The main items in the set are the engine deck grills and replacement fenders which require sections of the Tamiya hull to be cut out beforehand which shouldn’t pose a problem for anyone who would buy this set in the first place.
Other items are the two fender storage boxes completely from etched parts with multi-part hinges, latches and attachment brackets as well as fuel tank brackets and for the driver’s hatch outer periscopes and the inside support arm.
All the small tie downs along the hull side are provided as well as tie down straps and the turret hatch gets small details for the securing latch and small auxiliary door plus the head light mounting bracket and front light cover.
Firstly the front and back fenders have to be removed and the instructions show to cut off part of the front hull where the fenders attach, but I found it better to just cut a small indentation here to take the fender (see image).
The upper engine grills have to be cut out using the engraved panel lines as a guide taking care not to remove any plastic outside of the grill panel lines. The side intake grills are separate parts in the kit so this saves having to cut these out.
On the rear engine deck cover (part D6) you have to carefully cut out the entire plastic grills level with the inside of the moulded outer grill frame (this frame stays in place, don’t cut this out). Once you have the grills removed the resulting plastic part is quite fragile so handle with care. The remaining outer grill frame has to be sanded smooth either by shaving with an X-Acto #11 or sanding, I prefer the blade as it offers more control than sanding.
Other surgery if you are going the whole hog is to cut out the small auxiliary door and inner and outer fittings on the turret hatch and some detail from inside the driver’s hatch.
Fitting the fenders is fairly straightforward after bending to shape; I used the handle of the X-Acto knife to get the curve on the front fender as this was about the right diameter with the fenders needing only minor adjustments to fit so long as you are careful when removing the plastic fenders but overall the fit was very good.
The grills on the upper engine door (part D6) have the mesh section and the six frame parts separate and you first add the small bend in the mesh and frame sections to correspond to the curve of the door (again I used the X-Acto knife handle). I also added the curve in the six frame sections while they were still attached to the fret; this allowed the same curve to be added to each frame part.
Carefully position the screen mesh section and using thin cyanoacrylate glue in place, buy using tweezers to hold the mesh in place and just touching the outer join with a fine blade dipped in cyanoacrylate will see this run around the mesh using capillary action.
Once the mesh is attached the six frame sections are attached using the same method and you have the finished engine door.
The inner etched louvers are simply glued to the inner recess kindly included by Tamiya and the louvers bent to the desired angle. This is very easy but I did find the etched louver frame partially covered the locating hole for the outer door and the locating pins on the inside of the door (part D6) had to be trimmed to fit.
The forward side and top grills needed a bit of work as the etched grills are the exact size as the hull cut-outs as they need to be mounted flush with the engine deck panels. To fit these I added small locating brackets from thin plastic strip inside the grill openings leaving room for the grills which then fitted in place perfectly.
The grills are made up of inner grills and outer frame sections and I glued these together using thin cyanoacrylate before fitting to the hull as this made the job easier, the sandwiched grills were also stronger than the individual grills so it made handling them a little easier also.
Fitting the turret hatch latches and auxiliary door was fairly straightforward but there are two sizable pin marks on the inside of the hatch that needed to be filled first and the fuel tank brackets and driver’s hatch details were also straightforward.
The two fender storage boxes are firstly bent to shape with the edges of the box lids requiring the use an etched bending tool as they are quite thin and using any of the available tools will do the job nicely.
After bending the boxes and lids to shape and attaching the lids which fitted perfectly the small hinges, latches and end brackets are attached and a good pair of fine tweezers will come in very handy here with the resulting boxes having superb definition.
Finally the numerous tie downs and straps can be attached to the hull sides as required.
This is a nicely detailed update set that adds many fine details to the Tamiya kit with the engine deck grills being the most important and it is up to you to decide how adventurous you want to be with the other details supplied. But using all the parts will certainly add considerably to the final appearance of the model with the fenders allowing realistic damage to be included if you wish.
It would be advisable to have some experience working with small etched parts as this set requires a fair bit of surgery and additional work to fit some of the parts.
Thanks to Jan from Hauler Shop for the review set.
Page created 5 August 2005