Schwerer Zugkraftwagen 18t
Sd.Kfz.9 "FAMO"

Tamiya 1:35 Scale Kit No. 35239
Model by Terry Ashley

This article is on detailing the excellent Tamiya 18t FAMO which will also be converted to the Sd.Kfz.9/1 6ton Bilstein Crane version using the newly released Tiger Model Designs conversion set.

The kit build is basically in three parts:

The detailing of the Tamiya FAMO (Kit No.35239)
(Using bits from the ABER detail sets 35093 & 35094 and the Royal Models detail set 236, various thicknesses of wire, plastic rod and card)

Building and installing the Tiger Model Designs 6ton Bilstein Crane conversion on the FAMO chassis.
(This conversion is currently under construction)

The kit:
As a full build review of the original Tamiya FAMO kit can be found here, I will only explain the additional details added to the kit.

The first thing to note is that the ABER etched sets have a mixture of details found on both the early and late model FAMOs. A number of these details are quite different on each type and you should consult references and take care before using the parts for the version you are building.

The majority of the detailing is from the ABER set with only a few items used from the Royal Models set.
(As this didn't arrive until the detailing was almost finished, not necessarily because it's any better or worse than the ABER set)

This part probably had the most attention with details added on both sides.

The numbers on the images correspond
to the detail items in the list below

Click on thumbnails for larger view
Close new window to retrun to review

  1. On the driver's side the instrument panel was replaced using the ABER panel with the switches carefully cut from the kit panel and repositioned on the new one. The dials were painted by adding the colour to the back of the photo film provided and then sandwiched between the kit panel (with details sanded smooth) and the new etched panel. These dials are masked off for painting.
  2. The main fuel tank had securing straps added from Verlinden's Buckles and Strap set (433) as these are not included in the ABER set.
  3. The small junction box and bracket next to the fuel tank were added from the etched set and plastic rod.
  4. Small securing bolts were added each side of the steering column.
  5. The regulator device was detailed with wiring and bits from the etched set. It should be noted that this was mounted too low in the kit and was moved slightly up and to the right.
  6. On the engine side the two large etched firewall support brackets were added. When bending larger etched parts it is best to 'study' these to determine the best sequence to make the bends so you don't end up with a bend that will destroy a previous bend in the process. I used two steel rulers held together with spring clamps for bending the etched parts here.
  7. The large 'Tyre air supply and pressure governor' needs to be built from scratch using various bits of rod, sprue and wire plus some fitting from the ABER set (approx 26 separate bits make up this assembly, just build it up bit by bit and there shouldn't be any major problems?). (Note: This regulator is slightly different on the early and later model FAMOs).
  8. The wiring was copper wire supplied in the ABER set bent to shape.
  9. Take care to add the excellent connectors before securing the wire.
    I always drill a small hole to take the ends of any wires added, trying to butt join wire is a recipe for frustration.
    Here is a tip for straightening out a length of wire which always seems to have little bends where you don't want them. Get a piece of thick card or glass (any hard surface will do), one steel ruler and "roll" the length of wire between the steel rule and the hard surface; (just like a rolling flour with a rolling pin) it will straighten out any bends or blemishes nicely. (Don't try and 'roll' a long length of wire is works best with shorter lengths so the ends don't flap about).
  10. The mounting holes for the radiator support rods in the kit are in the wrong place, they should be just outside of the main firewall support brackets, simply fill the kit locating holes and add the new brackets from the etched set in the correct position.
  11. The central linkage assembly is one needing extreme care and patience. The ABER instructions only show three linkages along the top section but photos in the War Machine's FAMO book show four. This means you need six linkage arms but only five are included in the set, I cannibalised an extra linkage from part of the ABER set I didn't plan on using for the bottom linkages.

All this adds much to the fairly barren kit firewall and is well worth the effort if you plan to show your FAMO with the engine compartment exposed?

Driver's compartment:
  1. New foot pedals were added from wire with etched faces. These were added to the kits pedals which had holes drilled to take the wire linkage making it an easier job than trying to butt join the etched face to the wire at right angles.
  2. The small fittings to the front section of the seats were added from wire, thin card and etched bits.
  3. The seats were covered with white glue soaked tissue to give texture and show a bit of wear and tear.
  4. The three seat brackets along the rear bulkhead means you have to cut the backrest (kit part D13) in half to fit the centre bracket. I found the razor saw cut removed enough plastic to fit the bracket without any other alterations.
  5. Finally the wire cutter brackets were added from the intricate ABER brackets, I glued these in place as you don't need them moving after the event.
  6. The windscreen was replaced with the Royal Models etched screen with the spot light also from the RM set.
  7. Wiring for the wiper motors was added from thin wire.

The numbers on the images correspond
to the detail items in the list above

Click on thumbnails for larger view.

Close new window to retrun to review

Engine compartment/forward body:
  1. The first job here is to reposition the large air cleaner as it is in the wrong position and will foul your 'Tyre air supply and pressure governor' assembly you have spent so much time doing previously if left as is.
    Tamiya took the easy route and mounted the air cleaner against the side panel (kit part D20); in fact it should be slightly inboard of the wall and sightly lower.
    It is a fairly easy task to shorten the mounting support (kit part E34) and reducing the width of the mounting plate (kit part E35). You will also need a rear support as it will no longer be sitting on the side panel.
  2. The major problem here is in moving the air cleaner assembly the connecting tubing to the engine no longer fits. I made a new tubing section from thick rod solder as this allows you to easily bend to a realistic shape.
  3. Small detail fittings were added to the air cleaner latches from the etched sets.
  4. The engine was detailed by adding bolt heads securing the exhaust manifolds. These were made with a hex punch and die set instead of using the etched bolts supplied as these appearded too thin.
  5. Wiring was added from various thicknesses of copper wire with fittings from the ABER set.
  6. I added the six bladed fan with etched blades but I'm not sure if this is a late model feature and early models only had four blades as per the kit?
  7. The radiator had the screen added.
  8. The connecting hoses were added from electrical 'Spaghetti' tubing for a braided look with fittings from the ABER set.
  9. Small etched fittings were added to the inside of the side panels with bolt heads to the outside.
  10. The brake piston was added to the top of the steering arm connector from rod and tubing, this was actually attached to the bottom of the steering rod (kit part D4) which mates with the steering assembly when the firewall is fitted in place. It just seemed easier that way?
  11. The radiator had the "FAMO" logo added to the top from the ABER set. After attaching this I lightly sanded it to "round" the edges, this give a more blended appearance than the sharp edges as it comes.
  12. On the front of the fender assembly there is a row of small bolts along the bottom edge, (something Tamiya forgot about). I added these by carefully removing the small bolts from the rear tray sides with a shape blade (as I don't need these for the crane conversion) and repositioning along the fender using Cyanoacrylate (normal plastic glue will melt and distort the bolt heads being so small). I added these by picking each bolt head up using the tip of a shape blade, dipping in a drop of Cyanoacrylate on a palette and positioning the bolt after firstly marking the spot with a soft pencil. Get out the magnifying glass for this job unless you have the eyesight of an eagle.
  13. The notek light was not in the Tamiya kit either (but then not all early FAMOs had them fitted) the light was 'borrowed from a Tamiya Schwimmwagon kit and the mounting bracket made from thin card. It should be noted that the notek light bracket supplied in the ABER set is for a late FAMO and is different from the early square bracket used here.
  14. The mountings for the headlights were also detailed with parts from the ABER set.
  15. The hood had the guides for opening the cooling flaps added from the ABER set, these were glued in place as I didn't plan on moving these about.
  16. On the right hand side of the fenders there is a small hole and handle added for the inertia starter crank handle.
  17. Fine chain was added to the towing pintle, again from the ABER set. (not shown in image)
The numbers on the images correspond
to the detail items in the list above

Click on thumbnails for larger view.
Close new window to retrun to review

Lower chassis / Suspension:
  1. The front suspension has four large bolt heads added to the centre leaf spring attachment point, made with a punch and die set.
  2. Small bolts added to axle joints and shock absorber units, again made with punch and die.
  3. End plates with bolt detail from ABER etched set added to shock absorber arm assembly.
  4. The shock absorber arms were made movable by carefully dissecting the kit parts (E64/E65), drilling holes as required and using stretched sprue for the pins which have the ends flattened with a hot blade.
    This may be a little overkill but does show the arms attached as they should be and not just sitting there as with the kit, even more noticable if the front suspension is at an angle.
  5. Sleeve added to steering cross member from ABER set.
  6. Fender supports added to main chassis again from ABER set.
  7. Front wheels have the tyre valve added from thin sprue and a small grease nipple added to centre hub.
  8. The drive sprockets have the inside bolt details added using the etched parts supplied in the ABER set.
  9. The main winch is detailed by adding bolt heads on the chassis attachment points and cable guide pins added from wire.
  10. The rear trailer coupling was detailed with boltheads added around the inner section as well as the lock release lever; all from the ABER etched set.
  11. The outer coupling had bolt head details added from the ABER set as well as those made with a punch and die set.
  12. The steel rope clamp was also detailed with additional bolt heads and a spring assembly; the spring made from thin wire wound around a drill bit and attached to the etched metal fittings.
  13. Fine chain was added to the towing pintle, again from the ABER set.
  14. Gear linkages were added to the gearbox from sprue, wire and some bits from the ABER set.
  15. The support brackets for the winch drive were added from the etched parts.
  16. The Air Brake System was added again using lengths of copper wire, sprue, plastic rod and brackets and connectors from the ABER set. This is quite intricate and extensive and not a lot of it can be seen when the upper rear section is attached, but it can be seen when looking closely so it is probably personal preference if you want to go to this extent. The small regulator under the dashboard and the 'Tyre air supply and pressure governor' on the firewall are also part of this system.
The numbers on the images correspond
to the detail items in the list above

Click on thumbnails for larger view.

Close new window to retrun to review

That completes the detailing of the Tamiya kit, it's now on to the 6ton crane conversion.

Where the plumbing goes:
There is quite a few long lengths of piping and plumbing added to the chassis and I'll try and show here where it starts and finishes, these are the main plumbing items found inside the chassis.

Click on thumbnail for details.

Building and installing the 6ton Bilstein Crane conversion:

Initial construction pictures of the crane conversion build have now been posted, further updates will follow as progress continues.

Schwerer Zugkraftwagen 18 ton and Variants FAMO "Bulle" (Sd.Kfz.9)
Nuts & Bolts Vol.12
FAMO 18t
The Military Machine
By Stefan König
ISBN 3-9805216-4-8
German Halftracks 1909-1945
Book 6
Walter J. Spielberger
Ground Power Magazine
No.070 3/2000

GALILEO Publishing Co.,Ltd

Page created April 25, 2002

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