Nick's Model Tanks page - Abbot build

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Abbot build. Click on pictures to view.

Accurate Armour FV433 Abbot 105mm Self Propelled Gun (SPG). Note that kit is resin, metal and photo-etch and includes decals.
Accurate Armour box Accurate Armour Abbot box
Box top Box side

I also compared some parts against the old and very approximate Nichimo kit and found out the old kit is a giant! Also it is a model of a prototype.
AA Abbot vs Nichimo AA Abbot vs Nichimo AA Abbot vs Nichimo AA Abbot vs Nichimo AA Abbot vs Nichimo
AA turret vs Nichimo AA turret much smaller! Hulls compared. Wow that Nichimo is huge! Roadwheels. AA kit in raw metal.

'raw' (i.e. no cleanup) Parts
Accurate Armour parts 1 Accurate Armour parts 2 Accurate Armour parts 3 Accurate Armour parts 4 Accurate Armour parts 5 Accurate Armour parts 6
Track and gun. Suspension, exhaust etc. Side panels and MGs Turret ring, lights and hatches. Turret accessories and rear hatch. Hull top.

Accurate Armour parts 7 Accurate Armour parts 8 Accurate Armour parts 9 Accurate Armour parts 10 Accurate Armour parts 11 Accurate Armour parts 12
Upper and lower hull. Upper hull again. Lower hull. Hull bottom. Hull side. The turret has some gaps around the gun mount.

Accurate Armour parts 13 Accurate Armour parts 14 Accurate Armour parts 15 Accurate Armour parts 16 Accurate Armour parts 17 Accurate Armour parts 18
Some rough edges to clean up. Welding lines look good! Decals. PE Roadwheels. Suspension parts.

Planned to start the build proper, and right off the bat two major problems presented themselves.

First off the lower hull showed some warping. Now, for a resin kit this is not unexpected, but the construction starts right here and I need a solution before I can proceed! I toyed with attaching lower and upper hulls together since the upper hull has a nice thickness to it and would hold the lower hull straight. However, I was worried that the upper hull would interfere with attaching the suspension, so now I am planning to try and add some reinforcing cross members to hold the shape and reduce the flexing. I may reinforce the sides too. I can test fit the lower to the upper hull to check if it is 'true'.
Accurate Armour parts 19 Accurate Armour parts 20 Accurate Armour parts 21 Accurate Armour parts 22
Lower hull is warped. See the gap when mated to the hull top? Hull right side showing suspension mount points. Hull left side.

Secondly the instructions for the suspension suck! I may scan the instructions, or just part of them, for this 'build blog' and then you will see that it illustrates the already completed suspension and has some written instructions at the end. To make matters worse, the lower hull sides contain only slightly raised areas where various items have to attach leaving some 'leeway' in placement! Also the recommendation to suspend the hull on a '10 to 13 mm block' leaves a 3 mm discrepancy with no explanation! In 1/35 scale that's a 10.5 cm discrepancy or a little over 4 inches for those not on the metric system. Clearly some research must be undertaken.

I was able to find pictures of an Abbot being restored that showed the left side without roadwheels here: Preserved Tanks. By using these pictures and others to determine that the right side is similar, and by laying out the kit parts, I should be able to determine what goes where! One thing to watch for is that the Abbot used torsion bar suspension, so the positions of the roadwheeels on each side will be different, and indeed the suspension arms may well face forwards on one side and rearwards on the other. The left side arms face rearward for sure.

Abbot build - Part One Abbot build - Part Two Abbot build - Part Three Abbot build - Part Four
Fixing the warped hull bottom with 60 thou card. Suspension parts laid out and part numbers identified. Revised fit of lower-to-upper hull. Filler applied to turret.

The torsion bar question was settled by this find on FV432 manuals. FV432manuals The FV433 suspension should be very similar if not identical. Apparently the torsion bars are set at an angle so that the wheels are identically spaced each side - oh and the arms are trailing. Note that the suspension mounts are identical for both sides which means they are mounted facing opposite directions each side. This becomes obvious when taking the sloping sides into account but be sure to dry fit carefully before committing to glue!
Abbot build - Part Five Abbot build - Part Six Abbot build - Part Seven Abbot build - Part Eight
Suspension parts applied right side. Hull left side with parts mounted. Attaching the roadwheels. Roadwheels attached!

The front return roller mount point is too low so I positioned the bracket some 1.5 - 2 mm higher.

The drive sprockets had me puzzled for some time until I realized that the mounting should not be centered. If you mount the sprockets per the kit they will be much too high. See the photo for the newly drilled mounting hole for the sprockets.

Finally I settled on a height of 11 mm to support the hull while attaching the roadwheels. I followed the advice in the instructions to first mount the suspension arms to the wheels. I found I needed to support the back of the wheel/arm assemblies while attaching to the hull.

Meanwhile I decided my Abbot needed a crew. I am going for 2 turret crew leaving the driver's position open to show the included interior (for the driver's position only). I'm having to use Miniart WWII figures since there are no 1970's British tank crews unless you count the figures that come with Tamiya's Chieftain.

The kit does not include the flotation screen which is in all the pictures I have seen of in service vehicles, so I will have to scratch build one. Most surviving vehicles no longer have the screen.

The tracks aren't too wonderful but there are no alternatives - no Fruils - no FV430 models to steal from - and I wasn't about to scratch build them. Cleaning was tough as too many runs had flash filling the sprocket holes so I gave up on the worst and used them for the top run - hopefully hidden by the side skirts once complete. Some pieces were already damaged. Not wanting to risk heat bending, I cut links to go around the sprocket and idlers. However, this left gaps and the tracks did not appear to be linked together. So I added some filler as a poor substitute for real linkages and cleaned it up best I could. Wish I had some articulated tracks for this Abbot!

Abbot build - Part Nine Abbot build - Part Ten Abbot build - Part Eleven Abbot build - Part Twelve Abbot build - Part Thirteen
Sections of track and track straightening jig. Note the damaged section bottom left. Tracks assembled. Best pieces used on bottom - not-so-good pieces on top. I didn't dare use a hairdryer - I cut individual links for sprocket and idler. Note the damaged track - maybe some mud will be required? Driver's compartment being painted prior to installing hull top. Finished driver's compartment. This will only be seen through the hatch. No driver figure so this detail can be seen!

Abbot build - Part Fourteen Abbot build - Part Fiveteen Abbot build - Part Sixteen Abbot build - Part Seventeen
Painted inside of driver's hatch area with instrument panel. All looks pretty rough from this angle! Painted tracks (not final) but prior to hull top install. Progress on turret and gun. After flirting with a movable gun I opted to glue it in position. Under side of turret showing the ring glued in and platform for figures (white).

Abbot build - Part Eighteen Abbot build - Part Nineteen Abbot build - Part Twenty Abbot build - Part Twenty one Abbot build - Part Twenty two
Hull top installed - but oh dear - front is not even, lined up or true! Complete enough for paint. The sides need painting before adding the PE mesh. The flotation screen goes on top of the PE. I tried to tidy up the front with some plastic card. Also note where I had to repair the track after I damaged it. Exhaust pipe on left side of vehicle. Note plastic card filler on side skirts. Some putty cleanup need on turret bag. Yes I knocked off a mudflap while trying to photograph, and yes, nothing perfectly lined up.

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