed to be done prior to finishing assembly or I'd never be able to get into certain areas even with the smallest of brushes. One further thing that I didn't anticipate was how utterly light this model is and how few solid gripping points it has due to all the delicate parts.

I did a test with my airbrush set at about 12 PSI and it quite literally blew the gun subassemblies off my paint stand. It might be worth noting that the gun pieces practically floated to the carpet on the floor. Thankfully, other than my ego, no damage was done. I mixed up a quite thin amount of dunkelgelb (Dark Yellow) and proceeded to brush paint in extremely light coats;almost like a wash. Many more coats will be required so as to keep the paint thin, even and eventually opaque.

The wheels are 99% done but as you can see need a bit of touch up and then weathering.





The trailer frame and base with first coats.



The gun frame.



This is a slow process as I need to wait between each coat until the previous one is thoroughly dry.

Cheers,
Jan
tread_geek
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Posted: Monday, July 05, 2010 - 09:14 AM UTC
With the exception of the shield, ammo clips and feed tray the actual gun is complete. After looking at numerous pictures of Flak 43's (both real and models), I added one little piece to the build. I noticed almost all guns had a small brace or support that attached from the spent cartridge tray to the main frame. It was both for aesthetic value and also for structural support as the tray doesn't have much surface area for glue to grip.



The next image is of the gun with the actual gun dry fitted. As you can see, after three coats of desert yellow wash there is still a ways to go.



Some points to note:

1. In all the images of the actual guns that I have looked at there seems to be quite a variation in the shields. Some have only the tall vertical once attached to the gun itself. Others I've seen use only the centre main shield and still others use combinations of the three shield parts.

2. Other than the standard dunkelgelb overall colour there seems to be every variation of camouflage schemes. Do I use the Maco suggested scheme or concoct my own?

3. I really think that this kit will require a base to set it off. It is so small and potentially delicate that it's pretty near a necessity. I was considering trying to mimic the scene on the Maco box top.

I'll continues the coating and once that's progressed will turn my attention to camo and a base.

Thanks for looking and/or commenting.

Cheers,
Jan
tread_geek
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Posted: Wednesday, July 07, 2010 - 08:08 AM UTC
the gun and carriage are not yet ready for prime time but I have made some progress. The dunkelgelb base is pretty much applied and I've used a few variations of Desert Yellow to add contrasts here and there.

I have decided to try to do the camouflage from the back of the box so here I have started adding the shokladnbraun.



Next up was the olivgrun.



It's fairly tedious painting things this small as one has to wait until certain sections dry so there is somewhere to hold the piece. In the mean time the tires have been attached to the trailer.



I've decided to go with the full shield in the operational or deployed position. Once the shield dries and is painted I'll be that much closer to putting all the subassemblies together.

One point to note. The painting diagram on the box shows the camo on the inside of the shield(s). I could be wrong but from all the pictures that I've seen they usually didn't paint that part other than the base colour. Any opinions on this?

Cheers,
Jan