Were on a roll. We have attacked the Motor Cover "Motorabdeckung".
This is an CGI illustration that I borrowed from artstation.com focusing on the motor cover to be built.
Do you remember all those times that I was amazed and happy that everything fit like it was supposed to? Well.... That streak was broken.
Typically, I first measure an original piece. I reduce the object to a 2D Cad drawing and send it to the steel supplier. The supplier cuts according to my drawing file. I pick up the parts and we glue them together. Simple enough right?
Consider the back story. My drawing skills are self taught and when an item has multiple planes, moving in and out with angles intersecting one another sometimes it gets very confusing. Also, being an amature draftsman, if I make one small change as the drawing progresses I have to go back and adjust all related lines and points to agree with the new change. Should there be any errors along the way, guess what? The resulting parts don't fit when assembly day comes.
Something went a little wrong with the Motor Cover drawing and we ended up with several pieces that had to be re-shaped. This was after spending a ton of time trying to figure out why a square peg won't fit in a round hole.
BUT..... In the end. We got it worked out and are the proud parents of a new Motorabdeckung.
Here are the items we are reproducing. The motor cover is not one piece like on all the other panzers. The Panzer IV is made up of these three main pieces along with three doors that mount to cover the top opening. These three main sections are supported by 573 small sub-pieces, angle iron sections, c-channel and the like. --- in typical Panzer IV fashion of course.
The above trio of original parts are being saved for the up-coming original late J restoration, but are perfect to study and measure in order to accurately reproduce what we need.
One can see all the angles that intersect to make up this piece of cubist art. As I wrote, the original pieces were used as reference (lucky to have them) because to make everything turn out we had to do quite a bit of trimming and grinding. In the end the dimensions and angles all agree with the original examples.
This is the upper tail piece in 20mm. The entire rear of the Panzer IV is 20mm. I hope nothing hits it bigger than a 50 caliber..... Come to think of it.... Maybe a 50 caliber might poke holes it it. And... I hope the Russians don't attack with wrenches because a big handful of bolts are all that hold it on. They might slip in the back door by unbolting and removing this piece.
Looks good though. Its a beautiful thing. After it was built I wondered if an original tow cable hook would fit in the appropriate bolt holes. Drum roll please..... To my amazement it fit absolutely perfectly. How could it be? Perfect !
There is a lot more detail to go. The intake fins get sheet metal aerodynamic accents and a lot of internal bracing to hold up the doors that make up the motorabdeckung roof.
Its beginning to look like a Panzer IV. ( ish...)
Following is a collection of tidbits that have been progressing along side the critical path stuff.
Below: Big Screws to bolt on the return roller pylon shaped axle shafts.
Below: Re-worked door and made a new hinge pin. The female part of the hinge was bent spread and didn't line up with the pin so it had to be pressed straightened. Also, it got a new pin that makes it operate nice and tight. This is the door on the rear end's upper plate. Behind it is the release for the belt drive to the cooling fan motors.
Below: Typical "factory" spare track holders on the upper nose. The brackets on either end are new. The brackets in the middle are original that survived on this authentic differential cover.
Below: Jon literally carved this hook out of a block of AR steel. The original is cast and will be used on our original ausf. J restoration. When dressed a little more, drilled and chamfered this hook will look legit. Now all he has to do is carve one more... Cake !
I need another original cast hook like this if anyone has one they want to sell.
Below: Swing arm bump stops. It took a lot of experimental bending and drawing adjustment before we figured out the correct geometry to reproduce the original.
Next we will add a lot of work to the morerabdeckung and then strip the panzer down to the hull. This is so we can turn the focus to pioneering the drivetrain. The Motorabdeckung will break down into its basic components and get final welded and the sheet metal details added. The aufbau will be set up on stands so we can start detailing all the cool little add on features.