8×8 ISO Tanktainer Type One

Instructions For 8×8 ISO Tanktainer Type One
(1:160 & 1:148 Versions)

Here’s what you’ll receive from Shapeways when you order this model:

Here’s what you’ll need to build the model:

  • A sharp knife or wire cutters to cut/remove sprues.
  • Your preferred cleaning substance. (See options in Cleaning section below).
  • If desired, fine sandpaper to smooth any rough patches or print lines.
  • Tweezers.
  • Magnification, particularly helpful when positioning the frame tabs.

I’d recommend doing a dry-run of the assembly process before finishing/painting/glue to understand how everything goes together.

Removing Sprues & Separating Pieces

The first thing we need to do is separate the frame and the tank by removing the sprues that hold the two pieces together. You can use a knife or a pair of wire cutters to cut/remove the sprues. The sprues are the parts shown by the red circles in the image below:

Any burrs or small pieces of sprue left attached to the frames can be removed with a sharp knife or sandpaper.

You can now remove the sprues holding the tank end pieces to the tank. You can also remove the sprue inside the tank but it’s not strictly necessary if you can’t reach with your tools.


In the picture above you can see some white marks on the tank surface. These are the remains of the wax that supported the model while it was being printed. If you compare the marks to the shape of the frame you will see that the wax that created these marks was supporting the cross beams during printing. Even after cleaning, the surface where the wax has been may remain rougher than the surrounding areas but it won’t be noticeable after painting.

It’s always a good idea to clean the model before painting to remove this waxy residue. You can clean the parts by briefly soaking them in a degreasing substance and gently brushing with a soft brush. Be very careful when cleaning the frame, although the material is flexible you don’t want to damage the frame.

For more information on recommended cleaning methods and products see this tutorial or this discussion on the Shapeways website.

Surface Smooting

You may also want to gently smooth the surface of your model with some fine sandpaper. Be careful when sanding the frame and near the very fine ribs on the tank. Remember to clean away any sanding dust by gently washing the parts again before painting.


Once the parts are clean and dry you can undercoat and paint them as you would any other plastic model. Be careful to avoid clogging fine details, particularly the very small tabs on the ends of the frame and the corresponding slots on the opposite end-frame.

Painting the parts before assembly will be much easier and more precise than waiting until the model is fully assembled. 

Assembly Instructions

First, insert the tank into the frame, to do this you’ll need to use a slight twisting motion as shown below.

Make sure the frame is the correct way up. With the manlids upwards to start, turn them to the left (1) as you push the tank into the frame (2). Once the small manlid is clear of the second crossbeam, twist it back into the correct upright position (3) and gently slide it into the hole in the end frame. It may not go all the way until we have completed the next steps so do not force it as you risk breaking something. Follow the same procedure in reverse if you want to separate the parts again.

It’s helpful to use tweezers for the next steps. Gently position each of the six frame tabs in the slots on the inside of the other frame (the locations of the tabs/slots are marked by blue circles in the picture below)

When you do your final assembly: Apply a small dot of glue to each tab or slot before mating the two parts; I’d recommend doing this one tab/slot at a time.

 If you are having trouble positioning the tabs, you can very gently bend the various parts of the frame to get the tabs seated in the slots.

Once all the tabs are seated in the slots the tank should also slip into the hole in the frame at the other end if it hasn’t already done so. 

Now the end pieces.

Important note: If you are doing a practice-run don’t put both end pieces into the tank at the same time or you may not be able to get them out again. This is because they are a very tight fit and you will need to push them out from the other end of the tube!

To insert an end piece place a small dot of glue on the ridge inside the tank and place the end piece into the tank.

That’s it. You should now have a fully assembled ISO tanktainer model.