Friday, March 31

Construction Guide: Andy takes us through his build of the KTO Rosomak w/OSS-M Turret from IBG Models

Andy Moore has already given us his insight into the 35th scale kit of KTO Rosomak w/OSS-M Turret from IBG Models. Today he gets to building the kit before he unleashes his paint brush in Part III of the article.

Construction Guide: KTO Rosomak with OSS-M Turret
Manufacturer – IBG Models
Kit Number - 35034
Scale - 1/35th
Price - ¥7,680 • $65 • £53 • €62 from Hobbylink Japan

Part II - Construction Guide
I've never built a kit from IBG before so, after being very impressed with the look of the kit in the in-box review, I was looking forward to seeing just how well the Rosomak went together. Would it be up to the standards we usually see from the Far Eastern manufacturers? Well, the box contents looked very promising, with sharp detail and a straight forward looking assembly sequence so, scalpel at the ready... let the operation begin.
The first step in the instructions deals with the wheels, and here IBG has taken the route of moulding the tyres in styrene, rather that the usual soft rubber that most manufacturers use. The whole wheel/tyre assembly has been engineered in a very clever way, with the two wheel halves moulded integrally with the sidewalls of the tyres. These are then inserted into a separately moulded tread ring, meaning maximum detail can be preserved on each face. The instructions helpfully remind you to check the tread direction, as you'll need to have the tread pattern running in a forward direction on each side of the vehicle.
The wheel/sidewall inserts are aligned by three slots which line up with corresponding tabs on the inside of the tread rings. This means you can position the wheel inserts in three possible positions to vary the orientation of the sidewall markings.
That would work fine if this was a four-wheeled vehicle but, since there are eight wheels, you're still going to get a few that end up in the same position. It's not really a big deal, and you probably wouldn't even notice, but I decided to make a small modification to ensure they were all in a slightly different position. This simply meant enlarging the slots on the wheels so that each one could be rotated to a slightly different position.
You should end up with eight wheels, four with a left-handed tread, and four right, each one with a different position for the sidewall detail. The fit on these was perfect, with no filler needed around the join between the sidewall and tread. I really like the way IBG have handled these, and much prefer them to vinyl rubber tyres, that can often be misshapen and have awkward seams to clean up, as well as being harder to paint and weather.
With the wheels together, I decided to jump ahead in the instructions and work on the chassis. This is quite a complex structure, with the left and right chassis rails needing to be built up from front and rear halves, with the two sides then joined together by 12 cross members, and finished off with front and rear end plates.
To begin with, the halves of the chassis rails were glued together on a flat surface and left to dry, to ensure they'd be absolutely straight.
Once the two rails were set, they could be joined with the cross members. I thought the easiest way to do this would be to join the rails with the two end plates, then insert the cross members one by one. This turned out to be a bad idea, as the members can't be slid into position once the rails are joined. Fortunately, the glue hadn't set on the end plates so I could pull the rails apart, after which I added all the members to one side, before adding the second rail to finish the assembly. With the chassis built up, I sat it temporarily on the lower hull while the glue dried.
The next step with the chassis is to add the upper and lower suspension swing arms. These need to be positioned precisely to allow the wheel mounts to be inserted between them and, as there's a little play in the attachment points, I added the lower swing arms first, again using a flat surface to ensure they were all level.
The transfer box and diffs for the eight wheel drive system were built up and, as each one is slightly different, they were numbered with a permanent marker to ensure they were added in the correct positions. The instructions tell you to add these in the same step as the swing arms but, as they have nothing to attach to until the prop shafts and axles are added, I left them out until the remainder of the parts were added.
From the box, the wheels aren't designed to be turned, but I always think having the wheels offset adds more visual interest to a model, and it's actually quite simple to do with this kit, and the parts don't need to be modified in any way. The wheel mounts on the front two axles were attached with a slight left-hand turn (seen here from below, so they look like they're turned right), after which the steering arms were added, with their position altered to line up with the wheel mounts.
The last parts to add to the chassis were the suspension struts. The instruction makes a vague mention about aligning the parts carefully, without actually telling you how the parts need to be aligned carefully. In fact, the tops of the struts need to line up with holes on the lower hull so, with the struts glued in place, the chassis was again temporarily attached to the lower hull, to ensure the struts dried in the correct position.
For such a complex looking assembly, the chassis went together pretty easily, and since it will plug straight onto the lower hull, I'll be able to paint the insides before permanently attaching it. It's also nice that the wheels can be modified to be in a turned position without too much work, as that's not always the case with models of wheeled vehicles.
With the chassis together, I moved on to the internal details. You get a fairly complete representation of the driver's cab and troop compartment, with all the main features included. Some smaller details are missing but, given what will be seen on the final build, I think IBG have got the balance right, supplying enough to make the interior look busy, without including hundreds of parts that you'll never see once it's all closed up.
The instructions show the troop seats being built up and mounted to a support frame, that whole sub-assembly then being fitted in the rear of the hull. To make painting easier, I attached the frame to the hull first, leaving the seats separate until they'd been painted. There are a few ejector pin marks on the area of the rear hull behind the seats. I decided to fill these, although once the seats are fitted, you can't really see them anyway.
Going by reference shots, the interior of the Rosomak is a very pale grey or off-white colour, with a darker grey on the tread plate flooring. I used AK 732 Hellgrau for the main colour, after which the smaller details were painted in by hand.
IBG have done a very nice job replicating the driver's compartment, with all the main controls and equipment boxes present. You could add more detail, but very little will be seen, especially as the driver's hatch isn't designed to be posed open.
The troop seat in the back are meant to be padded canvas, so the kit parts were given a quick rub over with a sanding stick to remove the sharp edges, and leave them looking a bit more fabric-like. They were painted with AK4007 Buff, then the frames and eyelets were picked out in black and silver.
Once the seats are installed, the rear compartment looks fine. It's maybe a bit on the basic side, but you could add some extra details like seatbelts, or just busy the area up with stowage. Although it doesn't mention it in the instructions, you can install the seats in a folded position. As I mentioned before, I think IBG have included just the right amount of detail for the interior. The only addition I would have liked to see included would be some decals for the various warning placards and the labels for the fire extinguishers.
While we're on the subject of interiors, you'll probably have noticed that big empty space on the right-hand side of the driver's compartment in the photo above. Well, that's the engine compartment, and IBG have seen fit to include a full, and very detailed engine to go in it. The problem is that absolutely none of it will be seen, as there are no openable hatches to show it off.

I did partially build up the engine, and it is very nice, so should you wish to try scratch building the open access hatches (or wait for some after-market ones to become available) you'll be able to make the most of it.
The full-size engine is actually quite colourful, so you could even scratch built a small stand to hold it, then display it next to the completed Rosomak.
With all the internals finished, I could finally close up the hull. To be honest, I was expecting to run into a few problems here. Given the number of panels and other details in the interior, I thought the upper hull would be a case of 'fits where it touches'. I was pretty surprised then, to find the upper hull simply slid into place over all the interior parts and fitted perfectly on all sides. Absolutely no filler was required at all.
The small turret was built up next, and this was another simple assembly where the parts just slotted together without fuss. It's a pretty good replica of the real thing too. There are a couple of details missing, namely the two support struts for the hatch, and technically the sidewalls should be double skinned, but the whole thing would have needed to be made from photo-etch to replicate that, so what you get is a perfectly acceptable compromise.
You get the option of a machine gun or grenade launcher for the turret, and both are well detailed. The machine gun even includes a (very) small photo-etch sight but, being a ham-fisted oaf, I managed to loose mine while removing it from the fret.
The rear doors and top hatches all feature detail on the inner faces. These can be fixed in place if you're having it all closed up, but I'll be keeping mine open, so I'll leave the doors separate for painting.
The remainder of the build is really just a case of adding the various external details. The two water thrusters that sit under the rear hull require a couple of separately moulded cables attaching. The cables are very thin and fragile mouldings, and I managed to break one while removing it from the sprue. In the end, I decided it would be simpler to replace the cabling with thin copper wire. The shrouds were mounted to the hull, but I left the props off so I could paint them separately.
The final parts to add were the various PE details, and these highlighted one of the few criticisms I had with the kit, that being the instructions which in places are rather vague. One example is the rather blurry squiggle highlighted below in step 43. There's no part number or reference as to what it is.
Looking back a few pages in the instructions, it turns out to be part 7 on the PE fret, which is a small cage that sits on the top of the hull. On the left of that, you can see the folding guide for PE part 5 which is never mentioned again in the instructions. In fact, it's the bracket for the rear convoy light, and should be attached to part E18 later in the build.
And that's the Rosomak finished and ready for paint. I've got to admit that going into this build, not having built an IBG model before, I was expecting a kit that was okay, but certainly not up to the kind of standards we'd see from the likes of Tamiya or Meng. In fact what I found was a kit that was easily up to those standards, and the finished product has really impressed me. If there is a weak point in the kit, it's the instructions, which can be a little unclear at times. Apart from that, it was a real pleasure to put together.
If you're into modern armour, then this is a great kit, and a welcome change from the usual Russian and American subjects. Stay tuned for part 3 when the Roso will get fully painted and weathered.
Andy Moore
Thanks to IBG Models for sending this kit to us for Andy to build
Andy will paint, weather and dirty this APC up in AK Interactive shades in the next part of this story, stay tuned...