Finishing off the lower hull I have added miscellaneous small hoses and other bits, plus the anti-HEAT 'gills' on the front of the skirts:
I am leaving the fuel drums and associated hoses off for now, will fit them later but keep them removable for painting.
Meng provides a length of string for the tow cables but I didn't like the look of it so I used some picture hanging cable instead, annealing it over a candle to make it easier to bend (it was still a PITA).
and formed it to fit the back plate and clamps.
I have left the unditching log off ro make painting easier, and it also needs some work to make it look more like a log...
The 120mm gun tube is next, this is an eight piece affair and comes together pretty good, with Meng hiding most of the longitudinal seams along the top bracket, but some filling and sanding is required where there are no brackets and along the bottom of the tube.
I'm sure once I prime it there will be some more work to be done, I will do that before attaching to the turret.
Next is the turret, which is a kit in itself with now fewer than 20 steps spread out over 6 pages of instructions and over 220 individual parts in multiple subassemblies! First steps are attaching the anti-radiation applique panels to the turret. These are molded in a flexible vinyl-like plastic which takes regular plastic model glue very well, I used Tamiya medium again here (orange top) with extra thin to help snug things down along the edges where needed. I prefer not to use side cutters to remove these parts from the sprue as they will crush and deform at the cut point due to the soft nature of the material. using a new #11 blade and slicing carefully gave the best results for me, and I was able to go back and clean up the attachment points quite well. You can, after a fashion, sand the material as well along the edges to clean up, but being soft you will get some galling of the material, leaving a thin feather of material yet to be removed, you can see some bits on the back of the turret that I still have to clean up. All the pieces fit very nice and snug and conform very well to the turret shape.
Then it is onto the the first few steps of adding the various details to the turret including ERA bricks on the top of the turret, gun mantlet, laser probe and night sighting system.
Again everything fits together very nicely. Turret assembly to be continued...