Marmo’s Model Building Guides
Richard Marmo publishes model building guides for specific kits that provide greater insight than is usually included in the kit’s basic instructions. Richard uses photographs plus thorough written descriptions of his actual build to aid the modeler step-by-step building the kit. Richard‘s writing style is very informative and often includes humorous advice on how to avoid the pitfalls of model building. His written narratives go into much more detail than can be provided in the basic kit instructions. The photographs are high quality and because they are in a digital format can be zoomed in to magnify detail. This is particularly useful when a kit has many small parts like the one reviewed here. The guides provide additional tips on modeling techniques, tools, and materials, to expand the modeler’s knowledge. At four bucks each these model building guides are a must have for modelers.
The model building guides come in a PDF E-book that can be used on PCs, laptops, or tablets. Pages can also be printed out if desired for reference during the model build. I used my laptop as I worked through the pages describing the build and printed out just a few of the pages for hardcopy reference, like the illustrations of the parts. The guide includes a table of contents with links that jump to individual sections to aid navigation. Bookmarks can also be added in PDFs that allow jumping quickly to particular sections. I created a bookmark at the end of each working session so I could quickly go to that point when work started up again.
The guide reviewed here is the Marmo Method Model Building Guide #16, Building a 1/35 Scale Caterpillar 60 Tractor. The kits used with this guide are Trumpeter’s 1/35 Russian ChTZ S-65 Tractor, and L.Z. Models resin & photoetch 1/35 Caterpillar Sixty Conversion Set. Russia based their S-65 tractor on the Caterpillar 60. To get a Cat 60 tractor from the Trumpeter S-65 kit, you will need the L.Z. Models Conversion Set to backdate to the Caterpillar version. The Trumpeter kit does not have an engine for the tractor, so that is supplied by the L.Z. Models Conversion Set.
I had both the Trumpeter kit and the L.Z. Models Conversion set in my stash, so I built the Cat 60 as part of my review. This gave me a firsthand understanding of how helpful the Marmo Guide is. A photo of my completed build is included with this review. As Marmo states, these two kits are not for the faint of heart, packing over 400 parts in a model that is about 4 1/2 inches long. The Trumpeter instructions are typical exploded diagrams with very little explanation or sequencing of assembly. The L.Z. Models instructions are photos of the assembly, again with little explanation. This is where the Marmo Guide comes in very handy, helping to tie the kit and conversion set together with more photos depicting an actual assembly, plus much more thorough explanation of the assembly and sequence of steps. In his Guide, Marmo has worked through the kit and offers advice on assembly plus warnings of pitfalls to avoid.
Caterpillar 60 Modelbuilding Guide # 16
The Guide comes as a 12 MB PDF downloadable file, with 107 pages of information. The table of contents in the Guide has links to the various sections of the instructions to allow jumping quickly to the correct page. Descriptions of both kits as well as photos of the L.Z. Models parts are included. Marmo starts with a description of the adhesives to be used with each of the different materials and provides instructions on their use, which is not in either the Trumpeter or L.Z. instructions.
Marmo uses text and photos with additional notes to illustrate and clarify assembly. Marmo’s photos provide additional views to the L.Z. photos to show areas that are unclear or missing in the L.Z. instructions. Having the ability to zoom into the digital photos is a great advantage of the Marmo Guide.
Notes on Assembly Steps
L.Z. Conversion Set 35506 vs. 35507
The L.Z. Models conversion set that Marmo uses in his guide is number 35506. The conversion set I purchased serval years ago is number 35507. Other than the numbers, the labels for the two conversion sets are identical and do not describe any differences. LZs website shows the 35506 set available for purchase, but it also shows the 35507 set, without describing any differences. To add to the confusion, LZ also uses number 35506 for a recoilless rifle set. I did note a few differences between the sets as I assembled the Cat 60. I’ll note what these are in the descriptions below.
I printed a copy of page 8 which is a photo of the LZ parts and their numbers for handy reference.
Construction begins with the engine, page 12
Installation of the engine cylinders to the block is described here with some helpful tips on aligning and fastening the resin parts.
Shows helpful tips on working with photoetch.
This is an example of the part number differences between the two LZ conversion sets. Marmo shows A25 for the part, while my set refers to it as A29. Also, I drilled a #73 bit straight through part A25 so that the metal wire could be one continuous piece.
The photo does not show part A38 behind A25, which connects to A12 on the opposite side of the engine and A25.
Page 27 and 28
Pay very careful attention to assembling the frame elements as they will determine the squareness of the tractor. I didn’t get mine perfectly aligned, which caused troubles throughout construction.
It would be much easier to install the clutch shield (PE5) here, than where the instructions show it on page 81.
Part labeled TR2 is actually TR3.
Marmo mentions there are no spares for the tiny resin parts A36, but my LZ set 35507 had 3 extras. I needed all the extras as several broke off.
Page 73 & 74
The Guide describes gluing the fender pieces with CA glue. LZ shows them soldered, which I did also to get a stronger joint. The illustration in the LZ instructions helps to clarify the fender configuration.
Marmo makes a good point here to install the seat after the fuel tank to make sure everything fits.
The Guide mentions that no PE straps for the fuel tank are provided in the LZ set, but mine had 4. Maybe another difference between 35506 & 35507.
The guide describes painting the tractor, but also goes into weathering and building a base for the kit. This gives additional finishing insight to modelers as neither are covered in the Trumpeter or LZ instructions.
Marmo‘s guide to the LZ Conversion Set provides invaluable insight to the building of the Caterpillar 60 that is not included in either of the Trumpeter or LZ instructions. The guide provides much more detail on assembly, but goes much further with tips and advice that can be used on all modeling projects.
The LZ Conversion Set builds into an incredibly detailed model, but I would not recommend attempting this conversion without Marmo‘s guide. At only four bucks, this guide it is an absolute must for the LZ Conversion Set.
Thanks to Richard Marmo and Scale Publications for developing these guides and providing review samples to IPMS.