Saturday, 19 August 2017

Takom Leopard C2

I've stuck on a few more parts, YAY! On the vehicle I want to model the jerrycan holders on the rear of the turret basket are empty so I attempted to make new ones from scratch using styrene strip and thin brass sheet;

They didn't look too bad until today when I broke them off. I'll rework them but use brass for the bases instead of plastic and instead of using cyano I'll solder the sides on for strength.
The barrel is now ready to fit and although I purchased a Leopard Club item I found the separate resin pieces that make up the barrel were not concentric so I'm sticking with the Orange Hobby item I bought originally. I did use the bore sight mirror and mount from the Leopard Club barrel and stuck it to the end of the Orange Hobby one as it saved me making one from scratch;
The tie down loops on the turret basket are moulded solid in the kit so these were removed and new ones made using thin copper wire;
15amp fuse wire was used for the top and bottom rails on the platforms either side of the turret basket. I *was* going to use the kit parts but I managed to break a couple when removing them from the sprue, the same for the grab handles on the turret sides.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Takom Leopard C2

I was going to use the kit barrel and add some detail to it but decided on using an aftermarket item instead from Orange Hobby that I had got for my Meng Leopard 1A5, also there is no rifling inside the kit barrel ;
As you can see it comes with two small frets of etch metal....omfg it is TINY! After the best part of 1 1/2 hours I managed to put the first two straps around the barrel;

Very frustrating! After a good couple of hours I managed to get the rest of the etch on, the four clamps proving verrrrrry tricky as the folds required were small and very awkward to do, luckily there are two etch sheets as it was very easy to lose some parts to the carpet monster;

Regarding the four clamps I replaced the rods that connect each end with sprue as the etch is obviously flat. The Orange Hobby barrel is actually for a Leopard 1A3 so I need to make the boresight mirror and mount for the end of the barrel from scratch, I would have used the kit one but it's too small.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Takom Leopard C2

In their infinite wisdom Takom moulded all the mounts for the turret spaced armour separately and although the bigger ones were OK the small ones are very fiddly. You get 34 on the sprue and you need 16 per side so after pinging three to feed the carpet monster I could see which way this was heading so ended up making a load of new ones using 1.5mm and 1mm styrene rod;

To get the alignment for these mounts I taped the side armour to the turret then used a pencil to mark where they go (don't bother using the Takom instructions for this as they useless). I had already glued two of the larger ones in place as these had locating pegs;
After a couple of days away from the bench I looked at the mounts I had made and after deciding they were crap I cut the kit ones off the sprues and after cleaning them up a different way (I didn't use tweezers this time) I managed to avoid pinging any more into the ether. I only had to use one of the home-made ones and this was put in the middle where nobody would see it.
Because I had coated the turret previously I had to use superglue to attach the parts;
The spaced armour was then glued into place and the turret has been set aside to dry.
I don't really have much more to do now so hopefully the build will be completed soon.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Takom Leopard C2

As I noted a few days ago Takom made a bit of a mess of the front part of the turret where the gun mantlet joins. Looking at reference pictures and a turret from the Meng Leopard 1A5 I decided the best thing to do was remove the shaded area;

Actually I removed more material than that as the cut was made where the bottom of the turret joins the front. This of course left a big gap to fill and after studying the Meng turret I made an 'L' shaped piece using 0.30" styrene strip;

By this time I cut off the mantlet as it was just getting in the way. Once the 'L' piece had been glued into place I then used Milliput to form a curved shape underneath like the Meng turret, shaping it by using my finger and water;

When the Milliput has cured I will give it a sand as there are two corners of plastic card still sticking out and these will be blended into the lower turret sides.
It looks a bit daunting to do this but I believe it will look much better in the end.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Takom Leopard C2

Attention has now turned to the turret with some tweaks to improve it and I've also discovered a problem. Firstly the most obvious improvement is to add springs to the loaders hatch by cutting away the kit ones;
The add-on armour on the gun mantlet features four oval holes so these were drilled to a round shape and hexagonal bolt heads were added using a punch and die set, also the rectangular plate on the left in the picture was supplied as an etched item but looking at reference pictures this is quite a thick plate so it was substituted for sheet plastic;
After fitting the mantlet and canvas cover there was a huge gap underneath and checking that I hadn't left anything off and again checking reference pictures it's apparent that Takom have messed up here;

The mantlet should actually fit OVER the bottom bit of the turret and not flush so it looks like the turret is too short. One solution is to just fill it all in and hope nobody looks too closely OR what I'm thinking of doing is removing the lower lip and rebuilding it;
As mentioned above the bottom lip should fit inside the mantlet but seeing that I've already glued bits into place it should be an interesting exercise to carry out this job without destroying anything.
And it was all going so well too........anyway here's the turret so far;
One thing I should have done is to actually check what needed gluing to the turret before spraying it with Rustoleum Terra Cotta as I had to scrape away the paint to be able to glue things to it. Apart from the hitch with the turret it shouldn't be long until I finish building this. YAY for me! :o)

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Takom Leopard C2

Due to the design of the kit the side skirts need to be added before painting as the front fenders need to look like one piece. You have two options here, the first option is to leave the drive sprockets and front idlers on the hull as with the side skirts fixed you won't be able to remove them for painting. The second option is to just cut 1.5mm off the front axles and you'll be able to add the idlers afterward although the sprockets will still need leaving in place unless the example you are modelling has sections of the side skirts missing at the rear (which is the case for my model luckily).
The other problem is that the drive sprockets stick out just enough (which may be due to the fact I used replacement exhausts) to stop the skirts fitting properly at the rear.To counter this I removed some material from inside the sprocket and the mount for it on the hull;

The side skirts were fixed into place and left to set but the day after I noticed from the reference pictures on Prime Portal that there are a set of four catches either side and these were in a variety of positions rather than just horizontally as moulded on the kit parts;
If I had spotted this earlier it would have been easier to replace them before I glued the skirts on, anyway I removed them and cleaned up the areas. New ones were made from styrene strip with the ends rounded off and a small piece of rod glued near to one end then fixed to the skirts;

Looking much better! I separated the front right fender to add some damage but had to glue it again as the joint between that and the side skirt failed so at the time of writing it is taped up and being left to set.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Takom Leopard C2

I'm up to the stage of every armour modellers favourite bit and that is the tracks. The tracks in this kit are individual links joined together with end connectors and feature separate guide horns.
When you look in the box it all seems rather daunting however the most time consuming part is cutting off the links and guide horns from the sprues and then cleaning them up, the actual assembly is very easy.
When removing the links from the sprues you need to take care as they are easily broken, luckily there are plenty of spare links included. Also Takom fail to mention it in the instructions but you will need 82 links each side.
After removing the links and guide horns from the sprue and cleaning them up I clipped one guide horn into each link then clipped around 10 or more links together. With the end connectors still attached to the sprue these were pushed onto the ends of the links then cut off from the sprue using a new scalpel blade. These sections were joined together until I had 82 links then fitted the tracks to the hull;

Very very easy! The beauty of this is that I can keep the tracks separate for painting and I can glue the side skirts on now rather than after as the surface area for sticking the skirts to is very small.
One thing to mention about the tracks and that is at the weathering stage do NOT use any spirit-based washes on them as it will attack the vinyl end connectors and the tracks will fall apart, I know this from my M728 build a few years ago so I use IPA for applying pigments, washes etc these days.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Takom Leopard C2

The past two days I've managed to stick some more bits on and improved a couple of parts. Starting with the rear hull the tow hooks were scribed as per the front ones I did a few days ago, the mountings for the barrel clamp were replaced as I managed to lose one of them when it pinged into oblivion from the tweezers, also the two mountings moulded on the hull to the right of the barrel clamp were cut off and had holes drilled into them before being glued back into place. The tool box on the left had the chunky looking rail on the top cut away and replaced with a length of stretched sprue.
 The biggest single improvement you can make is to thin out the rear light surrounds as they are quite thick as shown in this picture;
The one on the right after I attacked it with a scalpel.
Moving onto the hull sides and there are indents moulded into the plastic to aid with placement of the on-vehicle equipment and on the left side they work quite well but on the other side I decided to fill them all as there were some serious gaps where the tools fitted. The tools had the clamps replaced where necessary with fuse wire.

Although it doesn't say in the instructions, the two photo etch parts supplied for the top of the hull need the top edges folding;
Finally for this post there is a duct that runs from the top of the drivers vision blocks to just above the front right fender. This is supplied in the kit as a solid block however on the real vehicle it is hollow so I drilled out either ends then shaped them with a scalpel;
I also added a couple of brackets from scrap PE sheet.
I don't have much left to do with the hull apart from the tracks and figuring how to mount the side skirts so the turret will be next.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Takom Leopard C2

Looking at the road wheels on the actual vehicle from the Prime Portal site they show some signs of wear and tear so I've tried to replicate this on the kit wheels;
I've also been trying to do the weld seams around the vehicle as some look pretty evenly done especially on the rear exhausts. To do this I rolled Milliput into thin lengths and pressed it into the joints then used a modelling knife to make the indents, Hopefully they will look good under paint;

The top weld seams on the exhausts were done by masking off the areas, leaving thin strips between the lengths of tape. Mr Surfacer 1000 was then applied to the exposed areas and when it had cured slightly a knife was used to texture it. When dry the tape was then removed.
The periscopes in this kit are completely featureless, you could hack them out and replace them with aftermarket ones OR improve them. I do this by heat stretching some sprue into fine lengths then gluing them around the edges of the periscope face, cutting off any excess when set;

A fairly simple fix but it does improve the basic kit items. This will also be done to the turret ones later. Another simple improvement concerns the towing hooks as they are moulded as one piece whereas on the real vehicle they are of course two separate items. All I did for the kit items is to engrave them using a dress makers pin then run liquid glue around the parts to clean them up;
One thing to watch in the Takom kit is the NBC filter on the left side of the vehicle as you need to add the two square holes at the rear of the block;
I've added some heat-stretched sprue around it as well as the lifting lugs and the block on the front near the drivers position as I need to add the weld beads later.