Coming to September 2020. Were advancing one part after the other. Each guy gets assigned a component and then stays on it until its done. Here are the chunks we worked on in weeks 45 to 48.
Check out our beautiful original Kasten Panzer Nr. 20. This is the main intercom box that ties into the FUG-5 Panzer Radio system. These babies are hard to come by and they are expensive.
Not Really! Its a fake. We cast this piece in 2 part resin from our original and it looks pretty real. (see below) The box on the left is authentic and the box on the right is our plastic copy. We are saving all the original hard to find pieces for the next project, an original Panzer IV ausf. J (NiWerk - late). Reproduction parts, unless I have duplicate originals, go on this present build... Panzer IV ausf. H (Vomag - late).
Take an original subject piece... make a mold with silicone... mix parts A and B plastic... Pour and let cure... remove and work it over... paint and admire.
Finally the drive train is in place and linked together.
First the Engine: 702 cubic inch GMC v-12 (Gasoline) Good substitute for the original Maybach HL120 TRM. Approximately the same bore, stroke, compression, number of cylinders as the Maybach. The torque, rpm and horsepower are very close to identical. So.... It should sound and behave appropriately when in use. Unfortunately, it doesn't look much like a Maybach.
The engine feeds power from its flywheel to the driveline via the custom flange and u-joint. The drive shaft follows the tunnel to the monster carrier bearing/clutch housing that holds a 2nd flywheel and clutch. The transmission bolts up to the clutch bell housing and feeds a vibration damping coupler that in turns bolts to the steering differential. Simple Right? It was easy to figure all that out........ NOT !
To make this V-12 beast fit the compartment we had to make it as short as possible. In previous blogs we have shown many modifications to meet this end. Still the crankshaft belt pulley sticks out the hole in the back of the hull. That can't be... Look at the little pointy timing indicator on the lower left of this photo. The pointer is at the back of the pulley.
After Major surgery the pulley now sits closer to the engine block and therefore shortens the engine overall. Now look at the little pointer. Thats how much we had to sit the pulley back to get this engine stuffed into the required space.
Now the engine sits completely inside the engine compartment. Whew !!!
Next... This little vent box below allows the panzer crew to decide where the engines intake air comes from.
If the flapper is set one way air is taken from inside the fighting compartment. If set the other way air is taken from the engine compartment. Perchance the engine compartment has a lot of dust and dirt being sucked in because of the the cooling fans the engine intake air could be taken from the fighting compartment which normally was cleaner.
It can also act as a vent of sorts for the crew. If the vent box is sucking air from the crew compartment there will be a breeze moving through the panzer. However, thats not necessarily a good thing on a freezing Russian winter's night.
It's a simple and effective little vent box. You see the two cutouts. The bottom hole goes into the air cleaner box and the top one, when combined with the flap, decides where the air comes from.
Kurt built most of this and Jon finished it up.
Now lets go up to the Radioman's position inside the aufbau. We have a gas mask holder and a funky box/cubby compartment that is directly opposite on the aufbau side wall. This is not a factory item. This is a field made addition that is copied exactly from the Flak Panzer "Wirblewind" in Camp Borden, Canada. It's installed in honor of all crewmen that must have strived every day to make their conditions better.
The original flak panzer piece was field made from a cut up KwK 40 ammo box. (So Its now standard equipment on the Panzerfabrik Panzer IV "Eastern Front Touring Edition" ... see sales brochure for details.) I'ts convenient for storing your "Hostess Twinkies" and "Slim Jims"
More progress on the MG-34 ball gun assembly. Were making two. One for this panzer build and one for the next.
The apparatus holds the MG-34, gun site, head pad, and bags of MG ammo. When not in use it is held with a travel lock device so the assembly is as much out of the way as it can be.
The cradle that holds the MG-34 has its own handle and trigger. Starting with a damaged original piece we have had to reconstruct two more in their entirety.
Again... casting is a no-go so we fabricate, weld, grind and texture to make it look cast.
To feed ammo there are hangers for the cloth ammo bags. One on the left with a belt of live ammo and one on the right (underneath the MG) to catch the empty cases as they are spit out of the gun. Of course its a little complicated with a braking mechanism (one way valve) so a belt can't fall backwards back into the bag.
Things like this can be frustrating because days and days go into them. No big visual thrills. Sometimes it feels like we have fallen down into a long dark hole...
But, in the end its all worth it when we arrive at completion. The MG ball apparatus is pretty cool. but I'm glad its behind us.
Woo Hoo... Glad to have done it.... wouldn't want to do it again.
Kevin was instrumental on this one... Almost every piece had some particular mill or lathe work required.
Thats all for now.