After some time out of the hobby I decided I'd ease back in gently with a quick, simple, build and thought Sovereign's resin and white metal 247B (4 Rad) would be ideal. I've always had a soft spot for this critter, and having built one 12 odd years ago I was aware of most of its dimensional and detail shortcomings even back then, but was still happy just to slap it together as a weekend slammer for old times sake regardless...famous last words...
Over the last decade I've collected quite a few 'new' shots of this quite elusive vehicle which have surfaced in books and from online sources clearly showing a lot more missing features and details no doubt unknown at the time this kit was originally mastered - perhaps 15-20 odd years ago now? So what started out as a simple OOB build soon became a spot the difference exercise and dragged on for a fair bit longer as quite a few changes were incorporated along the way to sharpen it up.
For its age the kit is really rather nicely done on a lot of levels, being simply designed and very well cast and one of the few, if not the only game in town for this variant? However as we were aware even at the time it was released, it is a bit of an amalgam of a few known vehicles, yet doesn't really represent any one example terribly accurately. Each 247B was a unique creature in its own right and no two seem to ever have the same fit-out or stowage arrangements. So its a bit of a shame so many choices were made for us in the kit, but gleaning details from very limited sources ultimately led to a bit of a compromised bastard-child or as the saying goes "a camel is a horse designed by committee".
So the moulded on tarp, fender bin and closed doors and visors etc. are both a blessing and a curse. Blessing in that it allows a quick assembly with no fiddly detail or interior to worry about, yet curse as conversely it can only ever be represented completely buttoned up and many interesting shots show it otherwise and subsequently crew and stowage options are thus limited making modelling a particular vehicle off a photo almost impossible.
So that being said there are some serious issues too tricky to bother changing without major surgery like the tarp, visors, and some of the dimensions and angles etc., yet a few that can be with surprisingly little work if you are prepared to turn a blind eye here and there and cut a few corners for an improved look.
First up in the latter category is the front nose plate which is really out of whack. Lack of info at the time no doubt led to a very simplified and wrongly shaped front end which newer photos really highlight. The kit depicts it like this with no detail and odd angles and a 222-223-style brush guard hiding the box chassis frame:
The easy fix I used to get around it was to just leave off the white-metal guard and then just stick a new .10 thou plate over the nose from the top edge to the bottom edge of the chassis on a new angle with a few Grandt Line rivets and strip details. Not perfect but close enough to capturing its more snub-nosed appearance even if the proportions of the whole nose and bonnet itself sadly sit a bit too low;
(I would love to know the purpose of the horizontal bracket with the 2 keyhole mounting points if anyone knows for sure?)
Next big one is the front triangular driver's exit hatch on the RHS which we now know doesn't actually exist with only the 2 larger double doors behind it being the one point of entry and exit on that side;
Rather than trying to grind the hinge and hatch detail off, the easy fix was to just trim off the hinge plates and then add a guestimated large Germanic-style styrene stowage bin to simply cover it up;
Another issue is the mirrored hatch on the other side that IS supposed to be there, isn't actually symetrically triangular as moulded, but has a flat bottom to it, so again a simple stick on .10 thou facade fix was used;
The central stowage box supplied in the kit oddly has a flat roof and more evenly spaced drawers so it was replaced a little more accurately in card too;
Next up the roof opening sadly doesn't have a crescent shaped rear edge as moulded but a square one which can be added with a crescent shaped slice off a larger circular piece of .30 thou card;
Lastly a couple of miscellaneous details amongst others - the missing fuel filler port on the RHS rear of the hull was added;
and the raised bolt guards around the wheel nuts from curled .10 thou strip notched after attaching along with a tyre valve stem added into a drilled hole;
So I'm on the home straight now and will probably do it as the LAH one crossing he train tracks in Ukraine mid '43 despite the tarp being different - so if anyone has anything I've missed or even more ref photos of them they would be willing to share before the paint goes on I'd be very grateful indeed.