IntroductionI’ve always been drawn to the more “oddball” type of subjects and the Sd.kfz.84 Elefant first caught my eye on a vendor’s table at an IPMS contest back in October of 2004. I knew that the kit had some flaws after reading several of the online reviews and doing some research and so I began quietly accumulating various items in a slow build-up to finally tackling the project beginning in August, 2006. The project involved a horde of items from many manufacturers. The base kit is Dragon’s non-Premium kit, number 6126 and this was supplemented with Cavalier’s resin Zimmerit set, a Jordi Rubio turned aluminum barrel with white metal muzzle brake, Model Kasten workable tracks to replace the incorrect kit supplied tracks, Voyager detail PE set and armor plug set, and a replacement turned brass hull MG from ModelPoint to top off the list.
Lower HullI started out with the usual order of things from the kit instructions perspective and immediately noticed that they call, oddly for the road wheels to have a rubber rim, which I ignored. The Model Kasten track set also includes several small spacer disks for installation with the wheels to give them the correct gap to take the guide horns on the MK links, without which the wheels will be too narrow to take the correct sized links. These were a nice addition but required a little more care on the alignment of the wheel halves to insure they were uniform as the DML fit is somewhat shallow to begin with and the spacers make that even shallower. Installation of the suspension gear and a quick test fit of the wheels revealed that the mount arms and the wheel holes were “wobbly” on several, some worse than others, and some poster bluetac was required to hold them in place as a working solution for the duration through painting, after which they were carefully fixed in place with regular glue so they’d sit level. Step 5 calls for the drive sprockets to be installed along with their mounts (parts B15/16) but the MK track set includes an additional part to allow these to be tensionable, with the additional part including a disk being secured on the inner hull surface and allowing the sprocket to rotate to a limited degree up or down as desired when the tracks are installed. This comes in extremely handy later on as the clearance for the tracks is very tight and only the rear “idler” sprocket can rotate fully to allow for the tracks to be “fed” through. I also installed the scrapers (part E24) at this time not realizing they would cause a problem with the right hand side sprocket to “feed” properly, more on that later. I also took advantage of time in front of the TV to gradually work on the MK track set, a couple of hours a night for about a week, and had a beautiful set of working tracks as a reward for the tedium, along with a substantial sprue debris pile! Model Kasten made sure to make the tracks “handed” with the retaining pins being different and provided just enough extras to allow for me to hang a set of 6 links off the rear hull hangers and get a natural drape over the hull as a result. It did mean though that I would have to use kit supplied links for the front hull spares but that didn’t pose any real problem as the kit part inaccuracies are mostly on the face down portions. I also modified, using reference photos as a guide, the kit supplied tool box by removing the raised ribs on the lid as the vehicle/unit I had chosen clearly had a smooth-topped toolbox, a sharp blade and a little sanding provided the easy solution in no time.
ZimmeritThe Cavalier set included several very well done resin pieces in addition to the panels themselves and dry-fit very well both to each other and the kit parts. Some surgery was required to remove molded on raised detail but this was no great loss and easily accomplished. In addition to the regular parts, Cavalier thoughtfully provided a mini Zimtool to allow for extending patterns over the fill lines and for the areas such as the lower hull exhaust sides where panels were not provided but still required the Zimmerit application. I used Squadron white putty and the tool for these areas but had to work fast due to the short work time on the Squadron putty. Very little trimming or filling was needed, either with the joins to the resin pieces or with the panels themselves. I used Testor’s Window Maker glue to fix the panels, gently pressing outward to the edges to remove any excess and wipe it away with a Q-tip. Once that had set up, a little CA gel was used along the edges to insure they don’t peel away and provide a sanding friendly surface for final cleanup.
PE DetailsUpon opening up the Voyager set and examining it more closely, I discovered that it had replacement tread pattern and replacement mud flaps, but not the full fenders themselves as I’d originally thought. Rather than perform complicated surgery to remove the molded in tread plate in favor of the PE pattern, I went with the kit fenders and instead gave some attention to the mud flaps at the front by first sanding down the flaps to a more scale thickness and second by scribing in the missing demarcation lines. The rest of the detail PE set was dutifully applied in the form of the fender support brackets, annealed heat shields and convoy light for the rear, and tow cable brackets/hooks on the hull sides. I also installed the beautifully rendered Model Point hull MG into the resin gun mount and was ready to tackle the upper hull and gun box.
Copyright ©2020 by Bill Plunk. _OPINIONS IPMS-UK KitMaker Branch, KitMaker Network, or Silver Star Enterrpises. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of KitMaker Network or the British Bulldogs IPMS-UK group. All rights reserved. Originally published on: 2016-02-11 19:05:01. Unique Reads: 27043