Vk 100.01 (p) Mammut 2 in 1
For first impressions of this kit and a closer look at it’s parts, please refer the First Look review of this kit by clicking on the link below.
Building the Mammut
The build starts where so many armor kits do, with the lower hull tub. There is some nicely done detail on the bottom of the tub, which sadly won’t be seen, unless the builder is really creative!
Above - the final drive housings added, along with what I believe are mud scrapers for the the drive sprockets. All fit well.
The nicely detailed two-piece drive sprockets mated up easily, with a little flexible vinyl collar trapped in between the parts. The vinyl collar allows the sprockets to push fit onto the axles, and allows for rotation of the sprockets. This rotation will be required when mounting the tracks.
Above can also be seen in place the mount points (3 per hull side) for the suspension arm assemblies. These had secure, positive fit.
Above - test fitting the drive sprockets
Next come the roadwheels, which are built up in pairs, with the wheels trapping poly collars within them. There are two (very) slightly different types of these paired wheel sets (assemblies C and D), you’ll need to get them mounted correctly for all to mesh up right.
I used labeled plastic cups to keep the wheel sets organized, not trusting myself to remember which pile of wheels was which! Above - “C” wheel sets assembled, “D” wheel sets up next. TAKOM has done builders of this kit a favor, with the road wheels each only having two sprue attachment points per wheel. There’s a lot of wheels, but cleaning them up wasn’t as big a chore as it sometimes can be.
Next we build the road wheel suspension arms, made up of two parts. Like the wheel assemblies, these arms have two slightly different designs (assemblies E and F) , depending on where they are mounted. Again, they must be kept separated to make mounting them less confusing.
Above - one complete set of suspension arms.
The suspension arms mount to the lower hull, 3 per side by means of a styrene pin part. Careful cementing will get you workable suspension. Following the instruction drawings VERY closely, the wheel sets are mounted to the axles.
Above - both sides of the lower hull running gear is mounted, but wait….there’s more!
Each side of the hull has an armored cowling that contains a mirror image of the suspension sets that are mounted on the lower hull. When this armored cowling assembly is mounted to the lower hull correctly, all the suspension parts (hull and cowling mounted) will mate up.
Above - top of image has the armored cowling along with suspension parts mated up to the lower hull, bottom of image shows the side awaiting the cowling and suspension parts. NOTE - as it will be nearly impossible to paint all of this once assembled. I did some pre-painting here, as you can see.
Above - all suspension parts, wheels in place!
The kit instructions are not particularly clear regarding the mounting of the tracks. Before attachment of the cowling with it’s outer set of road wheels / suspension, or afterwards? Each method seemed to present issues, but in the end I opted to add the tracks after getting all suspension and road wheels firmly in place.
Each track run is made up of two lengths of pliable vinyl-like styrene tracks, attached to each other with steel pins threaded through holes in the track lugs. Above, you can just see the glint of the steel pin in-between the track lugs (red arrow). The pin fits okay through the holes in the track lugs, but needs some gentle persuasion at times. The tracks are so pliable that ANY deviation from the pins being dead straight through the tracks will result in the pin running over or under the individual track lugs, or jamming it onto the lug and deforming it. Take care with this operation, be patient, and all will be well.
Before mounting the tracks to the running gear I did go ahead and pre-paint the track runs a reddish brown.
Snaking the track run onto the top side of the running gear wasn’t too tough, turning the movable drive sprockets helped push the track along, and a long pair of tweezers also helped.
Now comes what’s likely the toughest job of the build, joining the two ends of the track run using one of those steel pins. I found the track run to fit just a wee bit on the tight side, which made wrestling that pin through all of those track lugs REALLY tough. Three hands are definitely needed here. It’s difficult to hold both ends of the track in perfect alignment while trying to push the pin through.
Above - another view of the track attachment task.
Be patient, work carefully and you’ll get the tracks safely in place. They fit well, with enough tautness to look good. Plus with the working suspension, you should be able to get this model to sit realistically on uneven ground if desired.
Above - after all that effort, not much of the suspension or tracks even shows!
As the engine deck (choice of two versions) has lot of see-through potential even after adding all the photoetched screens, and there is absolutely nothing in there, I opted to paint the interior of the hull back by the engine bay a flat black. Hopefully this is enough to prevent an “a-ha” moment by a competition judge with a death-ray flashlight.
Closing up the hull is done with three parts, the front, the engine deck (choice of two, I went with the more “traditional” looking of them) and a tail piece that wraps around the rear of the hull and joins neatly with the ends of the two armored cowlings that cover the outer set of running gear. All fit quite well, even the rearmost piece that concerned me the most. Ultimately, it practically snapped into place. I saved detailing these hull parts for later, as I was eager to move onto getting that monster turret onto this beast.
But first….OOPS (the word we all hate when building a model….). In my haste to get the hull closed up, I committed a model builder’s cardinal sin, NOT READING THE INSTRUCTIONS. The large rectangular engine deck screen mounts from underneath, not on top. I should have added it prior to mounting the engine deck plate to the lower hull. Luckily for me, the turret hole in this beast is massive, and I was able to maneuver the screen into place through that hole.
Above - engine deck screen in place…from underneath!
Above - continuing on with detailing the engine deck - more screens, and two exhausts.
Next up came detailing the forward end of the hull, which included a pair of headlights, the crew hatches, and some assorted tools. Note that some of the usual Germanic kibbles and bits are missing from this hull - we see no spare track links, no tow cables, no main gun cleaning gear, and no jack. The headlights are nice 4 part assemblies, with the power conduit nicely molded onto the hull.
Above - the hull work all complete. This beast looks oddly “slick” and aerodynamic to me, despite all those tons worth of armor!
Next, time to work on the turret, which has even fewer parts than the hull.
Above - most of the turret parts, including turret sides/ top, turret floor, turret rear wall, gun mounts and the metal 128mm gun tube.
Given the length and weight of that metal gun tube (even if it’s aluminum), it’s a good thing that the gun mounts are chunky and quite stable. There will be no droopy tube here!
All turret parts fit quite well. There’s really not a lot mounted onto the turret; just the rear door, the commander’s cupola, the hatch, the armored turret ventilator cover and the main gun mantlet with lift ring. As the kit includes two different caliber guns and associated mantlets, take care to ensure that you use the correct mantlet to match your gun. Speaking of the mantlet, it keys into the gun mount for a very stable mounting of that long metal gun tube.
Above - the turret build complete.
The build of this kit went smoothly for the most part. Fit of the parts was very good, the instructions were clearly laid out other than the sequence uncertainty I ran into when mounting the tracks. Speaking of the tracks, joining them proved to be a bit of a wrestling match. However, once on, they look good and fit well. This build could easily be completed in a weekend.
Painting and Finishing the Mammut
The beauty of building a “what if” / “never was” or fantasy tank is that you can pretty much do what you want to it. In some, ahem…cases, one can go a little far around the bend.
The kit provides 4 different paint and markings schemes, and the decals looked pretty good so it was just a matter of deciding what look I wanted from the model. I decided to do a winter camo, intense urban combat, an “it’s 1946 and the Germans are still fighting” sort of look. I wanted to depict a battered tank, with a lot of battle damage and lots of shell damage. A couple of you tube videos later, I had my shell damage all right, maybe a bit too much damage..but hey, this IS a “what-if” tank. Once I drilled that first hole, the genie was out of the bottle and I beat up the Mammut pretty good.
After inflicting perhaps a bit too much damage on this apparently indestructible tank with a pin vise with two different drill bits, and a Dremel tool with cone shaped grinder, it was time for some paint. I began with a flat black pre-shade, following that with the usual mid to late war dark yellow. Before doing the winter whitewash, I applied the decals that I’d selected. I had some trouble with them, the edges on some just didn’t want to settle into the paint regardless of how many applications of decal setting solution I tried. Finally, I just decided to move on and apply the winter whitewash and hope for the best.
Above - the Mammut before the whitewash
I used good old Tamiya acrylic flat white for the whitewash coat, applied a bit unevenly by airbrush, trying to leave the tank’s markings somewhat visible. I used an ancient bottle of Mig wash, a cold blue tint to apply some streaking to the model. The impact marks got a light blast of flat black, followed by a bit of Life Color dark rust, finished up with an application of an AK dark rust pencil to do just a bit of rust streaking. Finally, I used some Vallejo German Camo Black-Brown to apply some chips and scuffs here and there. I still have some touch-ups and minor details to attend to, but for review purposes we’re done.
Overall, I found this to be a nice kit from the folks at TAKOM. It’s a quick build due to the fairly low parts count, and could easily be a weekend build. The fact that it is a “what-if” or “never-was” vehicle gives the builder a lot of room to experiment with paint schemes, etc., as I ultimately did. Here are some specific thoughts on the kit from my perspective..
PROS - interesting subject matter, giving the builder freedom to try new things. The kit has a relatively low parts count, making for a quick build. Parts quality is good, with clean, well detailed parts. The kit provides two slightly differing versions which can be built, providing photoetch engine deck screens for both of them. The kit also provides a metal gun barrel for the 128mm armed version.
CONS - The band style tracks are a bit difficult to join using the steel pins, especially once you’ve mounted the run of tracks to the suspension and then attempt to mate the two ends of the tracks together under tension. The instructions are bit vague regarding sequencing of adding the second set of suspension parts to the hull, and the mounting of the tracks. I had some problems with the decal edges showing, despite my best efforts to eliminate that. Finally, the kit lacks any interior at all, so the hatches all need to be closed.
Despite the issues noted above, this was an interesting, fun project to build. I learned a skill new to me, and am happy to have tackled this kit. Kudos to TAKOM for continuing to offer modelers unusual, offbeat subjects to build!
Thanks to TAKOM for the review sample
Reviewed by Chuck Aleshire, AMPS Chicagoland
AMPS 2nd Vice President, Midwest Region
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