40 weeks !!! We could have made a human baby in 40 weeks. The Panzer IV is not even close. So, ... the Beat Goes On. This covers work done in August 2020... in the year of nuthin' but bad.
Transmission and Clutch:
Yay. Progress. We finally got all the machining sorted out so that we have proper clutch engagement and release. This all while fitting the very specific space available. Its a twin disk, pull type, intermediate truck clutch. Should lock up as required.
Ongoing Saga of the MG Ball Gun Apparatus.
The assembly that holds the MG34 into the ball on the front of the aufbau has turned out to be quite an undertaking. We started with the damaged pieces from about 4 or 5 assemblies. All the pieces were torn, rusted, bent etc... However, by studying enough photos and by examining each fragment we have been able to piece together two complete assemblies. One for this late "H", Panzer IV and one for the (all original steel) Panzer IV ausf J (Late) that will follow.
The assembly is a multi part item. The base unit that bolts to the actual ball is featured in the gallery below. Its the root that all the other components plug into. We had one that was about 80% present but very bent. The second one had to be made up from pieces from two destroyed examples and part of it had to be freehanded and processed to make it look like a cast piece.
In this gallery you can see how the MG gunner's optics fit into the base unit.
The next major piece is the backbone that holds the MG34, the ammo bags, the head cap support and it also incorporates the operators handle and trigger. Again we had about 80% of one and a bunch of various scraps. We remanufactured two copies and processed them to look like they were cast. Its a drawn out process...
Radio Set and Intercom Bracket.
It was so exciting and fun to build this I forgot to take many photos. It was a joint project between myself, Mike and Jon. It took quite a bit of work but we're pleased with the final product. It still needs a few minor touches but basically this is it.
We had very good photos from some original examples, a couple of video studies and a bunch of measurements. The first step was to gather all the data and make a set of plans. Mike's putting his brain on it and getting the project started.
After Mike kicked it off, I picked it up and built most of the structure and Jon finished off some of the final details. Its a really cool add to the Panzer IV. Its going to look super good when all the cables and wires are added.
The panzer radio system is known as a FUG-5. The system contains 1 - 10 watt sender, 2 high frequency receivers and a slew of other intercom related boxes and cables. The system is supported by three power supply units dedicated to their associated component. (2 - receivers and 1 - transmitter)
Radio Power Supply:
To follow the "radio equipment" theme, Tad jumped on the Empfänger Umformer (receiver power supply) brackets. They reside right behind the radioman's seat back. Here the brackets are in place but the actual power supply units are not installed.
MG Ammo Bag Storage Box:
MG34 ammo was kept in canvas bags that could be quickly hung beneath the MG and loaded belts could then be pulled up through the top of the bag and into the MG's feed tray. One bag was also hung directly beneath the MG to catch the empty cases during firing.
There are two different styles of storage boxes. One box hangs just below the MG from the bottom of the aufbau. The other box sits in the sponson of the aufbau like the sponson main gun ammo storage boxes. Utilizing both boxes a total of 18 bags could be fitted.
So by now the Radioman's position is coming along nicely. If the aufbau were stacked on the hull, space is already to be cramped.
Lots of work and time spent on these items but only a minor impact on the overall project. But all the work we completed in August adds great texture to the final Panzer IV result.
Until next time.