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Andreas' Armour Pages

The only producer of injection model kits of modern French armour is HELLER of France. The following article deals with the construction of this not quite up-to-date kit. My main purpose has it been to use as few after market parts as possible to keep the price for this kit as low as possible but still do it as much good as I could.
First of all, the crew is about the worst I have seen, do not use it for anything at all. Throw them away.

The tank‘s chassis has been split by HELLER into four pieces, they fit together quite well but I recommend the heavy use of glue to keep this section in shape. Do not forget to check the fitting carefully while drying out. The same can be said about the suspension parts: they fit together well, but need a lot of glue and even more drying time to hold together during construction (and afterwards). The roadwheels lack a bit overall sharpness, but this can be said about most parts of this kit. Glue all suspension parts firmly and let them dry out safely!
The hull has to be glued firmly to the chassis as it tends to be bend and will hold only after long drying, therefore do not attach anything to it prior this step.
There are a lot of accessories for the hull but only partly usable. The tow chains can be handled in the same manner as the figures, throw them away. I replaced them with ACCURACTE ARMOUR’s modern tow cables cut to length.
The cable on the glacis is held in place by a cramp on it as shown in the models section. It has to be scratch build. This can be done easily even without much skill. The double headlights are not used. The left headlight is a single headlight and the right one is flanked by a special night light.
Do not forget to attach the guard railings, even though not mentioned in the instructions. Most of the tools supplied are very toylike and I suggest to treat them like the tow cables.... The hull’s left side tools are usually not attached in order to avoid loss, I have attached cramps in place of the tools.
The hull’s back plate displays and early production type, its tools are of better quality so I attached these. The square box on the right side of the back plate (infantry telephone box) was detailed with a piece of wiring. Simply drill holes and insert electric cable. The photoetch parts for the exhaust grills are good. The exhausts pipes have to be carefully coloured, I painted them in a metallic rust colour and then added a rough overcoat with the colour scheme to simulate the wear on these parts. A handle made of wire has to be inserted behind the drivers station and the exhaust behind it drilled open.

Next on the agenda was the turret. Actually I used most time here. Firstly the turret basket has to be shortened. HELLER’s parts are too long on both sides. They have six railings instead of five as on all original‘s photos I have seen. I have cut the first section on both sides (Parts 83 and 84). To secure the railings firmly it is absolutely necessary to drill holes in the places marked on the turret as gluing points. As usual on this kit, use a lot of glue, you will have to bend a lot – and carefully. The turret basket’s tie downs are leather straps attached to holds on the turret. I have bend small pieces of wire and inserted them into holes drilled opposite the middle of each basket section, in total five holds per side. The leather tie downs have been made of adhesive tape. TESA KREPP has been my choice for long, in 1:35 is looks like the real thing and is very easy to bend into shape or rework if necessary.
Among the other things added to the turret were tie downs for the turret roof holds. I did not attach parts 141. They usually are not attached to avoid the risk of losing them. The holds were slightly cut into form, too. Onto the armoured heads of the range finders I added two short tubes each. I do not know what they are used for, but my photos indicate them on almost every vehicle. The smoke grenade launchers were drilled open. The gun mantlet cover is been made of tissue dipped into white glue. The HELLER part (No.155) may be used to define the size. Two cables were added to the turret searchlight. The searchlight itself received extensive rework, too. The lifting loops were reworked or replaced by wiring. The electric plug for the nightlight has to be build and attached directly adjacent to the left side turret basket.

Finally the kit received the current NATO three tone colour scheme and a wash with thinned black. Only afterwards did I add the camouflage netting, dipped in white glue as usual and fixed the tie downs around it.
As I knew right from the start that the tracks are of the same poor quality as all rubber  parts (Yes, they are rubber!) I did not spend too much time on them. A rough fixture, they had to be cut to length, and a rough overcoat of rust and metal colour.
To cover this essential weakness I had the idea to submerge the tank into mud. The result can be seen on the photos in the gallery section. I did not use any decals, they would have been covered by mud completely anyway.

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