Sunday, May 21

Build Pt: II - Andy works the hull in a cut-out fashion of Takom's King Tiger Henschel Turret w/Zimmerit – “Abt.505”

Andy's build of the new King Tiger from Takom in 35th scale is underway, Today we see the second part of the build and the cutaway process come to form in the completion of the hull interior - see how he did it in today's build guide Pt.II.

Sd.Kfz.182 King Tiger Henschel Turret w/Zimmerit – “Abt.505”From: Takom
Kit# 2047
1/35th scale
Plastic sprues,
photo-etched details
Individual track links
Full interior
Hatches can be built open and closed
Decals for 2 variants inside
Price - £57, ¥7,520, US$72, €64 from Hobbylink Japan
Soon to be available from Takom’s Distributors Worldwide.

- In-Boxed: Takom’s 35th scale King Tiger Henschel Turret w/Zimmerit 
- Build Guide Pt I: Takom's 35th scale King Tiger Henschel Turret w/Zimmerit 

-Today: Build Guide Pt II: Takom's 35th scale King Tiger Henschel Turret w/Zimmerit 

Tiger Tales Pt. 2
The stars have wheeled through the cosmos, the constellations subtly changing over the millennia. Mighty empires have risen, only to crumble to dust in the fullness of time, and here, at the end of all things, we finally get around to part 2 of the Takom King Tiger build.

Yes, it's been a fair old while since we last sniffed the heady scent of styrene and glue on the mighty KT, but after consulting an ancient Mayan calendar to check where we left off, it's time to crack on with the build.
Last time, we built up the fighting compartment interior, and we'll continue now with the engine. First up is the main block, and you'll need to pay attention to the instructions here, as the two halves of the block don't have any locating pins. At first you might think that the halves are simply butt jointed together, but in fact, they need to be slightly off-set. It's simpler to add the top plate (part Q22) to one-half of the block first, which will make it far easier to correctly align the other half.
The rest of the detail parts can then be added, although here I left the cylinder head covers separate, as it would be easier to paint them while they were off the main block. With a lot of this kit, you do need to think ahead about what parts need to be painted before assembly, and what can be built up into sub-assemblies for painting later.
Speaking of the exhausts, Takom supply the internal sections of the pipes as solid rods. This is fine if you're closing up the engine bay, or just leaving it open from above. As I'm doing this build as a cut-away though, I'll have the left-hand pipe exposed, so I cut off the kit 
While working on the engine, there are quite a few small assemblies that are built up, then added to the main engine block later in the built. This can sometimes lead to fit issues, as the location points aren't that precise. A case in point was the pipe attached to the top of the oil tank. This simply butt-joints to the top of the tank, but the exact orientation for the pipe isn't that clear. I attached it in a vertical position, but after adding the tank to the engine, it was clear that the pipe was in the wrong position. The top of the pipe was sitting on the outside of the pipework running across the top of the engine when it should have been angled to the inside of that pipework,
Fortunately, I was able to snap off the pipe and reattach it in the correct position. None of this would have been necessary if the pipe had had a locating tab that ensured it could only be fitted in the correct position. I encountered quite a few instanced like this during the build, so make sure to check ahead in the instructions to see how the various sub-assemblies fit before permanently glueing anything.
The rest of the tanks and pipework went on a little easier, but again the locations aren't always clear, and it takes a little trial and error to get everything to line up. Before fitting all these ancillaries I gave the main engine block a coat of AMMO Schwarzgrau.
With the bulk of the engine parts in place, the rest of the detail painting was done with the appropriate colours from the AMMO Interior Colours set. The aluminium (A.Mig-194) in particular was very nice to work with, leaving a realistic metallic look to the parts.
The air filter was base coated in Cremeweiss, with a little chipping added using a pale grey. It was then given some dirt and grime weathering with various enamel washes.
The air filter was added to the engine block, then the whole engine was given some weathering. Rust coloured pigments were added to exhausts, fixed in place with enamel washes. The last thing to add was the orange placard on the filter. Takom doesn't supply a decal for this, so it was masked off and sprayed. A few squiggles were added with a pencil to represent the text.
The instructions tell you to add the engine compartment sidewalls to the hull before sliding the engine into place between them. Given the number of pipes and other fittings that need to line up with corresponding holes in the sidewalls, I decided it would be easier to fit the engine between the sidewalls first, before installing the whole assembly in the hull.
Getting the engine into place caused a bit of damage to the paint on the sidewalls, which need touching up. Once the assembly is in place in the hull, you realise how little of the engine will be seen, even when leaving the upper hull panels off.
Once the engine was in place it became clear that parts of it were not sitting square. This is a knock on effect of the sheer number of parts that need adding. If only a couple are a few fractions of a millimetre out, it can have a compound effect later in the build. Getting everything perfectly lined up isn't easy, as many of the connection points have some play in them. In hindsight, I should probably have sat the engine temporarily in place in the hull while attaching some of the smaller components.
There are a couple of small drive shafts that I added at this stage too. Takom tells you to attach these to the engine earlier in the build, but again without any clear indication of orientation. As they need to align with holes in the sidewalls, it was much simpler (if a little fiddlier) to add them with the engine already installed.
We're not done with the pipework yet, as there's a whole load of it that need to be added to the top of the engine compartment. The fit on these was actually pretty good, so you can paint them all first, then drop them into position.
At this point, I added the main drive shaft to the fighting compartment. The instructions recommend adding before installing the engine and, in truth, this is the best time to add it. I made life hard for myself by adding later, as mounting pins at each end need to slide into holes in the engine at one end and the gearbox at the other. Doing that with both the engine and gearbox fitted isn't easy, and I had to cut off one of the mounting pins to let the shaft slide into position.
With the drive shaft in place, I could add the main floor plating to the fighting compartment. The floor plates are made up of four sections and, when built up, they were a little too tight to slide into place in the hull. I had to shave down each side until the plating would drop into position.
Once I knew the floor plate would slot in without problems, I painted it up and added some weathering with pigments, together with a few drops of Streaking Grime to represent oil and grease spills.
The last of the main interior parts to add are the radiator assemblies and fuel tanks. These were painted up and installed on either side of the engine. They were given a little weathering using the same pigments and enamel washes as the rest of the interior. Don't forget to add the two little decals that sit on top of the radiator housings.
Looking from the back, with everything in place, you can see just how crammed in it all is, to the point that the sidewalls are actually bowing out. It's hard to say if this is down to me miss-aligning some parts or an inherent issue with the fit of the kit. I think in truth it's simply down the sheer amount of parts that need to be shoe-horned in. If anyone is slightly out of place, it throws everything else out. If I was fitting the full upper hull, this would no doubt be a problem, as I think I'd struggle to get it to sit cleanly over the lower hull without leaving gaps. As it stands, doing the hull as a cut-away, I should get away with it.
Speaking of cut-aways, it's time I actually did cut something away. I'm starting with the rear hull plate, as with that in place, it'll help when it comes to fitting the main upper hull. The only real criteria I used when marking the cut was that I wanted to retain enough of the plate to be able to fit the right-hand exhaust pipe, while still showing as much of the engine as possible. I also wanted the cut edges to be quite angular, rather that the wavy outline cutaways you sometimes see.
With the line marked on the plate in pencil, I made the first cut with a hacksaw, using a mitre block to keep the cut straight. As the hacksaw leaves quite a rough edge, I made this cut just to the outside edge of the pencil mark, then did the final trimming with a craft knife and files. 
It does seem like sacrilege to wantonly chop up nicely moulded parts like this, but the end result should justify the violence against an innocent kit.
Finally, we've got a bit of the cut-away work done but, before I could continue with the upper hull, there was one one last thing to add to the interior; the ammo racks.

These have been moulded as individual track sections, which are stacked up to create the full racks, with the ammo rounds themselves moulded in with the racks. To be honest, these are the weakest part of the kit. The detailing is quite soft, and the rack sections aren't very realistic, being essentially solid lumps.
Takom have included some very nice PE end caps for the rounds, and these would have been a great feature if the shells were individual mouldings. 
As it is, you may as well leave them off, as the racks have a PE panel attached at the back which completely covers the end caps, and that panel itself is partly obscured by the internal bulkhead in the hull.
Once they're built up, the racks look reasonably good, but I think Takom would have been better providing the racks and ammo separately. To neaten the seams between the rack sections, I re-skinned the sides of the racks with plastic strip. You can also see in the picture that I've missed a couple of seam lines on the shells. Cleaning those mould lines up is quite a tedious job, again not helped by the way they're moulded.
Painting the rack assemblies isn't easy either, and if you're spraying it all, you'll need to do a lot of masking. In my case I sprayed the whole lot in AMMO Cremeweiss, then hand painted the shells to avoid the masking job. It's not the neatest job but, given the mouldings, it's adequate enough. The right-hand racks were glued in place, but I'll leave the left-hand ones loose so they can be removed to see more of the interior.
Time to get back to hacking plastic now, and sort out the upper hull cut-aways. Like the rear hull panel, the only real criteria I had was to keep as much interior visible as possible, while retaining enough of the upper hull to give the whole thing some rigidity. I decided to leave off the panel for the forward hatches all together, although I retained enough of the glacis plate to fit the bow machine gun. I did keep the whole of the turret ring, as I wasn't sure if the turret would stay in place if part of it had been removed.
The glacis plate has a separate panel added on the inside to replicate the full thickness of the armour. This left a gap between the two plates which I plugged with lengths of styrene rod. The remaining gap was filled with putty and finished off with a torch-cut texture.
The interior of the upper hull was painted, then fitted in place on the lower hull. In hindsight I probably could have removed a little more, especially on the glacis, but as it is you can at least see some of the time and effort that went into the interior.
And that wraps up part 2 of the King Tiger build. Next time we'll be tackling tracks and turrets (well, just the one turret), and, fingers crossed, you won't have to wait quite as long this time.

Andy Moore
available from Takom’s Distributors Worldwide. Thanks to them for sending this kit to build & review.