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Armor/AFV: Early Armor
WWI and other early tanks and armored cars.
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Takom MkIV Male build
barkingdigger
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Posted: Sunday, February 08, 2015 - 12:21 AM UTC


My newest build log is the Takom Mk IV “Male” British WWI tank, which I got as a review sample. A short delay due to far too much work over Christmas gave me time to compare it to the Tamiya kit, and to think about how I would tackle the build.

This kit shares a number of parts with its sister “Female” kit, and the new “Tadpole” version. Jim Starkweather did an unboxing that featured a bunch of sprue pictures, while we also got Roman’s “Female” build review and Alan McNeilly’s
Tamiya Mk IV review.

Takom offers parts for the drive gear that is hidden inside the track frames, as well as lots of lovely rivet detail, so my first dilemma was how to display any of this in a realistic way. The real things were riveted together before any of the moving parts were added, and were very unlikely to be dismantled again unless struck by artillery or broken up for scrap. Breaking the rivets would be easy enough, but before they could be rebuilt all the moving parts needed to come out to make room for the riveters to work – negating any hope of displaying the sprockets etc “in place”. However, if the tank was a survivor on display in a museum, then all sorts of stuff could be removed to show the inner workings! This also meant I was free to remove a 6-pounder cannon and a Lewis gun for display, since they are far too detailed to waste inside a closed-up tank.

Aside from the obvious engineering differences, I found there was a different approach to detail between Takom and Tamiya. Takom’s rivets are more pronounced, as are their bolt-heads – the Tamiya ones seem a bit “flat” and undersized when comparing to real photos. This is not to say the Tamiya kit isn’t good – just that I find a difference when placed side by side.






That hidden drive chain…

Another difference is the Lewis guns – Takom offers a whole gun, while Tamiya just gives the outer barrel attached to the ball mount.



Then there’s the rear door, which Tamiya provides as a separate part, but Takom moulded on.


To start the build I went straight to the 6-pdrs. These are very complex little models, with a few very tiny parts. The recoil piston ends under the tube are almost impossible to hold while filing off the sprue gates, while the front bracket for the sight tube is a hoot – I discovered it was best to glue it to the back of the shield collar BEFORE attempting to put the sight in place, despite what the directions show. The breach block can be mounted closed or open (the directions only show closed), but I needed to drill out the breach with a 2.5mm bit since it is a solid wall. Note that the breach lever position is different when open – see the pics. I added the curved shields to the gun in the left sponson (which is getting entombed), but not the other one (with open breach) which is “on display”. The curved shield is very fragile, with a thin butt-joint on each side, so it is best to glue on those “wings” and let them dry before trying to fill the joint or stretch it over the V-shaped mounting plate. While the Takom kit has a metal outer barrel (unlike the Tamiya kit), I understand Takom’s new Tadpole kit replaces these with plastic – oh well.









Next up were the sponsons. These are a collection of flat plates that have narrow joining surfaces at funny angles, so it was like wrestling a jellyfish! It took several attempts with the left sponson to get all the parts together – the natural “set” left the back edge of the vertical sides sticking out about 1mm beyond the lower edges, which affects the way it fits the hull side, so be careful to make sure it all fits flat at the back!

With the right-hand sponson I left out the pedestal base for the gun, and it went together a bit easier. If I did one again, I’d leave the pedestals out until I was ready to paint the guns, only installing the gun & pedestal after the sponson was painted and ready to be stuck on the hull side. That way I could add the sponson roof when assembling the sides – making it much easier to get it all lined up.










Next I’ll start on the hull…
barkingdigger
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Posted: Friday, February 20, 2015 - 11:52 PM UTC
Part 2 – the hull

I like to build up the basic “box” before adding breakable details, so instead of building track frames as per the instructions I dove in and built the body up. The inner frames were used as assembly jigs to keep everything lined up, but weren’t glued on until after the main panels were dry. The driver’s cab was a pain to fit properly – the secret is to start with the roof and rear wall, then add the sides before adding the front. I left out the MG ball and socket until after the hull “box” was dry, but in retrospect these would have been easier to add BEFORE the body was built! (The MG is a very loose fit in the ball – not what I’d expected…) I also found the joints at edges to be somewhat poor - these were bent strips holding the plates together in real life, so shouldn't have gaps.

The Mummy…




Before I even thought about the exhaust or other details I added the fuel tank at the rear, then glued on the inner frames. The cover-plate and shackle details on the inside faces of these frames need to be added first, as there is no room to slide them in around the fuel tank afterwards. The first appearance of dreaded photo-etch comes with the fuel tank, and I’m not really sure it was necessary to do those parts in metal. Other PE parts appear on the roof stowage box and as straps for the muffler – these last were formed into a curve around a paint-brush handle before bending up the tabbed ends.





After much examination of the roof hatch I decided the frame was near enough to correct width, but the hatch itself will need to be scratched from 0.020” sheet and rivets harvested from the inside faces of the track frames (where they won’t be missed). I did not add the missing pistol-port flap next to the roof hatch that others have mentioned – I cannot find any good contemporary roof shots of a Mk IV with one, and there is a factory-floor shot in Pullen’s “Landships of Lincoln” book (page 60) that shows a roof plate that clearly does not have said flap (or opening), so not all Mk IVs got them apparently.

While I was at it I assembled the parts for the port-side track frame. The gears are fun, but fanatics will note they lack the gear-change mechanism at the sponson end of things. The plates forming the sponson opening also lack the necessary holes for access to these levers, as well as the holes for ammo stowage in the frame space. Since my plan for the starboard side will reveal this, I will be altering those parts when I get to them. Great care needs to be taken to file off all the sprue gates for good fit, and I taped the outer frame in place to hold everything til it dried. Sadly, all the wheels, sprockets, and idler will need to be in place when the frame is closed up (not enough “play” to wedge them in afterwards), so these cannot be left loose for painting separately. However, until the frame is closed up, the drive sprocket can indeed slip in & out of place at the rear!





I’m still building what feels like a million tiny wheels, but I did find the holes in the frames needed reamed out with a 1.4mm drill. And the idler can be placed in one of four locations within its slot to adjust track tension – pity they don’t suggest how to get at it once the track is in place!
AFVFan
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Posted: Saturday, February 21, 2015 - 02:42 AM UTC
This is the second build log that I've seen on this kit. Between the two of them, I've been convinced not to touch it.
Motives
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Posted: Saturday, February 21, 2015 - 01:25 PM UTC

Quoted Text

This is the second build log that I've seen on this kit. Between the two of them, I've been convinced not to touch it.



Care to elaborate? I just finished building the same kit (painting now) and had a pretty good time with it. It does require some more dryfitting and scraping/fitting than the average panzer kit getting all those angle joints to sit perfect but once they do the kit comes together nicely!
AFVFan
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Posted: Saturday, February 21, 2015 - 05:16 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Care to elaborate?



Simple fact of the matter is that if I want to fight getting parts to fit, I'll spend the $15 or so on the Emhar kit. There's no excuse for a newly tooled kit costing $50+ to have the same problems. To me, life's too short, and there are too many other "good" kits out there, to bother with something that's going to fight me along the way. ....but that's just my opinion.
AlanL
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Posted: Saturday, February 21, 2015 - 06:15 PM UTC
Hi Tom,

Following along as I have the male & female of this kit to build. Nice work so far. More footery than the Tamiya kit, that's for sure, as far as part alignment goes.

Should turn out to be a cool model thought.

Cheers

Al
barkingdigger
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Posted: Saturday, February 21, 2015 - 08:27 PM UTC
Hi guys,

This is definitely not a "shake & bake" kit! I like it (don't get me wrong), but I'm surprised at how much wrestling I have to do in order to get it together. The detail looks great - better than the Tamiya kit - but there are areas where I wonder what they were thinking...

Having built the old Emhar kits too, I have to say this is absolutely light-years ahead in terms of detail. Granted, Emhar gives you a lot of "wrestle" for your money , but I'm glad we have something better. There is an issue regarding price, but the same applies to most newer kits - I just shop around at shows & auction sites to plunder a bargain. Lord knows I have more than enough kits in the stash to keep me going while I wait for that special deal!

Alan, you just wait til I get to the starboard side mate! I've got plans, but am still researching a few details before I "rip" the side plating off.
barkingdigger
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Posted: Saturday, February 21, 2015 - 10:45 PM UTC
Part 3 (update)

I added all those wheels and axles last night – what a PITA! When I went to put the outer track frame on, I needed twelve hands just to get everything to slot into the various holes. Then I discovered that the spacer pieces forming the lower sides of the frame are almost impossible to reach with glue – out came a disposable “bendy” micro-brush that I could force between the wheels to reach the joints. And the flanged wheels didn’t want to fit between the unflanged wheels, so it took a bit of effort to get it all packed in. If I build another one I’ll leave out most of the unflanged wheels since they cannot be seen anyway – this will relieve the crowding and provide access for gluing. But the axles will need to be added since they fill the holes in the frames…




The front idler slot with its four positions – I used the outer-most on the basis that I can always push the idler inwards if I need more slack:


This is why I like to “build the box” before adding details!


I had a stab at the kit tracks, with their five parts per link. I only built two (so ten parts total), but still managed to lose one of the tiny parts to the Carpet Monster! The fit is very imprecise, but eventually I got them where they seemed ok. They bend well enough, but I can’t see myself sitting down to a month of pain just to complete two whole track runs – these will be replaced with some lovely Masterclub resin clickable links I picked up at a show. I might use the Takom track plates to upgrade an old Emhar kit I built some time ago.




At least the newer Tadpole kit has Takom’s one-piece links included!
Motives
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Posted: Saturday, February 21, 2015 - 11:29 PM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text

Care to elaborate?



Simple fact of the matter is that if I want to fight getting parts to fit, I'll spend the $15 or so on the Emhar kit. There's no excuse for a newly tooled kit costing $50+ to have the same problems. To me, life's too short, and there are too many other "good" kits out there, to bother with something that's going to fight me along the way. ....but that's just my opinion.



Aye, fair enough But i do agree with Tom. It's not THAT bad (i have a half built emhar kit tucked away... ) I definitely enjoyed building the kit, finished in 3 good sessions and the end result is, to me, a very nice rendition of the Mk.IV tank. Anyway. I'll stop blabbering as this is Toms build log and not mine


Edit: I missed your post on the tracks Tom. They are indeed a major PITA! Not sure if you got them yet but i used the masterclub tracks for my build and they were great!
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Posted: Sunday, February 22, 2015 - 04:18 AM UTC
Nice build so far! I'm currently working on the Takom Mk IV female and can attest that the detail throughout is beautiful. However, all the plates with beveled edges that have to be very carefully aligned and then glued together is getting tedious. Also, the sprue attachment points can be at times rather thick and plentiful making it difficult to remove a part without causing damage. This is definitely not a 'shake-and-bake' kit but the trade off is that you get some exquisite detail. To make the build achievable, I bought some of Takom's workable, click together track links. Otherwise, the kit tracks with 5 hard to align pieces per link would guarantee the kit would go unfinished.
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Posted: Sunday, February 22, 2015 - 04:31 AM UTC
I found the easiest way to deal with the interference between some of the flanged and unflanged wheels was simply to file one or two shallow "vees" in the unflanged wheels where needed. I glued the wheels in place at the back. The vees can't be seen when everything is buttoned up.

I dealt with any gaps where plates join by slapping on Mr Surfacer 1000. When dry I just wiped off the excess with a cotton bud soaked in Revell Airbrush Cleaner (other solvents are available)to leave the gaps filled with no loss of detail.

I also found it easier to leave the gun mount "columns" off until the sponson was together. Doing it the other way tended to throw the sponson plate angles off

sk
barkingdigger
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Posted: Sunday, February 22, 2015 - 03:48 PM UTC
I'm glad I'm not the only one who found this kit a bit challenging to assemble!
barkingdigger
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Posted: Sunday, March 08, 2015 - 05:44 PM UTC
Part 4: Peeling the skirts…



As I mentioned earlier, I wanted to show off the chain drive that Takom provided. Now, the real tanks started life as a set of plates that got riveted together before any of the “mechanical” parts were added, so it just isn’t realistic to show an in-service tank with the side plates removed. Sure, it could be done at the Central Workshops in France, but only after the very details I was highlighting were removed for access! Another option could be a destroyed tank, but these all seem to have been twisted and shattered – requiring a virtual scratch-build in thinner materials. Then there is the idea of a “dead” tank being broken up for scrap – there are photos of work details using hammers & chisels to cut all the rivets. But again, this would require scratch-building since most shots show things like hatches and sponsons were removed first, allowing the viewer to see the (empty) insides of the tank. I settled on a fourth option – a museum tank with panels removed for display of the internal workings!


So, what lurks inside these track frames? The real ones are far more crowded than Takom suggests. Up front I needed to add the locker that replaced the fuel tanks of the earlier Mks 1-3. (The holes match the bolts on the outside…) Then I added a TON of missing rivets, along with the “other” half of each L-shaped rivet strip, using the kit parts to work out dimensions and hole patterns to drill into 0.015x0.060” strip.

At the rear I planned to cut along the joint that surrounds the access plate of the secondary gears on the differential output shafts. This reveals not only the gears and chain, but also a forest of 6pdr ammo stowage tubes! There are also a couple of large access holes that I really should have cut BEFORE gluing the inner frame to the hull…



There is a third hole in the real thing, around the differential shaft, that is plated over and filled with ammo tubes. To replicate it without cutting the hard-ish kit plastic, I chose to “skin” the whole area in a sheet of 0.010” plastic, with the holes cut in it. That way I get a more scale-thickness recess without having to wrestle with a delicate kit more than I have to. I used dimensions from the blueprints in the Haynes Great War Tank reference manual – thanks for the loan, Keith!



I built a simple jig to cut the bunches of scale 1’-3” long tubes, then added another ton of rivets shaved from inside the soon-to-be-discarded outer track frame, and more replacement mounting strips.




One other task involved rebuilding the hatch. I based it on the Tamiya part, but did not add the odd notch in the short end because I couldn’t find this fist-sized “skylight” hole in the few contemporary photos I possess.




There’s still a little bit to do (like making a radiator to block the view through those big holes in the side), but soon I’ll be adding the rest of the kit details and firing up the airbrush!
AlanL
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Posted: Sunday, March 08, 2015 - 10:53 PM UTC
Nice work Tom.

Al
barkingdigger
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Posted: Friday, March 13, 2015 - 07:20 PM UTC
Part 5 – some final track-frame details

To round out the detailing I added the missing “diaphragms” shown in blueprints in the Haynes manual. These were cut from 0.010” sheet, with the flanges added from small strips of same.



I also added the mating flanges that held the armour panels together at either end where I cut things off – I hope these give some illusion of thin-ness to the chunky plastic kit parts!



The other point to note is the wheel at the top near the mud chute – this should have flanges, unlike what the kit instructions say. Unfortunately there aren’t enough flanged wheels going spare, so I just swapped it out for one that is hidden by the side panel. You don’t need to bother if you put the tracks on, but as the right side of my tank will be exposed I have to. (The wheels will get added after everything is painted…)



All in all, the track frame is a busy place!



The other thing I should have done much sooner was replace the flimsy flange on the underside of the sponsons! I managed to bend the ends beyond repair on the left one, so replaced it with a strip of 0.020” plastic glued to the hull (like the real thing) and shaved off the square bolt heads from the kit part before removing all traces of flange on the sponson. The real deal was a chunk of angle bolted to the hull – the sponson was slid out into place and the aforementioned square bolts were inserted to hold it in place.



Even though I glued the left sponson door open (to show off the guns) I am resisting the urge to build internals like an engine – for now at least.
M4A1Sherman
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Posted: Friday, March 13, 2015 - 07:38 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Part 5 – some final track-frame details

To round out the detailing I added the missing “diaphragms” shown in blueprints in the Haynes manual. These were cut from 0.010” sheet, with the flanges added from small strips of same.



I also added the mating flanges that held the armour panels together at either end where I cut things off – I hope these give some illusion of thin-ness to the chunky plastic kit parts!



The other point to note is the wheel at the top near the mud chute – this should have flanges, unlike what the kit instructions say. Unfortunately there aren’t enough flanged wheels going spare, so I just swapped it out for one that is hidden by the side panel. You don’t need to bother if you put the tracks on, but as the right side of my tank will be exposed I have to. (The wheels will get added after everything is painted…)



All in all, the track frame is a busy place!



The other thing I should have done much sooner was replace the flimsy flange on the underside of the sponsons! I managed to bend the ends beyond repair on the left one, so replaced it with a strip of 0.020” plastic glued to the hull (like the real thing) and shaved off the square bolt heads from the kit part before removing all traces of flange on the sponson. The real deal was a chunk of angle bolted to the hull – the sponson was slid out into place and the aforementioned square bolts were inserted to hold it in place.



Even though I glued the left sponson door open (to show off the guns) I am resisting the urge to build internals like an engine – for now at least.



This is just a general question, for anyone that may be looking in on this thread: Any recommendations on the interior and exterior colors of Mk.IV tanks? THANKS...
AFVFan
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Posted: Friday, March 13, 2015 - 07:39 PM UTC
Nice work going on there, Tom. I do have a question, though. Wouldn't brass tube have been better to use for the ammo tubes? The walls of the plastic tubing just seems too thick.
barkingdigger
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Posted: Saturday, March 14, 2015 - 12:50 AM UTC
Hi Bob, it would- if I had any to hand! Still, the tubes tapered (I think) so the shell wouldn't come in contact with the end, so I'm not too fussed. However, I may give the ends a twiddle with a round file...

Dennis, the Tank Museum's restorations show the interior as gloss white, with some stuff in other colours. I'm guessing light was as much a problem back then as it is now! I intend to spray mine with grey primer, and just leave it "dark" inside since I don't plan to add any real interior.

As for exterior colours, the Mk IV came out in 1917, by which time tanks were painted in service brown - a sort of tan khaki colour that folks argue about! In spring 1918, when the Germans started fielding captured British tanks, the Brits added the classic white/red/white stripes to the nose and cab roof. As far as anyone knows, the idea of camouflage went out with the Mk I tanks in summer 1916 - anything on a WWI battlefield soon turned the same mud colour. I've got the AK set of WWI British colours for this kit - that's basically three shades of khaki.
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Posted: Monday, March 16, 2015 - 06:15 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Hi Bob, it would- if I had any to hand! Still, the tubes tapered (I think) so the shell wouldn't come in contact with the end, so I'm not too fussed. However, I may give the ends a twiddle with a round file...

Dennis, the Tank Museum's restorations show the interior as gloss white, with some stuff in other colours. I'm guessing light was as much a problem back then as it is now! I intend to spray mine with grey primer, and just leave it "dark" inside since I don't plan to add any real interior.

As for exterior colours, the Mk IV came out in 1917, by which time tanks were painted in service brown - a sort of tan khaki colour that folks argue about! In spring 1918, when the Germans started fielding captured British tanks, the Brits added the classic white/red/white stripes to the nose and cab roof. As far as anyone knows, the idea of camouflage went out with the Mk I tanks in summer 1916 - anything on a WWI battlefield soon turned the same mud colour. I've got the AK set of WWI British colours for this kit - that's basically three shades of khaki.



OK, THANKS- What you've just told me is what I was thinking; I'm not quite as informed concerning WWI armor as I am with other eras... THANK YOU!!!
AFVFan
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Posted: Monday, March 16, 2015 - 07:26 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Hi Bob, it would- if I had any to hand! Still, the tubes tapered (I think) so the shell wouldn't come in contact with the end, so I'm not too fussed. However, I may give the ends a twiddle with a round file...



Fair enough. I guess I won't hold it against you for not rolling your own tapered tubes out of sheet brass.
barkingdigger
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Posted: Monday, July 13, 2015 - 12:15 AM UTC
It's been FAR too long since I updated this build log! (Drat that "Real Life" getting in the way... ) My goal was a museum scene with the side off, the track curled up, and the guns out on display.



Anyway, I eventually got round to throwing paint, so here's where we stand.

I started with a coat of good old Halfords Grey auto primer - cheap, cheerful, and surprisingly good! After a week or so to let it truly dry out, I then started on some pre-shading with Tamiya Flat Brown acrylic along all the rivet lines and seams. This was then added to by a very thin shading of Tamiya Nato Black on the floor of the drive-chain area on the "open" side of my model. By comparison, the forward area would be relatively clean, since there was no chain throwing grease around. These inside areas then got a very thin coat of Tamiya Medium Grey to blend things in - I assume this area was simply unreachable by the time the finish coat of Khaki was added. (All the workshop pics I've seen show the tanks as very light-coloured during assembly, so it seems they were probably a "machinery grey" until at least after they were assembled.) These areas were then masked before the outside was sprayed.





To do the outside I was given a set of AK's WWI British Colors to review here. These went on well, giving a base, shadow, and highlight that I tried to keep very thin so the pre-shade would show through.



Then I masked and sprayed the white and red striped on the cab roof and front side, again trying to let underlying shades peek through.


barkingdigger
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Posted: Monday, July 13, 2015 - 12:26 AM UTC
After the base colours were dry I added some Micro Gloss and did the two decals. Then came the fun of weathering and detail! All the rivets on the sides got a pin wash of Raw Umber acrylic (from an art-supply store), while those up on top got Burnt Umber. This also ran into the panel lines, and some faint dry-brushing with the base khaki soon made everything "pop". THe exposed edges of the rivet strips got a wipe with Burnt Sienna, and the mechanical parts got all sorts of washes and stuff.



The 6pdrs and Lewis guns were treated to black base coat and layerings of gunmetal and grey to add depth. This was fine on the gun that will be outside, but the gun in the sponson is almost invisible!





The whole thing is coming together, but I still need to finish the excellent Masterclub resin tracks. (Hint - paint the links BEFORE clicking them together! Otherwise there's 88 hidden lips that stand out as soon as the track is flexed...)



That's all for now.
AlanL
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Posted: Monday, July 13, 2015 - 11:15 PM UTC
Hi Tom,

This is coming along really well.

Al
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Posted: Wednesday, April 13, 2016 - 04:36 AM UTC
Hi Alan et al,

After a very long break I finally finished the old Heavy! You can find the pics in this Photo Feature. It was a fun kit to build, after all the struggle!