Thursday, January 19

Paul's Build Guide of Panda Hobby's 35th scale 9K330 "Tor" Air Defence System

So Paul goes into his build of the Panda Hobby 9K330 “Tor” Air Defence System after his In-box review of the kit. It is looking pretty good so far – bu the proof is in the building of a kit – so let's see how Paul went with his construction build guide of this massive Anti-Aircraft Missile System...

Build Guide: 9K330 "Tor" Air Defence System
Manufacturer: Panda Hobby
Scale: 1/35th
Type: Multimedia Kit
Price: ¥6,640/ USD $56.63/€54.22 from Hobbylink Japan
Available from Panda Hobby distributors worldwide

Pt III Painting & Weathering.

This part - Construction Guide.
To start off, I painted the inside of the lower hull in black to prevent the bare plastic from showing through with the grills on the top and right side of the upper hull. The first two steps cover the right and left side of the lower hull and it includes a variety of small details and the pneumatic suspension for each of the road wheels so there are six per side. Each of these is composed of four pieces and fit is good except there is a mould seam to clean up on each of the main sections. Step two tells you to make the two sprockets, although in a strange piece of engineering, do not push the inside and outside faces all the way together otherwise it will be too narrow for the tracks, so use the tracks to get the right width. The wheels also have a seam that will need to be cleaned up.
Step two also shows the instructions for the wrong type of track as stated in the inbox review and 114 links are needed per side so you will have some spares. It’s not hard to figure out how the provided track links and pins work although the fit of the pins is a bit inconsistent with some being tight enough to hold themselves in place, some being borderline in need of glue, and the rest definitely needing glue to hold them in, however assembling them carefully will result in two sets of fully working tracks. A dry fit showed a tight fit around the wheels so the spare links may come in handy, and I chose to leave them off until after I painted the hull.
Steps 3 to 8 covers the assorted parts that are attached to the upper hull shell. Throughout the kit, I did find there was some flash on the parts, and that anytime I encountered a fit issue, a swipe with the sanding stick to the edges of the mating surfaces would fix the problem so make sure you dry fit and test, however, the worst was yet to come as I would later discover. Again, I chose to leave off the provided copper towing cable and clear lens’ until the end to help with painting. I found the pin for the hatch H14 to be too big for the hole but with no interior detail at all, it wasn’t a hard decision to cut the pin off and glue the hatch in the closed position.
I thought another curious feature of the kit was Panda providing some details in etch but then moulding similar detail in other areas. The box inside the cage at the front right of the hull has two side panels PE4 provided in photo-etch, with grills moulded in, but the front and top faces of that box have the equivalent grills moulded on. Likewise PE3, which is a perforated panel placed on the top of the hull, and PE12 for the top of the fender sections, but on part G58 which is the box on the front left of the hull, similar detail is moulded on. While we won’t know until I’ve painted the model, I think this will result in the kit having an inconsistent look about it.
The rear of the upper hull has two perforated panels on the left and right sides provided in plastic but I think this is an area that could definitely be improved with some etch instead of the plastic provided. The fit of the rear panel to the upper hull did need some putty along the top edge, but this may be because the upper hull was warped with a slight twist, and note that the instructions for the rear plate go from right to left. PE14 goes partly around the hatch on the rear plate, although the instructions make no mention of a plastic alternative G71 which would have come in handy as a bending template if I had known about it. The arms of K26 are a very tight fit in the sleeves that they are supposed to go into on the back of the hull and needed to be filled down.
Steps 9-15 then cover the turret and take care with the instructions because a some of the details go from right to left. Here I found that Panda left out instructions to drill out holes in part H24 which isn’t such a big deal, but more importantly on H17 which will allow the tracking radar at the front to be positionable, but it is an obvious fix if you try to dry fit H34 into it. One of the side panels H14 comes with four locating pins, but H38 which is attached to it only has three holes so remove the unnecessary pin. Take note with the turret ring that rather than the usual tabs and slots to hold the turret in the ring, Panda have three clips that hold the turret in the ring which can only be removed by pushing them inwards from the bottom so if you close the upper and lower hulls, then you will not be able to remove the turret if you mount it.
The frontal tracking radar goes together quite easily although leaving off the mounts will help with painting since a lot of pictures show the radar panel to be a different colour to the hull.
I believe the target acquisition radar to be the main focal point of the model and the frame is finely moulded and the PE mesh sections look great although you will need to slight curve them to fit the frame. The centre crossbars of the radar frame in G33 interfere with the fit of G26 so I cut the crossbars off. The mesh is attached to the framework via some pinpoints that protrude from the framing so some accelerator to fix the super glue will come in handy with this delicate operation. The frame is then attached to its support G46 which has a bolt at the bottom which will allow the array to be rotated when the collar on the pylon halves G11 and G32 are glued around it. However, the instructions tell you to glue the halves together first so there will be no way of attaching the radar array unless you remove the bolt and glue it in place. There is a secondary grilled frame G70 that goes on top of the main radar array which I thought looked a bit chunky in the inbox review, however, this turned out to be flash between the grills of the frame which I thought was the biggest disappointment of the kit. Prepare yourself for some very delicate cutting in between the grills which in the end I wasn’t very happy with the results because it is difficult to tell where the flash begins and ends and I ended up with two broken grills.
So with all these subsections done, the kit is now ready for the next painting stage. I will say that the building of this kit wasn’t the easiest, but it was by no means the hardest kit I’ve put together either. The flash on the moulds definitely adds to the cleaning up of the parts but it’s nothing too difficult, although I think the flash in between the grills of the secondary radar to be the biggest weakness of the kit. The instructions are a bit cluttered, but again, nothing that is too difficult to work out without a bit of attention and planning. However, these are all basic modelling skills and the kit appears to build up quite nicely but with a little bit of work, it appears you get a great result in the end.
Looking forward to putting some colour to the model and seeing how it all goes together in the end. Stay tuned it's on the way!  

Paul Lee
Thanks to Panda Hobby for providing this kit to review