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135
UN M109A2

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INTRODUCTION
After the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia and the Croatian war, the UN mission UNTAES (United Nations Transitional Administration in Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium) was established from 1996 - 98. The goal of UNTAES was to peacefully re-integrate the territories to Croatia, supervise the demilitarization of the area, and monitor the safe return of refugees to their homes.

Over 25 countries participated in this UN mission. Amongst others the Jordanian army contributed personnel and military equipment. For modellers it would be interesting to see some Jordanian M60A3s and M109A2 Howitzers in white UN colors.

REFERENCES
Unfortunately there is only one image known which shows the Jordanian M109A2 in UN-white. The image was published in the Book "Les Blindes de l'ONU" by LtCol Paul Malmassari (La Plume Du Temps).

Find more information about UNTAES on the UN website.

KIT AND AFTERMARKET PARTS
Luckily AFV Club released their new Kit M109A2 Howitzer AF35109 when I started my project. There are a lot of reviews on the web. Here is a good one from Darren Baker.

This kit is excellent, however I used some aftermarket items to improve the model:
  • Voyager PE Set 35550 ( I only used the mounting for the cannon dust cover together with Leukosild medical tape)
  • AFV Club AF 35523 - T-136 separate track links (replacement for the kit’s vinyl style tracks)
  • Aber 35A59 – Tie-down cleats (I replaced some cast-on footman loops)
  • Black Dog E35001 - Fasteners and Buckles (I made new straps for mounting the tools from medical tape and used some fasteners from this set)
  • Aber 35A16 - Chains
  • Karaya Tow Cable Set
ASSEMBLING
I started with the lower hull. It´s not made from one piece as many other manufacturers do it - you must glue eight pieces together. You have to be very careful to align all angles correctly otherwise you’ll have to use some filler later ;-). There is a nice moveable suspension with torsion bars which you can easily adapt for your diorama needs. If you haven´t built an AFV Club Kit already you might be surprised by the large number of parts. Even the road wheels consists of five parts with lots of sprue attachments. There is quite a lot to sand; I used a little chisel from "Master Tools" a tool that is quite handy to scrap ejector pins away.

The upper part of the lower hull consists of 5 parts. Be careful with part C64 ... at first I glued it in the wrong way, but could correct it in time.

The hull details are excellent - even when comparing with images of the real thing you can´t find any big mistakes. All hatches can be built open although the kit is lacking any interior. You either have to build your own, go for aftermarket items or simply close the hatches, as I did.

The cable reel on the rear door is empty so I added some thin 0.10mm wire from an old electric inductor. On the sprats spike I at first thought there was some seam line to be removed, but on images from the real thing, this casting line is quite evident, so better not to sand it away. I´ll say the spike on mine was heavily used... On the spike I also added a small detail - some kind of wire lock.

On the image of the white UN M109 you can see some kind of mount on the right hull side. It doesn't look like straps, more like metal rods. I added this with some Evergreen strip. The PE mesh on the exhaust comes from the AFV Club kit. On the caps I added small PE chains from ABER: nothing great but it adds a nice touch to the model. On the headlight protectors there are the weld seam lines missing, so I added them with Magic Sculp.

If you wonder about my modelling jig, it is a cheap mini photo tripod. The tripod is very useful when you have to glue small, tiny parts to your model. You can easily adjust the model to your needs and nothing slips away. I drilled a hole into the hull bottom and fixed it with the screw and on the underside there is a larger washer too; you could also use 1/4 " UNC screw nut. You can fold the tripod and have a nice holder for painting and weathering.

I had the AFV Club T-136 tracks in my stash and wanted to use them in this project. First view, a sink mark in the middle of every pad. I sanded them down a bit so now they look a little bit like worn pads. Really annoying are the TWO ejector pin marks on the inside of every single track link. I suspect they will be quite apparent after painting the tracks. Tedious work to sand or scrap them all out.

Here is the sequence in which I assemble these single link tracks:
  • Step 1 - Cut the links from the sprue and sand them.
  • Step 2 - Half of the connectors stay in one piece but cut from the rest of the sprue.
  • Step 3 - Put the single links into the connectors.
  • Step 4 - Use an assembling aid for fixation of the segments (Two similar square wooden slats and two rubber bands).
  • Step 5 - Now put the connectors into the other side. Two or three in one piece works good for me.
  • Step 6 - Cut away the sprue attaching with a hobby knife.
  • Step 7 - Sanding the outside of the connectors.
After this I did a test fit with the completed individual AFV track with 79 pieces. The fit around the sprocket is good, but the completed track is too long. After removing one link the track now looks OK to me.

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About the Author

About Walter Lampel (flugwuzzi)
FROM: LOWER AUSTRIA, AUSTRIA

I've been building models since I was a child. I took several off-times (military-duty, un-services, occupational career, my family, set up my company e.g. ) but never lost interest. I am stuck with modern armor - especially white un-vehicles - but also with early aviation from austro-hungarian empi...


Comments

Very nice work, Walter! And a most unusual and welcome subject.
MAY 05, 2014 - 06:18 AM
Impressive work Walter and the weathering is first rate as white is a pain to get to look right.
MAY 05, 2014 - 06:27 AM
Great job on the white paint. Subtle and very effective weathering. Thanks for sharing!
MAY 05, 2014 - 03:58 PM
This is a fantastic build and a beautifully finished paint and weathering job- very inspiring work Walter.
MAY 06, 2014 - 10:14 PM
Hi Walter, I really like your subject and the way you turned it into a beautiful miniature. I think I would have kept the white a bit more white but this is just personal preference. The weathering is very convincing and the figures add the right touch to it. I suppose I am not the only one who would love to see that vehicle on a little vignette. Looking forward for the campaign.
MAY 06, 2014 - 10:24 PM
Hi Gents! Thank you very much for stopping by and your comment. Appreciate it and it is a lot of motivation to do even better in the future .. maybe with a vignette in the UN campaign ;-)
MAY 08, 2014 - 05:29 AM