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Armor/AFV: Early Armor
WWI and other early tanks and armored cars.
Hosted by Darren Baker
Takom St Chamond Late Build Log
ninjrk
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Alabama, United States
Joined: January 26, 2006
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Posted: Monday, January 12, 2015 - 07:12 AM UTC
OK, so I've been merrily researching this for a bit (reasons to be explained further down) but now it's building time. I'm hoping to motor through this one, so we shall see.

First, the kit itself:






ninjrk
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Alabama, United States
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Posted: Monday, January 12, 2015 - 07:14 AM UTC






ninjrk
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Alabama, United States
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Posted: Monday, January 12, 2015 - 07:18 AM UTC








ninjrk
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Posted: Monday, January 12, 2015 - 07:33 AM UTC
So, overall the parts are crisply cast and detail appears quite decent. Then I compared the kit to the drawings in the AJ Press book and some cursing ensued. . .





The upper hull certainly doesn't match the drawings. So I anticipated that awful AMS situation of do I try and fix it or do I just live with it? Then I decided to compare the kit to the photos I took of the St Chamond at Saumur this spring. And they seemed to match the kit rather well. What it seems like (and I am kicking myself for not taking some quick measurements while I was there) is that the drawings do not match the preserved vehicle especially well and the kit lines up under early inspection fairly well. Phew! And a good reminder that just because there are drawings out there, it does not mean that they are correct.

So, working on the upper hull things began smoothly except for two niggling issues.



There are six small strips to represent the angle irons on top and five of them fit perfectly. The sixth, outlined in blue, simply did not fit. The slot the piece fits into was simply too narrow to allow the piece to fit. i farted around trying to trim it larger, said to heck with it, and cut the piece to fit over the slot. Tamiya extra thin cement was my friend. . .



In addition, the piece over the engine (outlined in red) should stand taller than it actually does, at least using the Saumur example as a guide. It looked close enough to me, so away I went.
ninjrk
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Alabama, United States
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Posted: Monday, January 12, 2015 - 07:39 AM UTC
One thing that is kind of a bummer is that the only hatch that doesn't have a cut-out in the top is the driver's hatch which, based on many of the photos out there is the one that is almost always open! To be fair, that turret open a bit like a flower so it will be a bit of scratchbuilding to get it to look right. Need to decide if I'll go that route or not.

The various guns come next. Be warned, there will be filler used, in this case CA glue and baking soda. There is a whopping seam at the front of the cannon mount where the small front piece fits in and the mounts for the MG's don't fit perfectly. I was wary of sanding them flat as they seemed pretty tight around the guns themselves so I went with just gluing them as is and filling them.





SEDimmick
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New Jersey, United States
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Posted: Tuesday, January 13, 2015 - 08:41 PM UTC
I wouldn't completely trust the AJ Press scale drawings. For example, I have their BT series and when you go to match up the Tamiya BT-7 kit with their drawings, the roadwheel spacing doesn't match up at all. I'm thinking the drawings where wrong or someone goofed because I haven't heard any complaints about the Tamiya BT-7 being wrong.

ninjrk
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Posted: Tuesday, January 13, 2015 - 10:17 PM UTC

Quoted Text

I wouldn't completely trust the AJ Press scale drawings. For example, I have their BT series and when you go to match up the Tamiya BT-7 kit with their drawings, the roadwheel spacing doesn't match up at all. I'm thinking the drawings where wrong or someone goofed because I haven't heard any complaints about the Tamiya BT-7 being wrong.




Yeah, I would agree. I noticed as well that in their Japanese Armor books (which are fantastic just for the pictures and text alone) that some of the profiles don't even match between different views of the same tank. It's a good warning to those people (like myself!) who believe that plans are some sort of gold standard.
ninjrk
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Posted: Wednesday, March 11, 2015 - 03:34 PM UTC
So, belatedly updating photos but the build proceeds. I have left off the turret as I'm still undecided as to whether I'll want to model it open or not. If I do, it figures that this would be literally the only hatch that isn't open on the whole darned thing! Everything fits pretty well, with the exception so far of the front of the main gun's mounting. Some sanding pads will be needed. For the suspension, I don't remember the review I read that mentioned this but I will echo it; set some time aside so you can power through it all at once. It is complex and will need many small adjustments so once it sets, you're going to be warping parts.
ninjrk
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Alabama, United States
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Posted: Wednesday, March 11, 2015 - 05:12 PM UTC




ninjrk
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Alabama, United States
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Posted: Wednesday, March 11, 2015 - 05:14 PM UTC
BTW, that putty is awesome for things like the barrel-bumpers on this kit. The seams are a bit problematic but, fill them with copious putty, rub most of it off with your finger so only the seams are filled, wipe with a moistened finger to get the residue off the details, and allow to try. One step, no sanding.
Bodeen
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Pennsylvania, United States
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Posted: Wednesday, March 11, 2015 - 06:07 PM UTC
Thanks for sharing this Matt. I was wondering about the quality of this kit. I think I'm going to broaden my horizons and start building some WWI vehicles. I already have the Meng FT-17. This kit would make a nice addition to my stash. Looking forward to seeing more.

Jeff
ninjrk
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Alabama, United States
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Posted: Sunday, April 19, 2015 - 03:57 PM UTC
After a minor work (or loss thereof!) hiatus it is back to work and back to modelling! With the exception of the rather delicate MG.'s which I'll leave off until the end the hull is done and the suspension is completed. I continue to be impressed by the fit of the kit with the exception of one flange atop the hull. Everything else has fit very nicely and the driver's turret is made of impressively thin moldings. Detail the inside and many of the parts could be used as-is for scale thickness. The door on the side is a beautiful molding that really captures the edged detail.




AFVFan
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Posted: Sunday, April 19, 2015 - 07:37 PM UTC
Nice job so far. When you start the suspension watch the alignment when adding parts A9 and A10. The outer ends have to be straight and even to allow the outer return roller rails (E2 & E3) to fit correctly.

Oh...and have fun with those tracks.
ninjrk
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Posted: Tuesday, April 21, 2015 - 03:05 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Nice job so far. When you start the suspension watch the alignment when adding parts A9 and A10. The outer ends have to be straight and even to allow the outer return roller rails (E2 & E3) to fit correctly.

Oh...and have fun with those tracks.



No kidding! This is my second Chamond and I have to say, the suspension makes one long for something easy, like a Panther or T28. . .
ninjrk
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Alabama, United States
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Posted: Tuesday, April 21, 2015 - 03:33 AM UTC
When working on the suspension I am contanly reminded that the French referred to this tank as an "elephant with the legs of a gazelle". It is very well molded to captures the extreme complexity but this also means that it is very delicate and finicky. Tabs tend to be very shallow and the grooves a bit loose. I suspect this is on purpose to allow manipulation. Fortunately, my wife was kind enough to help me produce an extra couple of delicate hands to help me with my models. . .



Some tabs are a touch too tight to fit (D1, D2, D43, and D44) and needed light shaving to get them to fit. The front portion is very finicky and a homemade quickie support of pieces of styrene was helpful. The metal plates are very easy to screw up, I highly recommend a cutting mat with right angle markings and a support of styrene sheet to keep them from going off angle or drooping. Trust me, they will just break right off if you try and manipulate them much later!




Note that parts D5 and D6 are reversed in the instructions.



ninjrk
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Posted: Monday, April 27, 2015 - 02:17 AM UTC
Moving right along:


One thing that has been emphasized in other build reviews is to not stop once you start building the suspension since you're going to be tweaking parts left and right. I had to stop to do daddy duty. Bad idea. Once the glue set for many of the return roller pieces they were ever so slightly out of alignment. Which meant the rail didn't fit properly (the various tabs and such are exacting to fit). So I cut the ends off of several pieces to make them fit. Sorry Meng, your fantastic engineering was lost on me. . .





Also had to trim the secondary axles/rods for the drum housing on the drive sprockets so they would fit true. Wheels still spin though, so that is a nice bonus!
ninjrk
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Posted: Monday, April 27, 2015 - 02:20 AM UTC


One thing that has been nice is that building this kit has been an example of better understanding history. One reads about the delicacy of the suspension but to think that a 23 ton tank was supposed to move over shell craters with this profusion of linkages, hinges, small metal plates, and so forth makes the genius of the British tanks so much more evident!
ninjrk
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Posted: Sunday, June 07, 2015 - 03:40 PM UTC
Home stretch. The suspension is complex and I deviated in several areas from the instructions. In particular, I left off the supporting rods (A1) until the end because they require a perfect fit and despite my best efforts there were some unoticed alignment errors somewhere that would have caused problems. I did it just because I knew I'd knock them off seventy times but it certainly helped. The key is really to test fit multiple times to make sure everything lines up.

Also, many of the part numbers in the instructions are wrong when they are identical on either side. The drawings themselves are right so check the part against the drawing before fitting.

The tracks aren't as challenging as I expected. Time consuming to be sure but they snap into place pretty easily and are fairly forgiving. One thing, each side of the track consistently gets the same part of the two linkages, the instructions picture it correctly but the part numbers suggest you use the same three parts (two on one side, one on the others). For the love of God, don't do that! One nice thing is that Takom gave you extra parts to make up four tracks, so you have spares.
ninjrk
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Posted: Sunday, June 07, 2015 - 03:52 PM UTC




bprice1974
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Pennsylvania, United States
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Posted: Saturday, November 14, 2015 - 09:48 AM UTC
Nice work so far, any new progress photos to share in the near future?
mparham02
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Oregon, United States
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Posted: Saturday, November 14, 2015 - 11:34 AM UTC
Can not wait to see you progress on this one. I am in the painting on my FT-17 and the St Chamond is the next kit I will be starting. Yes, it really does give you a different look at history when building these beasts of the battlefield.