Saturday, July 9

Build review Pt II: Takom’s 1/35 Type 69-II Iraqi Medium Tank

No jokes about loving a 69 – I won’t do it! Clayton’s build of Takom’s 35th scale type 69 II build is underway. We have already seen what’s in the box & we will we see how it’s painted later. Here in Pt. II we will see how the kit goes together…


Build review Pt II: Type 69-II Iraqi Medium Tank 
From: Takom
Kit# 2054
1/35th scale
Plastic sprues, photo-etched material
Decals for four variants inside
BUILD REVIEW
Again, I will start with a disclaimer. I am far from an expert on this tank, and in fact, to be completely honest, I knew nothing of the Type-69 before picking up this kit. I am a modeller and an enthusiast, passionate about our hobby and I will only call it as I see it.  I do believe that since I have taken delivery of this kit, Takom has revisited the hull of the tank to clear up some minor inaccuracies. So, in brief, if there are inaccuracies in this kit, I am not the one to be calling them out. So let the build begin.

Initial Steps -
Running gear, suspension arms and the fitting to the hull of the tank are outlined in these steps. Construction is straightforward and uncomplicated. There is a reasonable amount of detail in these parts, but in reality, they will be hard to see once the model is complete in on display.  The position of all the wheels is suitable for display on a flat surface, so posing this one on rough terrain will take a little bit of work. There was a little bit of play in the positioning of these arms, so ensure they are all straight before the cement goes off.   A little bit of clean-up will be required, but nothing major.

Wheel Assemblies
The wheels are a two-part assembly with the rubber parts then capping over them. I glued the wheel sections together with the view of painting these and the rubber sections before attaching them. This will ensure a quicker and sharper paint job.

Tracks
As I mentioned in the inbox review, the tracks are supplied pre-clipped and ready to go. If you wanted to get really fanatical, you could clean the ejection marks up, but for me, I don’t believe it will make any difference to the finished model. A lot of people get a bit scared off at the thought at these individual links, but I have found, breaking them up into smaller groups of 10-15 links and glueing them with a drop of cement is a really quick and easy way to assemble these. 
Once you have made your smaller track sections, they can then all be connected.Once I had each side made, you can carefully wrap them around the drive socket and idler wheel. The glue should have softened the plastic enough to let you mould the track and include things like a sag in the track.

BE WARNED – you only have about a 15-minute window (depending on the glue you are using) to get them together and manipulate them. All of the wheels have just been dry fitted to set the track and can be easily removed for painting.

You may also notice in this photo that I have filled some moulded recesses on the hull as called out in the instructions.

Step 5 sees the top deck of the tank fitted.  This is supplied in three sections. Despite some earlier reservations, the pieces all aligned well and sat nicely in place. There is a need for a little bit of filler, but nothing drastic.

The PE engine grills fit nicely and were easy enough to handle.  I painted the internals here dark brown in case there was some show through after the actual paint went down. I have placed the transparent parts in the driver’s compartment back and will fit after painting

Steps 11 and 12 show the assembly of the right side guardrail, with the fuel tanks, tools and lighting rig.  The fine detail in the fuel lines is a nice touch and will look lovely painted up.

There are a number of holes on the outer edge of the rail which I initially thought would need to be filled, but after looking at actual reference shots, they are most definitely there on the real thing. I assume they are some form of the drainage hole.

Some of the fitting of the finer parts on the fuel tanks was a little ambiguous, but have a look at how they align with the PE brackets, and it should make sense.

The Left-hand guard is now assembled – very similar to the right but slightly different configuration.  Part of these steps is the PE shrouds for the lighting setup.  There is a bit of bending in these, but they were reasonably straightforward, but may test some. The fine braces that sit on the face will need to be refitted, though, as they were just too delicate for their own good. I have left these shrouds off to ensure paint coverage in that area.

These PE parts will be a nice addition to the model, and the checker plate pattern is very convincing.

The tracks and wheels have now been removed, ready for painting

Both side guards are now fitted to the body of the tank.  I think some of those PE brackets may have been better to fit the model after the rails were applied to the body as there were a couple of very tiny gaps where they didn’t quite align properly.  The minor concern, though, and would be very hard to see on the finished model.   Just take care to fit the brackets in the correct positions as shown in the moulding of the rails.

Steps 22/23 see the initial stages of the turret.  I have chosen to make the standard version, and not the command version of this tank, so part F3 will not be required. Smoke grenade launchers are fitted to the sides also.

The BAR armour is now assembled. This took a bit of patience to assemble squarely and cleanly. It fits nicely, but a light touch is required. Just be patient. These parts will be left off before painting and will be painted and weathered separately.

The searchlight is now fitted to the right side of the turret.  I found this quite difficult to have it sitting upright and cleanly. The brackets and the assembly was a little clunky and disappointing, so again, be patient and work reasonably quickly before your glue goes off so you can make minor adjustments.

Here you see the roof mounted commander’s machine gun. Some of the placement of the parts for this was very questionable and somewhat confusing, and I found myself taking an educated guess and just hoping I had them in the correct places.   Looked pretty good in the end.

I will focus on this weapon after at the painting stage so you can see how I have finished it.

The moulded silicone dust sleeve is now fitted to the turret, and the Laser rangefinder is connected using supa-glue. The instructions call out to drill holes in the dust sleeve and to press the legs of the rangefinder in through the holes.  As you can see from the picture, this left the rangefinder limp and pointing nowhere near the aim of the barrel.

I found this construction step disappointing and really think there could have been a far better way of doing this.  The actual tank has a mounted plate that the rangefinder sits on. I think I would have preferred that and done away with the moulded dust cover.   I would address this issue at a later stage by packing the part out with Blu-Tak and re-sculpting the underside.

Maybe I missed something crucial here and approached this the wrong way? Just beware of the issue and plan ahead to get around it. Other than that – the part looks great, and will make a nice textural additional.

I decided I didn’t like the clean nature of the guard over the exhaust outlet, so I removed it and remade one using lead foil.  The embossing was created by pressing the foil over the actual part. Once painted it should look very realistic.

All the parts are now ready for painting


The entire model then received an undercoat of Alclad White Microfiller. Ready for paint!

As mentioned, many parts were left off and will be attached at the paint stage. I wanted to ensure good access to all areas of the model.

On a side note – there is a heap of left-over parts for the spares box! It is a little daunting seeing how many there are, but rest assured; you don’t need them.

Conclusion
This was a reasonably straightforward build, however, a few questionable placements in the instructions and the issue with the range finder were a little disappointing. That said, it wouldn’t stop me from highly recommending the kit, just be aware of the issues and work with them.

The photo-etch parts are a nice addition to the model, but the bending will prove the undoing of some people not used to that medium. A little patience with the tracks and the BAR armour will serve you no end, because if you try to rush through you will just end up frustrated.

Plan ahead and think about your painting, because the steps you take during the construction phase will set you up for a smooth paint job. The shape and the lines of the tank all look very sleek to me, and I can’t wait to get some paint on this one.   Still loving the direction this one is taking.

Stay tuned for the painting and weathering review in Pt III – I can feel a chip or two on the way!



Clayton Ockerby

This kit is now available from Takom’s Distributors Worldwide. Thanks to them for sending this kit to build & review.
See more of Clayton’s work at his (all new) website “Workbench Hobbies” or join him on his Facebook page