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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 Pzkpfw III N sPz.Abt.501
wbill76
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Posted: Saturday, February 16, 2008 - 04:44 PM GMT+7
Thanks John, glad to hear there are others out there building this one.
wbill76
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Posted: Saturday, February 16, 2008 - 04:44 PM GMT+7
Continuing on from yesterday, Step 4 deals with the assembly of the rear hull plate and the exhaust/intake arrangement. This step is a very busy one with lots of arrows and parts all going on to the rear plate, so you have to pay close attention to what goes where and when. There's a sub-assembly step that directs you to install the towing pintle pins, B39, into the halves of the pintles first before installation but this is just asking for trouble, so I installed them into their respective slots on either side and then inserted B39 with just a touch of liquid glue to hold it in place. The twin exhausts were installed next. The rounded armored access cover on the lower hull has a little call-out box that presents the option of including a small towing pintle for it, however the pintle part is incorrectly labelled as G12 when it's actually C18 and to use C18 you will have to perform some surgery on the cover B29 since it's molded solid and doesn't have the required D-shape hole to take it. To add to the mystery a bit more, C18 is marked as "not for use" on the sprue directory page...so I just left it off and installed it as is.

The last parts to be installed in this step are the most critical in terms of placement and alignment. These are the fins, parts A5/A6, that attach above the exhausts and will also install into slots in the hull tub. The attachment points for these parts are very small and don't sit flush but rather have a slight curve to them, making it easy for them to slip out of alignment. To get around this, I installed them one at a time and then inserted the plate into its installation area and adjusted the fin to match to its corresponding slot and then let it sit there until the glue held, then slid the plate out and installed the next fin, repeating the process until all 4 were installed.



Step 5 calls for the installation of all the road wheels, sprockets, etc. and so was largely skipped with the exception of the installation of the final drive housings for the sprockets and the idler mounts since they will play a role in Step 6 with the installation of the rear hull plate.



Step 6 is a multi-step process, the first of which calls for the installation of the rear plate along with the mesh screens and smoke grenade racks. To accomplish this, the rear plate has to go in first and this is a tight fit as it also has to fit over the posts on the idler mounts and the fins have to go into their tabs, all at the same time, so some very slow and careful maneuvering is necessary to get it all into place. Once that was done, the smoke grenade rack was installed followed by the PE mesh screens. The mesh screens actually rest on a series of small tabs instead of flush to the hull and it's important that the screens not overhang at all at any of the edges to avoid problems when fitting the angled rear plate. The screens had to be coaxed gently into position due to the tight spaces but once in place were glued down with some liquid glue to the tabs since additional parts were going to be installed in just a bit to further trap and hold the screens in place.



No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get the rear plate and the housings on the idler mounts to meet...and I believe it's because instead of installing them flush as I did in Step 1, they probably should have had a slight overhang. The gap that results isn't large and was solved with some putty, but perhaps waiting to install them until this Step would've eliminated the problem altogether. There's no real reason to do the assembly in Step 1 vs. Step 5/6 other than the instructions follow the theory that the mounts should be constructed at the same time as the wheels themselves I guess.



With the rear plate installed, the angled lower hull plate B15 was also installed. This has some nice weld seam detail provided but the overhanging weld bead isn't quite thick enough in some places and little holes/gaps were present even with the judicious use of liquid glue and finger pressure. Those would be filled in with putty afterwards without any real issue. The upper rear plate was also installed along with the crank starter port and the deflector screens also installed to finish off this step. The edges of these parts are bevelled to make them appear more to scale in terms of thickness but the side parts still appear thicker than they should IMHO and could benefit from PE replacements.



Moving on to Step 7, the left side fender was assembled with all of its various components. The tools will be detailed and installed later as will the spare wheels, but all the fender braces and various other items were installed as directed. One of the neat options presented here, although I didn't use it, is the choice on the rear mudflaps to go with either the one-piece with the triangular underside mini-flap molded together or have the triangular flap separate as either a styrene or PE piece with an independent flap with the hole cutout present. This option would conceivably allow you to pose the mud-flap in the raised position over the Notek light if desired. The trickiest part of assembling this fender has to be the jack and its mounts. The jack is a multi-part assembly and you have to be sure to have the foot extended slightly to allow for the mounting bracket to fit...something the instructions don't clearly indicate but becomes readily apparent when you try to fit the bracket if you've installed it flush. There's also an error in the instructions, part G48 is actually part G54 as the base portion of the mount.



Step 8 is a simpler step even though it deals with the right side fender, there's a lot less that installs on that side and so goes quicker. The fender support braces are installed along with a small stowage box at the front and the antenna tray. The other pioneer tools and gun cleaning rods were left off until later, same as with the left side. The antenna tray presents two options in terms of how the support feet are arranged, you can choose to have the leading foot pointing either outward or inward...I chose the inward as a coin-toss choice more than anything else. The tray has molded in wood-grain that's very nice as a detail.



That ended the day's efforts, next up will be the rear engine deck.
whittman181
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Massachusetts, United States
Joined: December 30, 2006
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Posted: Saturday, February 16, 2008 - 07:58 PM GMT+7
Boy you've been busy!!! Keep up the good work. I get home from work at 2:00A.M. and your build gives me something to look forward to besides bed! Thanks
Plasticbattle
#003
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Donegal, Ireland
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Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2008 - 04:42 AM GMT+7

Quoted Text

wish I could credit it to a publisher and author but the whole thing's in Russian Cyrillic!


Wouldn´t worry too much about that, as the credit should be to the The Achtung Panzer gang. The drawings appears to be a complete copy (with Russian text added) of the AP version???? Anyways Ive included the original with English captions ... and the text seems to refer to command versions!

wbill76
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Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2008 - 05:49 PM GMT+7
Thanks Bob, glad to hear there's some entertaining value to the build logs for you.

Frank,

It's quite possible that what I've got is a Russian translation of the AP book...I'm not familiar with it but the page contents would appear to be exact at least. Glad to be able to credit it to a familiar source though!
wbill76
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Posted: Saturday, February 23, 2008 - 11:48 PM GMT+7
A very big update today, so lots of photos.

Steps 9 and 10 deal with the rear engine deck with Step 9 calling for the construction of the main engine bay access doors and their armored vents as a precursor to their installation in Step 10. Step 10 then installs them along with their corresponding hinges, the three lifting eyes, the side air intakes, and the tow cables. You have to be careful to select the correct air intakes as called for in the instructions, A29/A30, instead of D2/D3 (these are from the StuG III) as they look virtually identical if you aren't watching the sprues closely. In addition, the PE screens need to be bent slightly on the edge that attaches to the hull, something the instructions don't point out but which becomes obvious when you test fit them. The tow cables come pre-molded into their brackets or, if you prefer, you can install the empty brackets that are also provided and either make your own cables or leave them empty. I want to mount the cables, so these were carefully cleaned up and dry-fit for now and will actually be installed later after painting.



Step 11 is a very simple step, simply removing four posts from the hull roof and installing the three lifting eyes.



Step 12 deals with the glacis plate and the installation of the front hatches, the armored brake housing vents, and the front head-lights. The choice is given to install either the clear lenses or the black-out covers and I opted for the black-out covers, saving the lenses for another future project. It's also necessary to drill out two holes that will take the base of the spaced armor arrangement, easily done with a pin vise.



Step 13 deals with the hull front and side plates. The front plate has the ball mount for the hull MG installed along with the MG34. Although the fully detailed gun and mount is provided, the only parts really necessary are J28 and J20 as the others will never be seen and were not used. I installed the armored glass block and visor in the open position, giving the glass a slightly greenish tint with some Tamiya Clear Green. The side hull plates had their visor ports installed in the closed position and the right side had the antenna mount installed and the antenna test fit.



Step 14 is a very important and busy step as it brings all the elements previously constructed together to form the hull. There's lots of different ways to go about this one potentially, but the key parts are the fenders, the hull nose and glacis, the main hull, and the rear engine deck. I started by first constructing the main hull using the platform A61 and installing the roof, sides, and front as a sub-step.



Next came the hull front. The add-on plates, part D1, were actually called for way back in Step 1, but I held off until this point to make sure everything had good alignment. This was installed along with the glacis plate as the next sub-assembly followed by the fenders. The front hull fender supports consist of two parts and the round brace portion, B9/B10, need to be switched around in terms of what side they match up with. The fenders themselves have to be precisely positioned and the left side required a little more attention than the right, but both went into place relatively smoothly. I also skipped ahead slightly and installed part C3, the base of the spaced armor plate, now instead of in Step 15 as the instructions would have it. Due to the tight space it goes into, it was easier to add it now before installation to the hull than later on. The main hull and rear engine deck were then installed without issues.





With all that squared away, the spare track holders were mounted to the front hull and glacis plate. The placement of these is not very clear on the instructions and it was necessary to check some reference photos to see how they should go. I used a couple of links from the Magic bags to check to see how they would line up relative to each other and that helped tremendously. I also added some blue-tack to protect the clear piece in the armored visor at this point since it's easier now vs. when the spaced plate is installed. This completed Step 14, which also calls for the tracks to be installed but which I'll actually do later after painting.



Step 15 is actually two different parts, the first part deals with the installation of the spaced armor to the hull front. This is a straightforward process with the exception of the top plate, MA8. The instructions indicate that it should attach all the way over to the right side when in fact it should attach all the way over to the left. The cutouts are designed to match up to the lifting eye and this is the give-away, along with the small bolt holes in the straps, that indicates the proper position.



The second part of the step deals with the construction of the commander's cupola. This is exactly the same as in any of the Pz IV Smart Kits or the III J Smart Kit, so nothing new here really. I opted for the closed position on both the vision ports and the hatches as I didn't really have the desire to show it open this time around.



Step 16 starts work on the main gun with the assembly of the mantlet and recoil housing. The choice of a plain or bolted collar is provided and I opted for the bolted. I also test fit the one-piece styrene barrel just to be sure it wouldn't cause any problems before gluing, everything fit just as it should.



Step 17 continues the process with the installation of the recoil housing to the gun barrel and then into the mantlet. All of this is then supposed to install into the mount that will attach to the turret face plate but the instructions here contain an error that will stop you in your tracks until figured out. The instruction indicate that part E11 should be used when in fact you should use G5. E11 doesn't have the correct D-shaped hole on the left side and the diameter of the hole for the main gun is too small, making it impossible to mount it. In the photo below the correct part G5 is on the left side. One of the hazards of having so many sprues/parts from different kits thrown together is also compounded by the instructions not being updated with the correct part call-out. Curiously, the parts diagrams on the instructions also don't show E11 marked as "not for use", so this one slipped by as an artifact from the III J kit instructions.



Once the correct part is found and used, the installation is pretty smooth. It's a good idea to not install parts E2/E3 just yet if you want the gun to remain elevatable, something the instructions don't indicate as possible.



Step 18 mounts the mantlet and gun assembly to the turret face plate. Uncharacteristically for a DML kit, the face plate has multiple ejector marks on the exterior surface of the face plate and these have to be dealt with as they will be easily visible.



With that taken care of, the plate and the hinge points, E2/E3 were installed along with the mantlet and gun. The breech and guard rails were also added along with the spent shell basket to finish the step.



This is all the detail that's provided for the gun area in terms of interior. No optics are provided for the gunner for example nor are there any interior details for the coaxial MG. Next up will be the turret construction and details as the last major component before painting.
sgtreef
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Posted: Sunday, February 24, 2008 - 06:11 AM GMT+7
Looking good Bill ,got to love them Panzer III's

Nice and I do mean "clean Build "

Can't wait to see what is next on your building journey.

How about a T/34?
wbill76
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Posted: Sunday, February 24, 2008 - 11:20 AM GMT+7
Thanks Jeff! The next project after this one will likely be a kit-bash exercise using the Alan Bison I and various other goodies, not 100% sure just yet. As for a T-34, I have the DML #6165 in the stash as a beutepanzer...no idea though when I'll get to it, but someday!
Gunfighter
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Pennsylvania, United States
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Posted: Sunday, February 24, 2008 - 11:29 AM GMT+7
Bill - thanks for the efforts to post all of this up. I've got this kit high on my want list and your info is invaluable.

- Frank
wbill76
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Posted: Sunday, February 24, 2008 - 05:34 PM GMT+7
Thanks for the comments Frank, hope it's of help to you when you build yours.
wbill76
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Posted: Sunday, February 24, 2008 - 05:36 PM GMT+7
Continuing on from yesterday, work began with the turret proper in Step 19. This step installs the exhaust fan, something that's much easier to do in coordination with parts G5 and G6 in Step 21 vs. by itself to get it positioned properly. The interior frames, G18, for the side hatches are also called for in this step but I waited until Step 21 for those to insure good all-around fit with the hinges and doors. The rear turret pistol ports and support mounts for the turret bin are also installed at this point.



Step 20 deals with the construction of the turret bin as well as the installation of the commander's seat and frame into the lower turret base however I'm skipping that installation as it will just get in the way when painting the turret and I have no need for it to be present. The turret base has numerous large half-posts/half-ejector marks that need to be trimmed down at a minimum and also filled if you want to show the turret interior. The turret roof also has several large ejector marks to be dealt with depending on your intentions. I'm keeping the turret closed up so it's not a problem for me in this case.



Step 21 is another important and busy step dealing with the assembly of the turret components. The first thing that must be done is mating up the turret face plate and gun mount to the turret top half. This is then followed by the turret bottom. The rest of the turret details can then be installed in terms of the hatches, the cupola, grab rails, turret bin, etc. It's interesting to note that the PE fret contains a replacement part for the commander's bore-sight pointer but the instructions don't indicate this, pointing out only the styrene part option F9. When installing the side hatches, the instructions have the order backwards for the hinges, the key here is to insure the pin is at the top and that determines which side gets G24 and which gets G19 left side vs. right side. The turret smoke grenade launchers are also assembled and attached in this step and care is needed when cleaning up the launcher tubes to retain their circular shape as they have two very large attachment points top and bottom. The mount tabs on the back of the holders is also too large for the slot provided on the turret and, in order to get it to fit flush to the turret, I removed the tab completely and just glued it directly to the turret side.



Step 22 is the final step and involves the optional construction of the jerry can racks for either the turret roof, the rear hull, or both depending on the version you are building. I've decided to go with the Red 07 vehicle and it only had the rear rack. The rack itself consists of three supports, the wood plank back, and a retaining rail at the front. I chose the PE option for the rail and the only slightly tricky part was getting all three of the support frames and the rail to line up squarely since there's a little bit of play in the frame pieces in terms of how they match up to the plank. There are also small seam lines on the inside of each of the frame support angles which needed to be carefully removed.



Once the rack was constructed, it was time to build the cans that would occupy it. The kit includes parts for a total of 12 cans (all of them stamped as being 20L Wasser cans) and the diagram for the can construction is an artifact from an older kit and can parts design, so some improvisation is necessary to actually get the cans assembled. The PE inserts have holes for 3 mount pins however the cans themselves actually only have 2 pins and neither of them will line up properly with the PE insert holes. This means that the lower pin needs to be removed entirely and the PE insert fitted tightly above the top pin before the two can halves are secured together to form the single can. Once that's done, then the handles and pour spouts can be added without any problems.



I installed the rack to the rear plate of the hull and the diagram for this step doesn't help much...it shows the rack being attached with an arrow pointing to the rear but doesn't actually show the rear area! Fortunately the finishing diagrams are a little more helpful and I also have a reference photo of a III-N fitted with this rack and was able to figure it out. The instructions indicate that you should be able to fit 5 cans to a side but in reality only 4 of the provided cans can be fitted per side. I also wanted to check the clearance on the tow cables so I positioned those just to be sure everything would play nice later on. Neither the cans or the cables have been permanently installed yet but when the time comes, the cables have to go first followed by the cans.



And last, but not least, I added a little detail to the front hull in the form of the power conduit for the Notek light on the fender that leads down into the headlight mount. Some solder was cut to length and formed with the required bends and angles and then glued into place.



Next up will be the preparations for painting.
210cav
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Virginia, United States
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Posted: Sunday, February 24, 2008 - 06:34 PM GMT+7
Bill-- a basic question. Your work bears none of the tell tale glue marks that characterize several of my efforts. What adhesive are you using? How do you apply it? And, what if anything do you do to either preclude or erase a glue stain?
thanks
DJ
wbill76
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Posted: Sunday, February 24, 2008 - 09:30 PM GMT+7

Quoted Text

Bill-- a basic question. Your work bears none of the tell tale glue marks that characterize several of my efforts. What adhesive are you using? How do you apply it? And, what if anything do you do to either preclude or erase a glue stain?
thanks
DJ



DJ, I use really only two products, both by Testor's. One is the black bottle glue that I've modified the tip by cutting down the point and using a clear precision tip with and the other is ordinary liquid glue. The reason I use the clear tip is that it allows me to see just when the glue is about to clear the tip and I can control it much easier that way. It also has the added benefit of avoiding the glue drying out in the tip and rendering the whole bottle useless.



In terms of application, I'm usually very sparing with the glue and will often wipe off the edges of parts with a fingertip or a cloth rag I keep on the desk before actually mounting the part so that there's only enough glue on the part. This prevents the glue from squishing out the sides and creating glue blobs most of the time (although there are some assemblies where having the glue ooze out is advantageous as a way to seal seams/gaps) and when it doesn't, then usually a very quick swipe with a fingertip if accessible or with a toothpick if not can avoid the glue starting to take hold...have to be very quick though!

The liquid glue I will use on smaller parts in conjunction with the 3/0 brush you see in the above photo in place of the brush in the bottle. The 3/0 brush picks up much less glue but can still be used with capillary action to apply to a part so it gets sucked in where needed. On larger parts I will often use the thicker black bottle glue to "tack" the part into place and then use the liquid glue around the edges to seal it up.

HTH . The use of liquid glue has really become a mainstay in my assembly process.
TankTrap
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Invercargill, New Zealand
Joined: December 08, 2006
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Posted: Sunday, February 24, 2008 - 11:29 PM GMT+7
Hey bill have you tried tamiya xtra thin its brilliant stuff and the brush in the bottle is very small and precise.
whittman181
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Massachusetts, United States
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Posted: Monday, February 25, 2008 - 03:48 AM GMT+7
Hi Bill, this might be a dumb question but what do you use to clean the liquid glue from the brush? Your build is coming along great and will be very helpful when tackling this kit. Thank you
wbill76
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Posted: Monday, February 25, 2008 - 09:30 AM GMT+7
David,

My local LHS stocks only the Testor's so that's what I've always used. I"ve never tried the Tamiya but have heard good things about it from others, I assume it's comparable to the Testor's as the Testor's is literally water-thin.

Bob,

I use the brush only for glue applications and nothing else, so there's no need to clean it. Glue doesn't build up on the bristles due to the fact it's very volatile and evaporates quickly. When I'm ready to use it again after it's sat for a few days, I just dip it into the bottle and brush it against the inside of the bottle mouth a couple of times and it's ready to go.
210cav
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Virginia, United States
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Posted: Monday, February 25, 2008 - 10:53 AM GMT+7
Bill- thank you for your response to my question. Great build article as usual.
DJ
Splinty
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Michigan, United States
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Posted: Monday, February 25, 2008 - 10:56 AM GMT+7
After reading all this I'm going to have to pay a visit to my LHS! I've been thinking about this kit for a while now. Tome to go get it.
wbill76
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Posted: Monday, February 25, 2008 - 02:55 PM GMT+7
My pleasure DJ!

Joe, thanks for the comments.
whittman181
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Posted: Monday, February 25, 2008 - 09:58 PM GMT+7
Thanks for the answer.This site is very informative.You keep building the models and i'll keep watching. thanks again.
sgtreef
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Oklahoma, United States
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Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2008 - 05:57 AM GMT+7
Looking even better Bill and the thing on the cans great.
You need to try Tamiya extra thin as you will do away with having to use two different glues I think.
Give it a whirl.
Gosh another kit for the stash.
Another good thing is that you don't have to spend another $30.00 on a PE set plus get to keep more sanity and wife will like you better because you are not cursing all those little PE parts that go off on there own and again save another $40.00 on MK tracks and the lack of sleep gluing all those little pins and guide horns on.
I think Dragon needs to put you on the payroll.
wbill76
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Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2008 - 08:53 PM GMT+7
Jeff,

Always open to new things, will see if I can get my hands on some and try it out. As a Smart Kit, this one builds up nicely out of the box. However I think the styrene tool clamps are still not quite up to the scale quality of a PE set, but at least they are improving and now feature the open handle portion vs. the past when they were just square blobs.
Jamesite
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United Kingdom
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Posted: Thursday, February 28, 2008 - 09:16 AM GMT+7
Excellent work Bill, I only hope mine goes together as quickly and as well when (if ever) I get around to it!

Excellent Blog as always, look forward to seeing you throw some paint at her.

James
wbill76
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Posted: Thursday, February 28, 2008 - 09:20 AM GMT+7
Thanks James, weather is looking pretty good for this weekend so should be able to get quite a bit done in the painting department.
Spiff
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Posted: Thursday, February 28, 2008 - 04:26 PM GMT+7
Outstanding work and excellent write up Bill. Thanks for taking the time to document everything so thoroughly, I can't wait for the next installment!