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Armor/AFV: Axis - WWII
Armor and ground forces of the Axis forces during World War II.
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Trumpeter Geschutzwagen IVb
Henk
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England - South West, United Kingdom
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Posted: Tuesday, July 01, 2008 - 04:19 AM UTC

Quoted Text

(Though I'm getting sick of the pnzIV lower chassis, truth be told.)



Sharpen the torches and light up the stakes.....

I much prefer the Pz. IV chassis over say... the Panther or Tiger (how many wheels??)

210cav
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Posted: Tuesday, July 01, 2008 - 07:35 AM UTC

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Bill- thanks, I have to get that type camera. The digital just is not providing the clarity needed.
thanks again
DJ



It's a digital camera. (A damn good one, actually.)





Thank you for your insightful explanation which elucidated the entire issue for me
wbill76
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Posted: Tuesday, July 01, 2008 - 07:41 AM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text

(Though I'm getting sick of the pnzIV lower chassis, truth be told.)



Sharpen the torches and light up the stakes.....

I much prefer the Pz. IV chassis over say... the Panther or Tiger (how many wheels??)




The Tiger I's count of road wheels is definitely on the far end of the spectrum, no doubt about it...imagine working on the wheels for the Grille II?
spongya
Staff MemberAssociate Editor
MODELGEEK
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Posted: Tuesday, July 01, 2008 - 08:12 AM UTC

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Bill- thanks, I have to get that type camera. The digital just is not providing the clarity needed.
thanks again
DJ



It's a digital camera. (A damn good one, actually.)





Thank you for your insightful explanation which elucidated the entire issue for me



You are the most welcome. Just ask any time. Though I don't quite understand your sarcastic tone.
210cav
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Posted: Wednesday, July 02, 2008 - 06:19 AM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text


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Bill- thanks, I have to get that type camera. The digital just is not providing the clarity needed.
thanks again
DJ



It's a digital camera. (A damn good one, actually.)




Sarcasm?


Thank you for your insightful explanation which elucidated the entire issue for me



You are the most welcome. Just ask any time. Though I don't quite understand your sarcastic tone.

Sarcasm?
marsiascout
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Posted: Wednesday, July 02, 2008 - 07:35 AM UTC
Looking really nice! Never seen it being build before.
Byrden
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Posted: Wednesday, July 02, 2008 - 08:21 AM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text

(Though I'm getting sick of the pnzIV lower chassis, truth be told.)



Sharpen the torches and light up the stakes.....

I much prefer the Pz. IV chassis over say... the Panther or Tiger (how many wheels??)




A Tiger E has either 32 wheels or 40.

David
wbill76
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Posted: Wednesday, July 02, 2008 - 08:55 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Looking really nice! Never seen it being build before.



Thanks Lars, it's a brand-new release by Trumpeter so that may be why you've not seen it built up previously.

David,

A lot of wheels no matter how you slice it!
wbill76
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Posted: Thursday, July 03, 2008 - 07:17 PM UTC
I had the chance throughout the week to put in some work here and there and the next few steps were ideal for that as they had lots of little sub-assemblies to deal with.

Step 15 addresses the top half of the turret and two of the sub-assemblies deal with the periscope sights. One is the standard sight common to the StuG family and the other is the "rabbit ears" style. The StuG style was a four part assembly and I used a pin vise to drill out it's solid face as well as to deepen the eye holes. The "rabbit ears" scope was a 5 part assembly while it had the external lens faces molded vs. a solid face, I deepened these a bit with the pin vise as well.



One of the other sub-steps here involves adding the various gear to the turret sides, I only installed the various storage boxes and items that would be painted the same hull color, the rest of the gear such as the MP40 pouches, the gas masks, etc. will be painted and installed later. I did test fit some of the gear to make sure that the location marks provided by Trumpeter would actually work and, while snug, there's enough room for everything to go where it belongs.



Once the periscope sights had had a chance to set up good and solid so they could be handled without falling apart, I installed them into the upper turret as well. Their placement is a bit tricky since the turret slopes towards the rear and both need to be level, so some fine-tuning was necessary to get them just right.



Moving on to Step 16, this step consists of building up the breech which is three parts plus two for the block and another two that make up the recoil housing. The three-part approach requires some sanding to eliminate the inevitable seam to produce a single cast part but the fit between the parts is pretty good and using regular glue helps create a little seam that can then be sanded down easily. The breech block itself is rather plain...there's no detail on the face of the block and it's a tight fit into the breech with the cap, part C27, fitting flush. The fit of C27 to the cutout provided wasn't too exact, the cutout is a tad larger at the top than it should be.





Step 17 has 4 sub-assemblies to create parts that will be added to the breech in Step 18. There's a 2 part cylinder, a 2 part assembly for the left side recoil guard, a 5 part (including 2 PE) assembly for the recoil cylinder and a 2 part assembly for the left side mount and elevation gear. The fit on the left side recoil guard is critical, the end of the rail needs to be flush with the edge and the diagram isn't too clear on this and there's not much of a contact surface where it matches up with part C38, so it needed careful gluing and monitoring to make sure the rail didn't sag out of place.



Step 18 is a very busy step, first up is the addition of all the sub-assemblies done in Step 17. The two holes that are designed to take the recoil cylinder assembly and part C13 have a small rectangular obstruction on their inside, so it was necessary to trim down the mount pins for them to fit flush, another example of mount pins and holes not matching up in this kit. The guard rails were also installed and the whole assembly set off to the side to dry for a bit. You'll notice that the placement of the left side rail blocks the breech block from being able to function properly, this is how Trumpeter designed it all to go together, there's no other way to assemble it, and produces another accuracy issue to consider.



The other main sub-assembly deals with the main gun barrel, muzzle brake, and mantlet. Each of these are constructed from two halves, so seams are an issue. The muzzle brake halves are molded with 2 locator pins that are supposed to aid in alignment but actually produces the opposite and it was necessary to remove the pins and glue the halves together and align them manually. Even with that adjustment a small amount of putty was needed on the top join and very careful sanding required to eliminate the inevitable seam. The detail on the muzzle brake is not high to begin with, the locking nut on the top is essentially just a molded on dot and the collar itself is only faintly molded and the resulting sanding didn't help much to keep that intact. Flash was present inside the baffles and had to be carefully removed, once the two halves were joined I also used a round needle file to remove the flash on the circular opening so as to preserve its shape.

The mantlet also fit generally well together, only needing a small spot of putty where the sprue attachment points had been but it's seam was a little harder to deal with due to the complex curves it has. The barrel halves went together without any issue, the only bright spot of the three, and just required some light sanding to remove its seam.



The next item was to join the gun elements together with the mantlet and install it into the turret. The "D" shaped location post on the gun barrel didn't line up properly with the corresponding hole on the muzzle brake, so I removed the post entirely and sanded it down and glued the brake directly to it. This required some very careful adjusting to get it positioned correctly and centered.

I installed the barrel to the mantlet and the base of the barrel is supposed to fit flush into the mantlet sleeve. The actual fit wasn't quite there, so some additional putty work was necessary to fill the small gaps.

The "cheeks" on the mantlet are supposed to be integrated in with the bolt strips that Trumpeter molded into the turret directly. Once the mantlet and gun are installed, there are gaps that require putty and very careful sanding to correct to avoid destroying the bolt detail in that area.



The final element of this step is the integration of the breech in with the turret. The end of the breech has a circular element that mates up with the gun and figuring out just the right alignment takes a bit of effort and multiple dry-fits before committing to glue. Some back and forth and strategic sanding was necessary to get the fit right and insure the breech lined up with the gun itself, but eventually I got there.



The test fit with the lower turret half shows that everything is an extremely tight fit. The gunner's chair rests right up against the recoil guard for example and the space tolerances for all the various gear and instruments is tight. As a result, I'm going to paint the turret top and bottoms separate so I'll have room to work with the remaining gear after the initial painting is done.

PantherF
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Posted: Friday, July 04, 2008 - 03:37 AM UTC
Wow, you're a machine Bill! How do you find the time? Anyway, it's starting to look better and better and taking shape. Too bad it doesn't have a aluminum barrel but it didn't turn out bad at all.
Nito74
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Posted: Friday, July 04, 2008 - 05:09 AM UTC
I agree with Henk on that chassis wheels...

Great build Bill !
Might get one of those !!
210cav
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Posted: Friday, July 04, 2008 - 05:28 AM UTC
Bill- great detail work. What brand/type adhesive are you using along with the kind of putty?
thanks
DJ
wbill76
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Posted: Friday, July 04, 2008 - 06:51 AM UTC
Jeff,

An aluminum barrel would have been nice for sure but I can only imagine what that would do to the price of this kit...it's already at MSRP $47.95 (although GM has it at $35.95). As for time, in a rare turn of events for me I actually had a little bit of time this week in the evenings, an hour here or there, that was perfectly suited to these kind of sub-steps. Normally I just build on the weekends.

John,

Appreciate the comments, thanks for looking.


Quoted Text

Bill- great detail work. What brand/type adhesive are you using along with the kind of putty?
thanks
DJ



DJ, for the glue, I use Testor's Model Master Liquid glue and apply it with a 3/0 detail brush vs. the large brush provided in the cap. I also use their Model Master regular glue in the black bottle that's more solid for the areas that need some extra adhesive or for "squishing out" like with the barrel halves to produce a raised seam for sanding. For putty I use Squadron White, it dries quick and sands easily and a tube goes a long way.





wbill76
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Posted: Friday, July 04, 2008 - 03:26 PM UTC
Taking full advantage of the 4th of July holiday, I actually spent most of the day outside of the house, but managed to get some build time in this evening. Not a whole lot is left at this point before paint, just the exterior turret fittings as called for in Step 19.

One of these is the spare track run holder, the spare tracks themselves, and the gun cleaning rods. The rack is a single PE piece that needs to be bent and attached to the turret sides. I ran into a problem though in that the bends have to be done very precise in order for it to fit and the bends are delicate at the ends, and in trying to correct my first bend that was a tad too short, both ends came loose. I don't blame the kit for this, but it's a word of caution for others to treat this part very very carefully.

I had decided that I would go ahead and replace the kit-supplied tracks with Model Kasten links since I have an extra set on hand and I just don't like the look of the links provided. The spare track run piece, Part C1, is a single piece representing 10 links and, in my case, was damaged on the sprue. it was almost split in two and had quite a bit of flash in the guide horns so it won't be used and a run of the MKs will replace it. This meant that the squarish locating hull in the turret rear needed to be puttied and sanded.



I also installed the two hooks, one for either side, that will hold the tow cables. The recessed weld seam on the turret side also received some putty attention, taking care to preserve the fine detail on the turret front plate sides in the process as well as the mount points for the tow cable retaining chains. I'm going to add the chains later when I install the tow cables, so they were left off for now.



The cut-outs for the tow cable hooks goes all the way through the turret, so the inside of the turret needed some putty work as well to fill in the gaps. I also filled in the gap for the square mount for the spare track holder and sanded it down even though it's largely hidden by the radio when matched up with the turret lower half, it bugged me that it was there.



With that taken care of, I added the broken off ends of the spare track holder to both sides. Once the spare track run is in place, the cross bar and cleaning rods will be installed and it will look like it all belongs, at least that's the theory.



That concluded all the major assembly work for now, so I returned to the hull front and discovered there's a nice molded in hole on the front left side that nothing installs into...I thought it might be there to help locate the wiring conduit for the fender lights but it's too far back and there isn't a matching hole on the other side, so I filled and sanded it down. I added the missing wiring on both sides using 0.022" solder cut to size and glued in place with liquid glue. The liquid glue softens the plastic just enough and careful pressure with a toothpick gets a good bond between them and has the added bonus of drying fairly quickly as well.



Tomorrow I'll start the paint work on the different assemblies weather permitting.
wbill76
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Posted: Sunday, July 06, 2008 - 03:39 PM UTC
In order to prep for painting, I followed my usual routine of mounting all the road wheels, sprockets, idlers, and return rollers on toothpicks with small globs of blue tack poster putty to hold them in place. I masked off the appropriate diameter circles in my trusty circle template as well. The lower hull also had all of its mount points for the suspension masked off with blue tack to make it easier to install things later on and the turret was broken down into the upper and lower halves as well.





I took in progress photos while I was doing the actual paintwork but they came out poorly, probably because I was rushing in and out due to the 96+ degree heat and didn't take the time to check them properly before heading out for the next step. I primed everything with a coat of Italian Dark Brown and then applied a base coat of Panzer Gray followed up by additional applications of 2 lightened shades of Panzer Gray for variation. I'm disappointed that the photos didn't come out, but you'll be able to see the shades in some of the follow-on photos.

With the main paintwork done, I turned back to the interior of the lower hull. The wooden lattice was painted with my own special mix of wood color and then treated with alternating artist pastel doses of Black and Burnt Umber to get their look where I wanted it. You'll notice in the photo below that there are squarish looking stamp marks in the wood...I missed these when I installed them otherwise they would've been cleaned up. The tread plate area was first dry-brushed with Steel, then given a wash of Burnt Umber, and dry-brushed with lightened Panzer Gray to round out its look. It's worth noting at this point that the Trumpeter interior only provides for 36 rounds of ammunition where Spielberger says it should have 60...so I think Trumpeter skimped on this area for some reason.



Next up was the lower half of the turret. It received a Burnt Umber wash as well followed by dry-brushed lightened Panzer Gray to give it some depth and highlights. The radio had its details added and the MP40, gas mask, and gun elevation and turret traverse wheels were also further detailed.



I had a terrible time trying to get a decent shot of the added crew gear on the inside, but all of the mess kits, canteens, and gas masks were also painted and added at this point giving the turret a fully-loaded look. Everything fit well on the interior and, curiously, one of the canteens is really well detailed, C12, vs. the other two, P3. I tried to place this one in the most noticeable position to take advantage. Trumpeter went through the trouble of molding an additional canteen on this sprue, why they stopped at just one is unclear. I also detailed the gun breech with Steel for the block and detailed the breech block handle with metalizer Gunmetal dry-brushed with Steel. The whole breech area was given the same Burnt Umber wash and dry-brushed lightened Panzer Gray treatment as the lower half. For just a little variety, I hand painted the "rabbit ears" scope in Panzer Gray to produce some shade difference and also painted the rubber eye pieces on both sights with Aircraft Interior Black.



With all the interior bits in place, I joined the upper and lower halves of the turret together. The fit was generally good but on the left side the join between the top and bottom requires some putty work to produce the required seamless area.



Next up came a return to Steps 10-13 and the installation of the various fender tools and gear. All of the different tools were removed from their sprues and some had extremely thick points on delicate parts such as the clamp handles that required very careful removal. I cut them free from the sprues first leaving plenty of attachment point in place and then trimmed it down using sprue cutters and a #11 blade, sanding as well where needed. The wire cutters and track tensioning wrench are supposed to have mount pins according the instructions and holes are provided for them in the fenders but the actual items don't have the pins molded. I also encountered a small issue with the axe in that the jack is mounted just a tad too far forward so I had to remove its pins and install directly to the fender. Otherwise everything went into place exactly as it should have. The two-piece jack block was also assembled and installed as were the spare wheels for the rear deck.





The rear hull received some attention as well. The muffler was base coated with MM Non-Buffing Metalizer Gunmetal and then given 2 successive light washes of Rust to produce its look. The metalizer has very fine metallic particles and these react perfectly with the wash to produce a rusty but not heavily corroded finish. The brake light and reflectors were painted with Tamiya Acrylic Clear Red and the Notek light with Clear Green for their lenses.



Last thing for the day was to install the road wheels and return rollers on either side. Getting the suspension to sit level was a challenge due to the off-center holes I'd mentioned back at the beginning in Step 3. To address this, I clipped off the ends of the suspension posts to varying lengths as needed wheel by wheel and glued them directly to the base of the posts since this is where they are designed to contact.



Now all that remains is to construct the MK tracks I'll be replacing the kit-supplied items and construct and install the tow cables for the turret and it will be on to the weathering stage.
c5flies
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Posted: Sunday, July 06, 2008 - 04:50 PM UTC
All your work is paying off now, Bill. Wood deck, welds, shading of the grey all look great. The inside of that turret looks sufficiently busy, interesting little vehicle. Nice work so far
whittman181
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Posted: Sunday, July 06, 2008 - 07:30 PM UTC
Bill , your painting skills are amazing. The shading is very realistic. It really is a nice looker and I think I'll have to pick one up. Great job Bob
wbill76
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Posted: Monday, July 07, 2008 - 02:35 AM UTC
Thanks James! The turret interior is pretty full, it's the lower hull that actually feels a bit empty. Having seen the sprue shots of what's in the DML kit, it looks like DML populates this area more in order to produce the required 60 rounds of ammunition storage vs the 36 that Trumpeter includes. Makes for very tight arrangements for the crew either way!

Bob, appreciate the comments as well. It's an interesting little gun-buggy for sure, wierd enough to be possible but just a little too out-there in the modifications to have made it into full production. My kind of vehicle!
tjkelly
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Posted: Monday, July 07, 2008 - 06:17 AM UTC
Nice following your build Bill...always a pleasure to see your work! You've certainly made building and finishing models look easy! Fantastic job with this one!
Cheers -

Tim
wbill76
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Posted: Monday, July 07, 2008 - 09:23 AM UTC
Thanks Tim, appreciate the comments.
wbill76
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Posted: Monday, July 14, 2008 - 07:33 AM UTC
Over the course of the last week I spent time working on the MK replacement tracks. I'd been conflicted about using the kit-supplied items but when I put them side-by-side, the MKs won out. The Trumpeter links aren't handed and don't have the same level of detail to the track faces or the side cleats and the clean-up effort was going to be roughly the same since there was flash present in the guide-horns and on the links in many cases.



So, the construction of the MKs proceeded over the course of several days. The MK set includes a jig for holding the links and the pins and guide horns are equipped with their own handles for easy installation. The pin handles twist off once the glue is dried and the guide-horn handles were clipped off with sprue cutters.



The Trumpeter instructions call for 88 links per side but this is an incorrect number. The Trumpeter links are the same size as the MKs but the MKs, since they are workable, do have a bit of "stretch" to them, but even with that aside the Trumpeter count is off. I ended up needing 83 links on the right side and 82 on the left plus another 10 for the spare run on the rear of the turret. Since the idler isn't movable, the amount of track sag isn't as flexible as it could be but by adjusting the link count I achieved what I wanted more or less once test-fitted. The clearance with the fenders is close but there's enough room, so long as the sprocket wasn't mounted, to feed the tracks through and then fit around the rollers.





The track runs were then base coated with Flat Black via airbrush then over coated with Non-buffing Metalizer Gunmetal. Once that had dried, the runs were dry brushed with Steel followed by dry brushed Burnt Umber. In the past I've used a wash of Burnt Umber but found that it makes the MK track pins weak and prone to breakage so I tried something different this time around. The result is pretty close to what a wash would've achieved and will serve as a good foundation for later weathering. Both tracks were installed and glued in place on the road wheels and return rollers to keep the desired sag.

I also installed the tow cable to the side of the turret along with the retaining chains on either side. The Trumpeter instructions incorrectly tell you to cut the braided copper wire into a 110mm length and if you do this the wire will be too short. The 110mm length is how long it needs to be once it's glued into the cable ends, so I ended up with only 1 tow cable of the right length instead of 2. This actually worked out ok since the hooks on the sides of the turret aren't long enough to take 2 cables anyway, so only 1 was painted up and installed.



To round out the final construction details, I installed the spare track run and holder to the rear of the turret. My idea to salvage the rack worked out perfectly with the cross bar glued directly to the spare links. The gun cleaning rods were painted and installed as well and while I still think the gun sponge is undersized, it looks like it's the dimensions it has to be to fit in the space provided. I actually flipped it around from how the Trumpeter instructions show it being installed, they have the spong end facing the other way but that actually creates a gap between the spare track cross bar that reference photos show wasn't there, so an quick flip around and all squared away.



Next up will be the simple markings and then on to the weathering!
jimz66
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Posted: Monday, July 14, 2008 - 07:42 AM UTC
Hey Bill do you ever take a break? Looking great as always. Can't wait to see your next creation finished. Keep us posted.
wbill76
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Posted: Monday, July 14, 2008 - 09:00 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Hey Bill do you ever take a break? Looking great as always. Can't wait to see your next creation finished. Keep us posted.



Jim, I only work on one project at a time and as soon as one is done, the next one starts...the only time I've had breaks is when I physically go somewhere away from the workbench either for work or vacation with my wife. Building is part of my "normal" routine every weekend and when I don't get my time at the bench it feels wierd. Appreciate the comments and am glad you're following along.
rtvmodeler
#136
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Posted: Tuesday, July 15, 2008 - 11:39 AM UTC
Excellent work Bill!, the interior details and tracks looks great!.

Regards,
Rodolfo
wbill76
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Posted: Tuesday, July 15, 2008 - 02:28 PM UTC
Thanks Rodolfo, good to see you here on the boards again.