Friday, November 20

Pt IV build review: 1/35th scale AC-40-137A Soviet Firetruck from ICM Models - Finishing the firetruck

The very large and very red 1/35th scale AC-40-137A Soviet Firetruck from ICM Models is in the final stages of paint and construction by Andy Moore. We have been looking forward to seeing just how he finishes this truck off, so read on to see how he made it look so very good.

Pt III: Build review: AC-40-137A Soviet Firetruck
Manufacturer: ICM
Kit Number: #35519
1/35th scale
Price: £35.99 From Model Hobbies UK (it is hard to find not boxed as the Chernobyl #2 kit)
Product Link on the ICM Website

Previous parts of this story:
Pt I In-Boxed: 1/35th scale AC-40-137A Soviet Firetruck from ICM Models
Pt II: Build review: 1/35th scale AC-40-137A Soviet Firetruck from ICM Models
Pt III Build review: 1/35th scale AC-40-137A Soviet Firetruck from ICM Models

Today's article:
Pt IV build review: 1/35th scale AC-40-137A Soviet Firetruck from ICM Models - Finishing the firetruck.

The last major construction step to deal with is the rear body, which is formed around a central compartment that roughly equates to the water tank. The rear of this compartment is boxed off to form the chamber that holds the main water pump. The pump is a very detailed sub-assembly that will be quite visible on the finished model due to the rear hatch that can be posed open. The design of the pump means that the left and right outlets pass through the walls of the pump chamber and, as such, you'll need to paint the insides of the chamber and the pump before adding the pump and closing up the chamber.
Before getting on to the painting though, there was another small error that needed correcting. There's a long drive shaft (part F32) that's added to the top of the chassis earlier in the build. Although not mentioned in the instructions, the end of this shaft needs to pass through a small opening in the back wall of the pump chamber, and connect with the back of the pump itself. Unfortunately, while the opening is present on the part, it's far too small for the end of the shaft to pass through.
It's a simple enough fix though. The opening in the rear wall just needs enlarging until the end of the shaft can pass through it. In my case, I didn't notice the error until I'd already attached the pump chamber rear wall to the main central compartment, so I had to enlarge the hole in situ. If you make the modification before assembling the panels, it will be a lot easier. Both this, and the previous error with the exhaust pipe, are a little clumsy of ICM, but neither are major problems so long as you're aware of them.
Before I got any paint on the pump chamber, I decided to add some detailing to the inner walls. This was purely made up as I didn't have any suitable reference to this area of the AC-40, but it helped give the impression of more equipment and pipework behind the main pump. These were formed from random spares-box bits and pieces along with some lengths of sprue.
The inside of the chamber was painted in the same interior green tone used for the cab. In hindsight, this area should probably have been finished in aluminium, but the green at least made a good contrast to the metal finish on the pump.
The pump was finished in Alclad aluminium followed by a little weathering with oil and enamel washes. With the painting finished, I could install the pump in its chamber and add the remaining side wall, after which the whole central section was mounted to the floor plate. The main exterior body of the rear section is made up from separate side, end and top panels, and the instructions show these being added one by one. I wanted to be able to paint the whole rear body separate to the rest of the model to avoid a lot of fiddly masking, so I did a quick dry fit of the rear body panels to check if they could be dropped as a single unit over the central compartment. Happily, the rear body slid down into place easily, and I'd definitely recommend taking this route as it makes painting so much easier.
With the rear body built up, it was painted in the same manner as the cab, again laying down the white areas first before masking them and applying the red. The body could then be decaled, and the completed assembly dropped into place over the rear floor plate.
When building up the rear body, I'd left off the long top-mounted grab rails, as for some reason I'd got it into my head that they needed painting aluminium. In fact they needed painting red the same as the rest of the body so it would have been better to attach them beforehand. As it was I gave them some fairly heavy chipping, as reference images show that these areas got a lot of wear and tear.
All that remained now was to add the final details such as the long pipes mounted to the roof and, of course, the ladders. Some of the pipes and other equipment were finished in slightly different shades of red as, again, reference images show a lot of miss-matching and different degrees of weathering on equipment. The ladders were painted with Alclad aluminium, then given some dirty weathering with enamel washes.
So that wraps up what's been a really enjoyable build. There were a few minor issues with the instructions and the parts, but they were all easy enough to deal with and didn't spoil what, overall, is a very well designed and engineered kit. 

The completed kit in some close up detail
The level of detail and general fit and finish of the model was excellent, and the resulting build will look great in any collection of civilian vehicles, and could even be worked into a military display since these fire trucks were also used by the Russian Army. 

The whole truck in a larger 360...
Wherever you place it, it will certainly stand out thanks to its bright red paint job. All in all, a very nice kit of an interesting vehicle.

Highly recommended

Andy Moore 

Thanks to ICM for sending this kit to Andy to Review and next up to build. You can see more about their models on the ICM Website