Saturday, 19 October 2013
WW2 German PzKpfw II
The PzKpfw II was designed in 1935 as a stopgap measure while the larger German tanks were being developed. The tank was made in various marks, the most obvious difference between them was the curved bow of the Aus C as opposed to the sloped armour of the Aus F but later many Aus C's were given add on armour giving them an appearance similiar to the later marks. Aus E and D also had different suspension to the remainder of the models.
I built six of these tanks in total, three Aus C and three Aus F. Four were for a fellow modeller in the United States whilst I kept two for myself.
Construction began with the lower hulls. 30 thou plastic sheet was used and reinforced where the suspension units entered the hulls. The actual suspension arms were also made up, laminating styrene strip to make the springs. Jigs were used to ensure holes and alignment of parts was uniform. The bows on the Aus Cs were originally made from sanded pine but I eventually skinned these with 10 thou sheet.
The upper hulls were made next, again from 30 thou sheet, with 20 thou overlays where panels were to be represented. The various grills and openings on the rear engine decks were made up and cut in.
The shapes of the upper hulls differ slightly in that the Aus C's had a few angles and the Aus F's had a straight front plate. A start was made on the turrets, which are basically the same for the two marks being modelled except that the early C's had basic hatches for the tank commander whilst the F's had a cupola with vision blocks. Many F's were also fitted with a rear mounted turret bustle.
I employed resin castings for the first time and was generally happy with the results. 60 road wheels were cast, the masters being made up from styrene sheet turned in a Dremel, slices of knitting needle and 30 thou rivets. I also used resin for casting the drive sprockets and the rear idlers. The rear idlers presented a challenge in that they are slightly domed outwards on a flat surface. I recreated the slight dome by carefully cutting a circle out of a ping pong ball and gluing that to a disc of the required diameter and height. Castings were made and then detailed to represent the two types of idler and then castings were made of the completed idlers.
Construction of the tracks was made by using 20 thou sheet cut into strips with a pair of Pinking Shears. This gave a series of triangles along one edge. These were then cut down in length and height until the required size for the links was achieved. A piece of 40 x 40 thou was then added with a slight offset to the rear edge of each link. This allowed the points of the two triangles to be glued to the offset of the next link and so on. A simple jig was used to ensure alignment. Originally, the completed of lengths of made up track were applied directly to the tanks but this proved a bit flimsy so a strip of 10 thou was added around the driver/road wheels/idler assembly.
Turrets were made up from 30 thou sheet and the main armament was turned up in my hobby lathe. They were then detailed to represent the two types of turret being modelled. The main armament is able to elevate and depress.
The tanks were then detailed with storage boxes, headlights, exhausts and that strange channel thing on the left hand side. Notek lights were made by the method that Shep Paine outlines in his book "Modelling Tanks and Military Vehicles", a very useful book indeed. All the large details were left unattached so that painting would be easier.
The Aus F model (left) was painted with Model Master Afrika Mustard and fairly generic decals were applied. The Aus C (right) was painted with Tamiya German Grey and again decals are generic. The tracks on both were painted with Vallejo Acrylics using a mixture of Beasty Brown, Cold Grey and Gunmetal.