Back in April you saw my first completed MAC Distribution 1:72 Horch 108/Kfz. 70, kit number 72057.

Well, here’s the second one, completed thanks to people who are CNC experts: . This time I chose Dark Angels Green, to represent access to better camouflage paint paste and, rather than painting the camouflage as stripes or slashes, I chose to do spots or splodges, which was a fairly common quick (or lazy) camouflage pattern.

My copy of “Encyclopaedia of German tanks of World War II” by Chamberlain & Doyle list this vehicle as being ‘2cm FlaK30 oder 38 (Sf) auf schwere geländegängiger Einheits PKW’.

Here is what MAC say.

It would seem, then, that it’s designation  should be Kfz. 81.

I wanted to get good track sag for my 1/72 scale Panzer V Panthers (kit# 03107 by Revell), as evidenced in some of the photos over at “Juggernauts of the Second World War”. The Revell kit I’m using has length-and-link tracks, and very nice they are too. To get good track sag, I knew I’d have to coat the top length piece of tracks liberally with glue in order to heat it and slightly melt it into shape. This meant using a powerful superglue.

I had been using Flash Cyanoacrylate (thick mixture) but it was too thick…almost like putty…and that was going to be completely inappropriate for what I wanted. I didn’t want dried lumpy bits everywhere or ‘blocky’ or ‘clogged up’ tracks. I needed a extremely fast curing superglue that was less viscous.

I was advised to try Zap’s Zap-a-gap, medium. It’s not too watery – I was advised that the ‘thin’ that they make can, in the hands of someone unused to it (ie. me!), easily run and ruin work.

It did the job perfectly, good track sag was obtained on my models to match the photo evidence I had of actual track sag on these vehicles: (yes, that’s three kits on top of each other). A nice gentle curve above and then resting on the tops of the roadwheels.

As well as Zap-a-gap, another essential tool was required – some things to hold/wedge the tracks in place while the glue cured. Here’s a photo of what I used: – pieces of bamboo skewers that you buy to make satay skewers/shashliks and pieces of wooden disposable chopsticks/kwaizu/hashii, all cut into 3/4 inch lengths. Wedged in between the track and the body, it held the tracks in contact with the roadwheels at the right place and with the curing effects of Zap-a-gap (the slight melting that allows some re-shaping) I got perfect track sag.

***

The small river/stream will have to wait a few days or weekends, sorry all. I’ve got too much on the work table again – all these Panthers, that last Horch AA car and four PaK 40 crews that have been sitting round waiting for paint and basing.

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.

I commenced work on those Revell Panthers a couple of weekends back because I’d finished those three Hasegawa 251/9 ‘Stummels’ – they had just been sitting around on my hobby table waiting for me to stop running around so busily and take a couple of piccies of them. The one time I was ready to photograph them, the weather wasn’t – heavy rain pounded down all morning. My photos are all taken using morning sunlight, but in the shade and without flash. That way, the lighting and colouring looks as natural as possible. With pounding rain, the possibility of photographing the 251/9s was thwarted.

These are similar to the 234/3 ‘Stummel’ that I did two months ago – the 75mm L24, its gun laying mechanism & gun bed are all identical. Assembling the kit was very straightfoward. I elected not to put any crew figures in – the Italeri chap I put in with the 251/22 was a bit too big for the vehicle (ie. his scale was not 1/72…possibly 1/70) and I didn’t want the same odd look with these…but since I have a surplus of crew figures from the Hasegawa 234/2 Puma kits, I might use one of those figures in the future, as they are to scale with their vehicle.

How many more to do? The Panzerfaust army list for Panzergrenadier companies gives me a pair of 251/9’s as a heavy weapons cannon section for s standard company.  A Panzergrenadier heavy weapons company has a cannon company, comprised of three sections with each section having two 251/9s.

I’ve done my standard heavy weapons cannon section (numbered 241 & 242) and one of the heavy weapons company vehicles (numbered 251). Here  are 241 & 242:

Now all three: 

and here’s a view from above: .

If I was to go completely silly, I have five more to go. Only if I can get them on a big discount or at a swap & sell…

Now, some extra resources I found online for this project were:

  1. colour and b&w photos by The 9th Reenactment Society of their own ‘Stummel’,
  2. a walkaround with colour photographs of the 251/9 museum piece from the Deutsches Panzermuseum in  Munster on a site called “The Panzer Tank Walkaround or Panzer Photo Gallery” (there are other Panzers there to look at, too!); and lastly
  3. the same as #2. immediately above but taken by a different photographer. Also with more photos.

I really like the green cammo scheme on the Munster 251/9…I might try to use it on the Panthers when they are ready.

***

Through the superior firepower (well, superior CNC & milling tools of a colleague) I have been able to get an identical replacement part for the MAC Distribution Horch 108 (Kfz. 70) & 20mm Flak 30 that I shelved back in the first half of the year due to losing a critical piece of the gun bed. I have nearly finished assembly and will do a similar camouflage scheme but with Dark Angels Green instead of Goblin Green.

I figured with all these fumes from assembling 7 Panthers, what harm was one more kit going to do?

It’s not been easy to assemble, either (just like the first time). I’m not looking forward to working on the four MAC Horch 108 passenger cars I’ve got!

AA is A-OK.

May 19, 2009

Two AA vehicles are complete…so that’s one more hurdle to having a complete German force for Panzerfaust: Iron Fist. The SdKfz 7/1 is ready to roll alongside the Horch 108: SdKfz 7 1 1

In fact, in that photo, the tractor is seperate to the AA gun. As with the Horch 108, I decided not to glue the AA gun into place. Also, with this AA gun, it can swivel through 360 degrees (however the elevation is fixed, unfortunately). This means both guns could be used out of their vehicles, representing dug-in AA positions – akin to the Italeri set, 7026.

Here’s a photo of the 7/1 with gun on tray: SdKfz 7 1 2

As promised – here are the confusing sections of the assembly instructions for MAC Distribution’s kit #72057.

You’re happily glueing away when you get to this: horch-fixed

If you are “in the zone”, you might go ahead and follow that unhesitatingly. After all, the box cover art shows the vehicle with its rear tray sides up.

A few panels later, though, you see this: horch-confusion

Suddenly, you’re being asked to glue those rear tray walls down flat! How, when you’ve already glued the walls in vertically?

Panels 23 & 24 then have you realising…you actually have a choice about whether you want those tray walls vertical – in travelling mode, or horizontal – in action mode. But if you’ve followed panel 12 as it appears, you either have to live with the vehicle being in travel mode, or you’ve got to get your sprue cutters out when you see 23 and do some mighty surgery.

Why couldn’t MAC have avoided the problems raised by panels 12, 23 & 24 by simply following what Revell do when they give you a choice (see panel 9): revell-gets-it-right – show both assembly options at the same time and further alert you to the options by giving you a nice, big “?” to help you realise what’s going on?!

MAC Distribution – if you’re listening – please take this on board.

My advice to all of you – always read the assembly instructions in full before commencing assembly, to help identify and prevent problems like this occurring.

PS – I griped in earlier posts about how MAC only shows assembly from one perspective or angle. Sometimes it’s hard to see where pieces really should be going, if they don’t give you a cut-away view/transparent view or an extra view from another angle. I hope you can see that from the examples above! MAC, a further thing for you to consider implementing.

After all, your rivals can do it…

horch-108-sep-aa-gun Here is the heavy car with the 20mm gun on the ground.

horch-108-with-aa-gun-in-back Here it is as it should be, with gun in back.

So, there it is. The MAC distribution 1:72 Horch 108/Kfz. 70, kit number 72057. You’ll have to go back through all the threads outlining its construction to see the problems I had with it. Yes, it has superfine detail, but it’s unnecessary. In fact, in this finished version, you’ll note that there are no wing mirrors. Both were edged brass and hair-thick…during painting, the left side one broke off. I contemplated glueing it back on but was so fed up with all the previous effort to glue both on that I decided to go the other way. In for a penny, in for a pound…may as well be done for a sheep as for a lamb. I cut the remaining one off, and now I feel happier knowing that each time I want to handle that unit, I don’t have to worry about the mirrors. It’s become more robust and suitable for gameplay by removing that wonderful but excessive detail.

A simple paint job – Citadel’s Desert Yellow with some streaks of Goblin Green as a simple camouflage. A good dust coat, then some splattered dirty water…to suggest that Autumn is not far away.

I must say I was happy with the decals – you get three (3, count ’em) white GrossDeutschland stalhelms (only need two) and nice numberplate decals that benefit from slight trimming so they fit the numberplates on the kit.

It’ll be a while before I tackle my four MAC Distribution Horch 108 Type 40 (#72054) heavy car passenger car kits, though. I have checked that all pieces are intact on sprues in all four boxes, so no excuses for missing pieces!

Oh, and I know I promised to show you the problems I have with the assembly sheet. That’ll be next post.

Out of the blue

March 29, 2009

Soooo…I was going to start assembly of the second Horch 108 yesterday, knowing that I was going to have to find a replacement arm to support the AA gun. I was hoping to kitbash one out of spare styrene sheet carefully cut and carved with a scalpel or by cutting and carving a suitable piece off old sprues from other kits (don’t ever through them out, folks!). I glued on a few pieces for the undercarriage and then prepared to do the axles – only to find one of the two axle covers was missing.

I spent a full fifteen minutes looking everywhere. Nope. Gone. No idea where, either. I could’ve sworn I had it when I begun assembly of the first Horch 108.

I even cut open and searched through the vacuum cleaner bag…not there. There were screws, bits of dried polyfiller, dead insects and a curtain rod end, but nothing resembling either missing piece from this kit. Damn.

It doesn’t feel right to assemble a kit without such an important part, even when it won’t be visible during play…so I’ve put that kit away. Hopefully I can pick up an unwanted kit at a swap n’ sell and combine the two to make a perfect kit.

I still need a second AA vehicle. Last year’s IPMS Swap n’ sell at Ashburton saw me purchase a Sd.Kfz. 7/1 20mm AA vehicle. It’s a Revell kit, but the comments over at On the Way! simply state the following: “Re-boxing of Hasegawa’s fairly poor kit. Vinyl tracks.”

Yesterday I washed and dried the sprues. Today I undercoated them with the intention to commence assembly tonight. Looks like it should be a quick kit to assemble. It should do the job as a second AA vehicle for Panzerfaust, too – given so many of our games involve ad-hoc German companies! On Friday night Peter and I had our first game for this year – more of that in other post.

…and then it was suddenly finished. Here is the basic view, of the assembled kit in its undercoat of Chaos Black:

horch-and-aa-gun1

I took that photo on the angle so that you can see the driver’s side rear-view mirrors, which are actually etched brass pieces.

Here is the view from above:

horch-and-gun-above

Yes, the detail is extremely good. You can see that on the bonnet, and with the grilles on the back half of the chassis. How all that very fine detail will come out with more paint on it…well, I worry. I think that very fine detail will be lost.

Final photo – with the AA gun set up on the back:

horch-and-gun-as-unit

Why did I commence this post with “..and then it was suddenly finished”? All weekend I had been preparing myself for the very fiddly job of trying to glue on the very fine and tiny (and hence, impractical) etched brass pieces to support the AA gun shield, which I knew was going to be time-consuming and I would get glue all over my fingers, onto my clothes and possibly even across doorknobs and fittings of my house. When I had girded my loins and picked up the sprue cutter to cut off the gun shield and make a start, I found (after fifteen solid minutes of checking, re-checking and re-re-checking) that no gun shield is supplied.

If you remember, I’d bought two boxes of this kit. No gun shield on either set of sprues, so it’s not as if I’d lost it.

After all searching confirmed this, I joyously realised that all that hoopla had been neatly removed! All I had to do was apply what remaining etched brass bits there were (the etched brass bits is mostly the last stages of assembly) and I was done. On went the number plates, the towing hooks and the rearview mirrors (yes, even they are etched brass and IN TWO PIECES – you have to assemble them and that’s a pain) and it was finished. Done. A giant boil lanced and all pus extracted.

Painting it will be fairly easy – I’ll just go with Dark Yellow with a mild green cammo scheme. I’m thinking of drybrushing those grilles to preserve the fine detail as much as is possible.

To sum up this kit so far -1) they aren’t kidding on the box when they say for ages 14 & over, and 2) Henk of Holland‘s comment about AMC: ” Warning !!! The AMC plastic kits are poor and the passing of the parts is not correct. It is not easy to see on the instructionsheet on which place you have to glue the parts. Some parts need a lot of reworking. For me are this kits not adviced for a starter, but more for advanced modellers with expierence in scratchbuilding. The kits are too expensieve for the quality“.

MAC’s kits are not poor quality, they are very precise with lots of detail. I did have some issues with parts correctly fitting, hence the need for scalpel and file work to make them fit. The instruction sheet – I’ve talked a lot about this, I’ll show you what’s wrong specifically in another post. MAC kits certainly are for advanced modellers – which I don’t think I am. Tread carefully and slowly, and check everything first before applying any glue.

While logging in to YouTube, it recommended the following video for me. I normally ignore these recommendations because they are usually far, far off key…but this one was good.

Modellers, take your cues from that. I liked the simple yet realistic camouflage scheme and that it had a few side skirts. But that gun…deadly.

Now, Eastern Suburbs Scale Modelling Club had their annual second-hand kit sale. Best purchase of the day for me was a platoon of UM’s Hetzers (Commander’s version) for $20 AUD. I was reliably informed by the very knowledgeable Neil G. that the external differences between this unit and a standard unit should only be an extra radio mount, so I won’t get yelled at for fielding four of these as standard vehicles.

Lastly, today was the second most intensive day spent working on the Horch 108…which isn’t saying much. I’m not enjoying building it and I’m especially annoyed that of the only piece to go missing, it had to be one that holds the gun in place on its mount. Why not a freakin’ wheel?! Got plenty of spares of those in my leftovers collection…

I don’t know why this kit has to be so troublesome. Maybe tomorrow I’ll be able to post a bit more on it.