Wednesday, February 28

Construction Guide: Andy puts together the 35th scale Lanchester Armoured Car from Copper State Models

Copper State Models 35th scale Lanchester Armoured Car of WWI vintage has already been reviewed by Andy Moore. Today has taken up the challenge to build that kit and we see him doing just that in his second part of the story...
In-Boxed: Lanchester Armoured Car
Manufacturer – Copper State Models
Kit Number – CSM 35001
Scale - 1/35th
Price - €44.77 from Copper State Models

In-Boxed: 1/35th scale Lanchester Armoured Car from Copper State Models

Today- Construction Guide: 1/35th scale Lanchester Armoured Car from Copper State Models
I'd not previously come across Copper State Models before seeing their announcement of the Lanchester. The subject was definitely one that piqued my interest though, so I was keen to see what it looked like in the flesh. You never quite know what you're in for when you get a kit from a manufacturer you've never tried before, but what I found during the in-box review was a very professional looking product. The moulding was neat and tidy and the assembly looked to be straightforward and logical. The real test in the build though, so time to get going, and see if those initial impressions were accurate.
The first stages of the assembly deal with the chassis and suspension. Step 1 sees the front leaf spring and axle mounts added to the chassis side rails. There's a side note in the instructions telling you to check the alignment of the spring and mounts as they need to line up with the front axle later in the build. At this stage though, you don't have anything to align them with, as the axle isn't built up until step 5. For that reason I decided to leave these parts off for now and continue with the construction of the main chassis, adding them on once the chassis and axle were built up.
Step 2 deals with the chassis floor. There are three cross members to add to the upper side, then the transmission and exhaust are attached to the bottom. This represents the only engine detail that's included, but it's more than adequate as very little of this is seen on the final build. The exhaust pipe has a solid moulded end which could be drilled out, although in this case I found it easier to cut the pipe off at the muffler and replace it with a short length of brass tube.
The side rails can then be added to the chassis floor and, with the front axle built up, I could now add those suspension components from step 1. Having the chassis together made it far easier to get these parts lined up correctly. The front axle was added before the glue securing the suspension mounts to the chassis had set, allowing me to fine tune the alignment to ensure the axle was square to the chassis.
To make sure it all stayed square while the glue dried, I sat the chassis on a flat surface and weighted it down. Be careful not to use too much weight here though, as it would be easy to deform the front suspension mounts resulting in the front wheels sitting too high.
The final parts to go on the chassis are the steering linkages. These are quite delicate, so you need to take care while removing them from the sprue. Fortunately, they require virtually no clean-up, and they fit and line up perfectly. Actually, it's worth pointing out just how well all the parts in the kit are moulded. There was no flash to be found and only very minor mould lines that could easily be removed with a quick scrape or sand.
Once the chassis is done, the rest of the build starts to come together quite quickly. The main side sections are next to be added. When doing this, don't forget to add the two bars that will support the front shocks and mudguards before you glue the second body side in place, as they need to sit between the body sides and can't easily be added later.
There's a small section of decking that sits at the back of the body where the crew would enter and exit the vehicle. The part is moulded completely smooth, which is probably preferable to the over exaggerated texturing you sometimes find on wooden parts. I gave it some lighter texturing myself with a coarse sanding stick. Remember when doing this to only add the texture in the direction that the woodgrain would run.
The rear entry doors are next to be added. These can be posed open, although there's only limited detail on their inner sides, and of course, the kit doesn't come with an interior so there's nothing to see anyway. I'm sure quite a few people would have preferred to see an interior included, which is understandable, although I'm fine with this being a curbside style kit. No doubt an after-market interior will be available before long, and the open-able doors will make it easier to show that off.
The roof plates can now be added, and the fit here was excellent. In fact, there was only one small spot of filler required on the whole build, and that was down to my own clumsiness, as I accidentally cut a small chunk out of one of the panels while cleaning up a sprue gate.
The round container on the left side of the vehicle was used to carry a bucket. Unfortunately, CSM doesn't include one with the kit, although I believe they are intending to release a separate photo etch set for this kit that will include an etched bucket. I thinned the edges of the container down very slightly to better replicate thin sheet steel.
The rear suspension looks deceptively complex, with it's twin leaf spring units on either side. The parts are very easy to line up though, with positive location points, so the construction is actually pretty simple. Once together, it's all quite robust too, so you needn't worry about the build being too delicate to handle.
Once the suspension is done, the rear panel, mudguards and stowage shelves can be added. These can be a little tricky to line up as they all have to connect. My advice would be to get the rear panel on first and let that fully dry, then work forward, adding the shelves and finally the vertical mudguards.
With the main body almost finished, I turned to the turret. CSM have used a very neat construction method here. The sides of the turret are made up of four interlocking panels, with the two side panels having extended 'fingers' that slide over blocks on the front and back panels. This ensures that the panels align precisely. It's a very clever but simple solution and works very well.
The instructions tell you to add the Vickers machine gun to the turret before you close the top up, but I left it out for now, as it's actually very simple to add from the bottom of the turret after everything is painted. Overall the turret's very well detailed, although there is one small inaccuracy. The lump at the front of the roof is a mounting point for a flag, but it should really be positioned closer to the roof hatch. I haven't altered its position one mine as yet, although I may do so before painting.
I built up the wheels next, and these are a very simple two-part construction. Well, I say two-part, but there's actually three parts if you include the tiny air valves. Despite being so small, these aren't that hard to install. Just place a drop of liquid cement in the pre-formed cut-out on the inner wheel rim and drop the valve into place. As long as you've got a decent pair of tweezers, it's a pretty simple step.
With the valves added, the second half of the wheel can be positioned, again using the small cut-out to line it up with the valve, which will also correctly align the spokes. 
After that, it's just a matter of adding the hubcaps and the wheels are ready for painting.
Just a few more detail to add now, starting with the headlights. These are well moulded, but lack any clear parts for the lenses. To be fair to CSM, they're hardly the only company to do this. There are countless AFV models that don't include clear parts for headlights. At least CSM have done them without solid moulded lenses that would need drilling out. All I had to do here was cut two circles from a sheet of clear plastic and glue them to the front of the lights, after first painting the reflectors in silver.
Once the separate bezel is added to the front of the light, it hides any rough edges on the clear disc. I wanted to get a more domed look to the lenses though, so I used a 5 Second Fix pen to add a bead of clear resin over the clear plastic disc. The liquid resin in these pens will self level across the surface, but has enough surface tension to keep a rounded profile.
The resin can then be set instantly (well, in about 5 seconds anyway, hence the name) with the UV LED on the end of the pen. You could achieve a similar effect with epoxy resin, but as that takes longer to dry, there's always the risk of dust sticking to the surface.
The final effect, while not showing up very well under the camera lights, looks very realistic and glass-like in person. You can pick these pens up very cheaply from Ebay, and they come in very handy for all sorts of modelling applications.
The last parts to add are the front fenders. These are remarkably thin for plastic mouldings, and not far off the effect you'd get from using photo-etch alternatives. These are more than good enough for me, but for those that would prefer them in PE, the aforementioned etch set will include replacements. I'll be leaving the fenders off for the initial painting to allow me to access the areas behind them a little more easily.
Although that's the main build finished, I did add some extra detail at the end. One thing that was missing was any representation of bolt heads on the hinges on the engine deck and driver's shield. These may well have been attached with flush fitting screws, but I decided to add some raised bolts  using thin slices of stretched sprue. Even if they're not entirely accurate, they will at least add some extra detail for the pin washes to pick up.
The final added detail was a small scratch-built bucket for the container on the side panel. This was just a simple construction using a short length of styrene tube, capped at one end, and a handle of thin wire.
Well, for me, this build definitely lived up to the expectations I had after the in-box review. The detailing was nice, and the fit was almost perfect. It was also a remarkably quick kit to build up. 

Here is the Lanchester all built up ready to roll
This one took me only four days from start to finish, which by my standards is lightning speed. It was one of those kits that went together without any fuss or frustrations.
The final step will be to give it some colour (and, knowing me, a fair dollop of mud), and that will be coming soon on TMN.

Andy Moore

This new kit of the Lanchester is available directly from  Copper State Models as well as their distributors worldwide.Thanks to them for sending this kit to Andy to review & build.