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Useful metal wire processing methods

0.1mm - 1.0mm Brass or Copper wire are widely used as the simplest detail up material.

So as first lesson I introduce my metal wire processing methods.

Some may have seen these methods before - Yes, these are already shown in my site, but this time I added comments in English and edited these again.

1. The bending that emphasized an edge:

Almost modelers know it from experience; When you bend a no processed metal wire, roundness equivalent to the diameter of the wire appears at the corner.

So when you do the bending that emphasized an edge, you need processing as follows on the part to bend

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Panzer 38(t) Tracks Comparison

As promised I give you a comparison review between the different panzer38(t) tracks out in the market!

First we start with what tracks I compared!

The contestants are: Friul, WW2 Productions, Tristar, DML Magic Tracks, Modelkasten and the Tamiya Vinyl Tracks!

Width: compared from the width all but Friul have the same size with Friul being wider than the others!
Length: All share the same length!

Casting numbers: Are visible on all tracks but [b]Tamiya, Modelkasten and Tristar[/b]! The Magic Tracks have some kind of casting numbers but one has to look very carefully to recognize them! making WW2 and Friul those with the best details!

The guide horns: On all links they are beautifully reproduced and in the correct shape for later Panzer38(t) tracks! The distance between the guide horns is the widest with the Friul offering and the narrowest with Tamiya and WW2 Production!

The assembly of the tracks:

Stability: The most stable and best connection is provided with the Friul offering, followed by Modelkasten, WW2 Productions and Tristar being those who better should be glued together although they are thought to be just clicked together and thus taking the last place! DML Magic Tracks are out of competition in this category as they have to be glued and are not meant to be workable!

Cleaning up: DML needs no work here, some Friul links need some cleaning and WW2 Productions links demand the resin typical cleaning work. Tristar links need to be cut away from the sprue at two attachment points while Modelkasten challenges the nerves of the modeller with four attachment points!

Assembly: While DML allows you to go straight on, the glueing and lining up takes some time and needs attention, the Friul tracks are self aligning due to the wire connection. The WW2 Productions tracks are easily and most quickly to assemble with a little bit of attention and care with the pins. Tristar - as mentioned - are better glued instead of just clicked together for the benefit of nerves and temper. ]Most mind numbing tracks on the market are the Modelkasten Tracks with two pins to glue in each of the links - a meditating experience that pays off in the end when done correctly!

Fit: All tracks but the Friul fit the Tamiya, Tristar and DML sprockets snugly but Friul provides metal sprockets within their ATL-13 set. If you have the old Maquette or Italeri kits Modelkasten offers spacers for their tracks to fit the sprockets - if the others fit those kits I can't tell as I don't have them!

Spare links: All different tracks but Modelkasten have enough spare links for a relaxed assembly without cold sweat. Modelkasten is most unforgivingly as the links provided are calculated very narrow! if you work with them you better make no mistake! WW2 Productions leave you a lot of room as there are plenty of links left in the bag after assembly what means that after the third or fourth panzer38(t) you have enough links left for another kit to be fitted out with workable tracks!

Conclusion: All tracks - even the Tamiya vinyl offering - reproduce the Panzer38(t) tracks beautifully. The lack of casting numbers are disadvantages of Modelkasten, Tristar and Tamiya, while the size problems of the Friuls are their big minus. The best overall appearance make DML and WW2 Productions! For those who don't like the DML Magic Tracks, Modelkasten and WW2 Productions are the deal with WW2 Productions being those who are the easiest to work with AND with delicate details! In total the WW2 Productions tracks are the most complete offering in the market and I cannot but very highly recommend them to everybody building any kind of Panzer38(t) variant!

If you have the Tristar Panzer38(t) Ausf. B there's no alternative to WW2 Productions as they are the only ones who deliver the market with early pattern Panzer38(t) tracks with solid guide horns!

Some comparison shots of the contestants:

track comparison 1

track comparison 2
track comparison 3

I am not connected in any way to any of the manufacturers mentioned! I tried my very best to bring an objective comparison review to you!

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New from Dragon/CyberHobby

I am not surprised...

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GRIFFON MODELS 75mm GMC Gun Shield

The 75mm GMC (Gun Motor Carriage) was developed based on the M3 Halftrack and the need for a mobile Anti Tank platform. The 75mmGMC served in North Africa and Italy before being phased out and replaced with dedicated Anti Tank weapons such as the M10. More than 800 made it into service with the rest being refitted to the original M3 troop carrier roles. But history you can find at the same places I found this, let's talk PE!

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Standard packaging for Armor PE from Griffon, sturdy cardboard protects the PE from folds and mishandling.

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Fret A shows the Armor plate and framework. Initial look does not show much folding other than the frame. This is a small build in comparison to other offerings in PE Halftrack so please follow me in the build and fold and glue and maybe even some soldering, watch the fingers!

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Fret E (there are no other Frets, these frets no doubt are included in the Griffon Royal Edition)

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The original part that the Griffon PE is replacing. Nice slide molded Gun shield from Dragon, and in one piece . Very thin and nicely detailed. The PE will have to build up special to beat the detail that is coming out of the box from Dragon.

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Griffon's frets are well made but not hard to separate the parts from the fret. Slight pressure on the tab with a sharp hobby knife and it's pops. I have dealt with others that nearly called for a dremal to cut it away from the fret. Not the case with this Griffon product.

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This is right hand side frame to build the shield on. I annealed with heat first to test how the Griffon PE takes the heat and to make sure the folds will be pliable. Turned out I did not need the Hold and Fold as the angles were too complicated for this and the smooth mouth pliers worked fine here. Use a small metal file to file down any leftover tabs from separating the part from the fret.


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Test fitting the frames against the kit part to check the angles, looks good.

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Now you can use CA as your bonding agent, should work fine, remember to score the surface on both sides of the brass before gluing, give the CA a little something more to grip. I like to solder PE parts of this size using solder past and my trusty microtorch. Alcohol bath before soldering with solder paste, clamps use to hold part in place. Apply heat and watch those finger tips!

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And the result.

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A little cleaning with the wire brush and there you go. Be sure to clean as you go because it's far easier to do that than when the build is nearly complete.

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Turned out nicely if I say so myself. Griffon brass is sturdy and takes solder with no problem. Some manufactures coat their metal (not always brass) with an agent that makes soldering nearly impossible without striping all of the coating and cleaning the part. The weight and thickness of the Griffon parts feels good in your fingers as you are working with them. I found that annealing was not necessary with the rest of the folds as the scoring for the fold lines were etched just enough to make the bend and fold clean and easy with just my smooth mouth pliers and finger pressure. The thickness of the armor feels and looks more to scale than the plastic kit part.

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The forward right side of the Gun Shield and moving on...

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Finished product. The kit has some more bolt, rivet and bracket detail will be added but you can see the overall result is a well produced replacement for the Dragon Gun Shield.



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Notice how much more pronounced and well define the screw head detail is with the Griffon PE when compared to the original kit part. This will be really pronounced when you paint and highlight the details on your kit.

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The Finely turned 75mm barrel does not come in this kit, that is a future review is coming up shortly. What is included in the kit is the two frets of parts and one .5mm * 5 mm plastic rod for making a quick release lock on part of the gun mount. Also there are replacements for some other parts not directly connected to the gun shield but attaches to the gun mount itself. Behind the shield will be the mount for the telescopic sighting system.

Conclusion, I found the Griffon 75mm Gun Shield a great little addition to the 75mm GMC. Over all it took about 1.5 hour total to complete this build and I believe you will find that it would be time well spent for the detail added to your 75mm GMC. Using CA would cut that time down I am sure. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to add that something special to the 75mm GMC, a subject that is not often seen modeled till now.

I would like to thank Griffon Models for this great review sample. Thanks to Jenny and crew for the encouragement and guidance for my first review. Now let's go build a Half Track!

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Simulating various kinds of wood

This is the first of many techniques I hope to demonstrate on T&T over the coming months. They are the processes I use and certainly are not the only way. I have developed, discovered,or lucked into these techniques over many years of trial and error. I think one of the questions I am most frequently asked is, "How do you create that? "That" being almost always about this or that surface, be it wood, metal, marble, stone, brick, and so on. As to wood, I never use bass wood, balsa or any other "real" wood to simulate wood in miniature. I know others do, but I have never thought my attempts, at least, looked real or believable in scale.

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