Tuesday, October 23, 2012

ACE kit 72285 GAZ-M-415 Pickup truck

ACE kit 72285 GAZ-M-415 Pickup truck

After the ACE Opel Olympia, I was in the mood for another small softskin. I've had the ACE GAZ pickup truck in my stash for awhile, so decided to get it underway. These were built prior to WW2, and were for civilian use, & military use. When WW2 began the civilian models were pressed into russian army service. Some fell intact into german hands, and there are period photos of these trucks in german use during the war.

About the kit

The kit contains 3 sprues of polystyrene parts, a small set of etch, a small piece of clear acetate for windows and an instruction sheet. No decals are included. The instructions suggest 3 paint finishes, a pre war white colour scheme for a police vehicle, an early war colour scheme of gloss black for a vehicle impressed into army service, and a middle war colour scheme in green for a vehicle in army service.

The Build

The underneath of the chassis is a straightforward build with no complications, though most parts need a scrape around the edges with a sharp blade to remove cast lines.

The cabin is a bit more problematic. After the edges are scraped the 4 major parts of the cabin and engine area fit reasonably well, but the two parts that make up the bonnet assembly have poorly cast detail around the window area and down the centre of the bonnet. The instructions give a clear idea how this should look, as does the site which has scale plans  http://www.smcars.net/forums/gaz/37077-gaz-m-415-pickup-1939-41-a.html.

I had no choice but to sand off the irregularly cast details to smooth, then filled the area & sanded it smooth.

A similar poor join was encountered with the roof and back wall of the cab which also got sanded, filled and sanded again.

Next was a coat of acrylic paint on the roof and bonnet to ensure that my filler and sanding blended perfectly into the plastic

Then using plans (in the link above) as a guide I rebuilt the sanded off details with plastic card and rod cut to shape

 Update 27 October 2012. Next the dashboard, steering wheel and column, gear change levers, and seats were fitted, painted and the cab roof and rear were joined to the door and bonnet assembly. The windscreen will be fitted before the cab is affixed to the chassis. The door frames were scribed to make them deeper as the cast of these lines is quite light, and the brass louvred engine panels were affixed. Then a light spray of diluted Tamiya enamel XF-1 was applied over most of the parts, as a kind of pre shading.

 A couple of hours later I sprayed a base coat of diluted Humbrol enamel, Matt 226 trying to give a lighter coat to the areas that naturally fall in shade and a heavier coat on the areas that are usually exposed to natural light, primarily being the flat or horizontal surfaces.

Update 01 November 2012.  I have now test fitted the wheels to make sure all is even, added quarter windows to the cab doors, and a window to the rear cab wall. I have also made brass rails for the tray, as these will always look better than plastic. Vehicle has a partial wash of Citadel Badab Black to darken some areas. Painting is not complete yet. And still need to add headlights, front window, window wiper and other small details to the front and rear.

Update 04 November 2012.  I have now fitted the headlights and rear and front numberplates. Odd that the kits doesn't supply and decals to put on the numberplates so I painted them brown for now. The lower surfaces and areas have all been lightly sprayed with diluted Model Master 'Italian Sand' enamel paint to look a little dirty.

For the windscreen surround I used an etch window frame from the GAZ M-1 Emka that was kindly sent to me by Ilian Filipov. This makes the front window area much neater. I cut out the acetate clear window outline supplied in the kit and its a perfectly neat fit within the etch frame. I used a tiny amount of liquid super glue in each corner, applied with the point of a toothpick, to hold it in place. I then masked off the area that the window wiper would clear and sprayed light dust (again the 'Italian Sand' enamel paint over the rest of the window to make it look dirty. The kit does come with an etch window wiper which requires the drilling of a tiny hole above the window frame, to allow it to be attached. Just one window wiper as per an 'austerity' war time economy.

Conclusion. This kit makes into a very nice looking small truck. The poor moulding on the bonnet near the front window was a drawback,otherwise this would have been a neat 'Out of the Box build'. As per my build log, it wasn't very hard to tidy it up with some evergreen card and fine rod.. I'd suggest that an etch window frame is also almost a must on this vehicle, and the absence of number plate decals is odd. There are plenty of photos on the web of this vehicles in war time and pre and post war use, which also helps with the build. Pictures below.

Friday, October 19, 2012

ACE kit 72505 1937 Opel Olympia Staff Car (Cabriolet)

ACE kit 72505 1937 Opel Olympia Staff Car (Cabriolet)

I'm a big fan of wheeled soft skins, particularly the small passenger cars of the 1930s and 40s.
Not many small passenger vehicles kits are available in 1/72 scale, so this release was a welcome one for me.

About the kit.  4 Sprues of parts, a small set of decals and an instruction kit comprise the contents in the box.

On first sight the casting is fairly typical of ACE, sprue attachments to parts are quite solid. A small amount of flash is on some of the small pieces.

One thing stands out straight away with the pieces. Two different bonnets and radiator grilles are supplied. From checking the web it seems there were three different types of the Olympia, two with a more rounded bonnet and grille, and another version with a more squared bonnet and grille. This kit builds the squared version. Note that the vehicle sides don't allow building of the rounded version, the sides are on their own sprue, and evidently another release is planned with differing sides to accommodate the rounded grille and bonnet. Checking the website Kfz. der Wehrmacht,  the rounded version parts supplied here are for the  Opel Olympia K38 built 1937 to 1940 & 1942 to 1943. The version in this kit is the Opel Olympia made from 1935 to 1937.

Also two differing roof types are supplied - one is a soft top (for this build) the other is a hard top. This kit is the soft top and the kit can be assembled with the soft top roof up or down. And differing types of bumper bars are also on the sprues.

Also the sprues include two sets of wheels, one with solid rims, the other with tiny holes around the rim. Again, according to the website Kfz. der Wehrmacht, the solid rims are the 1935 model and the holed rims are the 1937 model.

The Build. Typical of ACE instructions, the build commences with the underside of the chassis. This part of the build is quite straightforward & hassle free.

Next is the interior. The front seats have a frame, that just needed a light scrape with an exacto blade. The pleating on the rear seat was not sharply cast, but I don't see this as a negative, the pleats can easily be scribed if more definition is desired.

The gear stick was not very rounded and had a bit of flash on it. I bent a piece of wire to replace it with and attached a water filter ball with liquid superglue for a gear knob.

The outer walls were then assembled, with dashboard/firewall. The steering column was replaced with wire. I almost  missed the dashboard, which is included as a separate part.

Another cool thing about this kit is that interior detail is cast on the inside of the doors - which includes door handles, window winders and map pockets. These are not badly cast considering this model is so tiny it would fit inside a matchbox. Those building the kit with the "soft top" down could always cut off and replace the handles with bent wire for a really good look.  Also the outside of the doors have separate door handles, supplied in the kit, which could also be replaced with wire, for a better look.

The affixing of the bonnet and radiator was the most difficult part of the assembly. As the parts are cast quite thick, and with some uneven edges, a scrape with an exacto blade was needed along all edges, then further gentle scraping and sanding to get the bonnet, radiator and sides all places correctly in relation to each other. I possibly removed a little too much from the bonnet, as I then had to fill the area rear of the headlights to get a smooth even shape.

The only other major body component to add was the boot, which also required a bit of filler, as period photos show this was moulded into the body, with no visible join. Then Lifecolor acrylic Antharcite Gray was brush painted over the model to identify any areas where joins or filler needed imrpovement (though I still missed a few spots that I will fix)< then a basic paint job was applied, Humbrol enamel Matt 94, sprayed lightly. I decided to go with a mid-late war camouflage scheme.

Next bands of Humbrol enamel Matt 113 ( red brown) and 80 (green) were sprayed in irregular bands. The canopy was test fit, it needs a little sanding to get a better fit. As well as working on the canopy, still small details to add, and more work on the paint job needed.

Update 23 October 2012. I wasn't too happy with how the canopy looked on the vehicle (see above photos) , so I decided to make this 'canopy down' after all. This required a touch up of the paint job inside, but no other internal changes. Externally I added the front and rear bumper bars, front and rear number plates, Notek light, & rear indicators. I then painted the radiator grille Anthacite Grey (Lifecolor Acrylic, as well as the headlight covers. When the radiator grille was dry I lightly dry brushed it with Citadel Chainmail, to bring out the very faint detail a bit. A front window was cut from clear acetate, the side windows were left down. Number Plate decals were added, and window wipers made from brass etch (courtesy of Ilian Filipov) wered added also. The external window handles in the kit are not too bad, but I made my own in two pieces from stretched sprue. These still need painting when the glue has dried

Conclusion - despite its diminutive size, this vehicle has quite good detail. A few fit issues, but overall a good kit, and a very welcome addition to my collection, at present at rest on a diorama.