1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - lmcq11 build

This section is for builds that are not strictly Tamiya or Heng Long. For instance, replacing the electronics from a WSN or Matorro, or even a scratch-build.

Postby lmcq11 » Sat Jun 05, 2021 7:56 pm

Hi, my turn to build the Puma.

As i am waiting for parts for the GTK Boxer build, i will slowly start this one.

The Sd.Kfz. 234 (Sonderkraftfahrzeug 234) was a family of German WW2 armoured cars. Coming in 4 main versions, the vehicles were lightly armoured, armed with a 20, 50 or 75 mm main gun. This is the 234/2 Puma with the 50mm turreted gun.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build
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This is the Metal Origin kit inaugurating my brand new retirement verandah modelling workbench. A modeller's paradise with sunlight for my eyes and summer breeze for my lungs. The kit is the special edition with metal ball bearings and servo holder (mandatory). At 378 eu for me in Canada (no VAT) from RC-Panzer-shop.de with 25 eu shipping, the basic kit is a good deal considering the metal components. I plan on providing my own solution for control board, rotation, recoil, etc.

I have browsed through a few builds of this model on the web. I have rarely seen a kit generating so much negative emotions, with builds sometime taking years, totally redesigned or being abandoned. I have no wish to replicate any of the stuff i have seen so i will build it my way. At this point, the plan is to build it strait from the box using Metal Origin parts and avoid any pitfall. This vehicle is to drive around, not a crawler for mountain climbing.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


The instructions are good and assembly goes fast.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


This is the dreaded Metal Origin custom gearbox. Of course, steel gears would be better. I somehow do not find it too bad myself. It should do the job with careful assembly and use. The availability of spare parts is my main concern for the future.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


The gears are pretty loose, with makes it simpler for the builder. The very tight gears that i am using on the GTK build required a lot more attention and more tricky to fine tune.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


Everything is falling in place. I was honestly expecting a lot more trouble. All good so far. I think the newer versions of this kit are likely better than the first ones.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


The seller at rc-panzer-shop.de made me buy this optional set of upgraded swing arms (left), telling me that these are required unless i build a static kit. To my surprise, the kit contains pretty good basic drive shafts (right) that are regular dog bones with drive cups that would have done the job with some grinding and filing.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


We'll see if these cardan joints are worth the 81 Euro (Vat free) I paid for them. In any cases, i now have a set of spare shafts. They are interchangeable.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


I have seen a few pitfalls to avoid.

First, this plastic part can be put upside down. The side matching the ball is actually the smaller one. If put on the wrong side like I initially did, the steering is quite hard, while quite loose if correctly put.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


The ball bearing needs to be hammered fully into place at the bottom of the arm. Careful not to destroy the bearing in the process.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


continuing on following post
Last edited by lmcq11 on Mon Jun 07, 2021 5:57 pm, edited 7 times in total.

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Postby lmcq11 » Sat Jun 05, 2021 8:12 pm

Not sure if it is because of the optional swing arms but the suspension on first test was quite jumpy. I had to file with a hand file the bottom of each drive cups to give more room for the dogbone shaft pins. Don't forget to put in the provided rubber rim inside. The suspension runs better once some weight is put on it.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


Those hex nuts need to be carefully inserted into the gears as it is possible to make them go in slightly sideways without noticing it and damage the gear if forced in.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


I have installed the pinion gear on the 540 motor as far deep as can be.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


Experience with the TPZ-1 Fuchs build last year taught me that a steering servo on a multi steering axles vehicle need to be as powerful as can be. Optimally, each axle should have its own servo. The design of this kit is having all four axles on one servo... Space is limited. Let's go with this design for now but let’s find the most powerful regular size servo available. I have purchased this nice 35kg servo on Amazon. Much better that the less than 20 Kg given by regular servos. Not sure the torque of a 20kg servo would work well. Testing is promising but the real test will be with the tires on. This bitch will turn.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


Those 3 washers indicated on the revised instructions are absolutely required to elevate the servo platform and clear the steering arm below. The servo end points need to be reduced to about 30% on both ends. Otherwise, this powerful servo might damage the metal mount and steering rods.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


The 2 connectors on top of each other that links the servo to the main steering rods need to be grinded in order to clear the motor above it.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


Every crew on the steering bars everywhere need to be loose, they cannot be firmly screwed, otherwise the steering is too tight. A drop of superglue on the tip of the screws going inside will keep them in place, while still being able to be removed if need be.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


Overview of the chassis in the sunlight.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


continuing on following post
Last edited by lmcq11 on Mon Jun 07, 2021 5:58 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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Postby lmcq11 » Sat Jun 05, 2021 8:23 pm

The main gearbox was half filled with synthetic grease gel and all the four drive shaft gearbox and axles are drowning in it. It helps reduce the gear noise as well. It’s running smoother than expected after all the comments I have seen. Again, the real test will be in the field.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


I find the provided plastic/metal steering tie rods to be too large and really ugly. These are not true steering tie rods. It would be nice to replace them with better ones in full metal from China that are more easy to adjust. I'll see later about that.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


A nice touch from Metal Origin.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


The motor should be installed before the steering servo. But be ready to put them on and off at least 5 times as you finetune the drive train.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


Every millimetre is counted on this chassis. There is not much room for improvisation or design change. I find the design to be pretty good. Not sure why all the negative comments I have seen.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


This is a really nice, beautiful and exciting chassis. I recommend cleaning the metal parts with a polishing hand file to make them shine and clean. I recommend avoiding painting any moving metal parts.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


continuing on following post
Last edited by lmcq11 on Mon Jun 07, 2021 6:01 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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Postby lmcq11 » Sat Jun 05, 2021 8:26 pm

This is it for now. The build is going well so far.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


And here is a short video of the steering, motor and gearbox in test. Keep in mind the whole thing is not yet finetuned.

phpBB [video]


Regards, Louis

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Postby lmcq11 » Sun Jun 06, 2021 8:20 pm

Short video of the first field trial outside on uneven pool deck made of cement. Everything is looking good out of the box, no issues. The gears and drive shafts are still a bit stiff but getting better as they get some mileage. The 8x8 steering is surprisingly excellent. The wheels are turning perfectly on cement even when the vehicle is fully stopped. That 35kg servo is making a difference.

phpBB [video]


Regards, Louis

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Postby BarryC » Sun Jun 06, 2021 8:44 pm

:clap: :clap:

Another outstanding build in progress Louis! :thumbup: :thumbup:

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Postby Herr Dr. Professor » Sun Jun 06, 2021 9:01 pm

Louis: I am following your build closely. I bought a complete Puma kit about two years ago, and I have read scary things about making them run and steer. 8O I am grateful for great detail you are offering in your build here, for such detail will help me when I work up the courage to start.
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Postby lmcq11 » Sun Jun 06, 2021 10:19 pm

Thank you Barry and Herr Professor,

After initial study of the basic kit and design, i concluded that the best option is to make it work with what is provided. Everything is designed so tightly inside the hull, if something is changed and the replacement is a bit bigger or of a different shape than the original component, then the whole basic design falls apart and everything needs to be redesigned. There is 1mm between the motor and the steering servo behind it. All the pull rods run just under and around them. The hull is very narrow and long. Almost everything is in metal, difficult to modify. I was in no mood to be too creative with this one with the basic tools that i have.

For this build, skills and understanding of automotive mechanics are more important than others. I could see right away that all the slots on the drive cups were too tight and making the suspension jumpy when turned by hand. They just needed some filing with hand files in order for the dogbone shaft to run more smoothly and give a break to the gearbox. The motor is strong and i can see that damage to the gearbox is possible if everything is too tight and the builder is turning on the power to see what will happen...

Same thing for the steering. If you screw all the screws of the steering tie rods solidly in place so that they don't fall, then nothing will steer because the provided tie rods are not steering rods... They are suspension tie rods. The plastic ends do not provide enough flexibility to make the ball swivel without resistance. It is also very difficult to adjust the wheels to make all eight of them strait because one end of the tie rod needs to be disconnected in order to adjust the length, at every time. They work now by keeping them loose on both ends but i have a set of real metal steering rods on order to try to replace them. A standard servo is also not strong enough for the design.

I am currently working on the turret rotation. I determined that the Metal Origin turret rotation optional set was looking weak and way too expensive. For this one, I will try to design my own.

Regards, Louis

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Postby Raminator » Mon Jun 07, 2021 10:29 am

Moving ahead smoothly Louis, I can tell that your meticulous and methodical approach is already paying off. It looks like several key parts can be installed the wrong way, which is asking for trouble and no doubt contributes to these kits' reputation. They don't leave much margin for error! That steering servo is a beast, definitely makes a difference. Looking forward to seeing more.

I'm a big fan of the 234/1 personally, but that's probably because I think autocannons are cool.
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Postby MichaelC » Mon Jun 07, 2021 3:04 pm

lmcq11 wrote:Short video of the first field trial outside on uneven pool deck made of cement. Everything is looking good out of the box, no issues. The gears and drive shafts are still a bit stiff but getting better as they get some mileage. The 8x8 steering is surprisingly excellent. The wheels are turning perfectly on cement even when the vehicle is fully stopped. That 35kg servo is making a difference.

phpBB [video]


Regards, Louis


Louis looks great and runs perfect. I will have to take mine apart and follow your steps ! I had lots of difficulty with the steering specifically and have to change the servo that comes with the kit.
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Postby lmcq11 » Mon Jun 07, 2021 8:59 pm

Raminator wrote:Moving ahead smoothly Louis, I can tell that your meticulous and methodical approach is already paying off. It looks like several key parts can be installed the wrong way, which is asking for trouble and no doubt contributes to these kits' reputation. They don't leave much margin for error! That steering servo is a beast, definitely makes a difference. Looking forward to seeing more.

I'm a big fan of the 234/1 personally, but that's probably because I think autocannons are cool

Thanks Raminator, i might build another one eventually.

MichaelC wrote:Louis looks great and runs perfect. I will have to take mine apart and follow your steps !

Good luck, the solution is to keep everything as loose as possible to give a break to the servo and gearbox.

Continuing with the build.

This post is for the turret rotation.

Upper hull sides are attached without problems. I found the plastic upper hull to be on the thin side but well detailed.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


I hesitated in purchasing the Metal Origin turret rotation set. At $68, it is overpriced and looks weak with a small motor and gears. Availability of spare parts is non existant.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build
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For $20, i could get a standard Mato 360 rotation wheel and a proven Heng Long rotation unit. The size of the wheel is perfect for the Puma, no need for custom size. The attachment points on the turret base are reinforced with a plasticard layer and holes are made for M3 hex bolts.

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The wheel is centrally installed on the base of the turret, with removable hex bolts. The rotation unit needs to be installed at an angle under the glacis.

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A hastily made plasticard base was created as a platform to screw the unit at the right height. Notice that i had to grind the lip that was touching the hull transversal bar.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


It works perfectly well at an angle. No need to be too difficult or purist.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


The wheel is installed just to be a bit loose but firmly holding the turret base in place like any other turret. It took about 1 hour to do this.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


I had to grind the lip of the rotation unit to clear the hull front transversal metal bar. The rotation unit is actually resting on it, which is ok as it provides some support because the plastic of the upper hull is quite thin.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


Shown here is the new planned layout of the electronics. Small speaker at the back, receiver on the right side, Clark TK-22 control board in the middle, battery at the front, rotation unit on top of the battery. I replaced the planned TK40 by an available TK22. I need the TK40 for the GTK build.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


Everything fits well inside. This is the model as it stands today after only 4 days of part time work. I will put this build aside for a while, going back to the GTK build while i wait for a hollow Puma gun barrel from MK Modellbau. The plan is to give the gun elevation, recoil, flash, sound with coax MG flash and sound.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


Regards, Louis

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Postby Raminator » Fri Jun 11, 2021 7:46 am

It's amazing how much you've managed to pack into such a small space, Louis. Hardly a millimetre to space in some places!
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Postby HERMAN BIX » Fri Jun 11, 2021 11:32 am

Making it looks easy when Im certain its not !
Amazing looking vehicle when finished, the documentary footage is all too rare..........
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Postby lmcq11 » Fri Jun 11, 2021 1:46 pm

Thank you Raminator and Herman !

When i compare the Puma with the GTK Boxer than i am building in parallel in the Modern tank section, these are two very distinct modelling experiences.

- The Puma is a small size V shaped metal lower hull not allowing much latitude to the builder unless equipped with a lathe, metal skills and lots of time. The common builder need to reuse the provided mechanical parts, no way around it. I have latitude only on the secondary components. The Boxer is a very large cavernous hull in plasticard with lots of freedom and tons of options to assemble a drive train from available components from the RC Buggy market.
- A big concern for the Puma build is to keep costs down as they explode if you pick up all the custom created options and they only seem to make the model more complicated to build, with no spare parts available for maintenance. The Boxer is being build with inexpensive but very high quality RC parts from China with plentiful spare parts available with consistent free 2 week SpeedPack delivery service.
- I reused a TK22 Clark board for the Puma instead of buying the custom Elmod. I am not picky for the engine sound, as long as it is a diesel that does vroooom and cannon that does boom, i personally do not see the difference... Others seem to find exact engine sound to be important but it comes at a cost. I prefer reusing a board i know than buying and configuring a new one from a brand that i do not know, and its just to drive the Puma around...

Every builder has its own solutions and style for building the Puma. This build is one of them where use of basic skills, limited time available and costs containment are the main drivers.

Regards, Louis

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build

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Postby lmcq11 » Thu Jun 17, 2021 9:05 pm

Continuing with the Puma build.

I got the barrel yesterday that i had ordered from MK Modellbau and i took a few hours to create the recoil system and the turret electronics.

These are the parts coming for the turret gun. There is no recoil. A metal bracket is provided for gun elevation purposes but i will not be using it.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


The metal barrel is not hollow (for flash) and comes with an ugly stub. I tried to salvage it by cutting the stub and drilling the barrel hollow but i was not successful. The barrel is too short for recoil and i do not have the required lathe to drill through such thin barrel.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


I ordered a Puma L60 barrel from MK Modellbau, seen at the top. However, i was not pleased with it. It is too large and still too short, its more like a 76mm calibre barrel than a 50mm. The slope is not well made and the 3D printed muzzle seems very weak. You can compare the size with the Metal Origin barrel below it.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


But i was not going to return it. Using a coarse nail file, i thinned the aluminum barrel in a circular movement for about 15 minutes until i was getting close to get through it because the hollow inner is quite wide. So, it is as thin as it can become, i gave it a slow slope for an inch in the area where is exit the mantle, then it was pretty much thinned evenly up to the tip. I inserted another aluminum tube inside it to reinforce it and to provide an anchor for the required extension. It was then polished with a polishing nail file. You can compare the result with the metal origin barrel at the top. Still not thin enough but acceptable.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


A new wider hole is made on the mantle to insert the metal sleeve coming with the MK Modellbau barrel.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


There is nothing really complex about creating a custom recoil system. As used in the Stuart and BMP builds, all that is needed are two overlapping metal tubes and a push rod. The secret is to properly select the tubes in relation to the barrel. Not too tight, not too small. When inserted into each other, they just need to slide into each other and be loose, usually a 7mm and a 8mm tube would do it. If it is tight, its not good.

First, a 8mm aluminum tube section is inserted to the kit mantle after a wider hole was made to accommodate it. It is important to test the potential integration at every step. Then the tube is removed.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


A 2.2mm wide groove is made with a Dremel hard cutting disk on both side of the 8mm tube, then the inside is filed to clean all debris, polished smooth and tube is put back.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


The barrel is inserted from the tip to see the situation and where the anchor can be drilled for the push rod. It is critical that the barrel manually slides loosely. Some grease is applied. I usually have to make the two part recoil manually for 2-3 minutes, to clear any obstructions and give the recoil a good workout.

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The MK Modellbau barrel is too short for recoil and need to be extended a bit. An extension is glued over the small tube previously added to the turret end section.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


Continuing on following post
Last edited by lmcq11 on Thu Jun 17, 2021 10:41 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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Postby lmcq11 » Thu Jun 17, 2021 9:16 pm

The exterior length of the barrel need to be carefully calculated (100mm between mantle tip up to the bottom of the muzzle) and then the hole is drilled at the right location to connect the push rod with a M2 Hex bolt and some washers. Give the recoil a good workout at every step, check for issues and use the hand file as required. Sometimes, it only take a very tiny shard of metal from the cutting phase to create a blockage that is resolved as soon as the shard is cleared. Keep everything polished and clean.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


An e-Max servo is connected to the push rod. These nice push rods can be found cheaply on eBay Chine for a few dollars to 5 or 10. They have a swivel mount for the servo arm, they are really nice to work with and to make adjustments fast.

Here we have a Puma gun recoil... No need to wait for a vendor.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


For elevation, a groove is created in a micro servo regular plastic arm.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


A plastic stub is glued to the end of the recoil tube into which the elevation servo is connected with an M2 hex bolt.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


Here we have Puma gun elevation.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


Overview of the turret electronics with main gun and coax machine gun flash added. The wiring is just for testing purposes, it will be permanently added once the other electrical components of the model are finished, such as head lights.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


The ugly kit part for the coax machine gun (top) is replaced with the tip of a Tamiya MG-42 from the spare box. It originally came with a 1/16 figure. A thin fiber optic cable is inserted.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


Then the coax MG is positioned in place on the mantle.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


Here is a short video of the turret electronics in action.

phpBB [video]


Overview of the model as it stands today.

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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


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1/16 RC Sd.Kfz. 234/2 Puma armored car - build


Regards, Louis
Last edited by lmcq11 on Thu Jun 17, 2021 10:50 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Postby Herr Dr. Professor » Thu Jun 17, 2021 10:22 pm

Louis, I am still watching with a nervous feeling in my stomach. 8O I sure am grateful for the detailed advice you are putting into your Puma build. As I mentioned above, I have a complete kit. However, ahem, I am definitely a "common builder [who] need[s] to reuse the provided mechanical parts." Then, too, for me, “this build [will be] one of them where use of basic skills...and costs containment are the main drivers.”
When your build is done, I will print it all out and keep it by my side when I finally get to the Puma. (I have sold all my 1/32, 1/35 AFVs and 1/48 airplanes :( , so I can concentrate on 1/16 projects.)
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Postby LK88 » Fri Jun 18, 2021 10:06 am

you are a very skilful person, we mean it and he is very good at hand, you show beautiful work, and as I already wrote ... for how the model of a cougar is expensive, he still needs more work and investment

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