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Comet Build

Posted: Mon Dec 03, 2018 11:54 pm
by David Battson
Finally the work bench cleared just enough to start work on the Comet. I knew it had been a while sat in boxes, but even so, the 2010 engraving on the side plate was a bit of a shock – where does all the time go. Armortek kits are forever improving with every release and as I recall at the time, the Comet was a step change in quality of parts, detail and instructions. The machining of the parts is crisp and clean and everything goes together well to make up a great looking model straight out of the box, though I’ll be adding a few mods.

Although not settled on a specific vehicle yet, the aim is to make up an early(ish) version as may have pushed on through Germany to the end of the war.

Starting the assembly, the hull plates soon pull together quickly to make up a very strong and robust ‘chassis’ which is the hallmark of all Armortek kits. Their inherent strength is no doubt part of the reason for such current posts as the fire and garden rescue rebuilds as well as the incredible bridge layer. Once the hull plates were all squared up and tightened, the hex head fixings for the floor were replaced one at a time with countersunk screws. The holes appear slightly oversized to allow for alignment tolerances, so care is needed in such cases to check that holes line up exactly, if not creative use/abuse of the counter sink cutter is required to get the countersink directly over the threaded hole otherwise things can be pulled out of alignment when the screws are tightened.

Lower glacis plate - On the kit the bottom edge of the lower glacis plate has a rebate to take the front edge of the floor plate which partially overlaps it. On the real tank the lower glacis plate extends beyond the floor plate producing a distinct overhang. To improve the look, I glued and screwed a strip of alloy to the bottom edge of the glacis plate and then trimmed it down flush with the front face. The floor plate now effectively sits in a slot and the required overhang is achieved.
glacis overhang.JPG
lower glacis extension.JPG
lower glacis extension  finished.JPG
Floor access covers –The underside of the Comet has numerous covers to give access to the engine and associated drain down points. These are not included in the kit and so a full compliment was made up. Hopefully they won’t be seen too often, but it’s good to know that even in the event of some serious driver error the model will still be looking at it’s best ! The covers will be left off the underside for the moment until the suspension is fitted and the tank is no longer sat on the floor plate.
belly plate hatches.JPG

Re: Comet Build

Posted: Sun Dec 09, 2018 10:11 pm
by David Battson
Hull side armour plates - The hull sides on the Comet were made up of 14mm thick armour plates and the fighting compartment roof plate sat directly on top, covering their upper edges. Below the line of the mudguards, this relatively thin armour was protected by 29mm thick side plates which covered the Christie suspension. Above the mudguard line the thin armour was covered over by additional plates fixed directly to it, either 32mm around the fighting compartment or 25mm along the top of the engine bay and the exhaust box. This additional upper armour is omitted from the kit everywhere except over the exhaust box.
side plate detail .JPG
Side plate detail
side plate detail .JPG (292.95 KiB) Viewed 8155 times
At 1/6, 14mm scales down to just 2.3mm which in aluminium would be far too thin and flimsy to make up a suitably strong hull and take the various suspension and motor fixings and so quite understandably the kit uses 5mm thick alloy plate instead. 5mm at 1/6 scales up to be something close to the thickness of the additional armour added to the fighting compartment and it appears as if on the kit the side plates have been treated as if they were the additional armour, resulting in a number of differences between the kit and the real tank. The roof plate now sits between rather than on top of the side plates and so is 10mm (5+5) narrower than it should be. Also the crew doors open into rather than onto the side plates requiring extra reach cranked hinges.

Original layout
To improve the look, I started by widening the roof to sit on top of the side plates. This was done by cutting it in half longitudinally and adding in a 10mm strip of alloy to fill the gap. The height of the side plates around the fighting compartment were then reduced by the thickness of the roof plate to bring it all back to the original height.
Widened roof plate
The rectangular holes in the side plates where the crew door fitted were widened slightly and a scale thickness inserts added to the correct shape.
drivers hatch plate insert.JPG
Scale plate insert
drivers hatch plate insert.JPG (123.94 KiB) Viewed 8155 times

The kit crew doors were modified by cutting off the old hinges adding additional overlapping plates as per the real vehicle making new hinge straps made up. The kit hinge posts were retained, though the forward facing edge tapered toward the front and fixing holes counter bored as per the real thing.
Door mod.JPG
Door modifications

Scale thickness strips of alloy were added to the fighting compartment and engine bay, which also very neatly cover the running board fixings. The 5mm kit armour over the exhaust box was also thinned down slightly to the correct scale.
Exhaust box

Re: Comet Build

Posted: Sun Dec 09, 2018 11:39 pm
by Steve Stuart
I thought about liking this post, but when I realised how much remaking of the forward deck is entailed... Especially as most of the hull is bolted together! Thank you for this, it shows how to proceed with this conversion which I was trying to figure out the how to. Steve

Re: Comet Build

Posted: Mon Dec 10, 2018 12:03 am
by Adrian Harris
Wonderful work :D

One question. When you say "The height of the side plates around the fighting compartment were then reduced by the thickness of the roof plate to bring it all back to the original height." It looks as though you've taken off more material than that, as your hull front plate is now proud of the hull roof, and bevelled, which isn't the case on the stock kit :?:


Re: Comet Build

Posted: Mon Dec 10, 2018 7:22 pm
by David Battson
Hi Adrian,
Thank you for the comment.
The top of glacis plate profile is as per the kit which is a pretty good representation of the real thing.
The top of roof level is unchanged, in the before and after overhead photos, it remains flush with the top of the hinge posts which have not been moved - but well spotted on the height difference with the glacis plate, you are ahead of my posts.


Re: Comet Build

Posted: Mon Dec 10, 2018 7:43 pm
by David Battson
Hull side armour plates at the rear - The only other place where the side plates are normally exposed is where they extend out from the rear of the hull to form mounting points for the final drive housings. As elsewhere, these are backed up by additional plates, this time 14mm thick. These ‘quadrant’ plates are held in place by bolts which fix through into the final drive case. These additional quadrant plates are nicely provided in the kit and have threaded M3 holes to take the final drive gear case fixings.
a34_comet_final drive cover.jpg
Comet hull side plates and additional armour quadrant

Having made the effort elsewhere I decided to try and replicate the 14mm armour look at the back as well. Since the scale thickness of the side plate and the quadrant combined is close to the kit 5mm alloy plate, I cut a step at half thickness around the perimeter of the exposed plate to give the illusion of two (not quite) overlapping plates. For the gear case fixings I used hex bar to make up some M3 threaded inserts which when filled should create the look of bolt heads.