Just bought a Taigen L48 barrel for it as it comes with the correct final muzzle and will save a lot of hassle when it comes to guns. There will be a huge amount to do on the externals so I'm still wondering about an interior. I'm luck to have a good number of internal items in 1:35 so I could easily make up an interior, even an engine, but I don't have hatches to replace the molded items so I'm not sure if I'll bother. We shall see. I can get some cheaply if I do decide to open things up.
I've been thinking about this and the plan will be to do a total makeover as with the Tiger. This will end up being a final production J. Not too hard to do with the only real scratch build being the final steel return rollers. There is a huge amount to do to make the hull presentable and the turret needs major work too, so I thought I'd start on the outside with this one rather than the interior and move inside when the basics are properly sorted. I couldn't do the major work on the wheels with an interior in place in any case.
The turret is interesting as it is simply the Pz III turret plonked onto a Pz IV base. All fine except that the mantlet is rubbish and the stowage bin is for a Pz III. Funnily enough its not a complete lift off the III as it has the IV's F1/early F2/G turret details. The bin will have to come off and be adjusted, but that's not so hard, and it will be covered by the turret schurzen in any case. It will be the mantlet area that will need most work, but again, everything is there so cutting and shunting should sort it.
The hull, on the other hand, though having the correct shape (thank goodness), has wheels set up all wrong. The drive wheels are too low and the rear idler is too high. The four return roller is also wrong, but as all the return rollers will be removed and 6 of the 8 re-positioned in the late J configuration this won't matter. Not sure what I'll do to create the steel return rollers. I have plenty of them in 1:35, but that won't help. The standard track will be fine for this model so I won't need to get metal ones. The hatches will all need to be opened, but no one makes them in the final J configuration in any case so there will be plenty of scratch building to do. I may still get the HL hatch set and grind various details off various bits as the engine hatches are ready to use. I'll look into that.
All in all this will be another longer project, but I think with the base kit it should look very cool when finished. We shall see.
All of what I've just typed will make a lot more sense when I have it home from the post office and take some photos.
No chipping just yet for the Tiger turret as this arrived. I've taken a lot of before photos to highlight the exterior problems to be fixed before one even starts considering an interior.
Beginning at the front we need extra armour to make this J standard. We also need the later towing attachments which actually form part of the hull sides, which protrude forward of the lower hull front plate. The current pin thingies will go
The F style forward hatches will be replaced with J ones as will the final drive access hatches either side of the transmission hatch on the front deck
Next the ridiculous mantlet set up has to be ditched. The photos will show the adjusted mantlet and recoil cylinder housing under construction
Everything will come off the sides of the turret too.
The Pz III bin on the rear (wtf) is already off the turret and will need to be cut up and shunted about to turn it into the Pz iv bin. Clearly an HL economy here.
The front drive cogs will be replaced by the metal ones shown in a later shot and the whole final drive assemby moved up slightly. It is lowered on this to fit the RC stuff. Same deal as on the HL late Panther.
And the rear idler will be given a new mount to lower it. Way too high at present.
This last shot also highlights a major problem on the rear deck. It should slope downwards towards the rear, but sadly it is squared off.
Next up a very expensive problem. The wheels are very nice F wheels, but cannot be modified for a late J. Half of them broke being removed anyway, so I've spent a lot of money on a complete set of wheels for the late J from Torro. I will have to wait till next month for the new hatches I need. Broke now, but the wheels will really sell it. Thankfully the tracks are perfect, being the later tracks with solid teeth. An HL economy that works perfectly in this case.
The next fun bit of work to do is to fill in the holes in the right fender. Wrong tools in the wrong spot for the J.
The left hand side has tools molded on it right where the bin for the spare wheels should sit. For some reason HL didn't include the two spared that sit here from the F1 onwards. Thankfully I will shortly have many spares to fill the spot.
The great metal drive sprockets to replace the rubbish plastic ones.
And the final shot of the tank in all it's former glory
Now, of course, its been cut up into a million bits.
The great news is that although the hull sides have details molded on them the details are in fact molded on to removable parts. This has meant that I've simply removed the fake covering bits and can replace them with new blank plastic sheets. The few details can then be transferred across to the new sided without hours of sanding.
The rear engine deck has been removed so that the whole area can be remodeled with the correct downward slope towards the tail plate. The air intake louvers have now been reshaped and there is a lot of filling and sanding to do, but it all fits. I'll make a new engine deck when I can afford the new hatches. I need these to display the engine in any case.
The forward hatches have also been removed and will be replaced along with the engine hatches in the one "kit"
You can also see where I've marked out the area to be removed to enlarge the turret hole in the hull roof. I'll have to do the same on the turret floor, but first things first.
Final this shot shows the progress on the new gun mantlet. I've gone even further since this shot and just need to add the MG armoured sleeve to it.
I'm now waiting for the barrel and the wheels. I then only need the hatches and I have all the after market stuff required. For the dimensions I have my unfinished final J from DML to assist me. I really need to finish this beautiful kit so I may build it along the way.
I know what you mean. The Tiger I is my all time favourite with the StuG following just behind, but these and the Tiger II are something special. They started out so gawky as As and ended up fighting into the 60s as Js
Today I have time at the bench and so want to sort out the bin and the arms for the rear idler and cut the hole in the top of the hull for the turret.
I see how I go and post shots later.
Finally the photos. These are of progress over the last few days since I promised the photos.
The first ones show various bits of work for the turret.
Firstly the new bin cut up from the Pz III one that came on the tank.
Secondly the new rear wall for the turret. It still needs the wall thickness to be added internally (if that makes sense), but is a good canvas to work on. The bin will not fit flush with the rear wall as it did on earlier marks as two lifting hooks as per the front of the turret side walls were added. The bin will sit out far enough to fit these behind.
And two shots of the self defense weapon cover as seen on the roof. Did this on the spur of the moment as I suddenly realised I needed one
And next some shots of the remounted return roller arms, note only three on each side on the final production vehicles using the J hull. This is seen mostly on the standard tanks and the Jagdpanzers
The problem with the mount for the idlers. The kit part is incorrect as it sits the idlers too high. They should sit on swing arms that allow the adjustment of the track tension.
The solution, take the rear idler swing arms from the Verlinden Tiger and cut them down to size. They still need reshaping in these shots. The idlers will mount onto the lower arms and the outer idler wheel in each pair will cover the whole lot
And finally the large holes cut in the hull roof and turret floor. I will create the lip for the floor of the turret by fitting it into the hull roof hole and then gluing it into the turret floor and filling any gaps. The hull roof hole is better than the turret floor one. All will be well in the end, but it looks a little rough right now.
Hi Andrew, not sure, I'm just working on prepping the hull at present. I've sorted the positioning and the axle for the drive sprockets and finishing shaping the idler swing arms so now I'm filling all the holes in the hull, quite a few since I've gutted it.
Lots of photos of various things being filled and sanded. Of note, the hull glacis plate is now the correct thickness. A little added to the front and a whole lot in behind. It is also squared off at the edges rather than slopping inwards down the sides
The turret hatches and the final drive air vents have been removed and are either filled and awaiting sanding or waiting to be filled.
The bin is also now the right width, 6mm out of the middle and it actually went together very well. The turret front has had the gun mount armoured covers lifted 2mm so that the mantlet will sit in the right spot when the breech and all are constructed and mounted.
Apparently the wheels have just arrived in AU so hopefully should get to me next week. The barrel should arrive at almost the same time. Perhaps the week after. Once everything is "in position" for the exterior I'll turn to the interior and come back to finish the outside later. A few things must be sorted first, however. These include the turret ring for the turret floor. I can't build anything inside until that's done. I will also have to finish filling holes and making up the floor for the hull. That will be plastic sheet intensive sadly. I also need to decide if I can use the engine deck covers or not. If not that will be one more aftermarket order. The complete hatch set is only $12 so I will probably go that way. Once I'm happy with all that it will be back to the beginning with the interior. Not sure whether to start with the engine or the transmission.
Didn't touch the KVI last weekend, but now have the right paint for the mud. Instead I filled and bogged and sanded this. The hull and turret are almost ready now for the interior to begin. I came home early from work today feeling rather poorly. Hopefully it will pass quickly, but the nice surprise was that both the parcels I was expecting had arrived. I now have the proper wheels and caps for the final J, and I have a barrel. Sadly it is not really the correct muzzle for the job, being a late, but not final one. I've seen final ones with the older muzzle so all will be okay, but It was a cheap option so I can't complain.... and the wheels are perfect. What is ridiculous about the running gear now is that its almost all metal, but will use the plastic tracks from the kit. It won't run anywhere so no worries. Much easier to weather than the two metal sets I have to do for the Tiger and KVI.
These first 5 show the progress on the mantlet and turret front. The half cylinder will hold the mantlet with barrel and also the breech in the turret interior, just as the real one does. The barrel was a strange shape so the dremel sorted this. Nothing will fix the muzzle, however. The turret floor now has the ring (such as it is), in place, but the turret interior surfaces still need cleaning up.
These photos show various things being filled and the blank slate that is the hull interior. So much bog, so little time
Oh, and the new wheels. These come with separate caps for the both the road wheels and the return rollers. The tyres simply come off so the whole lot is easy to paint.
So busy I've not had a chance to post some photos. I've been doing more filling and bogging of holes etc. I've also cut the front off the muzzle brake and replaced it with the correct front section for a "final" build. Makes all the difference. The barrel is also in place so the gun exterior is almost finished. Still some details such as the lifting hook to add. I've also discovered that the front of the hull was completely wrong, the front plate covering the transmission and final drive (sitting forward of the front glassis plate) was too far forward, sitting over the top of the lower front glassis plate. Hopeless stuff. SO, I cut it all out cut off various bits and pieces and now it all fits as it should. The photos will show what i"m talking about. The solution for the holes in the fenders was to replace the tops of them with nice picnic plate tread. All finished now after tons of sanding and cutting up plates. Just waiting for the hatches to arrive (yes I did go for replacements), and the sorting of the engine deck and I can now dive inside.
And the hull top area over the transmission etc, all cut out and moved back 3mm to allow for the front armour and to put everything in the right place. Not sure why HL was so far out with these dimensions. This one really is a toy.... or was.
More of the adjusted front, including shots of the added frontal armour to the lower hull and the whole thing sitting together. The tow shackle extensions on the front (part of the side hull armour in this final configuration), had to be removed and raised 2mm to match the added frontal armour.
And finally some of the new fender surfaces partially complete and the gun sitting in the turret to give you an idea. Next up the rear deck which should come together over the next few days when the new hatches arrive. I've decided to replace all the covers, including those on the front hull over the transmission. I'll grind the molded ones out and make a new large service hatch so that everything can be seen within.