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Takom- Vk 168.01 (P) Super Heavy Tank

Kit Number:
03.02.2158
Scale:
1:35
Published:
Monday, January 16, 2023
Manufacturer:
TAKOM
Retail Price:
MSRP $69.95
Reviewed By:
Brian Campitella

Vk 168.01 (P) Super Heavy Tank

 

To read the first look review of this large kit click on the following link:  https://www.amps-armor.org/SiteReviews/ShowReview.aspx?id=15037  

The conclusion of the First Look Review stated this kit could be a relatively simple weekend build.  I decided to test this premise and time each step of the build.  Therefore along with each construction step, an image of the instructions and a time will be posted. The times include removing the parts from the sprue and any cleanup required for the individual or assembled parts.  When two or more pieces were needed to construct a part, such as the gun barrel, the parts were glued, set aside to dry and then cleaned.  The cleaning times were later added into the elapsed time for the step.

Building the lower hull and side skirts

Steps 1 and 2 construct the lower hull and road wheels. Step 1 attaches the mounting points for the suspension arms, the drive sprockets and idler wheel. There is an error in the instructions for attaching the towing lugs.  The Location of parts E3 and E4 are reversed and should be placed on opposite ends of the lower hull.   Step 2 builds the 16 road wheels with all 32 road wheel disks needing the sprue attachment points sanded smooth.  For step 2.D place the poly cap into B10 then attach B1 to B10 and finally attach the outer rim B11.  This assembly order makes it easier to center B1 on B10.

Build Time Minutes
Step 1 25 
Step 2 71

 

 

Step 3 constructs the suspension arms and attaches them to the lower hull.  The arms have seam lines on the top and bottom that run the length of the arm.  The suspension arms on the hull itself will be totally hidden, so it isn't necessary to clean these seams. I cleaned all seams and included the effort in the time it took to complete this step. The arms will pivot if carefully attached to the hull. I built them to pivot but later found I had to glue them in a neutral or flat position when attaching the tracks.  When assembling, attach the suspension arm before attaching the road wheels otherwise it is impossible to maneuver part C12(R14) into place.

Build Time Minutes
Step 3 98 

 

Steps 4 and 5 build the side skirts and attach the suspension arms. 

Build Time Minutes
Step 4 15 
Step 5 13 

 

Step 6 mates the upper and lower hull.  The side skirts attach later to complete construction of the hull.  Note the engine air intake photo etch screens are attached from the inside of the upper hull.  I added a pre-painted black plastic sheet behind the air intakes to eliminate the dreaded see-through to an empty inside.  In hindsight I should have also prepainted the screens before attaching them to the hull.  The act of painting the screens in place, eliminated the black backdrop.

Build Time Minutes
Step 6 23

 

Step 7 attaches the track around the suspension and what initially seemed to be a simple process became the most difficult step in the entire build.  

Build Time Minutes
Step 7 120 

First each of the four track sets consists of two sections of flexible track held together with steel pins.  The pins refused to fit through the holes in the track ends.  It wasn't that the holes were too small, it was after going through half of the track link holes the pins would simply bind up and wouldn't go any further.  I solved this problem by lubricating the pins with dish washing detergent and carefully pushing through each hole and then lining up the next.

Next I attached the completed tracks to the lower hull road wheels it was a very tight fit, but I forced it a bit and managed to get them on.  As I was putting the second set I noticed that the first set's idler wheel was bent at a 45 degree angle and pulling loose from its post. I pulled the set off and removed one pin.  I then wrapped it around the Idler and sprocket and came up approximately one half inch short of connecting the two ends. See image below.  

To solve the problem the track glued to the road wheels, idler and sprocket. The gap will never be seen on the completed model.

The same problem occurred  on the side skirts. When the track was forced on to the side skirt wheels, the side skirt bowed approximately one quarter inch.

Getting both tracks to align was problematic, The track tended to flex around the idlers and sprockets which made obtaining a consistent gap between the two tracks difficult.  The tracks are very prominent when viewed from the front and back so a consistent gap is vital.  After much adjusting an acceptable gap was obtained.  However, after handling the model in subsequent build steps the track alignment issue returned.  The kit could be made much better by providing link and length tracks for the two thirds of track that is visible and ignoring the rest.

Step 8 installs various hull detail parts and tools.  No issues here, everything fit well and the tools had positive attachment points.

Build Time Minutes
Step 8 41

 

Steps 9 and 10 finish adding detail parts to the hull.

Parts E11, the ladder rungs, are somewhat delicate. When removing them from the sprue it was difficult to tell where the part ended and the sprue attachment point began. There was some minor flash on tow cable ends  that needed removal.  All parts had positive attachment points and installed easily.

Build Time Minutes
Step 9 20 
Step 10 14

 

Building the Turret 

Steps 11, 12 and 13 add detail parts to the turret.  The only issue with this step was installing the spare track hangers.  The hangers did not have a slot or hole to aide in installation, rather there was a small slightly raised rectangle. While this did locate the part it was difficult to get the end of the hanger to sit properly against the rectangle.  To ease this problem one hanger of each pair was glued to the turret and allowed to dry.  The spare track was placed on the installed hanger, eyeballed into place and glued down.  After the glue had set for a couple of minutes the second hanger was inserted through the track and glued in place.  This simplified alignment of the hangers. Note: the right side spare tracks were added during Step 11 vice Step 12, this is reflected in the build time.

Since the all hatches were to be permanently closed, the hinge pins were removed and the hatch was glued in place between the hinges (parts R17/19).  Not having to juggle the pins and hinges made for a simplified assembly.

The MG42 is a well detailed one piece molding that was left off the model until painting was completed. The radio antenna was also installed after painting was complete

Build Time Minutes
Step 11 27
Step 12 33
Step 13 30

 

  

Step 4 adds the rudimentary gun cradle and completes the turret assembly.  No clean up was performed on the cradle since it is completely hidden within the turret assembly.

Build Time Minutes
Step 14 10

 

Step 15 brings it all together. The barrel was a two piece affair that required some sanding to remove the seams. The tabs on the turret ring were slightly too large to fit in the slots in the hull.  Removing about one sixteenth on an inch from each tab width allowed the turret to fit properly.

Build Time Minutes
Step 15  12 

 

The total time to build the kit was 9 hours and 12 minutes. I didn't do the build in one session or necessarily complete one step before moving on to the next. I worked ahead in the steps and built assemblies that would need seam lines cleaned up so they would be dry when I reached that step.  In actuality, I built this across four days.  But, due to the short overall build time this could easily be built on a Saturday and painted on a Sunday! 

Total build time Minutes
Steps 1 to 15 552  (9hr 12 minutes)

Decals for this kit are limited to two types of numbers and Balkenkreuz and  kill rings. The decals easily separated from the backing paper and could be moved around on the model for a couple of minutes before setting up.  They responded well to Solvaset as evidenced by the way the number on the rear turret hatch settled around the large hatch protrusion.               

Painting was limited to a basic single color scheme with simple weathering to better show the raw detail of the kit.  Eventually, the kit will be completed with a winter weathering scheme.  All paints and washes used were Vallejo products.

In keeping with the weekend build theme it took about seven hours to airbrush the dunkegelb colors, do the detail painting and add the decals. Again, I did allow an overnight drying session for the dunklegelb before I painted the details. 

Conclusion

This is an interesting subject and a simple build aside from the issues with the tracks.  But those issues are easily mitigated by leaving a gap in the top of the tracks where it is out of sight.  Since this is a Paper Panzer, painting schemes can be anything from a simple dunkelgelb to a modern digital camouflage.  Be prepared to use a lot of paint on this beast.  I felt like I was painting a barn. This kit is appropriate for builders of any experience level.  

I thoroughly enjoyed building this kit.  It was a nice change from a super detailed thousand part kit.  For a more experienced builder I think trying to do this over a weekend would be a load of fun!  Give it a try.

Highly Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders.

Thanks goes out to TAKOM for this review kit.

Reviewed by Brian Campitella

 

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