Building Nobi's A7V/U

Discussion in 'Armory & Military' started by rockpaperscissor, Mar 16, 2007.

  1. rockpaperscissor

    rockpaperscissor Member

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    For my next project I've decided to take on Nobi's freely offered A7V/U tank (link doesn't work now, by the way). I downloaded the file when it was first offered and, call me crazy, but I think I'm ready for another armor model at this time. I am generally a very energetic tank builder initially, but I tend to bog down and fall asleep when I get to all those bogies and track links and such. If tanks could hover I'd have a bunch of 'em done by now! :wink: This tank has no wheels to build, and with a one piece track, I'm confident I'll be able to "git 'er done". The A7V/U was a very unique German WWI experimental tank, of which 1 prototype was actually built. It was less than successful in trials, so the project was discontinued.

    The kit is made up of a 7 page PDF file, 5 of which are model parts. The other 2 pages are taken up with a cover sheet and assembly diagrams. The 3 color artwork (black, olive, grey) is very crisp with a lot of detail. The cover sheet advertises weathering, but I don't really see any - there is some very light shadowing/highlighting, maybe that's what is meant. There are not many glue tabs, which is a nice touch as it leaves it up to the modeler to determine when/where/if tabs are needed. Score lines are rendered very thinly with a slightly lighter color, and there are also arrows placed outside of the parts in some cases. No Pepakura style dashed lines to destroy any chance of realism, yay! :-D

    Photo of model sheets

    [​IMG]

    I'll be starting with part 1 which is the main hull. There isn't any inner framework, so I'll be reinforcing most of the hull with 1mm card to try to avoid bowing (no ones likes a baggy tank). I want the tank to have some 3 dimensionality, so I had color photocopies made (cheaper than Lexmark ink, I believe), which I will laminate to thicker card to give the access doors, hatches, vents, etc some "pop". Enough talk! Here we go........

    There's only one or two grainy old photos of the real thing out there, so I'll be utilizing pictures of a couple of first class plastic/resin scale models for additional reference material.

    Good ¾ rear view

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    Good view of top

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    First, I scored part 1 and cut it free. Then I cut out the vent over the engine, and opened one of the windows to begin adding a little detail and interest. Then I reinforced part 1 with 1mm card.

    Backside of part 1

    [​IMG]

    Using cardstock, 0.5mm, 1.0mm cardboard and kit parts, I added some raised details to the outside of part 1

    Part 1 detailed

    [​IMG]

    Assembly went very easily, and I was very happy with the finished result. Then...tragedy struck. :mad: We're having a big snowstorm today in the Northeast, and I went outside to snowblow the driveway. When I came back inside and took off my coat/hat/gloves/boots a miniscule droplet of snow or water must have fallen onto the tank. Did it land in some obscure place that would be covered later, or would be easily hidden? You're all card modelers, you tell me where it landed - you guessed it - right on the front where it would be most obvious. I'm really ticked off about it, but I planned on weathering the tank with pastels at the end of the build anyway, so hopefully I can disguise it somewhat.

    Hull rear

    [​IMG]

    Hull front

    [​IMG]

    That's it for now, it's getting dark and I need to head outside for snow removal, part II.

    Regards,

    Don
  2. Fishcarver

    Fishcarver Active Member

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    Don: Don't sweat the small stuff!
    That is a good looking build, and what the H? You were going to weather it anyway, right?

    Sorry to hear about your snowstorm. Plus 12 C in my carport as I write this....

    Jim
  3. Clashster

    Clashster Member

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    What a cool build! Good start, and for once the camera is not the fault finder it usually is - can't really notice much with the snow. Looking forward to more pics! :grin: Thanks!

    Chris
  4. Amazyah

    Amazyah Senior Member

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    Very nice looking build! [​IMG]
    The little raised parts are a major improvement for getting a better looking 3D effect and add tremendously to the character of the build. Well done!
    I wouldn't worry about that droplet so much, it sounds like you've got it covered already!

    One good thing about the snow is the excuse to stay indoors this weekend and do some modeling.
    At least, I hope it works out that way for you.[​IMG]

    Russell
  5. rockpaperscissor

    rockpaperscissor Member

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    Well, in from snowblowing again (at least 6 more inches on the ground since I was last out there), but this time I steered far clear of my tank. Fellas, thanks for all your supportive words about my discolored blot right there on the front plate. Everything was going so well, and now it's not perfect anymore - sniff. I guess if this turns out to be the only mishap/mistake during the build I should count myself lucky. I hope that after the weathering it will just look some kind of random dirt splotch. I like the raised details also, Russell. It cost me over $4.00 for the card stock color photocopies but I'm sure it will be well worth it in the end. As for tomorrow - I definitely will be shut in cutting some paper up. An added benefit of this hobby is that it makes lousy weather enjoyable. I actually look forward to it now.

    Cheers!

    Don
  6. cgutzmer

    cgutzmer Guest

    Love it! Great job :)
    Chris
  7. cmdrted

    cmdrted Active Member

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    You could weather the spot as a failed to penetrate round!
  8. rockpaperscissor

    rockpaperscissor Member

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    Greetings all!

    Today (after snowblowing and shoveling the driveway out for the final time) I thought I'd start on the cupola that sits up top towards the front of the tank. It has 6 ports that could be pulled aside by the occupants, and used to see/talk/shoot out of. I figured I'd get fancy and cut them out for a more 3D look. Well that turned out to be beyond my skill level in this scale, and I wound up butchering the job pretty badly, so I had to print out a new page and start over. I decided to just use paint to suggest that these ports are, in reality recessed. The cupola as designed doesn't have any glue tabs. I thought it could use them, so I did my own upgrade when I did my scoring/cutting.

    Cut and scored cupola showing homemade glue tabs

    [​IMG]

    To add a little 3D detail to the cupola I glued on a doubled up roof feature. Then I folded the sides down and glued it to it's final shape - no need to add stiffeners to this part, it's fairly sturdy as is.

    Mounted cupola from the front

    [​IMG]

    And from the rear

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    So far, so good. There's little things I'm not happy with and wish I could do over, but I think it'll all be OK in the end. A little pastel chalk works wonders. :wink:

    Well, back to work
  9. rockpaperscissor

    rockpaperscissor Member

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    Right side sponson

    Today I decided to take on one of the 57mm gun sponsons that are located on both sides of the tank. First, I cut out the opening for the main gun, and in lieu of glue tabs, I reinforced the roof, floor, and back with 1mm card. The piece in the lower left of the picture is part of the gun mount. I scored this one from the back since all the folds are valleys, and decided to incorporate some glue tabs.

    Parts for right sponson

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    Backside of primary part

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    I toyed with the idea of modifying the gun mount so it would rotate, but it's really not designed for that so I decided to just make it static. I came across my pet peeve when I prepared to roll the gun tube. :cry: I could see there was going to be a problem before I started because the part is oriented 90 degrees against the grain of the paper.

    Designers, anytime one of your parts has to be rolled into a tube, it should always be oriented with the grain of the paper which runs lengthwise down the sheet. It's very difficult to roll a piece crossgrain, especially a small part like this gun tube. Even if the modeler actually succeeds in rolling the part into a cylinder, it won't be smooth - there will be fractures and unevenness all around the circumference of the tube where the paper fibers are broken - 'cuz they just doesn't want to bend that way. Commercial kits usually, but not always, follow this rule. Sometimes when you see parts laid out in a commercial kit it may appear that this rule isn't being followed, because the page is folded in booklet form. If you pull the staples out and open the sheet up you will see that what you thought was the length of the page is actually the width of the full sheet of paper - the length goes the other way. So the next time you can't get a smoothly rolled gun/mast/wheel/wing leading edge etc, it's not that you're doing something wrong, it's that the model wasn't laid out on the page correctly to begin with.

    Alright, rant over. I tried to roll the gun tube for a few minutes anyway just to aggravate myself, but then I gave up and traced a new one onto one of the photocopies I had made, oriented with the grain of the paper, and it rolled right up with no problem at all. The mount for the gun has to be glued into the window provided for it in the side of the sponson before wrapping the sidewall over and closing it up. I pondered over the best way to accomplish this for about a half hour, and decided to glue 1mm card to the top and bottom of the mount. This provided me with a nice stable surface to glue the side wall to.

    Gun mount in place, backside view.

    [​IMG]

    With the gun mount in place, it was time to wrap and glue the sidewall into it's final shape. When I got around to the leading edge I found that the sidewall was about 1.5mm too short.

    Gap at leading edge

    [​IMG]

    I cut a strip from one of the photocopied pages and used it to fill in the space. It doesn't look too bad after the repair.

    Repaired leading edge

    [​IMG]

    The sponson isn't quite finished yet, I still have to detail it with double thick doors/hatches etc, but I'm starting to lose my light for this afternoon and I wanted to get the above photo in while I still could. Usually I detail the part before assembly, but due to the curving and bending the sidewall had to undergo I thought I'd do that last in this case. That's it for today's post. I work the next two days, so for those of you following this build, I won't be able to go any further on the tank until the middle of the week.

    Regards,
    Don
  10. Amazyah

    Amazyah Senior Member

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    Nice little save with that colored strip on the gap.
    It blends right in and looks like it is supposed to be there!

    Looking forward to your return to the mat and seeing some more of your build, as I'm sure you are too!

    Russell
  11. ShaunGamer

    ShaunGamer Member

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    Thanks for the Tube rolling tip about aligning with the grain of the paper. I have never noticed this phenomenom, but that may have been more from luck.
    This is turning out to be quite an enjoyable topic! :)
  12. rockpaperscissor

    rockpaperscissor Member

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    Check it out on some scrap card sometime, Sean. Cut 2 identical sized pieces of card, one with the length running with the length of the paper, and the other with the length running crossways on the paper. Now try to roll it into a long tube. You'll find the one running with the length of the paper curls up nicely when you rub a rod across the back side. You can rub the back of the other one all day and it'll barely bend. Picture a sheet of card as if it were a flat mat of drinking straws. Obviously you can roll the mat of straws into a tube easily in one direction only. It's the same with paper. That's the reason why a sheet of paper will tear easy, straight and true down the length, but not when you try to tear it across the width.

    Regards,
    Don
  13. rockpaperscissor

    rockpaperscissor Member

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    Sorry Shaun, mispelled your name there in that last post. It's hard to mess mine up ;-)
  14. rockpaperscissor

    rockpaperscissor Member

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    Greetings all!
    Today I began work on the right side track/drive assembly.

    Drive parts

    [​IMG]

    Parts 2R and 4R are marked with an asterisk which means they should be laminated to something. I thought 1mm cardboard looked a little chunky, so I decided to use 0.5mm as backing material. I used spray adhesive to glue these parts to their cardboard backer. The 2 part track needs to be affixed to parts 3R in some manner. I chose to utilize homemade glue tabs. Dry fit carefully, and mind the scores - the track will only fit one way. My order of assembly was to glue part 3R to 4R, then, starting at the bottom, affix the track around the perimeter 1 glue tab at a time. When I got back to the bottom where the track sections meet I again came up short by about 1mm. Every scored bend in the track fell in place perfectly as I worked my way around too, so I was surprised to be left with this 1mm gap. At least it's on the bottom where it can't be seen. I think it's a good rule of thumb to always join the ends of a strip like this where it'll be least visible - just in case.

    The gap

    [​IMG]

    Then I glued the other 3R to 2R, and finally joined the 2 sides of the assembly together. A very nice, neat and strong subassembly. The further along I get on this tank the more I like it - well done Nobi! :grin:

    Completed drive assembly

    [​IMG]

    The 3 subassemblies

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    Tomorrow I'll be adding raised details to close out the drive assembly. The track could be made much nicer with the addition of raised strips or cleats on each link, but the thought of doing that gives me the heebie jeebies. The beauty of this tank is that the exterior can really be superdetailed if someone has a mind to do it, but it makes a very nice display piece just as it is.

    I have to build the left side sponson and track assemblies next, but I'm not going to detail that adventure in a new post, unless something unique from the right side happens. The next post will cover the joining of the subassemblies, and weathering. Probably a week away realistically since I have to work 12 hrs shifts all 3 days this weekend.

    Regards,
    Don
  15. Clashster

    Clashster Member

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    Great job! Very cool thread! thanks for the update!

    Chris
  16. charliec

    charliec Active Member

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    The track on the A7/U was similar to the A7 - the only feature was a pair of cleats on each track element. This is fairly simple compared to the complexity of later track designs. Here's (http://www.landships.freeservers.com/new_pages/a7vu_info.htm) some photos of the A7/U just in case detailing frenzy overtakes you.

    Regards,

    Charlie
  17. milenio3

    milenio3 Active Member

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    So far, I've running away from armor models. But this looks precisely like other NOBI's offers.

    Great build!
  18. rockpaperscissor

    rockpaperscissor Member

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    Thanks for the link Charlie, there are several photos in there I hadn't seen before. They'll be helpful for the weathering I plan to do. I think Nobi's model definitely has potential for someone who might want to carry it further. The side sponsons aren't shaped quite right for absolute authenticity, but pretty much every rivet is clearly represented and is in it's correct place. It's just begging for raised rivet detail, open hatches, maybe even a little interior work in the side sponsons. With some extra time and effort, this model could be a real showstopper. I think it's a great introductory model for someone who's been itching to try a tank (go for it Gerardo!) but is put off by the extreme detail that many armor kits have. On this one, the modeler gets to decide how much time they want to spend on detailing. I'm really enjoying this build.
    Regards,
    Don
  19. rockpaperscissor

    rockpaperscissor Member

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    Right side detailed

    I'm back sooner than I thought! I detailed the right side of the tank with open hatches, raised details, etc, so I thought I'd share a couple of pictures just to update my progress.

    [​IMG]

    One more showing rear of sponson

    [​IMG]

    OK. Starting on Left side now.

    Regards,
    Don
  20. B-Manic

    B-Manic Peripheral Visionary

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    The extra details are great. Makes for a more realistic look. can't wait to see more - thanks