58late variant Famo. The Tamiya instruction booklet is adequate for construction out-of-the-box. However, should you wish to executeany sort of super-detailing then the Nuts & Bolts book is a must.I shall not bother you with a complete blow-by-blow of theconstruction as it has been done to death and by better modelersthan I. However, I shall highlight where I stepped off of the beatenpath to add some bits and bobs.I wished to beat up my Famo and a good place to begin was thebeautifully rendered Tamiya roadwheels. Firstly I placed a steelbrush accessories disc into a Ryobi motor tool set at low. This discwas designed for cleaning and polishing metal surfaces andremoving rust and corrosion. I find it chews up the edges of therubber roadwheels and gives tank hulls and turrets a nice castappearance. Rubber rimmed roadwheels frequently got nickedand beaten up on tough terrain and caused an increasingly uncomfortable ride when not replaced. After all the wheels wereroughened up, I went back over them with an Exacto blade toclean away the excess plastic.Construction then went ahead per the Tamiya instructions buildingup the kit in sub-assemblies of the frame and wheels, enginecompartment, crew compartment, cargo bed and spade.Whilst inspecting the Aber photo-etched set I noted a good dealof gearbox details and other sub-carriage bits which onceassembled would be utterly invisible. In some cases I decided toleave them off, but in the case of the gearbox housing, I had theidea to add them to the kit and cut away the rear center treadplate access panel as Aber thoughtfully included the treadpatterned flooring. To my eye the Tamiya flooring was as good so Ileft it in place except for the access hatch to the gearbox. Thiswould have to be cut away so as to reveal the intricate Aber photo-etch beneath it.A very clean cut is difficult to achieve by scribing with an Exactoblade. In this case, I cut a hole into the Tamiya panel and thenwith a length of unwaxed dental floss cut cleanly around thepanel. Now this process may seem odd, but it works brilliantly,leaving a clean edge as you cut around the access hatch usingthe same sort of movement as you would when gripping a wiregarrote. Make sure to use unwaxed floss as the waxed variety tends to shed the wax on the plastic. Once the panel was cutaway I cleaned it up with the most minimal of sanding. The Aber part is a perfect fit, but in my case need not be as the hatch restson the rear bench seat. Save the Tamiya part as you will need toremove the grab handles and attach them underneath theopenings in the Aber photo-etched panel.In the desert, keeping a motor cool is as vital as keeping thehuman body hydrated. As well as the articulating air vents in thehood of the Famo, the engine access covers on either side wereoften left off to maximize air circulation. Leaving these off meant Ihad to detail the engine compartment and Aber gives plenty of opportunity for that. Unfortunately, even with the engine covers off,most of the really splendid wiring and plumbing is not visible.Once the engine bay was completed, I went to work on theportions of the gearbox visible through the opened floor board.
The engine detailed with Aber photo-etch, variousdiameters of brass and lead wire, and Minimecatubing for the control arms leading to the gearbox The completed and unpainted crew compartment.Note the Aber photo-etched dash and acetateinstruments