German Heavy Generator Sd.Ah.24
PlusModel, out of the Czech Republic, has released a 1/48th version of their German Heavy Generator, previously released in 1/35th. The all-resin kit contains some extra goodies to detail this unique and welcome addition to their product line.
Opening the Box
The first thing apparent when opening the box is the high quality of the resin parts. The parts are clearly labeled with part numbers and contain very little flash. What’s more, the connections to the pour stubs and resin blocks are kept to an absolute minimum, simplifying removal and making clean-up a breeze. Most of the parts can be (carefully) snapped off using just your fingers. A couple of swipes with a sanding stick and you’re ready to go.
The contents of this box include:
- 1 bag of 31 resin parts.
- 1 short run of thin solder used for wiring detail.
- 1 nice sheet of photo-etch containing 52 pieces
- 1 sheet of perfectly registered decals containing license plates, stencils, and gage faces.
- 1 8-page, black & white, hand-illustrated instruction booklet.
The kit comes with two schemes represented, described as ‘Europe Yellow’ and ‘Panzer Grey’.
I found no errors, misprints or labeling issues. The drawings are somewhat crude, but perfectly acceptable - and far better than what I’ve found in many other, all-resin, limited- run kits.
Things to consider before starting:
- The prominent fenders on each side of the trailer serve as a base for several other boxes and such, but it is not clear where they are attached to the frame without putting the wheels on first. So that is what I did, departing from the assembly sequence in the instructions.
- Note that there are tiny ‘lips’ on the bottom edge of one of the sides of each fender. These lips are used to support storage boxes (Parts 13) – don’t clean the fenders too much when removing them from the resin blocks (like I did!).
- Before attaching the main axle (Page 2) you will need to open up the holes at each end so they will accept the ‘bumps’ on the inside of the wheels. I drilled the holes after the axle was installed and ended up twisting the brake drum on one side right off the axle.
- If you intend to show the trailer in its deployed configuration (i.e., not being towed), then you might want to pre-drill holes to accept the three pieces of wire required to serve as a stand (Page 6) and panel cover braces (Pages 4 and 5) and pre-measure the wire. When these things get attached the entire trailer is studded with delicate PE and having these things done beforehand helps a lot.
Ahhh, resin. Not a real friendly medium for plastic modelers, but a necessary cross to bear when you want to build unusual, limited-run subjects like this generator. I first separated and cleaned all the parts (and PE) and grouped them by assembly step. I then took out an old CD to serve as a disposable palette, two kinds of super glue applicators, two kinds of super glue (thick and thin), a bottle of white Gator’s Grip glue, and a needle-nose plastic squeeze bottle of accelerator. I then adjusted my desk fan to push a light breeze over my workbench, saving me from having to breathe in all those fumes for the next couple of hours. I was ready.
The Frame, Wheels and Fenders
These parts go together really well and, when completed, the assembly is sturdy enough for handling. The leaf springs literally snap into place – unusual for resin.
Before placing the fenders on each side of the frame, I decided to attach the wheels first to provide a frame of reference for where exactly to place the fenders. The wheels themselves have no firm way to attach to the axle and brake drums so I used a lot of thick super glue to set up a solid joint. I thought about drilling holes and using metal pins to fix the wheels in place, but the brake drums and axles didn’t seem to be sturdy enough for doing that.
Once the wheels were on I was able to position the fenders without a problem, and once they were on, everything else fell into place.
The Main Generator Body
The generator itself is made from six pieces (4 sides + top + bottom). This is a good thing, since the trailer rests upon a very delicate tow stand and the weight of a solid chunk of resin would have been too heavy otherwise. The six pieces are beveled and fit well, requiring just a bit of sanding to square everything up nicely.
The two-part exhaust pipe on top is well executed and looks sharp when finished with its photo-etch base. I left off the tiny PE straps (Parts M22) – they were a little short and didn’t fit.
The instructions direct you to support the two access panels with ‘wire’ if you decide to finish the generator in its deployed configuration. I searched around for something thin and sturdy and ended up using .18 hypodermic needles cut to the appropriate lengths. I like using these for resin builds because the hollow tubes are really strong and ‘leach’ thin super glue up inside to produce a solid connection.
When placing Parts M21 and M26, make sure to leave room enough for the license plate decal. I overlooked this and had to place the decal on the wrong side of the generator.
I did not attach the main body to the frame and wheels (as directed) until the very end of the build, after painting and weathering.
The Trailer Stand
On page 6 you assemble an impossibly delicate trailer stand made up of a curving sliver of photo-etch supported by a wire that you furnish yourself. This stand must be sturdy enough to support the entire trailer if you build it in its deployed configuration. I again turned to my stash of .18 needles to do the job, but up until the very end of the build I kept the trailer (sans the generator) on its back to minimize the wear and tear on this delicate assembly.
The final step involves a finicky set of PE pieces to secure the spare wheel to the front of the generator. I decided to leave the two parts (M7) off since I was leaving the generator separate from the trailer and by this time in the build I had had enough of PE.
The small sheet of decals included in the kit holds various stencils, license plates, dials and unit markings. They responded well to the MicroSol/MicroSet products used over a glossy surface. I like the way that PlusModel combined the six tiny dials for the control panel into a single decal.
Painting and Finish
I decided to use the Panzer Grey scheme because I thought the darker color would hide the flaws that I was certain would be there with a resin kit. Well, the flaws were there, but most were of my own doing. Using hindsight, I think I would have been better finishing the build using the Europe Yellow scheme because I feel the lighter color accentuates washes and filters better. Painting and finishing followed these steps:
(Note: I thin all Tamiya paint and primer products 50:50 with Gunze Mr. Color Leveling Thinner, which has its own retarder for airbrushing. If you haven’t tried this thinner with Tamiya paints, you really should. I use a Pasche-H Single-Action airbrush, Number #3 tip, at 20 lbs. pressure for everything. I use Vallejo's own thinner for all Vallejo paints.)
- I started by airbrushing a primer coat of Gunze Mr. Surfacer 1200 over the entire surface to cover the photo-etch, resin oils and glue spots, and to prepare it for the subsequent finish.
- I then airbrushed the entire vehicle using Tamiya XF-69 NATO Black. This provides the dark shadows that are needed in all the nooks and crannies.
- I followed this with a base coat of Tamiya XF-63 German Grey. I was careful to spray the inner portion of the wheels and try to miss the tires themselves.
- I then mixed a little Tamiya XF-15 Flesh in with the German Grey and sprayed the inner portions of all the panels to lighten up the grey a little.
- Once the paint was dry, I airbrushed everything with Future acrylic to create a smooth surface for the decals.
- While the Future was drying, I painted the wooden portion of the shovel Vallejo Acrylics New Wood and the various steel parts Tamiya Metallic Grey (XF-56). For hand-brushing Vallejo paints I mix a tiny bit of Vallejo Slow Dry and water with each color until it flows smoothly off a red sable brush.
- To give the wooden part of the shovel more depth, I brushed on a little Mig Wash Brown oil paint straight from the tube and let that set overnight. Don’t let this paint leach out its oil beforehand, like you would when you are using oils for dry-brushing. The oil helps it stay workable. In the morning I carefully removed most of the oil paint using a brush dampened with Mona Lisa White Spirit, leaving the areas near the blade and clasps darker than the center of the wooden shaft.
- I applied the decals and airbrushed the whole vehicle with Vallejo Flat Varnish to kill any shiny spots. I cut the varnish 2-1 with Vallejo Airbrush Thinner to improve flow.
- Next, with a flat coat on the model, I applied several filters and pin washes to enhance the gray. I heavily thin all of my washes and filters with Mona Lisa White Spirit. This odorless paint thinner is very mild and will not react with the enamel paint underneath. I used Mig Oils (Wash Brown, Shadow Brown, Black and Rust) with a small, pointed brush.
- Next I carefully dry-brushed the vehicle to lighten things up a little, using Mig Abt170 German Grey Highlight oil paint that I let sit for a while on cardboard to leach out as much of the oil as possible before applying it the protruding detail.
- Finally, I added tiny drops of Future to the instrument faces to simulate the instrument glazing and attached the generator to the trailer.
It was nice to build a resin kit for a change, and the diminutive size of both the subject and the task made for a pleasant experience. The unusual subject matter will enhance whatever prime mover I associate this kit with, and it wasn’t very hard to do.
Without the sturdy needles I had for the access panels and trailer stand the build might have been more difficult, however, and there are many small parts that must be carefully handled lest the brittle resin will snap and turn a relatively easy build into something else entirely.
For these reasons I would recommend this kit for moderate to experienced modelers only. That said, if you have never built a resin kit before, this might be the perfect choice to get started. The instructions are good, the parts fit well, and the assembly is pretty straight forward.
I would like to thank PlusModel for providing this kit for review, and to IPMS USA for giving me the opportunity to build it.