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DISCLAIMER:
The publication of any images or informations related to nazism, fascism or any other totalitarian regimes must be understood as the reproduction of historical accuracy and not as apology to these regimes, leaders or symbols.
ATENÇÃO:
A publicação de qualquer imagem ou informação referentes ao nazismo, fascismo ou quaisquer outros regimes totalitários deve ser entendida como reprodução do rigor histórico e não como apologia a estes regimes, líderes ou símbolos.

Klöckner-Humboldt-Deutz KHD S3000/SSM Maultier (Sd.Kfz 3c) mit 3.0 cm Bordkanone MK 103 (Behelfslafette) - case report

Achtung, Soldaten!!!

    The objective of this report is to show you another product of German ingenuity: the Maultier trucks. Let's get to know the least famous and least numerous among them, but without a doubt, the most robust and beloved by soldiers, in its class: Let's talk about the Klöckner-Humboldt-Deutz KHD S3000/SSM Maultier (Sd.Kfz 3c)
Expectations and reality...
A soldier with his KHD S3000/SSM Maultier Sd.Kfz 3c

History of the vehicle
    One of the characteristics of the Second World War was the mobility of the armies involved, compared to the First World War. Most nations involved in the conflict since the outbreak of hostilities had a large number of vehicles to support their armies on the move. And Nazi Germany stood out among all in this regard. The vast majority of trucks employed by the Germans were 3-ton rear-wheel drive vehicles (generally designated as S models) and 4x4 trucks were designated as A models. 
   An example of these trucks was the KHD S3000, produced since 1940 at the Klöckner-Humboldt-Deutz factory in Ulm. This truck was a 4x2 like most of its Opel and Ford siblings, but featured a robust Deutz 4-cylinder diesel engine, which was quite strong and economical, and was very popular with soldiers.
Klöckner-Humboldt-Deutz KHD S3000 
Wermacht 4x2 truck
    The KHD S3000 4x2 trucks were widely used by all German arms until the end of the war, in all Theaters of Operations: North Africa, Russian front, in Italy, France, until the defeat in Berlin. 
     During 1941 German Army discovered that their wheeled transport vehicles were unsuitable for the muddy rasputitsa conditions that marked the beginning and the end of the Russian winter. Only halftracks like Sd.Kfz 250 and Sd.Kfz 251 were able to operate in these conditions, but removing them from their operational purposes for supply duties would have been unworkable.

Sd.Kfz 250 Ausf. A

Sd.Kfz 251 Ausf. B
    Instead, Germany began to build half-tracked versions of their 3 ton trucks Opel, Ford, Klöckner-Humboldt-Deutz and 4,5 ton truck Mercedes-Benz by removing their rear wheeled axles and replacing it with a sub-chassis with tracked suspension, adapted to the normal "wheeled" chassis. 
    In the case of 3-ton trucks (Opel, Ford and KHD), this sub-chassis featured in its anterior portion the adaptation of the truck's original differential with sprockets adapted to the brake drums of the original wheels (to allow the service brakes to be maintained), suspension bogies copied from the British  Horstmann type suspensions, used by Universal Carriers and a idler wheel at the rear. The front axle was connected to the normal gearbox using a very shortened card axle, minimizing adaptation and production costs. The vehicle used tracks from the (now discontinued) Panzer I light tanks, which made logistics and maintenance even easier. These 3 ton trucks with rear tracked undercarriage were officially designated Lkw 3t' mit Gleiskette SSM Maultier (Mule) in the German army, with the designations Sd.Kfz. 3a (Opel), Sd.Kfz. 3b (Ford) and Sd.Kfz. 3c (KHD).
Opel Maultier S3000/SSM - Sd.Kfz 3a

Ford Maultier V3000/SSM Sd.Kfz 3b

 KHD S3000/SSM Maultier Sd.Kfz 3c
    The Mercedes-Benz 4,5 ton trucks they used a more robust suspension (with wheels and tracks), derived from the Panzer II, with the designation Mercedes-Benz L4500 R Maultier - Sd.Kfz. 3/5 or Sd.Kfz. 4.
Mercedes-Benz L4500 R Maultier - Sd.Kfz. 3/5
    They were extremely useful in extreme terrain conditions, both due to irregularity and quality. During these periods, the logistical issue almost collapsed, as single-traction trucks and even 4x4 or 6x6 trucks struggled just to move, making it almost impossible to transport supplies and goods to the armies. The Maultiers moved slowly, with the top speed was around 35 kilometers per hour. In order to preserve and save the rear drives, the drivers usually drove even slower. 
    Klöckner-Humboldt-Deutz built somewhere between 1,740 and 2,500 haltracks vehicles (sources are not exact as to the number), using the normal 4x2 KHD S3000S truck as the basis for this conversion. All KHD Maultier were produced between 1942 and 1944, under the designation Klöckner-Humboldt-Deutz KHD S3000/SSM Maultier  - Sd.Kfz 3c. 
Propaganda efforts: In order to demonstrate the effectiveness
of German armaments, the monthly production figures were publicly
demonstrated in the crisis year of 1943.
Germany - Ulm. July, 1943.

The same vehicle as in the photo above, left side view.
Note that the vehicle identification stencil is
only present on the left door.
    As is well known, the Klöckner-Humboldt-Deutz has proven itself well with its low-speed, high-torque and insensitive and robust diesel engine.
A KHD S2000/SSM Maultier stuck somewhere on the Russian front.
The Russian mud doesn't even forgive vehicles with tracks...


A KHD S2000/SSM Maultier on a desolate Russian road,
with a hippomobile vehicle close behind.
The photo was taken in the 11th Panzer Division area.
Russian Front -  winter of 1943-44.

A KHD S2000/SSM Maultier troop carrier with its occupants resting.
But prudence dictates that at least one person keeps watch.
Note the rear suspension running system with solid wheels stamped with holes.

A KHD S2000/SSM Maultier troop carriercurled up between
bushes, next to a forest. Perhaps the driver wanted to avoid
mines on the road, but the ravine option was also problematic.

Indeed, it appears that the KHD S2000/SSM Maultier was made
in response to the challenges of the Russian Front.
Two Germans with their truck, in the freezing winter of the East Front..
    The KHD S3000/SSM Maultier had a ground clearance of 25 cm. It could wade through waters up to a depth of 70 cm. The five litres four-cylinder diesel engine generated a continuous power of 70 HP. For a short time, a maximum power of 80 HP could be reached. 
Germans at rest - Russian front - 1944.
Notice the KHD S2000/SSM Maultier in the foreground
of the vehicles.

Specs
Klöckner-Humboldt-Deutz KHD S3000/SSM Maultier - SdKfz-3/c
TypeHalf-track
Place of origin       Nazi Germany
Service history
In service1942 - 1945
WarsWorld War II
Production history
Designed1941
Produced1942-1944
No. built1.740 to 2.500 (?)
Specifications
Curb weight
Payload
Gross vehicle weight
6.650 Kg
2.000 Kg
4.650 Kg
Length6,12 m
Width2.,22 m
Height
Ground clearance
2,80 m 
front: 25 cm
rear: 49 cm
Crew2

Armornone
Engine



Gearbox
3F4 M513 -4 cyl.
diesel - water cooled
4.942 ccm -70 hp
@ 2.250 rpm
ZF Faks 40 (5+R)
Maximum speed
Fuel capacity
Fuel consumption
Range
36 - 38 km/h 
70 liters
3,5 Km/liter
245 Km

History of the 3,0 cm Rheinmetall-Borsig MK 103 Bordkanone
    The Rheinmetall-Borsig MK 103 ("MK" - Maschinenkanone) was a German 30 mm caliber autocannon that was mounted in German combat aircraft during World War II. Intended to be a dual purpose weapon for anti-tank and air-to-air fighting, it was developed from the MK 101. Although, as the name suggests, it was developed to be an aircraft "on-board gun" (Bordkanone), it was also widely used as a light anti-aircraft weapon, thanks to its high muzzle velocity, high rate of fire and accuracy, in addition to being a low weight weapon (due to its aeronautical origin) being easily adapted to different mounts and land vehicles.

    Compared to the MK 101, the  3,0 cm Bordkanone MK 103 was faster firing, and was originally intended to develop a higher muzzle velocity than the MK 101. Unlike the MK 101, the MK 103 used a belt feed, allowing it to potentially carry a larger ammunition load.

Gunsmiths loading the 3,0 cm Bordkanone MK 103
installed in a gondola in the belly of a Henschel Hs 129
from 10.(Pz)/SG 9 (Schlachtgeschwader 9) on the Eastern Front.

Sequence from the previous photo:
3,0 cm Bordkanone MK 103 installed in a Henschel Hs 129.
   The MK 103 used electrically primed rather than percussion-primed ammunition. The operating mechanism differed from the recoil-operated MK 101 in that it used a combination of gas and recoil operation. After firing, gas pressure served to unlock the breech, while barrel recoil was used to cycle the action (eject spent cartridge and load a fresh one).
Right, top and left sides of MK 103 Bordkanone

MK 103 with front and rear bearings
    Because of a combination of lower grade steels and lighter components, the mechanism of the MK 103 was not as strong as the MK 101. To counteract this weakness, HE ammunition with a reduced load of propellant was used, resulting in a loss of about 100 m/s in muzzle velocity compared to the MK 101, but the rate of fire was increased. The MK 103 entered service in 1943 as the main armament of the Hs 129 B-2 ground-attack/tank-destroyer aircraft, mounted on the underside of the fuselage in a conformal gun pod.
Diagram of Henschel Hs129 B-2 with 3,0 cm Bordkanone MK 103
 installed in a ventral gun pod


Loading the 3.0 cm Bordkanone  of the
Henschel Hs129 B-2 in the field.
   The original specification for the MK 103 called for it to fit inside an aircraft's engine mounting (possibly as a Motorkanone, firing through a hollow propeller hub), but it proved to be too large and heavy to fit into small fighters like the Bf 109. If mounted elsewhere, such as in the wing, the asymmetric force of the cannon's recoil tended to yaw the aircraft's nose to one side. 
    The only known usages of the MK 103 in a Motorkanone installation were in the Dornier Do 335 Pfeil and the Focke-Wulf Ta 152 C3
Dornier Do 335 A-0 Pfeil diagram
Notice the MK 103 gun in red, firing in the centerline,
through the propeller shaft

Dornier Do 335 A-1 Pfeil  color profile

Focke-Wulf Ta 152 C3 diagram, showing
the fuel tanks and armament. Notice the
MK 103 gun, firing in the centerline,
through the propeller shaft

Focke-Wulf Ta 152 H-1 color profile
  
      The 3,0 cm MK 103 gun was also tested in the unsuccessful Messerschmitt Me 410 Hornisse heavy fighter, in dual mounting in the nose of the aircraft, but it was not accepted as standard armament.
Two 3,0 cm MK 103 guns emerging from the belly nose
of a Messerschmitt Me 410 B-2 Hornisse
  Projectile weights for the MK 103 3,0 cm guns were 330 g  for the HE/M ammunition and 355 g for APCR ammunition. The armour penetration for APCR ammunition was 42 - 52 mm / 60° / 300 m or 75 - 95 mm / 90° / 300 m.

    The design of the weapon is quite simple and reliable. But as we saw before, the main disadvantage was the strong shock loads during the operation of automation and excessive recoil, which limited the use of 30 mm guns as part of the armament of single-engine fighters. Production of the MK.103 was carried out from mid-1942 to February 1945, and a significant number of unclaimed 30-mm guns accumulated in the warehouses of the Luftwaffe, which became the reason for their use in anti-aircraft installations, being installed on various stands, bases, land vehicles, boats and ships, using single or quadruple mounts. 
 Anti-aircraft gun 3,0 cm Flak 103/38.
A compact, robust and low-profile weapon
sharing the adapted base of the Flak 2.0/38 

3 cm Bordkanone Mk 103 behelfslafette "Baumaffe"
the improvised "tree monkey" stand,
made with a tree log and three wooden beams.
Never say never!!!

Anti-aircraft gun 3,0 cm Flakvierling 103/38
 manned by sailors from Kriegsmarine

The need for aerial coverage generating field improvisation:
3.0 cm Flak 103/38 in the back of a Steyr 2000A truck

Modified from box art from Leadwarrior Resin Kits
(#35030)

    Another field adaptation, this time more sophisticated, with the use of a self-propelled gun 38(t) Ausf. M Grille to install a 3,0 cm MK 103 gun. Of course, its use is not anti-aircraft, but to support infantry.  
3 cm MK 103 (Rheinmetall-Borsig) auf Selbstfahrlafette 38(t) Ausf. M  Grille
Prague Uprising - Wenceslas Square - 5 - 9 May, 1945

The same vehicle as in the photo above, still with the camouflage
of tree branches hooked to its side armor.
3 cm MK 103 (Rheinmetall-Borsig) auf Selbstfahrlafette 38(t) Ausf. M  Grille
Prague Uprising - 5 - May, 1945
    The 3,0 cm MK 103 Rheinmetall-Borsig gun was also used as main weapon of the strange and futuristic AA prototype tank 3,0 cm Flakpanzer IV Kugelblitz ("ball lightning").
Flakpanzer IV (3 cm) 'Kugelblitz' 
Dragon kit (#6889) box art

Specs

Rheinmetall-Borsig MK 103 kanone 
Typesingle-barrel 
automatic cannon
Place of origin          Germany
Service history
In service1943-1945
Used byGerman Armed Forces
(airborne and land based)
WarsWorld War II
Production history
ManufacturerRheinmetall-Borsig
Specifications
Mass141 kg 
Length2,335 mm 
Barrel length1,338 mm 

Cartridge30x184B
Cartridge weight800 g  HE/M
Caliber30 mm 
ActionGas/Recoil.
Rate of fire380 (HE/M) to
420 (APCR) rounds/min
Muzzle velocity860 m/s  HE/M
940 m/s APCR

The kits
    My intention is to build a KHD S3000/SSM Maultier with a light anti-aircraft cannon in the cargo area, as a field adaptation. The idea would be to locate our vehicle on the German front, in the desperate days of the Spring of 1945, when the Allies dominated the skies and the need for aerial protection was of utmost urgency. The chosen gun is a 3 cm Bordkanone MK 103, mounted on a naval  stand and adapted for use on this nice diesel half-track. I made a profile of the project concept:
The ultimate goal of the project...
    To do this, we will use the following "cake recipe":
KHD S3000/SS M Maultier - WWII German Semi-Tracked Truck
 Kit box art from ICM (#35453)

3cm Bordkanone MK 103 Behelfslafette "Baumaffe" oder Standlafette 
 Kit box art from 16.02 Model Kits  (#VK35002)

Ammo Boxes for the 3cm MK 103 & 3cm Flak 103/38
 Kit box art from 16.02 Model Kits (# VK35003)

The fearless bald one, with his newest challenge!!!
Kojak rules!!!


Stay tuned!!!
Bandit at 2 o'clock!!!
Constructive steps coming soon....



Vickers Independent A1E1 heavy tank - case report

 Tankers!!

    Today we will talk about a prototype developed in the mid-1920s, shortly after the carnage on the battlefields of the First World War. This unique prototype built by the British was designed to break the stalemate of Trench Warfare, in an attempt to assimilate the harsh lessons learned on European Conflict. This prototype directly influenced several other projects, including those from other countries, which would later fight in WWII. We are talking about the impressive Vickers Independent A1E1 heavy tank.


Vickers Independent Heavy Tank (A1E1)
font: IWM KID 109

History
    The Independent A1E1 is a multi-turreted tank that was designed by the British armaments manufacturer Vickers in the Interwar period. Although it only ever reached the prototype stage and only a single example was built, it influenced many other tank designs.
Corporate logo of  British Engineering Conglomerate
Vickers Limited
    The A1E1 design can be seen as a possible influence on the Soviet T-100T-35 and T-28 tanks, the German Neubaufahrzeug tanks, and the British Medium Mk III and Cruiser Mk I (triple turret) tank concepts. 
Soviet T-100 heavy tank
Trumpeter 09590 kit box art

Soviet T-35 heavy tank 
Hobby Boss 83841 kit box art 

 Soviet T-28 heavy tank
Hobby Boss 83853 kit box art

 German Neubaufahrzeug tank
Dragon 6968 kit box art

Vickers Medium MkIII tank
World of Tanks art

British Cruiser Mk I CS tank
Bronco 35153 kit box art

Design
    The Vickers Independent was a multi-turret tank design, having a central main gun turret armed with the 3 pounder (47 mm) gun, and four subsidiary turrets each armed with a 0.303 inch Vickers machine gun.
Vickers Independent A1E1 heavy tank
main gun turret - left side view
Notice the pennant with colors of the Royal Tank Regiment
(Royal Tank Corps -1917) 
 
Vickers Independent A1E1 heavy tank
main gun turret - interior view
    The subsidiary turrets were mounted two at the front and two to the rear of the turret (about halfway along the hull). 
Vickers Independent A1E1 heavy tank
front left view, showing 4 of the 5 turrets of the tank.
   As strange as it may seem, the machine gun of the left rear turret was able to elevate to engage aircraft. But due to the visibility and rotation restrictions of this turret, its usefulness was more a matter of boosting morale than practicality.
The AA left rear turret.
At the very least, curious...

I wonder how the gunner could engage a plane with that turret...
    The tank was designed to have heavy firepower, self-defence capability, and superiority to enemy weapons. It had a crew of eight, the Commander communicating with the crew through an intercom system. Like the Vickers Medium MkIII, the Independent also featured a hatch on the sides of the hull, within a rectangular recess, but this was rarely used by the crew, as this cavity was constantly filled with earth and clay. But it's stated in the literature that such side hatches were also designed for the eventuality of removing a seriously injured crew member using a stretcher, which is much more effective and less aggressive than removal vertically, through the other hatches.
Vickers Independent A1E1 heavy tank
left side - Notice the side hatch in his rectangular recess.
    The Independent was never used in combat, but other armies studied it and a few adopted designs derived from it, as we mentioned previously.

Development
    The planning for the A1E1 began in December 1922 when the General Staff of the British Army drew up a specification. This called for a tank with a low silhouette; a rear mounted engine and with at least 2.8 m of trench crossing ability. It was to be armed with a three-pounder gun mounted in the front hull and two machine guns fitted to side sponsons. This was, essentially, an updated version of the World War I Mark V tank.
    Vickers were invited to design a tank to the General Staff specification. However, they also produced an alternative design with a dome shaped turret for a three-pounder gun, surrounded by four smaller turrets, each of which was fitted with a .303 machine gun. Both designs were submitted to the War Office in March 1923.
    In September 1926, the War Office decided to adopt the Vickers multi-tutter design. The tank, with it's five turrets, was considered to be a true "land battleship". The armoured vehicle was to be used for "independent action" and to "work in conjunction with cavalry". The prototype was delivered in October 1926, so construction work on the prototype clearly began well before the order was officially announced. The tank was largely designed by Walter Gordon Wilson.
Major Walter Gordon Wilson,  CMG
(21 April 1874 - 1 July 1957)
font: IWM
    The engine, a 350hp air-cooled Armstrong Siddeley V12, was ordered in August 1926. The drive train used a Swiss Winterthur gearbox. This had oil operated synchromesh which did not need a clutch and drove two compound epicyclic gears inside the track sprocket wheels.
Independent multi-turreted tank
Vickers
    An order for a prototype was formally placed on 15 September 1926 but some work appears to have begun before this date.
Prototype of Vickers Independent heavy tank 
under construction - Vickers plant - 1926
left view

Prototype of Vickers Independent heavy tank 
under construction - Vickers plant - 1926
3/4 front left view
    The prototype was delivered to the War Office in 1926, and the new tank took part in a firepower demonstration for a conference of Prime Ministers of the British Dominions in November 1926. At the time, it was described as Britain's latest and most secret heavy tank.
Vickers Independent A1E1heavy tank in muddy terrain
at the display during the Dominion Imperial Conference - November, 1926
font: Tank Museum - Bovington


Vickers Independent A1E1heavy tank in muddy terrain
at the display during the Dominion Imperial Conference - November, 1926
the reason for the number 10 is unknown
font: Tank Museum - Bovington

 Vickers Independent A1E1heavy tank and a Morris Martel Tankette
at the display during the Dominion Imperial Conference - November, 1926
font: Tank Museum - Bovington
   The steering system was quite advanced, by the standards of the time. The epicyclic gears were hydraulically operated and had a servo assistance system. In large-radius curves, the driver used the steering wheel, while in tight curves, the clutch (operated by levers) and the brake system were used simultaneously. 
Vickers Independent A1E1
Driver station
   The Independent was only 2.7 meters wide, as it needed to be transported by rail, being limited by this gauge. If we look at the relatively narrow width in relation to the length of the tank, we notice that the contact area of the tracks with the ground was relatively long, narrow and therefore unfavorable to changes of direction. 
Vickers Independent A1E1 blueprint
top view
    After extensive tests, which lasted until 1928, flaws and deficiencies were detected, and the engineers focused on the project in search of solutions: the track return rollers, which had rubber tires, were replaced by steel rollers, but later, they returned to rubber ones; the brake linings were changed to use a new material developed by Ferodo. The brakes thus modified were so effective that it was discovered that the stresses they created were causing the suspension to separate from the hull. That same year, as the tank's transmission was behaving very problematically, Major W.G. Wilson was called in to review the tank's mechanical design.
Vickers Independent Heavy Tank (A1E1)
rear right view - version 1926

Vickers Independent Heavy Tank (A1E1)
fornt left view - version 1926
font: IWM KID 42
 
Vickers Independent Heavy Tank (A1E1)
fornt right view- version 1926
font: IWM KID 109
   Following his advice, the transmission was rebuilt with simple, two-speed, epicyclic gears that were mounted inside the sprockets. These gears were connected to the drive sprockets by flexible couplings. Another flaw detected was a certain “flexibility” in the rear part of the vehicle, and this entire area of the chassis was extensively reinforced to strengthen it, and this work ended in 1928. These transmission changes, plus structural hull reinforcements increased the tank's weight to 31.5 tons.
Comparison between the initial version from 1926 and
after the structural reinforcements and upgrade to
the rear transmission, at the end of 1928.
Note mainly the axle connecting the two rear drive sprocket wheels
   The Independent had relatively effective armor, by contemporary standards. The armor on the front of hull and around the crew compartment was 28 mm thick and varied between 13 mm and 8 mm elsewhere. In its original form, the Independent had a mass of 29 tons and could reach an excellent road speed of 33 km/h. Its gas consumption was around 2.5 liters per kilometer, although the engine also burned a whopping 17 liters of oil per hour, a problem that was never effectively resolved during the Independent's lifetime.
    An interesting fact is that the design of this tank was the subject of industrial and political espionage, the plans ending up in the Soviet Union, where they may have influenced the design of the T-28 and T-35 tanks. Norman Baillie-Stewart, a British army lieutenant, was court-martialled in 1933 and served five years in prison for providing the plans of the Independent (among other secrets) to a German contact.
    In the British Army, it remained in use for tests and experiments and even after much work and development, the entire project was finally abandoned in 1935. The Independent was then withdrawn and sent to Bovington Camp, where with its armament and armor, it formed part of the Bovington Camp defenses, in the uncertain times of the Summer of 1940. After WWII it was posted to the Bovington Tank Museum in 1949, where it is preserved to this day.
Vickers Independent A1E1 heavy tank - version 1928.
preserved at Bovington Tank Museum - UK.

Conclusion 
    The A1E1 Independent could be considered, in many ways, a true “white elephant”. Multi-turret tanks proved to be a vehicle that presented poor performance, in tactical terms, as it was impossible for the Commander to direct and coordinate the use of fire from a vehicle with multiple turrets. Compared to the Vickers Medium Mk.III, its contemporary, it had practically similar effective tactical armament, but weighed almost 16 tons more and was much more expensive.
Vickers Medium Tank (A6E2) and
Vickers Independent Tank (A1E1)
font: IWM KID 4490
    The War Office seemed uncertain about its role: was it a prototype of a new heavy tank or just an experimental program of new armored warfare concepts? In both cases, it was a very expensive project and was therefore discontinued.

Specs:

Vickers Independent A1E1
TypeTank
Place of originUnited Kingdom
Production history
ManufacturerVickers (Sheffield) - 1926
No. built1
Specifications
Mass31,5 t
Length7.59 m
Width2.67 m
Height2.72 m
Crew8

Armour13 - 28 mm 
Main armament
QF 3 pounder gun (47 mm)
Secondary.armament
4 × 0.303 Vickers mg
EngineArmstrong Siddeley 
V12 petrol 370 hp (280 kW)
Transmission4 forward, 1 reverse
Suspensioncoil spring bogies
Operational range
153 km
Maximum speed32 km/h

The kit
    Another 3D printed kit in commission work, manufactured by SS Model kits. The A1E1 British Independent Heavy Tank (#35568). Let's see how this girl behaves...
British Independent A1E1 heavy tank
SS Model kit (#35568) box art

Kojak with the kit, on the bench. The cover art is a little different...

Few parts to build, as most of the details are already printed...
All hatches closed and no decals or metal details.
The instruction manual (a simple A4 sheet) is laconic and terrible, to say the least...
The bald one is discreetly excited...
The kit represents the original version of A1E1 Independent, from 1926.

My kit came with the right ladder fractured, without the parts.
Problems with quality control at SS Models during packaging,
as in the case of the Vickers Medium Mk.III.

But one thing we can talk about is evolution:
the turrets come with their "necks" printed on the hull,
unlike the Medium Mk.III, where we had to guess the true positions.
Positive point for SS Models!!

But now, a disappointment: the damn delaminations and
resin without complete curing!!! This is terrible!!!
Internal view of suspensions - right side

And in the left side too... Disgusting!!!

Another improvement compared to the Vickers Medium Mk.III kit:
reference points for gluing the suspensions!!!
Wonder!!!

The problem is that the fittings are too tight...
some are even too tight...

My solution: I used slightly larger diameter drills,
widening the holes, to allow for a less traumatic fit.

I enlarged all the holes (red arrows),
except those for the main wheels (yellow arrows)...

And, after some work, the suspensions were glue
 into their respective places. Important tip: use superglue gel ,
as it takes longer to work, allowing you to adjust so many fittings...
Left side

Suspension - right side.
During the gluing and adjustment of the suspensions,
some parts of the track links fractured (very fragile...).
I replaced them with a super-thin Plastruct rectangular profile (red arrows).

The main turret fits inside the neck on the hull.
It's a very tight fit...to facilitate rotation, I abraded the material
with a rotary sanding tool from my Dremel

And the secondary turrets are the opposite: the fitting is internal
in to the turrets. Same wear with the same tool...

Abrasion wear on the turrets and hull neck...

And the turrets with smooth and precise fittings...

Detail of the repair on the sides of the right track links.
Sculpture with scalpel on plastic...
No big deal!!!

Let's now repair the fractured ladder on the right.
I'm going to use Plastruct plastic angles for this...

Stairs like new!! I took advantage and made the missing straps
on the right fender of the tank, with thin copper wire.
The repaired tracks complete the set...
   The 47mm cannon provided by the kit seems too thin and short to me... So, I had a great idea: why not replace it with the cannon that came in duplicate in the Vickers Medium Mk.III kit? They are the same guns, of the same caliber, on the original vehicles. 
   Let's get to work: the first thing is to check the blueprints and photos of the vehicle and, indeed, the cannon provided is a little short. Ideally, it should protrude a little in front of the hull. See the blueprint below:
The relative position of the 47mm gun with the front of the hull.

Two 47mm guns: one weak...the other strong!!!
The barrel cut to the same size as the Vickers Medium Mk.III

And the "new" gun installed in the turret.
Tommy was happy with the change!!!

Much better!!

Scratch details (copper wires) on the left side...

Vickers Medium Mk.III and A1E1 Independent heavy tank
Two true flapper girls, from the Roaring 20s!!!

    And now, let's measure the Independent: The measurements are in centimeters, as in the technical specifications of the real vehicle in the literature. Once again, scale work cannot be considered bad...
The length of the kit in relation to the Independent is almost perfect...

...as well as the width.
Congratulations, SS Model !!!
    And speaking of congratulations, I think that SS Models is evolving, having seen the evolution of the track link profile between the A1E1 Independent and the Vicker medium Mk.III. These two vehicles have very similar links in real life. But in the scale models, notice that the pattern of the Independent's links is correct (retentions in low relief), while in the Medium Mk.III, an older kit, the pattern is completely inverted, in high relief.
The right and the wrong!!
    But continuing, let's make a locking system for the turret, so that it can rotate without falling out of the hull. The theory is to apply a 1mm thick plastic disc to the bottom of the turret, so that it can receive a screw that goes through the hull from below, forming an axis that allows the turret to rotate 360°. We will also increase the thickness of the plastic in the screw region, so that it has a greater amount of material to hold on to. Here's the theory:
The famous Panzerserra turret locking system
    First of all, use a sharp-edged compass to cut a plasticard disc (1 mm thick) to be glued to the bottom of the turret. See pics below:
The plasticard disc is cut, ready to be glued to the bottom of the turret.

A 2mm thick plastic block will be glued to the center of the disc,
where the screw will lock...
This is all so that the connection between screw
and plastic is well reinforced and strong...

Reinforcement glued to the plastic disc...

    Then, I glued the disc to the bottom of the turret and, carefully and taking correct measurements, drilled the bottom of the hull, so that a long screw could be screwed into the disc at the bottom of the turret, through the hole in the hull. Sorry, but my photos failed at this stage, but the schematic drawing perfectly reproduces what was done...
The famous Panzerserra turret locking system
in position

Turret in positions, with free rotation...
Unfortunately, the secondary turrets had to be glued...
    Because of the irregularity in the bottom of the tank's hull, it was impossible to make an access panel to cover the screw head. My solution was to cover the crosshead of the Phillips screw with a thin sheet of plasticard, directly on the metal.
Another plasticard disc...This time, much thinner (0.3 mm).
    I noticed that two movement limiters on the rear secondary turrets were broken on my hull. It was just a matter of making these pieces with two pieces of stretched plastic... Stephen Tegner's photo was precious at that moment...
Thanks a lot, Stephen!!!
    The kit also does not feature the two rear running boards (the front ones, yes...). I made these pieces with PE scraps from my scrap box...
The two rear running boards installed...
Notice the pattern of the links of the tracks, 
what we talked about earlier...
As you can see, the kit represents the original version, from 1926.

And the girl is ready for painting!!!
Notice the two front running boards...Right front view

Right front view...

The A1E1 Independent with a coat of white primer.
A quality of the SS Model kits is the almost absence of printing lines,
which greatly improves the final appearance of the scale model.

White primer- right view
    As I said previously, the version represented by the SS Model kit is the standard version of the Independent, before the structural reinforcements at the rear and the transmission change (in addition to details on the exhaust system on the tank's rear deck). Therefore, it is this model that will be represented by this kit. And nothing is more boring than a kit without any markings. But researching the 1926 version, I noticed that during the Independent's display to the Prime Ministers of the British Dominions in November 1926, the tank displayed the marking 10 on the side of the turret (perhaps a propaganda move: 10 vehicles in production??!!). Another detail is the 47mm main gun, the recovery cylinder and the mantlet painted in silver color. See the pics below:
Vickers Independent A1E1heavy tank in muddy terrain
at the display during the Dominion Imperial Conference - November, 1926
font: Tank Museum - Bovington
 
Detail of the main gun, mantlet and recovery cilinder
in silver color.
   The dark green color were based on the colors used by vehicles at the time. The profile guide represents what I hope to achieve:
Panzerserra markings and colors guide profile
    The huge problem is that my printer is a laser and does not print white. Cutting a white film to this size is an almost impossible task... My solution was to print the numerals on a transparent film, in a light color (yellow) with the edges outlined in black. The objective is to apply the decal and serve as a guide for a freehand painting, made with a fine brush and white acrylic paint. The following requirements will be necessary: the patience of a monk and the steady hands of a surgeon.... Let's see what happens. But first, let's look at the base color, with some tonal variations:
The girl, dressed in dark green, as fashion dictated at the time.
Our flapper girl is very vain!!!
left front view

Right front view

The looong tail of the Independent...

She really has an aggressive look...
    After a thin layer of Future, to prevent the damn silvering, we applied the decal printed on transparent film. The absence of contrast in white leaves the colors completely "fainted". Let's paint white over number 10...
Decal in position. The dynamic duo Micro-set and
Micro-sol is still acting...
Left side of the turret

Decal in position. Right side of the turret

Now, patience and a steady hand to fill in the yellow with white...
first layer - left view

The right side after first layer of white painting...
        The girl was definitely nicer with the historical markings...
Vickers Independent A1E1 heavy tank
left view

Vickers Independent A1E1 heavy tank
front left view

Vickers Independent A1E1 heavy tank
front right view

Vickers Independent A1E1 heavy tank
rear right view

Vickers Independent A1E1 heavy tank
rear left view

Almost forgetting: we will paint the cannon, the
recovery cylinder and the mantlet in silver color.
Masking done with adhesive tape and toilet paper.

And our girl's nose is painted in silver!!!

Close view - right side

Close view - left side

Starting the weathering....

Discreet weathering...
this vehicle was very well taken care of...

Rear view

    I think I'll add a detail to this tail: a roll-bag doesn't kill anyone!!! Value Gear Details to the rescue!!!
Choosing a suitable roll-bag...

...and after painting...

...and installed on the lady's rear deck!!!
    And after a few more finishing touches, our flapper girl was ready: with you, Vickers Independent A1E1 (standard version) heavy tank, as she performed at the maneuvers during the Dominion Imperial Conference , in England, in November, 1926.
Vickers Independent A1E1 (standard version) heavy tank
Maneuvers 
during the Dominion Imperial Conference 
England - November, 1926.

Vickers Independent A1E1 (standard version) heavy tank
front right view

Vickers Independent A1E1 (standard version) heavy tank
front right top view

Vickers Independent A1E1 (standard version) heavy tank
left top view



Vickers Independent A1E1 (standard version) heavy tank
front left view

Vickers Independent A1E1 (standard version) heavy tank
front right view

Vickers Independent A1E1 (standard version) heavy tank
 right view

Vickers Independent A1E1 (standard version) heavy tank
rear right view

Vickers Independent A1E1 (standard version) heavy tank
rear left view

Vickers Independent A1E1 (standard version) heavy tank
 left view
Vickers Independent A1E1 (standard version) heavy tank
with Kojak
 
Vickers Independent A1E1 (standard version) heavy tank
and Vickers Medium Mk.III tank.
Two british multi-turreted interwar tanks

Vickers Independent A1E1 (standard version) heavy tank
Maneuvers 
during the Dominion Imperial Conference 
England - November, 1926.

See you soon, Ladies and Gentlemen, 
in my new project!!!