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Panzer 4 tracks! The long promised tutorial (long+pic heavy)

 
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C_Collins
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Joined: 24 Mar 2007
Posts: 211
Location: Victoria, Australia

PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2007 10:15 am    Post subject: Panzer 4 tracks! The long promised tutorial (long+pic heavy) Reply with quote

Panzer 4 link and length tracks, a comparison and build tutorial.

After hearing a lot of complaints about how difficult and daunting it is to build Revell Pz 4 kits, I thought I’d try and dispel some of the myth and mystery.
I make no promises, this will not result in 5 minute assembly jobs, if that’s what you expect in building models go buy the Millicast battlefield or MMS equivalent, in the words of Clint Eastwood “a man’s gots to know his limitations”.

What I can say with reasonable fine motor skills, a few good tools and a little patience, an excellent model Pz 4 can be assembled in one or two evenings.

In this build I’ll compare the allegedly “overdetailed” italeri/esci offering with the “overly complex” Revell AG kit.

A few tools I use that might be of interest to some.

Firstly, when cutting off components from their sprues I almost exclusively use these days are a pair of “Micro Nippers” these are small side cutters used by electronics enthusiasts to cut electrical components from printed circuit boards. They are well suited to getting into tight spots, and I find them much better than the pair of clippers I got with a set of dissecting tools I used during my undergrad Science Degree days. Apparently there are even smaller “micro nippers” available.

A good fine pair of tweezers are invaluable when assembling link and length tracks, and finally an old fine paintbrush and plumbers MEK, used by plumbers as a primer/cleaner before gluing PVC piping together. Methyl ethyl ketone, is an organic solvent related to acetone and not MEKP, methyl ethyl ketone peroxide an explosive organic compound. This is optional, most of your liquid poly cements are quite capable of doing the job, but I find MEK does the job much quicker forming a firmly welded join in 5 minutes, while often conventional liquid poly cement takes hours to dry properly.

I’m pretty sure Testors sell MEK as a polystyrene weld and most hobby glues use MEK as the main solvent. If you choose to use MEK to assemble your kits then use it in a well ventilated area as you would conventional hobby cement/ liquid poly.

It works best when components can be held together and a fine wet paintbrush of MEK is touched at the join, the solvent should then wick along the join. Another approach is to deposit some MEK using a brush into the recesses along the join then quickly join it to the second part. Pre-clean and test for fit each join as you only have a minute or so to get it right.


Here are (slightly rough) shots of the Italeri (gunmetal grey) and revell (sandy yellow) track components, the Italeri tracks rely on a butt join in that any two pieces of track are merely butted together, with no guiding slots or tabs. The Revell tracks are a more sophisticated affair in that each piece has guiding tabs on one end and slots on the other, that fit together neatly, as long as the wheels are all properly aligned. If some wheels/idlers/sprockets are out of alignment then its going to be a difficult job, each step is reliant on the previous one, if one step is stuffed then the following work will suffer.

Here’s the italeri lower hull assembled waiting for tracks, the first thing you’ll notice is those enormous drive sprocket teeth, after a brief look at them and a bit of a trial with one of the single links I realised the tracks would never fit without some major filing of teeth. So I decided to cheat. I cut and filed off the teeth that would normally engage the tracks. It’s a common trick when you find the tracks simply won’t fit out of the box, I recently did this to an ACE Ardelt Waffentrager with success. As you’ll see I didn’t need to do this with the revell kit.


I like to start with the track segment touching the ground, positioned so its evenly placed on all road-wheels and work in the direction of the “male” ends of the track segments, so that the male end is placed then the female end is placed on top of the male end.


I also like to keep the drive sprocket, unglued and free to rotate until I glue the track links to it, so I can rotate the sprocket to align the teeth to engage the track links.

I also like to bend the free hanging segments of track to it looks more like track and less like segments of stiff plastic, but only if it is appropriate for the tank being assembled. On Pz IVs, track sag was pretty common.

Now you just keep going until you’re back where you started, on the final piece you might find a little filing is needed to ensure it fits neatly.

On the Italeri kit I found that I had to sand off the “guide teeth” (read: non-descript bumps) where the track length rested on the return rollers as the

A final comment about these kits, I think the photos speak for themselves, the revel kit is (and should be) well ahead of the Italeri kit. Not only that, the Italeri kit is a good 3mm longer and much higher. The detail is crude and a little “soapy” and yet as much effort is required to build each kit, and the price is roughly on par. The Italeri kit does have a couple of useable figures, and a decal sheet with a lot of turret numbers on it. Nice features but hardly counters the kits faults.

I hope this helps and if you can think of anything that would help this tutorial then don't hold back, constructive criticism is welcomed!

Cheers.
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bluewillow
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Joined: 11 Mar 2007
Posts: 824
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2007 11:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nice tutorial,

cheers
matt
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panzerfaust200
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Joined: 08 Mar 2007
Posts: 2037
Location: the right hand of doom

PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2007 12:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cracking stuff! many thanks!
i must admit i've been shaving off sproket teeth for a while now, much easier than cursing!

rob. Very Happy
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Laurence Strong
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Joined: 09 Mar 2007
Posts: 847
Location: Alberta, Canada

PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2007 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice job. Thanks. Smile I also pre glue the track on to the drive and return wheels prior to puting it all together.
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Fireman Tim
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Joined: 19 Mar 2007
Posts: 586
Location: Soviet Canuckistan

PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 12:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very informative. Thanks for the track assembly tips! Very Happy
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James Forrest
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Joined: 09 Mar 2007
Posts: 962
Location: Deepest England

PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2007 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many thanks Mr Collins, I have the Revell Pzr IV kit as well as some others with this type of track but have been too frightened to start them (my modelling days were 30+ years ago) I will now give them a go thanks to you.

James
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C_Collins
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Joined: 24 Mar 2007
Posts: 211
Location: Victoria, Australia

PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2007 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your comments, folks your comments have emboldened me to write more.

I'm still learning digital macro photography, and I've a lot to learn.

I'm particularly pleased I've convinced a few to give the revell Pz 4 kit another chance, its a ripper kit. Good luck Mr Forrest (very formal), take a leaf from the book of your namesake, a little boldness and homespun commonsense can achieve amazing things.

I'll have to do an update as I've just finnished assembling them both, and I'm pleasantly suprised how reasonable the italeri kit looks, though I find the revell kit more precise and satisfying.
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