The order of construction here is dictated by the way in which this kit is presented. I want to paint the wheels and tracks before attaching these to the hull. That also means leaving off the track guards until the tracks are painted and attached.
I begin with construction of the hull. There are no particular problems here, though there is an error in the instructions. If you look at the image above, you’ll see that I have fixed part K15, the mounting for the middle return roller, as shown in the instructions.
However, that’s wrong. If you put it there, it not only doesn’t line up with the roller, it will stop the track guards fitting in place. The correct location for this part is lower and further to the rear, arrowed in red on the image above. Everything fits nicely with no need for filler and other than this minor issue, the locations for all parts are clear despite the instructions being rather brief. Some small parts, the headlights, for example, are tricky to remove from the sprues without damage. The plastic is rather soft, the attachment points are thick and you do need to use a very sharp knife. I leave off the exhaust and tools so that I can paint these separately.
Next, the turret, and again, fit is good and construction straightforward. Surface detail and especially the rivets are very well done. The only odd feature is that the Commander’s hatch is square while the opening beneath is circular, but that’s a feature of the original too. The hatch can be fitted open or closed, though because there isn’t a figure or any internal detail, I’m going for closed. The radio antenna is way too thick, so I cut it off the base and I’ll replace it with stretched sprue at some point.
I construct the MG turrets too, but I don’t add them to the hull yet. I think that painting these and the surrounding hull will be easier if I keep them separate for the moment. I do drill a small hole in the base of each and mount them on screws to make handling easier while I’m painting them.
That’s as far as I can go with construction until I have painted the tracks and lower hull. I’m using Vallejo Russian Uniform for the base colour. It isn’t a precise match for Khaki Green G3, but it’s probably close enough. I’m brush painting as usual and there is some very fine surface detail here, so I’ll be building up several coats of very thinned paint.
The suggested paint scheme in the magazine shows the camo extending to the lower hull, under the track guards, to the roadwheels, but I’m not convinced. Looking at wartime photos and images of the A9 in The Tank Museum in Bovington, it seems more likely that the dark green camo pattern was only applied to the track guards and above.
For painting the tracks, I begin with the base green, including highlights. Then I add dark grey for the tyres (and the idler has a rubber tyre as well as the roadwheels) before starting on the tracks. These are painted a lighter grey, then highlighted with gunmetal and given a final acrylic brown wash. Once everything is dry, the tracks and lower hull get a coat of clear varnish and then a wash of dark grey oil to pick out the shadows.
Once they’re painted, I add the track guards to the lower hull and then fix the tracks in place (and you must do it in that order, if you fit the tracks first, it isn’t possible to get the track guards on). Painting the one-piece tracks and running gear is more challenging than working with separate parts, but overall, I’m not unhappy with how it looks in the end.
Next, everything gets a couple of thinned coats of the base colour followed by some drybrushing of edges and details with a lightened version of the same colour.
Then I add the camouflage pattern using a dark green I mixed using Vallejo Dark Grey and Olive Green and following the detailed 3-view drawings in the magazine as a guide. Once it’s done, I again add drybrushed highlights using a lightened tone of the same colour.
Then, I paint on the tools on the track guards and the lens on the turret spotlight and add the shovel and crowbar on the right side of the hull. I also add the decals, and these are commendably thin and densely printed and they go on with no problems using Vallejo Decal Fix and Decal Softener. Strangely, there are spares on the decal sheet – there are three of the blue squares for the turret where only two are needed and two of the 1st Armoured Division rhinoceros where only one is needed. I suppose it’s always good to have spares.
Finally, it all gets an overall coat of clear varnish followed by an oil wash. I use a dark grey overall wash to highlight shadows with a few spots of white to show streaking and bleaching on the hull and turret. All that’s then left to do is give it a final coat of clear matt varnish, then add a stretched sprue radio antenna on the turret and fix the exhaust to the rear hull and put everything together.
After Action Report
This was a satisfying and simple build. Fit was good, there were no real problems and I rather like the look of the completed model. Detail is sharp and the camo scheme didn’t turn out too badly either.
Don’t let the fact that this is described as a fast-build kit put you off. Yes, the tracks, roadwheels, etc. come as a single part, but detail is generally good. Apart from the tracks themselves of course, and how many small-scale tank kits have I said that about?
This is a fairly cheap kit, but IMHO, it’s as good as or better than many other more expensive kits. The provision of the magazine is a nice touch and it does give some interesting background to the development and use of this tank. And it’s great to find a decent model of a little-known British tank. I haven’t tried any of the other IBG World at War series, but if they’re as good as this little A9, they should be well worth looking out for.