Sunday, 22 August 2010

Building a Fiat 508 Torpedo Militare in 15mm

Inspired by the photo on page 23 of Operation Crusader I decided I wanted a staff car for my Italians. Battlefront used to make a nice little Fiat 508, but it is no longer available (below)

The closest I could find was a True North Polski Fiat 508, purchase from Old Glory UK. I would need to add some crew and the side walls and doors, but thought that should be fairly easy.

This first picture shows the parts, plus a Battlefront driver from my spares box and the two paper templates for the side walls. It is a fiddly little kit, more akin to some 20mm metal kits I have built. Also frustrating is a lack of instructions. The first job was to clean up the castings and remove the mount for the steering column as Italian vehicle are right hand drive, while the Polish are left. I also removed the lug to locate the seat so I could reposition it slightly to fit the drive and passengers better.

Having cleaned the castings I fitted the gear lever, windscreen and seats in place. The seat was positioned so the driver would fit between it and the front of the car. Next I cut the templates from thin plasticard and fitted them to the sides of the car. You'll notice in the top view there is a slight angle in the sides. The front doors are in line with the engine cowling, while the rear doors are parallel to the edge of the running boards.

The next step is very fiddly. Adding the trim to the edge of the doors. I intend to make them slightly oversize and then sand them flatter to they all match up neatly. It is probably easiest to use micro-strip for this, but I had none fine enough so just trimmed narrow strips of plasticard instead. There is a rectangular frame around the front doors and another frame around the rear that follows the curve of the wheel well.

Having done this I assembled the fiddly little axles and glued them in pace, straightened the front bumper best I could and glued it in place and added the spare wheel to one side and a Jerry can from my bits box to the other side. I then cursed the separate lights as I tried to get them to glue in position facing the correct way. I then dropped the drive in place for a trial. It looked a little empty, so I took a spare passenger from the TL-37 kit. trimmed the rifle away and swapped the head for a peaked hat (this one happens to be British, but I don't think you can really tell in this scale!).

So done for now. The next step is some green stuff to clean it up. I'll ensure there are no gaps in the doors and frames. I will also fill under the wheel arches so it is a little stronger. I am not sure what to do about the bumper, as all the photos show a solid bar, and the front wheel arches coming down to meet them. Once I start green-stuffing I might experiment or just leave it as is. Finally I will base it, hopefully it will fit on a small base as I have some spare, otherwise I'll cut something from some plasticard.

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