ChristopherLeeMiller

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M109A7 Paladin

Started: 12/15/2021Updated: 12/25/2021
BrandPanda Hobby
Scale1/35
Kit NumberPH-35028
Year Released2015
ScalematesLink
CompletedJun 29, 2020
Build Time

Tracks

I decided to start this model in a totally different direction from normal. Why the tracks you might ask? Because they are all single link metal tracks and it was going to be a long process to build up both lengths. Each one consists of 85 links, a metal pin to pin them together, and a guide horn that gets attached in the center of each link. In the interest of boredom, I thought it was best to start with them for that reason. Assembly of them was fairly easy, with minor cleanup needed on some links to get the pin all the way through, using a pair of pliers to pus the pin home and that was it.

I built the entire assembly for one side and pinned it closed forever only to realize I should have attached the guide horns before doing so, as now the task is much harder. On the second side though this wasn't the case because I learned my lesson it. They do look really good though on the model as seen below.

Tracks Complete ITracks Complete IITrack Run

Lower Hull

To start the actual build of the model once again we start on the lower hull, with a single bathtub style hull to which parts are added. A couple of detail bits are added to the hull in the first step before moving to the front and adding a bunch of towing cleats and brackets, as well as a few lights. The instructions then move onto the upper hull but I went ahead and cut out and got all the suspension arms prepped and installed.

The arms fit into the hull side wasn't very tight and left a lot of doubt about how they should actually sit and that presented a problem for me. I glued the front and rear arms into position as they had a bit more support via other suspension bits to help lock them into place. Once those had dried I went ahead and added the rest and set the model on its suspension to let the arms drop naturally to the point they should sit at. I think this worked out pretty well.

I also went ahead and cut out the road wheels and assembled them, minus the rubber parts at this point as per the instructions, but left them off to make painting easier later.

Upper Hull

The upper hull on this model is also just a single piece of plastic with the upper and sides all integrated into one, This fit onto the lower hull with a few problems with fit, but nothing that couldn't be addressed with glue and clamps once set up it was just fine. The next step was to build the back wall of the model, and the builder has the option of opening or closing the access door, I opted to keep it closed as there is no interior to the model and thus it seemed silly to expose a giant empty inside. Various marker lights were added along with mud flaps before attaching the panel to the back of the model.

Next up was the front of the tank, adding things like doors, hinges to those doors, and various grab handles and lifting lugs. many very tiny little parts were added, it took a lot of patience on my part with a few but in the end, they were all attached, sans one piece that pinged off into another universe never to be seen again. I'll have to fill that hole before painting. Scattered about are some PE parts, which I fixed into place with CA glue, a few of which required bending, one of these days I'll get a proper bending tool, and until then my needle nose pliers sufficed.

Building the barrel clamp came next and let me tell you this was frustrating. Not only did most of the pieces not have any form of location lugs or such but the instructions were very vague about where to attach some pieces, leaving me confused till further along in the assembly. The instructions have you build the lower brackets, then the arm, then the clamp itself, and then fit them together before attaching to the hull and I found this confusing. I built up the lower part of the bracket and attached it to the hull to both give it strength and to ensure it fits as it should while the glue dried on the various pieces. The upper part of the bracket has a very generic put this piece here with no actual location shown at all so I left these both off for now and built the clamp, again with the first piece showing vague location… hmmm… So I moved on again and actually assembled the clamp.

Once the clamp was assembled the activator that I previously left off made sense of where and how it attached and so I was able to put it on now. With it on then it made sense how it attached to the upper bracket piece along with the other piece that showed a vague location, making more sense now. I was able to finally attach the upper bracket to the lower bracket on the hull and add the clamp assembly to that.

With that done the hull was complete, and only took seven and a half hours!

Hull Rear CompleteFront Hull CompleteFront Hull UpperBarrel Bracket

Turret

Building the turret starts by building up of the rear compartment and busk racks. The compartment consists of two pieces that seal up to form the main part of the box. From there, some antennas are added before building the bucks. Some PE pieces are added to each of the frames of them before finally adding to the main piece, although I held off on this so that painting was easier down the road.

After I got all the main assemblies of the turret built up I went back and built up the two-piece barrel and spent some quality time with fillers and sanders to clean up the seam lines. I'll probably have to go back once I get the entire model primed and see if there are any areas that need to be fixed yet but I think for the most part they are gone. Once the barrel was finished and attached I was able to go back and work on more details of the turret, including a lot of PE pieces to hold tools and things around the sides of the model. Once all that was done it was ready to take to the paint booth.

Busk RackTurret BackTurret Rear CompartmentTurret Mostly Complete with BarrelTurret Mostly Complete

Paint & Decals

Before I could begin painting the model I needed to prime the model, I used Mr. Surfacer 1500 black as it'll give nice tonal variations as well when adding the final color later. Once the model was primed and had plenty of time to dry I busted our Mr. color C19 Sandy Brown to do the entire model in. I intentionally made colors thinner in places and more built up in others to give even more variations in the final color of the tank.

With the main part of the paint out of the way I was able to turn my attention to the details, things like tools, and various bits around the tank that aren't in a sandy color. The muzzle brake of the gun, for example, was painted a steel color, along with the 50 cal up top, lights around the tank, and other bits.

Once the painting was all done and out of the way I was able to turn to the decals, of which there were only a few on this model, and most of those being about invisible to see once placed. Basic markings were all that was included. The decals went down easily enough and conformed well.

Final Assembly

With the painting and decals out of the way, It was time to begin fitting all of the little accessories onto the model. Tools on their appropriate spaces and the numerous jerry cans around the front of the turret. I used CA to fix them all into place. I also placed the tracks onto the model, a very tight fit around the drive sprocket and had to position missing pin pieces at the top to help disguise the missing details. In hindsight, I should have pinned the lengths together once on the model but the way I tackled it just slipping it over the idler and drive sprocket and then attaching worked just fine as well.

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