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Armor/AFV: Axis - WWII
Armor and ground forces of the Axis forces during World War II.
Hosted by Darren Baker
DML Panzer IV ausf B mit schneeraumer
russamotto
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Utah, United States
Joined: December 14, 2007
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Posted: Saturday, February 16, 2013 - 05:32 PM UTC
As a follow on to the review I did earlier on this kit, I will do a build of it here. For those not familiar with the kit, hopefully it will be of some benefit, and for those who are well familiar with the kit, hopefully I will benefit from direction and advice. I don't know if I will attach the schneeraumer plow yet, but it is still early in the build.

First, step 1. In particular, building the workable suspension.

The instructions are filled with arrows showing where things should go, but not always clearly. I tried to keep assembly simple. First, here are the parts.

I selected the leaf spring arm and assembled it first.

It is much easier to clean up the seam line before assembly. Also, to get the end piece (not shown) to set properly, you will have to file and trim the end a bit as there is a very slight offset that will leave it crooked. Once that has set, I took the two piece axle arm (A3 to A6 and A4 to A5) and placed them, being careful not to glue the two parts together.

The mounting bracket has a part that attaches to the rear that will fit to the hull bottom. I added this before assembly as there are two small holes that the suspension arms will go into. If the bottom support part is added after full assembly, the glue may get into the holes and create a non working suspension.

The holes can be seen here. I set the part in poster-tac to hold it in place so I could assemble the unit.


I then placed the hub plate, adding glue carefully to the top only, and worked the suspension to make sure that any glue that leaked through would not set on the parts.

I assembled all units, but left the road wheels off for painting. I won't add the tires until the end of the build.

I did note that there are some minor sink marks on some of the leaf spring units. Next up is the idler. There are two choices. A two part assembly from the A sprue that is thick and chunky looking, or the much more delicate and refined looking slide molded part that is packaged separately.

I chose to use the better looking part. Into this are added etch rims. The rims are offset on the spokes, being flush with one side. When complete they have a sort of "Z" shape from front to rear.

Next were the drive sprockets. You again have two choices. You can add small bolt heads to the rims-12 to each rim- or use a rim that has the bolt heads molded in place. I assembled one rim with the individual bolt heads and determined that the molding quality of the pre-bolted rim was really quite good, and the individual bolt heads suffered from mold seams. The seam line was not big, but on a part that tiny it left them looking somewhat lopsided.

As I assembled the rims I noted that the inner and outer sprocket teeth did not line up properly.

I trimmed the locator tab so that the teeth would line up better and then completed assembly. I had read about this problem earlier in a separate build log so the problem was not just limited to my kit or skills.


The return rollers were also assembled without incident but are not pictured here.
Next up is the rear hull plate. Each idler mounting bracket is made up of 8 parts, and assembly is provided for in a drop box. There were no issues with any parts. I left off the arms until I place the tracks much later in the build. The muffler bracket, fuel filler cap, tow pintle and small access plate are installed. I also chose not to place the two etch chains yet as I will wait to knock them off later in the build.


Of note is sub assembly F, which is built here but not installed until the very end of the build.

This concludes step 1. Again, I hope this helps someone, and if there is anything I missed or messed up on, let me know.
robw_uk
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England - North East, United Kingdom
Joined: June 22, 2010
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Posted: Saturday, February 16, 2013 - 09:55 PM UTC
nice start, will be an avid watcher...
retiredyank
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Arkansas, United States
Joined: June 29, 2009
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Posted: Saturday, February 16, 2013 - 10:10 PM UTC
Since I am a push over for Panzer IIIs and IVs, I feel compelled to follow this on. Model on.
russamotto
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Utah, United States
Joined: December 14, 2007
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Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - 06:55 AM UTC
Managed to get a little more done on this. Steps 3-6 mostly complete the lower hull.

Step 3 is construction of the drive assembly. Most of the details here will never be seen unless you are showing a tank under repair or possibly damaged.



I only added three bolts to the armored cover on the front based on Terry Ashley's review of the Tristar panzer IV B. Plus, I managed to drop two of the small bolt heads on the floor.

The rear lower hull plate is added, and really should have been combined with the rear plate as the towing bracket is divided between the two parts. Fit wasn't great.

I would suggest assembling the rear plates before adding any details to the rear from step 2.

Next I added the running gear to the hull and towing hooks to the rear sides. There is a small locating hole shown in the instructions which is not present on the actual kit hull, so you will need to trim off the locator pin.






Now it is on to the upper hull section. On the vehicle rear there is an upper plate added with a filler cap, pin mounts for the tow cable in either styrene or preformed steel wire and the bolt strip for the upper and lower sections. I left off the latter so I could be sure of the placement when the upper and lower hull sections are mated.


You also get the option of the styrene louvers for the engine intake, or etch pieces. I built the etch, using poster tac to hold the parts while I applied CA, and then set it in place.


Step 6 assembles the front plate with driver's armored visor and radio operators vision port. Everything in the vision block assembly is clear styrene. I would rather only have the actual clear pieces represented in clear plastic, as it would be much easier to see what I was doing, and the clear plastic is much stiffer and more fragile. The frame for the radio operators vision block was bent and I could not get it straightened. No problem as this is all inner detail and can be omitted if you are going to have the tank buttoned up. For the driver's vision block, paint the frame before you install it, as you won't be able to reach it once in place. I opted to leave the driver's armored vision port open.



Next up will be more upper hull assembly, track guards and tool clamps. I'm going to try the etch-first major attempt. Thanks for comments and any pointers will be greatly appreciated.
Vaoinas
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Estonia
Joined: September 03, 2008
KitMaker: 13 posts
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Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 02:44 AM UTC
Seems, that you have assembled the drivers armored visor upside down.

Otherwise, great build.

Kristjan
russamotto
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Utah, United States
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Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 04:43 AM UTC
Thanks, Kristjan. I do that sometimes. I'll get it fixed.
ParanoAndroid
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Aube, France
Joined: July 10, 2008
KitMaker: 44 posts
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Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 05:15 AM UTC
Excellent and very clean build so far! Looking forward to seeing more of it!
Alex!
http://alexbenvenuti.blogspot.fr/
Pytagoras
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Møre og Romsdal, Norway
Joined: December 03, 2012
KitMaker: 300 posts
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Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 09:58 AM UTC
I'm a sucker for Panzer IVs as well. I've never built a Panzer IV from Dragon and I had no idea that the suspension was workable. Definitely looking forward to building my Ausf G and Brummbar from Dragon.
russamotto
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Posted: Friday, March 01, 2013 - 06:40 AM UTC
Thanks for the comments. The panzer IV is a great subject.

Continuing with the build, I jumped in to step 7. The fighting compartment sides get vision blocks installed, covers are placed on the engine compartment and there is a fan assembly for inside the compartment, although no engine is provided. I placed one vision block set, but as this portion of the hull won't be open I didn't assemble the other. It appears that with some care, the covers can be posed open, if you want to try.






Beginning with the next steps, I more or less abandoned the assembly order. You have two options here, either using tools with the clamps pre-molded, or using tools and adding etch clamps and brackets. There are also two sets of track guards, with one having the locator holes and the other not having them.

The tools that have the clamps molded in place have very basic clamps, although there is an attempt to show the wing nuts that hold the clamps down. The handles on the compression clip style are not molded on, so if you have some in the spares box now would be a good time to substitute. The etch parts are fairly standard for Dragon, being the same as used in other kits. Lacking in this kit is a styrene option for the jack bracket.

I attempted to assemble the tools with the etch clamps, but after almost a week of repeated failures, losing etch bits and being at my wits end, I went with the molded on detail, except for those items that needed the etch addition. Also, almost all of the locator holes in the first set of track guards are not for use with this kit, and will need to be filled. You will need to drill new holes for the tools in this kit. While not indicated in the instructions, you will need to drill the mounting hole for the head lamps if using the track guards for the etch tool clamps. This is what my attempt looked like.




The instructions state to assemble the upper hull section and place the track guards and front upper hull plate. I was worried about how parts would line up with the lower hull, and so opted to place the hull plate on the lower hull, then add the track guards and finally place the upper hull. There was quite a bit of dry fitting to get things to line up properly but in the end everything was strait. I then added the bolt strip on the rear hull plate. When I placed the jack, the etch parts did not sit flush with the track guard, being thrown off by the jack base. I added shims from Evergreen stock.





I haven't placed the top portion of the clamps on the spare track links yet, but will. I plan to show the folding step ladder on the side in the lowered position, and so I left it off as well. I did substitute the plastic rung with a piece of brass wire as it offered more stability.

I would have loved to have done more of the etch, but I would need hands on each of my finger tips and more powerful magnification. I spent a lot of time crawling around on the floor looking for the missing bits. Next up is the turret.


retiredyank
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Posted: Friday, March 01, 2013 - 12:10 PM UTC
Progressing nicely. This appears to be another beautiful rendition of a IV, by Dragon. Of course, it's up to the builder's hands to turn it into something to be proud of.
russamotto
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Posted: Thursday, March 07, 2013 - 08:56 AM UTC
Thanks, Matt. They are great kits to work with.

I moved on to the turret. First the cupola. All parts are very well engineered. I opted to leave the covers open.


The turret base has four large ejector tabs that need to be removed. Depending on how visible it will be, there are also some ejector pin marks that may need to be addressed.


The turret basket can be built easily by first attaching the braces to the mounting points on the turret base and then placing the floor. A basic motor is provided as well. Seats are added, although the gunner's seat may interfere with the spent shell basket.


I added the loaders seat after the pictures were taken.

Next is the main gun assembly. You have the option of two barrels, either turned aluminum or styrene. The styrene has rifling visible at the muzzle. There are also some seams to deal with, and a large section to glue in place. The aluminum barrel has no seams to deal with, gives you a shiny breech to begin with but has no rifling. I opted to go with the aluminum barrel because it fit well when I started test fitting, and I just went forward with it.


For those who have never built one of these before, The instructions show everything stacked up with arrows pointing to position. I just assembled the parts of the mantlet/rotor sleeve. They are designed to fit specific parts of the barrel and stop.



I waited to place the small rings that allow the gun to elevate. I carefully placed them on the gun and placed the gun in the turret front. A little glue and I moved the gun to prevent it from setting in place. I then added the antenna guard, but it looks like I need to straighten it.



The spent shell basket has a large ejector pin mark that will need to be fixed. I opted to use putty. If the hatch is left open it will be visible.


The turret exterior has lots of little details. The turret lifting hooks are undersized for the pre-molded bracket sides and there is a noticeable gap.


I tried to address that issue with some putty, but it didn't turn out as well as I would have liked. The locator hole is oversized and the gap too wide. The hole for the external door latch is also oversized and holds the part poorly. With care the side hatch doors can be assembled as workable.



If there is anything I need to fix or improve on, let me know. Assembly is almost finished, and then it will be on to painting.
Plasticbattle
#003
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Donegal, Ireland
Joined: May 14, 2002
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Posted: Friday, March 08, 2013 - 11:18 AM UTC
Nice start Russ. Looking good.
russamotto
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Posted: Sunday, March 17, 2013 - 03:49 PM UTC
Thanks, Frank, for the encouragement.

I've been working on this whenever real life would permit. I've finished the main assembly, getting all the small details added that I held off on or missed, with the exception of the lower portion of the side ladder. The rear muffler and auxiliary motor exhaust were put in place. The muffler end caps don't quite fit the muffler with the candle rack straps, but did fit the plain muffler body. However, this version called for the candle rack so it required a bit of sanding to get the end pieces on. They will split if forced in place.

I used some putty around the base of the exhaust as there was a bit of a gap, and then hollowed it out more.

I added the etch chains to the tow pin, filler cap and the smoke candles, bending the etch but only securing one end to start with. Sorry for the photo.

Front shackles were placed and the etch chain added there as well.

I had forgotten the rain guard above the driver's visor. I attempted to make it out of etch but the instructions don't show how to bend it. I mangled one bend and then promptly broke off one of the sides. The styrene works, although it may be a little low.

There is also the option of pre-formed wire or styrene for the turret top handles. The styrene parts have a sprue attachment that is fairly large, which is surprising considering how delicate most of the other parts are.

With everything in place I painted, priming with Tamiya NATO black and then Tamiya German gray. The separate tires were painted with Badger weathered black and slid into place on the road wheels.


Even with a primer coat, the Badger paint flaked a little while being slid into place, but was easy to touch up. I did the brown camo using Model Master acrylic German panzer brown, and I've started adding some oils for a little variation before decals and weathering.

In natural light it doesn't look as severe as in the photo. I did manage to ruin one track run, so I'll have to outsource some new tracks, either trying to pick up a set from Dragon or go with the Modelkasten.
retiredyank
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Posted: Monday, March 18, 2013 - 12:17 AM UTC
Did the jack block come scribed as separate pieces?
russamotto
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Posted: Monday, March 18, 2013 - 01:29 AM UTC
It is the standard Dragon jack block. I scribed the sides to try and create some detail. Don't know if it is accurate but it was so flat I had to do something.
retiredyank
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Posted: Monday, March 18, 2013 - 01:31 AM UTC

Quoted Text

It is the standard Dragon jack block. I scribed the sides to try and create some detail. Don't know if it is accurate but it was so flat I had to do something.


I've considered using balsa or bass wood to recreate an accurate jack block, but you method is much easier and very realistic.
russamotto
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Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 - 12:54 PM UTC
I've done more on this but haven't posted any progress for a while. I have added some weathering (maybe too much) and I am working on some figures. I wrecked the tracks on the right hand side and need to get some replacements, so that side is still bare.











I need to finish the muffler as well, and figure some stowage. Then get a base.