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1/35 Diamond T 969A Wrecker

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Here we have a build log of Mirror Models fairly new Diamond T Wrecker. There has been a lot said about this kit on various websites, complaining about issues such as difficult part identification and large sprue connectors, well, lets see just how much of a real problem these issues are?? I'll start by saying every part is identified by its part number and letter, yes, the numerals are small, but hey, we're into detailed scale modelling here? We must also consider the parts are put together by their relative assembly, for example the whole of sprue K is dedicated to the compressor. All the chassis x members are together in the correct order, same goes for the front winch.


I mentioned this in my review, and now I've started the kit I can say the large gates are no problem whatsoever. The plastic is a joy to work with, it's not too hard or too soft and is very "durable". Even the thinnest of parts is easily cleaned up as it will flex rather than crack or snap. Tamiya Extra thin is the glue of choice for the kit, some glues don't work well at all. Remember, those large gates mean no ejector pin marks!!! (Except for the underside of the wrecker bed)


You may have seen my review and thought to yourself, "That's a nice kit", but you may have also considered that these kits from the smaller companies are not up to scratch, with many fit issues and difficulties in building. Well, lets see about that??


I'll start with step one in the instructions.... wheel assembly.


I hit a small problem straight away!! When assembling the wheel halves I noticed a gap in the wheel rim joint. I could have easily clamped the joint shut, but didn't want to risk the joint cracking later on. I cut some 19mm squares of 15 thou card and glued them to the outer wheel halves, then cut the bore out once dry. After gluing together a simple sanding will clean everything up, remembering that only the four outer rear rims will be visible anyway.




You can see the plastic card inserts on the two top right wheels. Mirror models actually market a nice set of resin wheels if you want to avoid this little bit of extra work. On the subject of extras, there are also a PE set and soft top available, which I've ordered. I'll review them when they arrive.


I wanted to show the lovely detail on the wheel hubs, and also how good the rear wheels look sat on them. to me these wheels just look "right". What do you think?




I have started on the engine block and axles, here's where I am right now...




The front axle is built up just like the real thing, with the hubs mounted on swivels, (Obviously there's no kingpins, but the ball is there). Only trouble is, the tie rod is designed to be glued into position, which would fix the hubs in one position, so I decided to drill the tie rod and hubs with a 0.5mm drill and pin the joint with brass rod. Now we have position-able wheels. I don't want to play with the truck, but I want the choice of angle to display the model. The detail on the brake backplates is astounding.




The rear axles an their differentials are also multi piece assemblies, The detail is stunning in every area of the suspension.




One part of this kit I really wanted to build was the Kellogg Compressor, which will be mounted behind the cab. It is a lovely little model in itself, built up from no less than 21 parts!!






 To show you just how small this compressor is, here it is on a bottle top...




I have ordered the squadron walk around book so I can add some hoses and stuff to the model. the detail is so amazing in my opinion it would be a shame not to add at least a couple of flexi brake hoses.


Thanks for looking.



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Thanks Martin and Erik for your compliments...


I have started on the chassis, and would like to offer some tips to our less experienced modellers on how to build a chassis.


Basically, you need to study the parts and initially add only the crossmembers that won't impede you laying the chassis flat on the bench. for example, look at this picture, and notice how I've only added the flat members. It's also a good tip to measure all the x members that go inside the chassis rails to check they are the same length. This will help you keep the frame rails straight and parallel.




This allows you to lay it flat on a flat surface and place weight on top whilst it dries. I use rules and square blocks to check for squareness at every step. Once this is dry, it can be handled and the other parts can be added. I left mine for a couple of hours, then added the winch assembly and clamped it all up to dry for approximately an hour before adding the rest of the parts you see here..




As you can clearly see in the last picture, the level of detail coming your way is simply astounding.. and it's all OOB!!!

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Thanks for your kind words and compliments guys. it's been a while since I posted some pics so I thought I should keep you all up to date with this build.


Well, here we are, the chassis is all but done and VERY detailed. I have broken away slightly from the build process as instructed... Mirror models suggests you fit the brake drums and backplates to the wheels in step one, whereas I decided to glue on the backplates first so I could set them square and vertical to set. If any shims are needed to set the wheels to look right they can be added between the drum and backplate without affecting the overall look of the model...




The underside of the chassis is as good looking as the top.




Note I have replaced the brake actuating rods with 0.8mm plastic rod as it saves having to remove the seams from the moulded rods. I have also added a brass rod at the main pivot so i can ensure all 10 wheels touch the ground. This is why the prop shafts are not yet added. I have also not added the brake cylinders as I want to add brake hoses and don't yet have any reference shots of the plumbing. I figure they'll be easier to drill on the sprue.




You will notice the detail in this kit is stunning, this is all OOB!!


The fuel tanks fit together very well with only a small trace of Mr Surfacer required on the joints. Those who say there are fit issues with this kit are wrong. It all goes together very nicely. The only fit issues I have found are that some holes are too small for the relevant pin to fit into. Big issue right, each hole must take at least 10 seconds to drill!!




This is the best injection moulded chequer plate I've  ever seen, it's a shame it wasn't slide moulded so it could have just wrapped around the radius at the top of the fuel tank.. I don't quite know how I'm going to sort this??


As a final pic for this post I thought you might like to see the repaired wrecker bed. as we all know there are reported massive sink marks in the surface of said part. Well, the "massive" sink marks took one application of Mr Surfacer 500 to sort out following a quick rub down with a flat sanding stick the divets have disappeared. 




I am thoroughly enjoying this build and am confident I will see it through to the end. If you like what you see here, go buy it. It is a joy to build if you enjoy actually "building" models.

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Thanks Steve,


I must say, without any doubt, this is a very satisfying build. The extra work required in cleaning up the sprue gates, instead of endless filling of ejector pin marks is very rewarding. It doesn't "fall" together, but I certainly wouldn't say it is a "bad fitting" kit as some have said. Just wait till you see it finished, you will want one!!


I now have the 968 Cargo truck as well, which is a hard top. Watch this space for a review and build....

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A very small update for you here...

I have started work on the 968 Cargo Truck with Hard Top Cab so progress on the Wrecker will slow for a few days. My objective is to get both chassis to the same state then simultaneously build the bodywork structures.


However, I had already started on the cab before the Cargo truck arrived. I thought I'd stick a picture up here to show the lovely detail inside the cab.. note the beautifully moulded floor plate.




Back in a few days!!

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I love your reviews, Nigel. They're in layman terms and specifically address all the areas that had been criticized. I was looking at this kit not too long ago, and was skeptical. Now I see the "major issues", (so to speak), and know they are simple to overcome.

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I love your reviews, Nigel. They're in layman terms and specifically address all the areas that had been criticized. I was looking at this kit not too long ago, and was skeptical. Now I see the "major issues", (so to speak), and know they are simple to overcome.


Why thank you!! Compliments are always gratefully received !! To be very honest, I really don't see any big issues with the Mirror Models diamond T kits. Yes, Mirror Models are now sending me review kits, but it all started when I bought this Wrecker kit and posted a very positive review.

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I am getting tempted by the wrecker, though this is not my usual period, like what you are doing here.

I can assure you, you won't be disappointed. I read about this kit and was thinking I'd like to give it a go. I don't enjoy "shake 'n bake" kits at all!!


Then... I saw it built up at the Milton Keynes show and just HAD to have it. I bought it from a trader at the show and did a review immediately. Now I'm building two at the same time!!!

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I don't normally build recovery type vehicles, but I thought a diorama of the wrecker, buried up to it's bed in mud, being pulled free by the front winch on a plain old "Duece and a half", would be amusing.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Now that would make a great diorama lawman, but why would you want to bury all this beautiful detail in the mud?? Perhaps a rolled over scenario with the wrecker being pulled back over by a diamond T 980/1??


I have been working on my Cargo truck among other things, so have been a little slow on this one.. here we are with both chassis up to the same stage. The Cargo is on the top of the picture.




Just look at all that lovely detail!!




Now I can get on with the engines and bodywork. I will use a little bit of the upgrade set on this one, but not much, it's so good OOB it doesn't really need much AM in my opinion.


Thanks for looking in.. keep me posted on what you think..

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Good point, Nigel. I'm still thinking along the same concept, but to preserve and display the detail, I may plan something more along the same line, but possibly having the wrecker buried on one side. As if it slipped from the road surface and into the mud. I just like the irony of a "plain" truck, recovering a recovery vehicle.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I haven't given up on these builds guys, or started something else, I have been very busy working on my 1:1 scale Ford GPW restoration project.


As soon as I get done with all the "dirty stuff", basically stripping things down, I will get the opportunity to get back to the bench.

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