I chose this historic photo because it illustrates the separation of the Aufbau and Turret from the Hull. The Aufbau and Turret is the hunk that is blown off to the right. If the Panzer IV is a three layer birthday cake, the Aufbau is the middle layer. The turret is the top layer with the hull being the base.
Technically…We should be calling the hull “Die Wanna” which means “The Tub” in English. Further, we should call the turret — “Der Turm” (In english – the tower). So … be that as it may.
Below…We begin to build our Aufbau. It's a special day 🙂
This Aufbau face plate is an undamaged original. Undamaged being a relative term. It has blast fragment marks on the inside. But its straight, uncracked and deserving to live on. It came to me with the drivers visor (Fahrerklappe) and MG 34 ball gun assembly (kugelblende) intact.
We are placing it as a placeholder for now. It will be used on our Panzer IV ausf. J “Late” restoration. It is a blessing to have the original parts to lean on. They don’t lie. All of the geometry and dimensions must be exactly correct or the assembly won’t go together.
With the sides thrown on, we learn that all of the dimensions and geometry of our new cut parts are accurate. Although subtle, there are multiple angles braking in different directions on all sides. It was a bitch to decipher and draw but thankfully…. I got it right. I was so happy that, in a fit of passion, I took a selfie. 🙂
This is a piece of Aufbau face that has the MG34 Kugelblende still in tact. This is the kugelblende that will be used in this build. The blast that removed this chunk was internal and there is a very clear blast impression. It was pushed out of the Aufbau, braking in half in the process.
Contained in these original pieces are examples of how the Panzer structure was constructed. The miter joints, welds, thicknesses, chamfers, angles etc… are all laid bare. This is why I can boast with confidence that our construction details are all correct to period originals.
Jon was given the mission “Take it apart but don’t damage anything”.
Sometimes we get lucky and bolts come out without major surgery – as in this case. Removing the bolts relaxes the assembly but the ball is still frozen.
We had to use some science on it in terms of leverage and heat.
Some gentile urging and plop! Out it comes. Its all in great condition (again relatively speaking). The retaining ring is bent but our 100 ton press will make it right as rain.
Back to the Aufbau. Again for a trial fit we had to lay the lid on in. Guess what. Fits like a glove… Whew…
Wow! I am soooo Happy!
Believe it or not. This is what holds the Aufbau on the hull. Little bolts on three sides. No wonder they look like the cover photo after there was explosive trouble. Don’t judge the welds… This is filler and will get covered with stainless in a nice deep weld when the Aufbau is turned on its side later.
Here we have added some width to the angle that holds the motor cover vents on. The vents bolt on the inner part and the outer needs to be widened to hold the fenders. I know….. I know…. but this is the way they did it in 44.
In order to place and level the lid we have to put the firewall structure together. I will be hot riveted eventually but for now its tack welded.
This is it baby! Its placed and going on FOR REAL.
So this is where it ends…. closing out week 16.
Now that was all sexy… so much progress, right? But now come the weeks of detail work. Braces, rivets, full welding… etc…Well, we still get to put on a couple more big pieces before the party is over. The face plate and the front section of Aufbau lid.
Till next time.