by: Roman [ ]
Originally published on:
Ugo Pavesi was an Italian engineer from Novara. He started his company La Motomeccanica Patents Ing. Pavesi in 1910 and produced tractor Pavesi P4 in 1918. It was a revolutionary design at that time – the tractor had large wheels and complicated articulated chassis. While his model showed better performance over the competitors of that time it was also a more expensive one thanks to overall complexity. However, they were still popular and he managed to survive through hard times of post-WWI Europe. Moreover, the P4 tractor got attention from Italian Army and in 1923 was adopted as P4/100. The order was so huge that Pavesi himself was not able to produce it and sold the rights for reproduction to Fiat. Pavesi P4 was also licence produced by Armstrong Siddeley in the UK and by Weiss-Manfred in Hungary. The tractor was exported to Greece, Bulgaria, Sweden and Finland. Overall, this machine was used during the Spanish civil war, the Ethiopian war and of course during the WWII by the abovementioned countries.
Initially the tractor was produced with large spoked metal wheels with rubber tire and 10 metal blades that could have been deployed on a loose or muddy ground. Later, a version with pneumatic tires was also produced and it could be seen on the images from North Africa in use.
Plusmodel from the Czech Republic are well known for their resin accessories and they make a number of full resin kits. Some of you might have seen me doing a Fordson tractor which was a rather simple model that can be finished in a couple of evenings but the Pavesi is not an easy piece to build. The parts count and complex wheel assemblies are the main reason for that.
The kit comes in a rectangular hard cardboard box and has colourful photographs of the finished product on top and sides. The box also features “CD inside” sticker (which I had no chance to open to my shame due to absence of CD drive on my laptop). Inside there is a bubble packing material to protect the parts that are placed into small plastic bags. The parts are randomly assorted to those bags and so do not expect them being separated according to assembly sequence.
The assembly manual is typical for resin kits – there are drawings with parts directions, sometimes it features already installed parts. In total there are 221 resin parts, a fret of photo etched parts, decals for 2 variants, a set of rods for tires of various lengths (marked on the bags) and clear parts for lights. One of the resin parts is a frame for assembly of the wheels, be sure not to miss it. Also there is an additional small bag with correct part #75, wire and thread for imitation of winch cable.
The casting is good overall and I did not notice any deformations at first glance. Cleaning all of the parts takes time and I strongly advise not to clean more parts than you are going to use, not to mix the process and assemblies. Of course one could mark them with black CD marker. Some parts would require only removing from casting blocks while others (gear box f.e.) require some sanding after that as well. I had no broken parts in the set and assume the parts are well protected by the package. The colour of the resin is varied and I don’t have any explanation for that as the parts do not differ in flexibility or other properties between the two (or even three) colour variants. Overall the kit builds quite well and needs only minor amounts of putty; however I wish it was putty free for that price tag.
The build can be basically divided into 3 parts – front cab, rear cab for crew, 4 wheels; the latter being the most time consuming. The front and rear cabs consist of the frame and chassis, cab walls and additional parts like seats, etc. The assembly is rather straightforward and after removing the parts from the casting blocks they can be dry fitted and glued with CA glue. The massive engine and gear box are excellent examples of casting quality, so is the winch motor. The front cab walls are a bit tricky to build and I believe I made an error as I had some misalignment in the end when the assembly process was finished. I would have preferred better plugs on those parts. First I joined all the resin bits and then added photo-etched parts. Care should be taken with pedals as they appear rather fragile and the steering wheel shaft would go between them at a later time. Large wheel disks with springs are mirrored for left and right side, but universal for rear and front cabs. Care should be taken on alignment of those parts and amortisations.
The front cab walls are placed on the frame with the engine seen in the middle and soon to be covered by a tank. Another fuel tank resides between the driver and passenger seat in the rear. Additional parts here are levers for gear box and brake. On the underside there is a complex mechanism related to steering wheel, winch and gears that allowed the cabs to turn. Exhaust muffler is added at this stage as well and it would be later fixed with a PE stripe to a step. The fenders are detailed with headlights of clear plastic, a horn and a number of tarp loops. The front section of the frame also gets towing hooks and radiator protection frame, while engine access doors get their locks.
The rear cab is a rather simple in comparison to front one, and after the assembly of cab walls it is placed on a frame with similar suspension components as the front one. Here I had an issue that parts were not matching the springs on the wheel disks and I had to cut them off the frame and move a bit to the front. The rear cab gets a load of photo etched parts for tarp installation as well, clamps for tools, foot support and steps in the rear. The rear wall of the rear cab is a door for storage box and initially it was not clear from the manual that there should be no gap between it and the frame. I fitted it incorrectly and it took some nerve to reposition it slightly to be able to install all the photoetched hinges. The wing nuts provided in photo-etch and I omitted them in hope to replace with a proper plastic or resin ones (most likely from Bronco). I wonder why they were not casted in resin for that kit.
Now the fun part – large wheels of a unique design. The axle and the wheel frame with tire are placed on the assembly helper and here we start the process of installation of metal rods. Some of the openings were not properly bored and I had to correct that with small pin drill. Otherwise I simply followed the sequence from the manual. Rods “A”, rods “B”, rods “C”, rods “D” and “E”. It is important to pay attention to those rods as they differ in sizes. I checked the references and noted that on the real vehicle the rods had fixing nut where they join the central hub, but I understand that it is a very complicated task to replicate in miniature. When all the rods are installed we need to add parts for the metal blades and in total with rods there will be 52 part (resin and metal) for each wheel. When these are finished they can be installed on the model and finally the cabs can be joined together in the middle.
The final part is the addition of wire rods that join the front cab and the rear one ( I assume these are related to the brake system?) and here I replaced the supplied copper wire with a brass one from spares. I feel that the copper wire from the kit is rather stiff for that task and a bit oversized when it comes to installing it to the openings on the corresponding resin parts. For winch cable imitation Plusmodel offered a piece of nylon thread which goes straight to the garbage as it has zero similarity with a real cable. Here I replaced it with an excellent offering from RMG models – 0,6mm copper cable. Build finished!
Plusmodel provides 2 decal variants in this set, both are for the Italian Army and include registration numbers. Camouflage should be either Sand or Khaki overall.
I think this is an impressive kit of a very original vehicle. Definitely this would be a star of any collection (not the stash, but built collection!). But due to the complexity of assembly (in comparison to plastic kits) and price tag I don’t think this is a kit for the average modeller. You would need some extra care and patience to finish a resin kit and you have to be no allergy to cyanoacrylate glues. I am sure there will be some modellers that would make extra detailing on that tractor, but for me it is very good out of the box.