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Armor/AFV: British Armor
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Takom MK IV Hermaphrodite
TAFFY3
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Posted: Wednesday, March 25, 2015 - 02:51 AM UTC
I have recently received Takom's WW1 Mark IV Hermophrodite (Kit #2010) for review. The first thing that I noticed is that they spelled Hermaphrodite wrong on the box-top. More importantly this kit includes their new one-piece snap-together workable track links. A big improvement over the original multi-piece links. Upon opening the box you're greeted by a plethora of parts, a length of chain, and one metal barrel for a six-pounder gun. There are no decals included. The biggest problem with this kit is that, as I learned over on the Landships WW1 Forum, there never really was a Mark IV Hermaphodite version. For the un-initiated, the Mark IV 'Male' mounted two six-pound guns and two .303 Lewis MG's in side-mounted sponsons. The 'Female' had a strictly MG armament, two Lewis guns mounted on each side in smaller sponsons. Both Male and Female also mounted a Lewis gun in front, mounted between the driver and commander. The 'Hermaphrodite' version (as the name implies) was supposed to be half Male and half Female, mounting a six-pounder sponson on the right side and a Lewis gun sponson on the left. This would have given the tank a slightly lop-sided appearance. Thankfully, Takom has included almost all the parts to build either a Male or Female Mk IV. I say almost because there is only the one six-pounder barrel as I mentioned. It's not an insurmountable problem to either scratch-build one or possibly source one from somewhere else. All the parts are there to build the Female version right in the box. I contacted Daniel at Takom and found that he is willing to send me a pair of barrels. I just have to pay S&H ($16), which I think is pretty reasonable. I have started working on the hull and will post some in-progress photos tomorrow. Al
barkingdigger
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Posted: Wednesday, March 25, 2015 - 03:48 AM UTC
Hi Al, can't wait to see the pics!

As for prototypes, you COULD build one of the "winch" tanks for the planned Ostende amphibious assault - the only surviving pics show a tank with "male" registration number that definitely has a "female" right-hand sponson! David Fletcher shows it in the Haynes WWI Tank book. He thinks it allowed clearance under the MG sponson for the winch cable to pay out to the front, since the winch drum was mounted on the right side near the back. You'd need to make the drum, the big flat armoured cover (which hides the drum), and some cable-guide rollers...
TAFFY3
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Posted: Wednesday, March 25, 2015 - 07:36 AM UTC
Hello Tom, I'm still deciding which way to go, Male or Female. Wait, that sounds like I'm contemplating a sex-change operation. Talking about the tank, not me.
CMOT
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Posted: Wednesday, March 25, 2015 - 12:13 PM UTC
I am looking forward to this Tom after seeing your WW1 rug runner which looks very good.
SDavies
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Posted: Wednesday, March 25, 2015 - 04:17 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Hello Tom, I'm still deciding which way to go, Male or Female. Wait, that sounds like I'm contemplating a sex-change operation. Talking about the tank, not me.



Lol I can see all kinds of trouble if modern tank designers used this naming convention today !
TAFFY3
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Posted: Wednesday, March 25, 2015 - 07:26 PM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text

Hello Tom, I'm still deciding which way to go, Male or Female. Wait, that sounds like I'm contemplating a sex-change operation. Talking about the tank, not me.



Lol I can see all kinds of trouble if modern tank designers used this naming convention today !



Got that right! All sorts of groups would be rising up in arms, with righteous indignation. Al
AFVFan
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Posted: Wednesday, March 25, 2015 - 07:50 PM UTC
Al, not taking away from your fun, but as this is supposed to be done as a review of the kit, shouldn't it cover just what is in the box? Whether the tank really existed or not is irrelevant.
TAFFY3
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Posted: Wednesday, March 25, 2015 - 08:08 PM UTC
As promised, a few in-progress pics. First up is a shot of the left side of the hull.



I deviated from the instructions. They would have you build the track assemblies as two sub-assemblies and the hull proper as another separate sub-assembly and then join them together in Step 45! As the hull is comprised of 5 pieces you would have to use one inside piece of the track assemblies as a jig to ensure proper alignment and you would be left with a rather flimsy assembly. I saw no reason not to just join the hull pieces to the inside part of the right-hand track assembly (Part# F4) rather than just use it as a jig. Then I attached the inside part (F3) for the left-hand track to the assembled hull. I was able to apply cement to the inside of all the joints, resulting in a nice neat assembly. Fit of all parts was excellent.

Next we have a pic of some of the pieces that go to make up the right side.



Most of them will only fit one way, but be careful of Part C31.



The top edge should be square and the bottom edge is beveled. Next, we have a view of the front and back of the hull.





You'll notice a small white spot on the joint at the angled nose of the hull. The only place that I needed to use putty during assembly. Despite trying to be careful separating parts from their trees I managed to take a small chunk out of E16. Easily remedied and ultimately hidden by the front tow hitch assembly. Well, so far this kit has been a pleasure. Fit is excellent and the detail looks great. Despite being short one barrel, if you want to build either a standard Male or Female version of a Mark IV, or even a "What-if" Hermaphrodite, I would say that this kit is the way to go. More to follow. Al
barkingdigger
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Posted: Wednesday, March 25, 2015 - 10:30 PM UTC
Looking good! Mine (the "Male") is still at the paint shop, but in the meantime I spent a handful of hours assembling the Tamiya version, which positively falls together compared to Takom. The main benefit I noticed in Tamiya's favour was the way all the wheels just drop over fixed pins on the hull, so adding the outer plates doesn't need a dozen thumbs...
CMOT
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Posted: Wednesday, March 25, 2015 - 10:40 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Al, not taking away from your fun, but as this is supposed to be done as a review of the kit, shouldn't it cover just what is in the box? Whether the tank really existed or not is irrelevant.



Bob I have noted your concern here.
As long as Al covers what he is changing, the site has no issues. When a kit is sent for a blog the modeller is free to make alterations and improvements as they see fit, things such as PE sets is all fine. All we ask is that the changes are made clear to those reading the blog.
TAFFY3
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Posted: Thursday, March 26, 2015 - 02:10 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Al, not taking away from your fun, but as this is supposed to be done as a review of the kit, shouldn't it cover just what is in the box? Whether the tank really existed or not is irrelevant.



Hello Bob, Sorry, but I missed your post. I am covering what's in the box. I just felt some might like to know that there are two other options than building the Hermaphrodite just by using what is in the box. As I said the only thing missing is one gun barrel. I don't think that knowledge is irrelevant, there are people, such as myself, who didn't know that this kit is based on a misconception. Some reviewers are very knowledgeable on the subject they are covering and will cite chapter and verse on what is wrong with a kit. So I think that whether or not a tank actually existed is relevant. Modelers build "What-If's" all of the time, the so-called "Paper Panzers", or "Luft '46" aircraft for example. So, If someone wishes to build the Hermaphrodite version, that's fine. Al
AFVFan
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Posted: Thursday, March 26, 2015 - 03:22 AM UTC
Long story short is I guess I misinterpreted your initial post. I got the impression that you were going to convert this to a male since this version never existed.

Just overlook my babblings.....

Thanks for the clarification, Darren.
CMOT
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Posted: Thursday, March 26, 2015 - 03:24 AM UTC
No problem Bob
TAFFY3
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Posted: Thursday, March 26, 2015 - 03:51 AM UTC
A little more progress made today. The sides were added to the driver's compartment. I opened up the small vision slots in the sides as well as the three in the front plate.



Also added the towing shackle and its brackets to the nose.



Lastly, the spacers were added to the left side of the hull.



There was one small fit issue when attaching the top pieces on both sides (Parts D14 $ D16). They have some flange detail on their undersides that interferes with the angled vertical pieces on either side of the sponson opening (Parts E8,E9,E10,& E11). The solution was to file a small notch in the front of each of those four pieces on the outboard edge at the top. If you look closely at the above photo you can see the notches. More tomorrow, thanks for looking. Al
TAFFY3
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Posted: Sunday, March 29, 2015 - 03:59 PM UTC
A short update, I got some more work done adding various details, starting with the armored gas tank. It went together well, fit was excellent. I started by gluing one side (D6) to the bottom plate (D4), and it was one of those times that I wished I was an octopus. After that the rest of the tank was a snap. It still needs two tiny PE pieces (TP4)and the angled plate (E14) fitted.



Here's the gas tank fitted temporarily into position.



You can also see some of the additional details that were added to the rear. The ball mount for the Lewis Gun was added to the front (it moves).



The muffler and some other parts were added to the roof.



There are three flanges ( E33, E32 & E15, the middle one has the two brackets for the un-ditching beam rails) that are added. Be wary of E32 (the rearmost one), it has two tiny tabs sticking out on one side which I didn't notice when removing the part from the sprue. The result was that they were left dangling on the sprue, not the part. By some miracle I was able to re-attach them both, even after almost losing one to "tweezer launch". You'll notice two white rings on each end of the muffler. The raised rings that were molded on were poorly defined and there was a hard to remove seam on one end. So, I sanded both ends smooth and added the rings, sliced from a piece of Evergreen plastic tube of the same diameter as the muffler. The exhaust pipe was added next. the instructions woud have you cement the two halves of the muffler (E30 & E31) together and add the exhaust pipe (E38) to it as a sub-assembly, then cement that to the hull. But there is no positive alignment between pipe and muffler so I felt it was better to cement the muffler into position first, then add the pipe. Speaking of the exhaust pipe you'll notice the end is open. It was molded that way, I didn't have to drill it out. There is a guard that fits over the rear portion of the pipe (E19). The mounting tabs are both the same length, be careful when positioning it not to put it on the wrong way. Check the notches on the bottom corners, it should fit a specific way to sit correctly.



That's all for now. Except for tearing some hair out searching for that miniscule, tweezer launched, broken-off tab, This has been an enjoyable build so far. Al
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Posted: Sunday, March 29, 2015 - 10:30 PM UTC
A little more accomplished today. The raised structure on top of the hull consists of three parts (D14, E4, & E5).



The instructions would have you glue the three pieces together and then cement this as a completed sub-assembly to the hull top. A sure recipe for disaster IMHO. I cemented the right side (E4) to its recess in the hull top opening and then before the cement had set added the back side (D14) and finally the left side (E5). Simple, and much less likely to lead to problems. Takom includes the drive chains and various gears for the final drive. The problem is this detail will be invisible after final assembly unless you opt to leave a track off. Here's a pic of some of the parts dry-fitted into position.



I decided to omit all of this except one gear (C14), which, along with the drive sprocket is just barely visible through a small hole on the inside of the track 'horns'.



Since I don't care if the track moves I cemented the inner half of the drive wheel (C22) into position also. The last picture shows more of the detail added to the rear of the hull around the drive sprockets.



Notice that there is a small space on the bottom between one of the pieces (C30) and the adjacent plate. C30 should sit a little lower than its neighbor, thus the gap. Th, Th, Th, That's all folks!(cue Looney Tunes theme music) Al
CMOT
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Posted: Monday, March 30, 2015 - 12:33 AM UTC
It looks as if you are well on top of this one Al.
TAFFY3
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Posted: Monday, March 30, 2015 - 02:41 AM UTC

Quoted Text

It looks as if you are well on top of this one Al.



Tryin' Darren, so far it hasn't gotten the better of me. Al
TAFFY3
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Posted: Monday, March 30, 2015 - 09:08 PM UTC
For a little more visual interest, I wanted to build the model with the driver's vision flaps open.



I found some drawings and photos on-line showing the interior of a Mark IV and decided to add a few details that might be visible through the open flaps. The exhaust pipes leading from the roof-mounted muffler.



And the sides of the driver's compartment.



With a little trial and error I made a template from a piece of an index card.



Which I used to cut them from thin sheet styrene. I added a couple of pieces of scrap square stock at the bottom, where the corners touched to give them a little more support. I may also put a figure in there to represent the driver. Haven't decided for sure yet, but I have ordered a set of five WW1 British Tank Corps figures.



They are made by Stalingrad, a Russian company Al
cdharwins
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Posted: Monday, March 30, 2015 - 09:23 PM UTC
Great work, Al.

That set of figures is interesting. I like the pose of the sitting figure in particular. I may have to get a set, too.

Chris
TAFFY3
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Posted: Monday, March 30, 2015 - 09:47 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Great work, Al.

That set of figures is interesting. I like the pose of the sitting figure in particular. I may have to get a set, too.

Chris



Thanks Chris, I like using figures to add some human interest to a build and to give it a sense of scale. I agree about the guy sitting atop the sponson, he happens to be my favorite also. Al
TAFFY3
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Posted: Wednesday, April 01, 2015 - 04:28 PM UTC
A quick update, first the drive sprockets done.



Next, the stowage box atop the hull.



Besides the four plastic parts it has six small PE discs. They are applied to small bumps, three on each side, front and rear. IMHO they probably weren't really necessary and could simply have been molded on. But they were fairly easy to apply and maybe they do provide a better appearance than if just molded on. Once again the instructions would have you build this as a rather delicate (I.E. very flimsy) sub-assembly before attaching it to the hull. A difficult, if not impossible, way of doing it in my mind. I assembled it, one side at a time, directly onto the hull. Easy, and no foul language involved.
Next, one of the nicely detailed Lewis Guns temporarily installed in its ball mount.



Sorry about the blurry image, I'm still getting used to a new camera. The drum magazine looks a little on the thin side to me, but it won't be seen once the roof is on. I plan on leaving one of the sponson doors open, so that gun will be visible. But, by angling the gun, the thinness of the drum won't be noticeable. I plan to apply some paint to the hull before installing the gun and attaching the roof. With some tight tolerances, a coat of paint can affect fit but the gun fits very loosely in the ball, so installing it without damaging the paint shouldn't be difficult. In the next picture, you'll notice the nicely molded open muzzle of the gun.



Well done Takom! The current level of quality and detail attainable during the molding process still amazes me. TTFN. Al
TAFFY3
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Posted: Thursday, April 02, 2015 - 03:01 PM UTC
Started on the side sponsons. As mentioned previously, this could almost be labeled a 3-in-1 kit. You have all the parts in the box to build the Hermaphrodite, and a standard MK.IV Female, and with the exception of one six-pounder barrel, all the parts for the Male version as well. The instructions only show how to assemble the right-hand Male sponson and the left hand female one. But it isn't hard to figure out how to build the others. They're mirror images of each other. Since I'm building a Male, I started with the RH bottom as per the directions, then followed with the left.









Then followed with the upper half of both.







Be careful of part G50.



One edge is square and the other beveled. The beveled one gets the glue. Fit of all parts was excellent. I deviated from the directions once more, mounting the sponsons to the outer sides while assembling them to help with proper alignment. I did use a very small amount of putty in a few places on some inside seams and two injection pin marks. That could have been my fault in assembly rather than the kits. It wouldn't have been necessary (or visible) if building the sponsons with their hatches shut. Al
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Posted: Thursday, April 02, 2015 - 03:34 PM UTC
a word from the wise - the next bit - the rollers - can be challenging but if you don't need them to rotate the easiest thing to do is to cement them to the inside sponson side. There are two sorts and at some stations roller A (with the flange in the middle) does not fit into the gap in the middle of it's neighbouring roller B (if you see what I mean).

I just filed a little "vee" into roller B as required to give some clearance - sometimes it's just needed on one side and sometimes it's on both sides. Simple fix - can't be seen when everything is buttoned up.
Mech
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Posted: Thursday, April 02, 2015 - 05:49 PM UTC
Hi Al

I'm enjoying your build.

I came across a picture of the Hermaphrodite years ago front view driving down a street some where in Europe I think and I do not remember the source to give it credit.

How do you post pictures on the forum.

The other way is to send me a PM with your email and I can send it to you and you can post it.

Cheers,

Ralph