MAC Distribution Horch 108 (Kfz. 70) – thoughts after assembling two of them…

December 19, 2009

In an earlier post about this kit, I discussed good and points about this kit after having weashed and primed it for assembly.

I then provided some more commentary about this kit after completion, in this post.

Now, having just today put the finishing touches on the second one I purchased, I’d like to discuss the biggest problem with this kit in more detail.

My major gripe about this kit concerns the assembly of the axles to both the car’s chassis and to it’s wheels. All four wheels have their own individual axles in this kit, each axle being about 1 cm long and individually connecting to the chassis.

The connection of each axle to both chassis and wheel requires expert modeller’s skills, kitbashing or clamps & spirit levels to ensure the axles are at exact right angles and levels.
Why do I state this? Well, in connecting each axle to the chassis, the axle simply rests flush against the chassis frame. It does not slide into a hole in the chassis or have some sort of a peg or key on the end of the axlet hat is held neatly in place by a shaped groove in the chassis. It just sits there, nothing to fix or hold it in place, so it can easily end up not staying at a rigght angle to the chassis.
To ensure it is correctly glued at right angles, you need to use clamps and a ‘modellers mate’ or ‘modeller’s hands’ or some other set of devices to keep everything held in place. If there were just two long axles, one for the front wheels and one for the back wheels, all this fuss could be avoided. When I come to assemble the 4 Horch 108 passenger cars (to carry a platoon of Panzergrenadiers) that are sitting in the to-do pile, I’m going to use two pieces of brass rod as axles, and use very fine drillbits to ensure all sits snugly and well to the chassis.
To be fair, there is a sort of frame that you are meant to glue on over the the axles once youve got them in place, but my experience in assembling the first Horch AA car showed that the axles can still end up at not on right angles/horizontal due to gravity pulling them… this results in wheels that don’t rest properly on the surface under them – one or more will be off the ground or too far below the other three, requiring the offending whee/sl to filed down so all 4 wheels are touching the ground, with a plastic axle breaking in the process (yes, that has happened with both vehickes, requiring extra drilling, more painstaking re-glueing with modeller’s mates keeping everything at right angles and the kits held up for 24 hours while waiting to ensure that the glue bond had completed cured).

I’ve discussed the connection (via good glueing) of the axles to the chassis – now to discuss the connection of the axle to the respective wheel.
As with connecting to the chassis, there is no peg-and-hole arrangement, or key-and-groove arrangement…just a slight depression in the flat surface of the inner hubcap where the end of the axle is meant to rest and be glued. Again, you need to have all the right tools, equipment or whatever you use to make sure the wheels end up at perfect right angles to the axle and the well the wheel sits in. Otherwise, all four wheels won’t rest properly on the ground, you’ll have to try filing them, leading to something bending or breaking, etc, etc.
I used a fairly fine drillbit and drilled into the hubcab, to create my own peg-and-hole arrangement with the axle sliding snugly and holding well in the hubcab.
However, I’m going to use two brass rod axles with holes drilled into the hubcabs with the Horch 108 passenger cars as I’m sure this will get a perfect result first time with a lot less fiddling and frustration.

The rest of assembling these cars is fairly pedestrian, until you come to the photoetched brass rear-view mirrors and the like. I glued them on to the first car but found they bent and broke too easily, so for wargaming I would advocate simply forgoing them or using sturdy plastic rearview mirrors and width indicators left over from other kits or kitbashed from leftover sprue. Display modellers – I know you’ll ignore this.

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