I have detailed the build using notes on the instruction sheet – I find this a lot clearer than trying to describe at length what was done at each individual step. I’ve also provided photographs of each step (less 7 and 14 as there were no issues) and I have tried to show where I have added any detail or made amendments. I followed the instruction steps throughout and have added detail where it is obvious that it was missing. For the final photos I have yet to fit the clear parts as my masking solution had dried out! Overall the build took 2 weeks working approximately 2 hours a night with a few days off. I’ve noticed that the M3 versus MZ designation problem has been addressed on later issues of this model – I would hope that the issues raised below regarding the instructions have also been addressed.
The instructions are well laid out and follow a mainly logical sequence. The detail on parts is primarily very good and bears a very good resemblance to the walkaround pictures listed above. Any punch marks are hidden and there is detail on most of the hull hatch interiors and bin lids, which have some very thin scale moulding that should allow them to be modelled open.
Most of the issues that I’ve found are pointed out using the notes on the instruction sheet. A few obvious ones are:
- Incorrect numbering of parts throughout the instructions.
- The 4MZ variant is actually a 4M3 – confusion possible caused by Cyrillic text? I’ve noted that later boxings have this rectified.
- Incorrectly sequenced fitting of rear mud flaps on hull. Should be fitted once upper and lower hull halves are together.
- Whilst the sprue connection points are, in the main small, they extend onto the back of parts in lots of areas. In many occasions this interferes with the mounting points on the edges of parts.
- Parts C26, C37 and GP7 and also a few etched parts left over – despite searching through the -instructions I can’t find these parts used anywhere. Possibly a future variant..?
- Spring loaded ‘cover’ at bottom of gun bay not included at all. This isn’t fitted to all vehicles.
Whilst the points above are listed as ‘bad’; I can understand why these ‘errors’ or omissions occur. There are no excuses for those listed below:
- The vehicle listed as ‘Iraq B’ is actually an Afghan Army vehicle (as shown in one of the walkaround above).
- Chains missing from small fold down flaps on rear left and right hull sides. These could have easily been provided on the PE sheet.
- Locking pins missing from 3X oval hatches on hull top. Similar locking pins are shown as moulded on detail for the sight covers also on the hull top – why not also here?
- Tracks – 3 parts each. No numbers or lengths indicated on instructions. Very few spare teeth (very small parts that are easily lost).
- Mounting points for some parts are different on the model to that shown in the instructions, or not there at all.
- Missing cable clamp on hull front.
- Missing prominent cables on radar.
- Poor detail on ‘wooden’ parts. No wood grain shown.
- Mounting bracket and drive arm for searchlight - the mounting bracket should have been included as a PE part and the drive arm is not present at all.
I used the following references from Prime Portal during this build:
Excellent overhead views of turret and insides of gun bays and cooling tubes.LINK
Walkaround of the vehicle identified in the Hong instructions as ‘Iraq B’. shows that 2 spades can be fitted to the non M3 variant and that sometimes even the pros can put their tracks on the wrong way around. Note that this is an Afghan Army vehicle – not Iraqi.LINK
4 pages of very detailed photographs of a pristine vehicle.LINK
I suppose that as my ‘bad’ and ‘ugly’ points far outweigh the ‘good’ points above, I should be panning this model. But there’s the rub – I have actually quite enjoyed this build; in some parts it’s been a challenge and I have relied on the walkarounds above a lot to ensure correct fitting of parts and detail and added a few details from the spares box myself – but I feel as if I’ve achieved something with this build. Hey, it looks like a Shilka…
Not for a novice or out of the box builder; but I would strongly recommend this model would provide a good progression piece to any modeller who fancies stepping up to the challenge of adding some smaller details, finding reference material and making a few corrections.
Photo feature of completed model can be found HERE
Live links and the in box review can be found HERE