The driver’s compartment interior sees the floor (which also includes the front fenders) having nicely done tread plate pattern but the forward firewall foot plates lack the many bolt heads present on the actual vehicle. The top of the driver’s footplate should also extend further forward and include the same four recesses as on the right side (see images).
The dashboard in added inside the upper cab shell and this has raised details for the dials, switches and glove compartment with the dials themselves included on the kit decal sheet. For some reason the instructions don’t mention these dials or give any indication as to their location and some additional reference for this will come in handy for the correct placement. There should also be a speed limit stencil (MAX. SPEED 35) added to the glove compartment door but this is not included on the decal sheet. Archer Fine Transfers are to release a set of dashboard dials for this kit and it could well include the speed limit stencil as well, we will know when the sheet is available.
There are two drain holes in the floor panels, that on the right side is correctly positioned centrally but the left side hole is incorrectly positioned inboard and should be central the same as the right side, quite and easy fix.
The driver’s foot pedals sees the brake and clutch pedals separate parts that fit into holes in the foot plate but watch the parts numbers as they are both not the same size so make sure you position these correctly. The accelerator pedal has incorrect horizontal texturing when it should actually be vertical as shown in the images.
The three gear shift levels are nicely represented with the large gear shift level having the correct angled shaft but you have to be very careful cleaning off the moulding seam as the shaft is quite thin and can break easily during the cleaning process.
There is a square plate around the two smaller gear shift levels and this should also have the tread plate applied and not be smooth as depicted while the hand brake lacks the release cable down the rear edge which can easily be added with thin wire.
The front louver open/close lever on the right side is very simplified and lacks any real detail and replacing the top bracket with thin card will improve the appearance considerably.
The driver’s and co-driver’s seats have subtle texturing on the cushions and have the correct forward overhang from the base with just the backrest cushions requiring the edges be rounded a little more which again is easily done. The central third crew seat is actually attached to the front of the rear compartment wall which we’ll get to later with the support leg added between the driver’s and co-driver’s seats.
Take care with the cleanup of this part as it is also quite thin and the two attachment lugs at the top should be at the back as it is very easy to glue the support with these facing forward making fitting the third seat a problem later.
There are unfortunately quite a few details missing from the interior which again on a kit this size you would expect to be present?
Inside the side panels there should be a series of bolts heads around the door sills and there should be a fire extinguisher and associated rack on both side walls forward of the doors and under the dashboard should be a large cylindrical generator filter as well as the numerous bolt heads mentioned above.
The inside of the cabin doors have some prominent pin marks to be removed which will require care as some are close to the raided detail such as hinge bolts, the door handle is also moulded solid and would benefit from being replaced for better definition.
On the inside of the windscreen frame are also some pin mark indentations to be removed and there are 5 small brass wing nuts which are in two halves that are bent around the locating pin on the windscreen frame. It’s best to bend these using a drill bit shaft before hand instead of trying to bend around the small plastic pins.
Continuing with the main doors these have the upper armoured section moulded in the raised position and would have to be cut apart if you wanted to display these lowered, also the visor cover is moulded fixed in the open position and would require a little work if you wanted to show these closed.
The large door handles are again moulded solid and could certainly benefit from being reworked for a better appearance in this large scale while the hinges are supplied as the pre-formed metal hinges with very small plastic “bolts” to secure these in place. These small pins don’t have the screw slot that they should, some have a small moulding ‘ridge’ that simulates the slot but this is raised and not on all the pins and adding the slot manually will improve the look but could also weaken the head so care should be taken with these.
These bolts are quite small and require extreme care when removing from the sprues and in handling and I would advise to work well over your bench as the carpet monster will just love these small slippery parts.
The bolts fit through the holes in the hinges and in the doors with the instructions indicating to use cyanoacrylate to glue these in place but it may be an idea to also heat weld the inside pins using a heated screwdriver tip to provide a more secure attachment.
With the hinges these were all rather stiff in my kit and not very easy to articulate even with the use of pliers which will make repositing of the doors rather difficult and you may want to bend the hinges to the desired position if showing the doors open before fitting. I did manage to get a few of the hinges working better using two pairs of plies to bend them about but this also distorted some of the folded segments of the hinges so take care if you try and force them to move.
You are provided the three pioneer tools carried on the cab sides, the axe, pickaxe and shovel with some of the mounting brackets moulded with the tools, you also get etched brackets and securing straps that require you to cut away the moulded on brackets but make for an improved appearance. The shovel has the large spade bracket as an etched part only for a good appearance.
The Jerry Can mounting brackets are in etched brass with additional etched screw heads and these fit neatly to the cab sides after bending to shape and the Jerry Can racks are supplied in pre-formed brass which is very handy as it would be very difficult to bend these if supplied as flat parts.
The bottom join gaps are quite large and you will need to solder the based of the racks to both fill the gaps and secure the rack sides, this also gives greater strength to the racks but the fit to the mounting brackets is not indicated. You will have to just position these by eye with the only mating surfaces being the raised rear bolt recesses and the attachment is rather flimsy.
The Jerry Cans themselves are moulded in four parts, the main can body, the top section with separate handles and filler cap, the design of the cans is similar to those from Tasca in 1:35 scale for those familiar with those cans.
Assembly is very straightforward and the fit of the cans to the racks very snug with additional etched straps provided to secure the cans in the racks for good definition here.
You are also provided two large rear view mirrors mounted on two arm supports and Trumpeter must have been looking at a restored M16 because the wartime vehicles did not have rear view mirrors fitted.
You should therefore leave off these mirrors but you will also need to fill the four locating holes in the cab bodywork provided for mounting the mirror posts and the holes on the side is where a screw head should be so these will have to be added back from somewhere?
The windscreen frame has clear plastic for the screen “glass” and separate windscreen wipers but you may want to leave these off until after painting to make the job a little easier. The folding armoured panel has three separate support legs that you can position raised of flat on the cab top if showing the armoured panel closed.
This panel has some pin marks on the inside and the visor covers are like the doors moulded in the open position and my part was also slightly warped and will need straightening but nothing dramatic.
As mentioned the cab/engine compartment shell is in one part and moving forward to the engine compartment the front radiator louvers are a separate part added from inside the compartment. The louvers are moulded in the open position and you can see quite easily inside to the featureless radiator and adding some detail to the radiator face will improve the look here.
There should also be two flush screw heads on either side of each of the four louvers and these will have to be added as will the inner brackets for the louvers if you want to go that far?
The head light clusters are the later removable type as they should be and consist of the two part mounting bracket, separate light with stem, main light with clear plastic lens and upper smaller blackout light as well as the front mounted bush guard.
There are a few issues here in that the blackout light is a little undersized and the top section of the bush guard is too short and looks “squashed” when compared to photos of the guards and replacing the top section with card strip will improve the appearance. The main guards could be thinned a little but after the cleanup of the moulding seams around the edges this may be enough in any case?
The separate lights allow you to remove these if you wish as they are designed for the lights to be removed and stowed inside the vehicle if required.
Moving to the engine hoods, these are in four segments with more of the pre-formed metal hinges to join the doors together allowing you to open or close the compartment doors. Unfortunately due to the very stiff nature of the hinges as mentioned above this is not as easy as it sounds and the hinges fitted on the inside of the outer doors are supposed to fold back over themselves when open and I could only get one hinge to do this. All others tried wanted to destroy themselves before they would bend to that configuration, so I gave it a miss.
The top hinges fit to the outside and are attached with more of the small plastic bolts that also lack the screw slot and heat welding the inside pins will make the joins a little stronger than just using the cyanoacrylate as indicated.
The doors fit together well with the hinges in place and the fit to the compartment openings is good overall but again the lower hood grab handles are moulded solid and opening these out or replacing will improve the appearance considerably.
Separate hood T brackets and mountings are provided and one does wonder if these can be provided as separate parts why not the door handles which are about the same size?
On the undersides of the fenders you are provided with the rear support brackets but there should also be rounded support under the front sections of the fenders and these are not provided and you will have to add these from thin card or similar as they are quite noticeable on the actual vehicle.
The fit of the cab/engine compartment to the lower floor/fenders is very good due to the use of clips at the back corners of the cab that fit into slots in the floor panel making for a precise fit and locating lugs in the inside of the fenders ensuring the front section located nicely.
This assembly attaches with two screw through the back of the cab but the front just ‘sits’ on the chassis and gluing in place with secure this. You should as mentioned above not fit the front winch assembly until after fitting the cab/engine compartment as the winch power takeoff shaft has to fit through the opening at the bottom of the hull front panel.
Overall there is a bit of work required on the can/engine compartment assembly and the interior is quite sparse really for a model of this size but most of the basic are provided.