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Zvezda RT-2PM TOPOL (kit 5003)
tread_geek
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Ontario, Canada
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Posted: Monday, April 14, 2014 - 07:49 AM UTC
This BLOG is meant to accompany the partial build review of the Zvezda RT-2PM Topol Mobile Intercontinental Ballistic Missile.



Once the review has been published, I will be doing a step by step finishing construction of this kit. For those that have not yet seen the review, it can be found at SS-25 Review.

Cheers,
Jan
tread_geek
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Posted: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 03:30 AM UTC
Since I had the airbrush out, I decided to lay some paint on the missile container. After much searching and based on the suggested paint to use in the instructions I selected an equivalent paint. The instructions call out for Humbrol 116 Dark Green and based on several online paint conversion charts, the Tamiya equivalent to that is XF-65 "Field Grey"!

After cleaning the missile tube and letting it dry thoroughly, I sprayed several light coats on the missile tube and the erector frame. Due to the size of this thing I had to do this in stages. After these first coatings I inspected various areas for flaws and proceeded to correct areas where the seams were still visible. Then it was re-coat, inspect, re-coat...etc. This process ended up using two-thirds of a 10 ml bottle of paint.

Here's after the first coating from different angles. BTW, this thing barely fits in my photo booth!







Next are a few close-ups of various areas that also show the colour as it appears in person.







I still have more work to do on the sink holes on the erector frame and decide on an overall paint scheme. It's fairly obvious that this thing is going to gobble up a LOT of paint. There are pictures of these vehicles with a three colour camouflage scheme but it's going to take some serious thought on how to mask this rather complex model.

Please note that the erector frame is DRY FIT and this is not the final coating.

Comments, questions?

Cheers,
Jan
weathering_one
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Posted: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 02:36 PM UTC
I just read the review of this kit and must say it was enlightening compared to others I've seen. Even better is you doing a Blog about it and it going up so soon. You keep mentioning about the size of this model but can you show a photo against some common object to relate to? I'll absolutely be following this build. Do you know when it might be available in Ontario?

Regards,
AJB
tread_geek
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Posted: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - 03:58 AM UTC
Thanks AJ, I'm glad that you found the review informative. This kit really fascinates me so I wanted to get started on it quickly, plus, there was already an In-Box on the site so I had to do my review differently. Building the missile tube also gave an idea on how the rest of the kit might go together. Basically it's a model kit with all the ups and downs and requirements of any kit.

As for the size comparison, that's why I provide the two pictures of the 1/72 Stug. III and Jeep beside the tube in the the review. More to the point, the Dragon Braille Jeep in a configuration with a windshield folded down could fit into the tube. However, as the build progresses I'll try to take some images with some hopefully common object(s) that a viewer can relate to for comparison. As for a North American release date, one local shop owner mentioned they were informed it would be either the end of April or mid May this year.

Cheers,
Jan
ladylion
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Posted: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - 01:20 PM UTC
The photos of this vehicle in camo seems to have an soft edge to it so I wont be masking mine. I did notice that most of the sink marks were in areas that you wont see(thank goodness)I just hope that all wheels touch the ground
tread_geek
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Posted: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - 03:04 PM UTC

Quoted Text

The photos of this vehicle in camo seems to have an soft edge to it so I wont be masking mine.



IMHO, it's a very light soft edge and might be vaguely visible to the naked eye. Try experimenting with "blue tack" or something similar for masking. You can achieve similar results with brush painting using an extender additive and what's called a glaze base.


Quoted Text

I did notice that most of the sink marks were in areas that you wont see(thank goodness)I just hope that all wheels touch the ground



For six and eight wheeled vehicles that I've built in the past, start with the first and last axle. If they work, then attack the next axles to the inside. If you need further info, feel free to ask.

Cheers,
Jan
ladylion
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Posted: Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 12:30 AM UTC
Thanks for the tips! I will be following your build closely.

Rebecca
tread_geek
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Posted: Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 02:59 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Thanks for the tips! I will be following your build closely.

Rebecca



Good, and you can make sure that I get things right with this build! SO, I take it that you are building yours as a version 1 (travel configuration)? Do you have any build-up pictures of your build that you might like to share?

Cheers,
Jan
weathering_one
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Posted: Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 01:24 PM UTC

Quoted Text

...
As for the size comparison, that's why I provide the two pictures of the 1/72 Stug. III and Jeep beside the tube in the the review. More to the point, the Dragon Braille Jeep in a configuration with a windshield folded down could fit into the tube. However, as the build progresses I'll try to take some images with some hopefully common object(s) that a viewer can relate to for comparison. As for a North American release date, one local shop owner mentioned they were informed it would be either the end of April or mid May this year.



Thanks Jan, I went back to your review and somehow I missed those last two pics. I can also understand about Rebecca's concern about getting all those wheels on the ground. The question is, are you building the road or launch position version. I remember your Luchs build and was wondering if this suspension is as bad? I wait with anticipation for the next instalment.

Regards,
AJ
ladylion
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Posted: Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 01:30 PM UTC
I don't know about keeping you in line, I'll be lucky if it turns out like its supposed too! I'll post a photo if I can get this whole posting photos thing to work(I had issues posting before).

Rebecca
tread_geek
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Posted: Friday, April 18, 2014 - 04:47 AM UTC
@weathering_one - AJ,

I'm not that far along but I think that it's safe to say that the suspension is quite involved but in a different way than the Luchs and Fuchs. The former are busy but compact while this truck gives some room for your fingers to be used.

@ladylion - Rebecca,

Keep a positive attitude and take your time. As for the picture methodology, your best bet is to get a free Photobucket account. I've used it for a number of years and it works perfectly for posting pictures in the forums. Simply put, you drag selected photos to Photobucket, they are uploaded there and then you just copy and paste into a forum message. If you need further information, feel free to ask in this thread.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Okay, not a lot of progress but still progress. I am taking it slow and checking, rechecking and checking again the instructions. I've seen two other Blogs on other sites and it is becoming the norm for people to put on the wrong parts. I am also discovering that the part placement arrows were not done in the most effective manner and can lead to confusion.

So far at this early stage parts fit is very good. I put on 14 pieces of Parts 28, 29 and the most time consuming process was cleaning that many parts up. One very nice thing is that Zvezda provides the builder with one spare of each, should one fall victim to the Carpet Monster or Gremlins.

Here's the left truck frame started (for AJ sake, it's 9 7/8" (25.2 cm) long)



A couple of close-ups. Note that the parts are side and position specific. The various reservoir tanks on the sides are vertically specific in orientation (ie - they have a top and a bottom).





The last two pictures are with the sides approximately spaced to the width of the completed frame.





I'm doing further work on the truck frame this afternoon and hope for another update tomorrow.

Cheers,
Jan
Gorizont
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Posted: Friday, April 18, 2014 - 05:24 AM UTC
Hi Jan, nice build so far!

As I commented in another thread, that displaying in launch-possition, the round cap of the launch-silo is removed before erecting.

I give you the link to the other build-log:
http://www.armorama.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=SquawkBox&file=index&req=viewtopic&topic_id=220554&page=1


But this is an "error" of this kit made by Zvezda.

greetings...
Soeren
tread_geek
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Posted: Friday, April 18, 2014 - 06:21 AM UTC
Thank you Soeren for your interest and comments. However, after much research and looking at pictures on the Internet of the Topol, there are several that show the system either partially or totally erected with the "cap" still in place. As with all armies, I am sure that they hold practice drills and as such they wouldn't want to expose the actual missile to the elements (rain, snow, cold, etceteras). Further, to make the missile with the nose cap removed would require quite a lot of scratch building. You'd need the missile itself and extensive work on the interior of the launch tube. So I guess that mine will represent a missile practice exercise. BTW, I was aware of the nose cap removal and that is why I searched for pictures of the cap still in place while being elevated.

Cheers,
Jan
weathering_one
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Posted: Friday, April 18, 2014 - 01:33 PM UTC
Jan,

I take it that all those holes in the sides of the truck frame aren't just lightening holes? I also take it that things are not so finger friendly after this stage (with some of those holes so close). Thanks for the dimension on the truck length but even at almost 10" it doesn't leave a lot of finger room! Enjoying this buildup, thanks for sharing.

Regards,
AJ
tread_geek
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Posted: Saturday, April 19, 2014 - 03:27 AM UTC
AJ, those holes along the sides of the frame will each contain a part. Plus there are a few pieces that mate with pins on the inside of the frame. Note also that the frame is not as wide as I originally thought and will make painting problematic.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I spent quite a bit of time yesterday trying to figure out the best way to attack the construction of the truck frame. When you bring the two frame sides together you will be faced with the daunting task of having 15 pins to align and meet with their respective holes on each frame side.

First thing to get out of the way was to build up the multi part transmission or reduction gear or whatever. This is subassembly 3a and the builder must note that on part B30 there are only 3 pins on the four projections that mate with holes in the frame sides. You can see the mating pins in the first picture below. In the second picture you will see that the left lug or leg has no pin while the right has an alligator clip holding the pin on the right one.





Below are pictures of the partial truck frame dry fit together. The six cross members (C11) are a very nice "snap" fit and hold together very well. The centre most cross member F48 unfortunately is very loose and was left off the dry fit. The transmission is also a snap fit but be warned that the pins are very fragile. Also visible in the first three images below is one of the two drive trains.











If I am extremely lucky, I may get all the internal frame pieces together today. It should also be noted that four long pins (C38) will need to be fitted between the sides of the lower frame and are very sloppy and loose fitting. For these I foresee the use of a slow drying yet tacky adhesive similar to "tube" glue or Testors Liquid cement. For the last part of this assembly it wouldn't hurt to have three or four hands!

Cheers,
Jan
tread_geek
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Posted: Monday, April 21, 2014 - 08:47 AM UTC
The truck frame is well along and needs four more rods (C38) attached between the sides. As with the drive train supports, they are too short so they'll need some scratch building to extend them about a millimetre and a half. Meanwhile, the frame pieces are now glued together and the elevation piston is in place.

Here's the interior of the frame before gluing.



After gluing.



Now the fun of starting on the 14 suspension axles and their components. Each starts out as a two piece affair with more parts to be added to each later in the assembly.

The two main parts.



The same glued.





IMPORTANT - Each of the above pieces are both side, position and version specific!!! One should take one's time with each of these units.

Finally, some images of four of these units in place (only 10 more to go)





No need to worry about the rough seems on these assemblies as most of each are covered by the main wheel hubs. The sad point about this kit is that all the super details that you add to the frame and suspension will be 90+% hidden once the wheels/tires are attached.

Cheers,
Jan
165thspc
#0
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Posted: Monday, April 21, 2014 - 11:23 AM UTC
A question perhaps slightly ahead of the assembly order:

What is the device on the right side of the truck frame just behind the cab that appears to be lowered to the ground when the missile is being elevated?

It is more than a stabilizer foot, looks to be a generator of some sort or perhaps an intercooler that needs to be in contact with the ground to use the ground as a heat sink????
tread_geek
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Posted: Monday, April 21, 2014 - 03:12 PM UTC
Michael,

From my research the item you mention is a jack but more importantly part of the jacking and platform levelling system. The system is both gas and hydraulic so it will need pumps and inter coolers involved. As you might imagine, the missile needs a stable, level platform for launch to help with accuracy.

Cheers,
Jan
tread_geek
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Posted: Thursday, April 24, 2014 - 06:41 AM UTC
As I imagined, and as with all builds you can expect the unexpected to pop up. While the instructions are busy they aren't all that bad. However, they are also not the clearest. They are rather cluttered and one has to be very careful to get the right parts for the right position. Tuesday I added more suspension assemblies and got to the point in the following pictures.







You'll note that the units for the fourth axle are shorter than the others. Their hubs are also different both on the exterior and interior from the other six axles. The fourth axle is not driven. Again I'll warn that each suspension unit is specific to both an axle and a side and it's easy to get confused (I did twice but glue never met plastic).

The front three axles are all steering axles so there are parts to add to each. Again, even the steering linkages are specific to an axle and a side. The right two suspension units in the picture below are different from the back four.



As of yesterday a large part of the suspension is done but there are still a fair number of parts to go.







Assembly so far has been tedious and I'm starting to run into a few parts that require some serious clean up of the sprue gates. The builder should study the assembly drawings for proper parts orientation as in some cases they aren't the clearest. This kit definitely is going to require patience.

Cheers,
Jan
weathering_one
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Posted: Thursday, April 24, 2014 - 11:28 AM UTC
WOW!!!! This kit is bordering on the insane! I'm curious to see how it turns out but you have definitely scared me away from getting one. I wouldn't be surprised if others are having their own doubts about getting one. All considered, you are definitely moving along with some speed. Do those plates on the bottom of the first and last axles going to go on the other axles? Are there more parts to fit between the side frames?

Good luck,
AJ
tread_geek
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Posted: Sunday, April 27, 2014 - 03:40 AM UTC
Thanks AJ, it's nice to know that someone is following this build and willing to comment. The last time I built anything comparable to this model was years ago when I did a 60 cm "Karl" railway gun and that I recall was very intense. As for others perhaps being intimidated by this kit...maybe.

***********************************************************************************************************************

Now for a fairly major update. The frame and drive components are now complete! Parts C38 which are round pegs that are supposed to fit between the frame sides were all too short by about 1.25 mm so I had to scratch some new parts from .030" Evergreen rod.

Here's some images of the bottom plate that holds what I believe is a differential with the penny for size reference. Both parts had some fairly well sized sprue gates that needed to be cleaned. You need six of these plus one without anything added for the fourth suspension unit.







The next images are of the frames and drive components ready for Step 7 (building the centre jacking system).









Next are images of the build with Step 7 complete and Step 8 started. During Step 7 (construction of the centre jacking mechanism) I found part F29 to be slightly warped and mating it with part F76 took some work to clean up the seams.







And finally, on a whimsey I decided to place the erector on the missile and then on the truck frame just to get a feel for the size. I am sure you can tell that the missile tube is too far forward but it does suggest the general size.



With Step 8 numerous items will be added to the outside truck frame. I finally feel like I've made some serious progress on this beast.

Comments or questions?

Cheers,
Jan
weathering_one
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Posted: Monday, April 28, 2014 - 03:11 PM UTC
Jan,

Congratulations on your success! This Blog is really showing what's involved with this kit and how much detail there is in it. I love the pictures in this last update and especially the penny for scale size. Thanks. Since no one else has asked, are you building the deployed version and do you have a colour scheme in mind.

Thanks,
AJ
tread_geek
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Posted: Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - 08:15 AM UTC
AJ,

I am not fully committed yet to a colour scheme but am heavily leaning toward a three colour camo. As for a pose, maybe fully erect or only partially being raised. If the latter I'll have to shorten the hydraulic cylinder.

**************************************************************************************************************

A bit more progress with a number of little things to take care of. The most important was getting rid of the sink holes on the erector frame. As I mention in the review, my sample had a lot of them. I tried using Tamiya and Squadron putty but they were too frustrating to work with. I discovered that mixing a plaster crack repairing powder called Polyfilla when mixed with inexpensive acrylic craft paint makes a super filler. As it's a polymer based product it sands very well and so far shows excellent results.

Here's shots of the filled sides of the rector frame.





I've also added a few pieces to the truck left frame. One, what I presume is a generator, is multi part but had an open back. I used sheet styrene to seal up the upper back section that might be visible.





There are far too many subassemblies to catalogue all of them so here's an image with several of them added to the frame.



Cheers,
Jan
tread_geek
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Posted: Sunday, May 18, 2014 - 03:46 AM UTC
About another eight or so parts added and still more to come. As I state somewhere, I viewed that painting this monster was going to be quite a chore. After studying both the instructions and countless photos it strongly appears that portions of the frame and chassis are painted a black colour (in my case I used Tamiya NATO Black). This proved to be a tedious afternoon affair due to trying to get the paint spray into all the nooks and crannies of the rather crowded nature of the space between the frame sides. It seems that every time I thought I had everything coated, there were spots that needed to be touched up.

Now the upper portion of the outside frame needs to be a greenish colour (Tamiya XF-65 appeared a perfect match). In the pictures below I've started brush painting the areas with successive coatings of a thinned paint (6:2 paint/thinner). This is going to take a while as it will probably need at least three or four coats.





This build will requires quite a bit of forethought about where and when paint should be applied! Comments or questions welcome!

Cheers,
Jan
firstcircle
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Posted: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 - 08:57 AM UTC
Wow, Jan, I'm not sure if I can cope with any more photos of the chassis with no wheels on it! It all looks quite fiddly, and I can't help wondering just how much of all those underbelly details will be visible when it's all complete. The construction you have done looks neat, and the painting looks OK too for this stage, despite the apparent difficulties you mention. If I read it right, his assembly was airbrushed all black, and now you're hand painting the next colours over... It does sound fiddly, but seems to be working.