In the past couple of weeks I’ve reviewed, built and now completed a pre-production example of OKB Grigorov’s first full plastic kit, the US light tank M24 Chaffee.
As I have demonstrated in the posts so far, the pre-release communication from the company and some of its friends and loyal customers has been 100% correct: what you see is a complete plastic kit with high level of detail, representing particular features of the actual vehicle, and with minimal compromise with fidelity despite the small scale.
As you are aware OKB Grigorov is also offering the so-called “Mammoth edition” of their injection molded M24 Chaffee. There are several PE frets and a machined brass gun barrel included in that boxing.
First off are the side skirts. You’ve noticed in my original review of the plastic parts that the skirts are represented in styrene, and that their edges are beveled to appear visually thinner. For those of us who are not satisfied a fret numbered P72017 offers replacement side skirts complete with fastener detail.
Last time I reached the point where suspension arms were set in place but no wheels were added. First let me take you back a little and show you the bottom of the hull with some suspension detail.
As you can see we have a pretty busy suspension set and this is positively something you want to take your time on. Consult your references on the position of the arms, as I had mine too folded in which caused negative consequences with track runs as you will see shortly.
The main point is this is a very detailed kit, and the only ejection pin mark you’ve seen so far is on the inside of the commander’s hatch. There are no more, period.
Last night I shared some details of the test shot. Tonight I am posting a few images of the build process.
As you have already noticed this is a complete kit, not a short run one, with a lot of parts and excellent detail. Despite being a test shot the set that I have fits very well. What you see here is bare plastic and glue with the minimal cleanup required so parts fit. No filler or primer was used.
I started with the turret. The locating pins and the shape of the guiding surfaces helped mate the upper and lower part nearly perfectly. I used a bit too much glue, so needed to clean up a bit.
This post is a special treat, as it’s the first time I am getting a kit that is not available in the market yet. In fact I am lucky to have been the first to get a copy of OKB Grigorov’s Chaffee outside the factory and OKB themselves.
Onto the shots. 4 grey sprues, well over 200 parts, some great detail, all hatches open, separate OVM tools and a lot more!!!
Let’s start with the hull parts.
Note detail on the conical return roller bases, the suspension arm sockets and bump stops, the shock absorber attachment points. The suspension arms are separate parts as are the final drive housing covers.
Using OKB Grigorov’s resing parts has been very easy. In fact with the help of a hair drier I was able to bend the track run around the wheels and get some sag on the track. The track run retained its shape so well it could hold the wheels in place with no glue whatsoever!
After the track was painted I started weathering the wholes assembly, and added some “volumized” mud on the hull, which requires some pigment powders to look like the real deal (dry mud).
A small detail – Albion Alloys copper tube used for the exhaust pipes:
Today I received two of OKB’s latest releases – their Winterketten and Ostketten resin tracks for the Pz III/IV family of armored vehicles. I was impressed with the casting and level of detail, so I am in a hurry to show you what the fuss is all about.
First thing about the track sets is that they are provided in 4 bands per set, each about 102mm long, like so:
Considering you need about 175mm per vehicle side for the lenghtened III/IV chassis on which a Hummel or Nashorn was based – you’re pretty well catered for in terms of spares.
Since I needed decals in order to complete the model I had to raid the kit collection and source some. The victims were an Italeri M113 and a Revell (Matchbox) M40 SPG. I also used the lettering from their sheets to make up a code for a 5-16th Artillery machine (but sans the yellow weight class sign). Mr. Decal Softer helped the markings get grip and conform to the model surfaces.
The decals were sealed, and I used minimal amount of pigments to add to the dusty appearance. Diluted H2Oils (Burnt Umber and Paynes Grey) were used to simulate the leaks. Mixed with some dry pigments they helped create the mud buildup on the front upper sheet.
Alright – so why do I keep labeling articles using the full kit name and number? Because most companies “milk” their designs and have multiple releases using the same basic kit (or some of it). OKB Grigorov has already released the A1 and A2 versions of the M109, kits No 72004 and 72005, respectively.
Back to our initial SPH variant.
What’s the first thing we usually do? Dry fit major components so we’re able to judge size and get motivated by the upcoming result! I sanded the turret base and the hull recess that is intended to accept it a bit. The model is pretty small, yet rather heavy for its size.