Roadwheels, the arch-enemy of my nervesI started building the rolling monster from the most tedious part of any tank: the road wheels and their friends. These were built in three sets, each wheel type was to contain a different sized plastic cylinder. The drive sprockets had the largest ones, the road wheels the medium sized ones and the return rollers the tiniest. Just in case, I assume, the were a couple of extras of the tiniest bits, as they were the easiest to lose.
In the same first step with the wheels I was also to set up the glacis plate and another in the rear. So while some wheels were curing I worked on the sloped plates in the way that made sense. I glued the solid bits but left the extra track bits off to make painting much easier and cleaner.
Then I attacked the return rollers first by knolling the pieces and then assembling. Three per side was needed.
Working on the return rollers took surprisingly less of time than I had assumed, so I kept on with the road wheels as I still had some time. While I was at it I did them all, seven per side. Once again, the memories of Tiger/Panther setups made me fear of a horrible amount of time needed, but luckily I was wrong and all 14 were done almost in a blink of an eye.
The photo above shows the layout. Again, being very used to the German way of the Panzerwaffe I was gently confused by the fact that there wasn't a separate type for the idler wheel but just another road wheel took its role. In the photo those were the leftmost ones, those without a return roller directly next to them.
Lower hullThe next evening I proceeded to the lower hull and glued both the front and rear plates on. While they were curing I attached the bits required for the torsion arms and whatnot.
Slightly redundantly the instructions told me to use the holed bar seen in the next two photos to support and force the positions of the torsion arms. Those bits already had guiding pins to lock them in position. Better safe than sorry, they say, so I did as instructed.
A couple of curious horn-like bits were to be installed to the front of the hull and judging by some dry-fitting they wouldn't have allowed the drive sprockets to be installed afterwards. So I put those in place and then glued on the guiding horns.
Who knows what went on in my head but I changed my mind yet again and put the rest of the wheels on. My original plan was to paint the lower hull before doing this, but at least at this point they were installed - not glued on, though. And I'd still have plenty of time to rethink my plans, repeatedly.