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Armor/AFV: Allied - WWII
Armor and ground forces of the Allied forces during World War II.
Hosted by Darren Baker
Best bang for the buck
Halfyank
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Colorado, United States
Joined: February 01, 2003
KitMaker: 5,221 posts
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Posted: Wednesday, July 23, 2003 - 02:39 PM UTC
Up until now I've only made OOB kits, mainly because I'm incredibly cheep. I'm still cheap so I want to know, if you had to choose only one thing, what one after market item would you buy to add to a U.S. armor kit? Which item, tracks, tuned barrel, PE kit, resin kit upgrade, or what adds the most realism to a kit for the money?

If this makes it easier I've got the Tamiya Early Production Sherman, M3 Stuart, M3 Halftrack, M16 quad .50 halftrack, 2 1/2 ton truck, Jeep, and M20 scout car waiting to build. Take your pick of what item can improve which kit the best?
PorkChop
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Wisconsin, United States
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Posted: Wednesday, July 23, 2003 - 02:42 PM UTC
My 2 cents. Find some good stowage items to throw on there -- Verlinden stuff is a good example. It'll give the kit a lived in look for about $16.
I'm not a big fan of PE or turned barrels, a little scratch building and a few details can go a long way for a little $$.
HTH
Plasticbattle
#003
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Donegal, Ireland
Joined: May 14, 2002
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Posted: Wednesday, July 23, 2003 - 02:59 PM UTC
Porkchop.... I couldnt agree more. When i started to read the thread thats the first thing that came into my mind.
I bought a few boxes of academy 1/35 AFV WW II Tank and Troop Equipment (ac1383 priced at $5.75) recently. They were really cheap and when I saw the quality of things like pioneer equipment I was amazed. Compared to items that comes with the likes of Italeri kits, it was a 100% improvement. Lots of satchels, amunition, crates, rifles, MGs, etc. All pretty good quality too. With a few scratch items mixed up it adds so much to the kits. I have the Italeri equivelent as well, but the academy is much better.
When you see a finished model OOB and a reference picture, the first thing I always notice is the lack of stowage. Barrels are a waste of money (IMO) as a little extra work can do the same job. The only aftermarket I have bought to date was fruils for my Panther D by Italeri. The kit tracks sucked. But I have some heavy Russian tanks at home and would be tempted to buy again as they do make a very visible difference.
As a rule I try to avoid AM stuff, but I will buy it when I feel the kit version is not good enough or to my liking.

Mud hides a lot of poor detail!!

PorkChop
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Wisconsin, United States
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Posted: Wednesday, July 23, 2003 - 03:11 PM UTC
"Mud hides a lot of poor detail!!"
You have built a lot of ill fitting kits, haven't you?
Sabot
Joined: December 18, 2001
KitMaker: 12,596 posts
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Posted: Wednesday, July 23, 2003 - 11:30 PM UTC
Tamiya Early Production Sherman: Download the free sponson blank template from www.archertransfers.com, quick, easy and cheap fix so your tank is not see-through. Some diehards dislike the one sided road wheels, but they don't bother me.

M3 Stuart: I'm making the assumption this is the older Tamiya kit. Tough answer here since any aftermarket purchase pushes the total price over the newer Academy version. The first thing on the Tamiya kit that should be replaced is the tracks. They mold the end connectors at the end of each track block instead of straddling two adjacent blocks. This error annoys me. AFV Club makes several track sets running from $8-15 depending on whether you buy the vinyl or single link track. It also benefits from the old Eduard PE set #35027 which is about $7 if you can find it. Of course the new Academy kit is $24 so you're over that mark with the kit, tracks and PE already.

M3 Halftrack: I like this kit straight OOB since it is a variant that never made it to production. There are a bunch of aftermarket sets for this, I have a few of them. Tracks are decent and do not need the available resin replacements. I never had any problems with the vinyl wheels that some modelers report. The older Eduard Halftrack set can dress it up, but is not necessary.

M16 quad .50 halftrack: Same comments as above, there may be a PE set to dress up the gun setup, but I don not know if it needs it.

2 1/2 ton truck: extremely nice kit, I recently purchased the Tamiya accessory set for the cab and the cargo area. In my opinion, the .50 cal and canvas cab sprue should have been included in the original kit. I bought the cargo set just to put some junk in the back, but you may have a well stocked parts box or can buy some other make of gear for the rear.

Jeep: New Tamiya one? Superb kit and like the Skybow M38A1 Jeeps, doesn't really need anything. If you do get the Tamiya cargo set, you can toss some bits into the Jeep to make it more lived in.

M20 scout car: New Tamiya kit as well? Another nice kit that doesn't need anything to really improve it. Again, the Tamiya cargo set (called the Allied Vehicles Accessory Set) has some stowage gear designed for the kit.

Well, that's my 2 or 14 if you count 2 on each kit.
slodder
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North Carolina, United States
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Posted: Thursday, July 24, 2003 - 12:04 AM UTC
Yea - have to agree - when you drop a chunk of change down on a kit it's hard to drop the same amount on AM stuff.

As far as how I would upgrade the Tamiya stuff - PE or tracks. Tamiya usually does a good job on detail but some kits are lacking and PE really makes it jump up. For tanks I'd go tracks the rubber band replacements. BUT realize that the US tracks are usually fairly tight, they don't sag like the Germans did. So its easier to 'deal' with. So the tracks are even questionable as far as cash outlay.

PB has a great point too as far as scratch building details. I do A LOT of that, replace handles/pulls, tie downs, tarps, tissue over seats,
Hollowpoint
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Kansas, United States
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Posted: Thursday, July 24, 2003 - 12:07 AM UTC
I guess I'll be the voice of dissent against PorkChop and Plasticbattle. I always felt that stowage was so easy to make, why buy it?

For my money, a nice PE set really adds a lot to just about any model. For Shermans, just replacing the headlight and taillight guards with PE, plus adding some periscope guards, really add a lot to the look of the model.

I'm not a terribly big fan of indy-link tracks, but they do work nicely on some kits. The Sherman you have comes with kit tracks that are just fine, and the halftracks don't have indy-links (they are belt tracks on the real thing). The Tamiya Stuart can use some help, however. The end-connectors are in the wrong place and AFV Club makes a nice replacement set in styrene that is not too difficult to assemble.

I resisted using aftermarket barrels for a long time -- for the reasons cited by others -- but once I tried them, I fell in love. The Rubio barrels are not terribly expensive and they save at least an afternoon of sanding and filling a kit barrel. Plus, the hole in the muzzle is the right size -- many even have rifling!
AJLaFleche
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Massachusetts, United States
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Posted: Thursday, July 24, 2003 - 12:48 AM UTC
I'm with Hollowpoint. If you're going to go for one and only one AM purchase, go with a turned barrel. You'll save a ton of time filling and filling and there's no guarantee you won't come up with an off round barrel in the end. The next thing I'd look into is a PE set if you want to tighten up the look of a kit. Finally, stowage. Either kit specific sets from Verlinden (less chance of anachronisms) or generic stuff that'll dress up numerous kits.
capnjock
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United States
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Posted: Thursday, July 24, 2003 - 01:56 AM UTC
My reason for AM stuff really depends on if I am building a conversion, dio, or doing something that I really HAVE to spend the money. Usually, I get after market interiors if I am unable to find a kit that already has an interior. I have just crossed the threshold on scratchbuilding so cannot really say if it is much cheaper. Raw material costs money also if one does not have a stockpile.
canpjock
JimF
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Texas, United States
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Posted: Thursday, July 24, 2003 - 02:36 AM UTC
For tanks, the primary AM item I get are tracks, either fruil or AFV Club. I like the aluminum barrels and the PE sets, but the tracks are what gets my attention first when looking at kits on display in shows, etc. As I keep looking at the model (or pictures) I can appreciate the finer details where the PE really helps out, but it is the sag of the tracks (or lack thereof) that grabs by attention.
Part-timer
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Georgia, United States
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Posted: Thursday, July 24, 2003 - 03:05 AM UTC
I'm with JimF. Nothing spoils the look of a tank more than taut "tracks." Indy track sets, particularly fruil, add a look of heaviness that is hard (at least for me) to replicate with rubber bands. The actual heft they add to the model is also nice; feels good to pick up a tank model that feels heavy.

That said, with sufficient skills and time, one can equal or surpass the effect of almost any aftermarket item from scratch. But you've got to be awfully skilles and have a lot of time.
Hollowpoint
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Kansas, United States
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Posted: Thursday, July 24, 2003 - 07:17 AM UTC
Back to Rodger's original question:


Quoted Text

Take your pick of what item can improve which kit the best?



All of these kits benefit from a PE set.

Only the Stuart really benefits from an aftermarket track set, IMHO. Sherman tracks don't have enough sag to notice in 1/35th scale. While I understand the arguments for aftermarket tracks, they just don't wash when it comes to most WWII U.S. AFVs.

None of the listed kits really need an aftermarket barrel, but, like I said before, it can help save some time and effort.

The Stuart and the halftracks are considerably older kits than the others (assuming you have the newer Jeep kit and not the old piece of ****). The newer Tamiya kits are pretty good right out of the box.
blaster76
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Texas, United States
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Posted: Thursday, July 24, 2003 - 10:18 AM UTC
I'ld say tracks for the Serman and stowage items. I've t got both academy and verlinden. What you don't use for one you've got left over for the other. I personally like barrels, but a single item pick would be tracks
Sabot
Joined: December 18, 2001
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Posted: Thursday, July 24, 2003 - 02:33 PM UTC
I agree with Steve. When dealing with US tank tracks (WW2-present) there is virtually no sag. A lot of individual link tracks look askew, especially when you think that they are in 1/35 scale. I've seen beautiful kits that have the end connectors out of whack or sometimes pointing in the wrong direction (inside portion pointing outward). US tank tracks are kept tight.
Halfyank
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Colorado, United States
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Posted: Friday, July 25, 2003 - 03:07 AM UTC
Well the unofficial poll seems to be complete. Taking away multiple answers it seems AM tracks win by a slim margin with extra storage, the one thing I have plenty of, and PE also in the running.

Thanks to all for your imput. I have two of the Tamiya US Cargo sets and I might pick up the Academy kit. Think I'll hold off on the tracks, they are pretty pricey. Although if I ever get around to doing any Russian tanks I'll sure give them some serious thought.

Posted: Friday, July 25, 2003 - 06:35 AM UTC
Hi-ddy! Ho! Fellow Plastic Thespians!

The Italeri Pz lV F1,F2,G is probably the best value ever for a plactic kit. Low cost and accuracy, in my opinion make this the best of the older OOB kits. Even against the newer kits they stand on their own merit.

Chris (++) To oink, or not to oink, that is the question!
Easy_Co
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England - South East, United Kingdom
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Posted: Friday, July 25, 2003 - 06:42 AM UTC
Got to agree on the P4 thats a nice kit, after market tracks are far to expensive I might go for a barrel though I hate all that sanding
jrnelson
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Iowa, United States
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Posted: Sunday, July 27, 2003 - 08:32 AM UTC
I personally would go with a en etch set. These add immensly to the final appearance of the kit. If you were doing a German vehicle, I might be inclined to recommend aftermarket tracks - but since you are doing US vehicles - the rubber-band tracks are not that bad.

An aftermarket barrel would be last on my list. True they are time savers - but kit barrels can usually be made to look good with patience. Again, if you were doing a German vehicle, this might be different. Sherman barrels didn't have muzzle breaks etc.

The only drawback to PE - is that once you use a set - you'll never go without again - and that gets expensive........

Later-
Jeff