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Dragon Jagdpanzer IV L/70(V)
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Bill Plunk



Joined: 17 Sep 2006
Posts: 1743

PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2015 3:45 pm    Post subject: Dragon Jagdpanzer IV L/70(V) Reply with quote

Build log for Dragon's 1/35 kit #6397 Jagdpanzer IV L/70(V) with Model Kasten workable tracks.

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Bill Plunk



Joined: 17 Sep 2006
Posts: 1743

PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2015 4:53 pm    Post subject: WIP 05-12-15 Reply with quote

Every kit has to start somewhere and with a Dragon kit that's usually the road wheels! Step 1 calls for the assembly of the wheels, sprockets, idlers, and return rollers. Since I'm going to be building a vehicle built early on (pre-Nov. 1944) in the production run, I opted for the A14-A13 style of return rollers. I left all the road wheel halves unassembled for now so it will be easier to paint them later and sanded down the mold seams on all but the spare rubber-rim wheel pair that installs on the engine deck. The kit also provides a spare steel-rim wheel, so I assembled 5 of them as well. Dragon employs a 3-part process to build up each wheel half that provides a really nice result for this type of wheel but does take a little care when cleaning up the parts and gluing them together. So with that, we're off!

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Bill Plunk



Joined: 17 Sep 2006
Posts: 1743

PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2015 3:52 pm    Post subject: WIP 05-23-15 Reply with quote

As is often the case with Dragon kits, it pays to skip around a bit in the instructions. The latest round of effort focused on getting the main hull components in place starting with the rear hull plate. Step 2 would have you put all the details on the plate first and then install it, but that's not really a good idea. You do have to choose your style of exhaust though in this step and this choice impacts all the other options that should go on the vehicle in subsequent steps. Since I'm depicting a vehicle produced in the Oct-Nov window, I chose the vertical tube exhausts and worked with the corresponding plate and details that match it. Having built previous kits of the Pz IV family from Dragon, I know it's also a good idea to assemble and add the idler housings to the plate first vs. trying to add them after the plate is installed to the hull like the instructions want you to do in Step 3.



Once that's done, the rear plate was installed along with the glacis plate from Step 3 and the brake access hatch plate from Step 4-5. Just like with the rear plate, I deliberately left the details off the brake hatch plate to make it easier to install. A little bit of finger pressure from underneath the plate is needed to make sure it lines up evenly with the glacis plate, otherwise it has a tendency to want to sag a bit in the middle. The fighting compartment bulkhead from Step 5 was also added to ensure everything lined up properly and the hull keeps its rigidity.



That allowed me to circle back and complete the details from Step 2 for the rear hull plate. It's a good idea to add the H24/H25 combo parts first as they influence how the left exhaust tube lines up. The stacks themselves are a little tricky to get together since a PE plate is used as the base for the stacks and the tops for the support trays. I found it easiest to glue the PE plate to the tube exhaust first and then line it up with the tray as the bend in the pipe that connects to the hull makes that a tight fit if you attach the plate to the tray first. In keeping with my Oct-Nov production vehicle, I opted for the standard Pz IV type of rear tow hitch to round things out. The instructions in Step 3 have a part number error, the base of the hitch is actually B54 and not H54.



Next up will be the hull side details and the suspension elements.
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Bill Plunk



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Posts: 1743

PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2015 5:25 pm    Post subject: WIP 05-25-15 Reply with quote

Latest round of effort dealt with the lower hull suspension components and the left over details for the brake hatch plate. Even though the instructions don't indicate this in Step 4, it's possible to assemble and install the gun travel lock and have it remain workable. The key is to only glue the base hinge points G12/G13 into the hull after you've dry fit them in position and slipped the pins of the lock into them so that it will remain workable. The main benefit this provides is making life easier for painting/finishing the nose area later on and, of course, giving you the option of posing the lock if you like. I also added the suspension bump stops and final drive housings as called for in Step 5.



Step 6 assembles and installs the suspension bogeys. These are handed and the parts are designed to make it impossible to mix them up, but it still pays to work only on one side at a time to avoid any glue mishaps. Some of the suspension pairs had some flash on the hinge point where they meet up with the base parts and a triangular needle file helped eliminate that and ensure they fit properly. The suspension is fixed and non-workable unfortunately but not a big deal for my purposes.



Once all the components were ready, they were installed on both sides. Small adjustments were needed to get them to line up properly and I used small amounts of blue tack poster putty to hold single road wheels in place to ensure a level set while the glue grabs. This avoids the possibility of 'floating' road wheels when it comes time to install them later.



Next up will be moving to the upper hull and dealing with the fenders and engine deck.
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Bill Plunk



Joined: 17 Sep 2006
Posts: 1743

PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2015 3:35 pm    Post subject: WIP 05-28-15 Reply with quote

Moving on to the upper hull and fenders requires a delicate balancing act between a lot of components that all have to play nice with each other front to back so that the casemate and engine deck line up with each other as well as the fenders and lower hull. To that end, I started with the fenders first as called for in Step 7 but assembled them a little differently than the instructions would have you do it. I left off the front and rear mud guards and only glued the middle portions of the fenders down to the hull as this is where they have the most 'grip' while still leaving some flexibility to line up the front and back portions as needed to keep things straight and level. Then the guards were added front and back along with their appropriate details. The casemate was taped into position throughout to make sure that the fenders didn't bow out at the edges to also help things along. Have to be careful not to get any glue on it though as it has to remain loose to allow the gun to be installed later on.

I also added the missing wiring for the Bosch headlight using some 0.5mm solder and a #76 finger drill to open up the base of the light and the armored hump on the hull plate that the conduit feeds into.





With the fenders out of the way, attention turned to the engine deck. This is covered in steps 8-10 but I don't recommend you follow the instruction order for getting the deck together or you might encounter fit issues with the lower hull. The instructions would have you assemble the entire deck and then set it off to the side and not add it until Step 18 when it calls for it to go in along with the complete casemate. The problem with this approach is that the intake sides are a very snug fit into the available opening and slots with the lower hull bulkhead, fenders, etc. If the full engine deck is assembled, it's almost impossible to 'flex' these properly to get them to line up correctly. So the solution is to only add the intake sides to the top of the engine deck and then install those onto the fenders and lower hull. I also found after doing some test fits that I needed to sand down the rear edges of the tow hook extensions as they have some interference with the rear engine deck plate and this also has to be done at this point before the deck is installed or you can't get at them to make the correction.



Careful use of glue on the deck means you can also use the casemate to ensure the deck lines up correctly and aligns as it should. Once the glue had set, I added the appropriate rear plate, B28, for the long spare track rack. The other optional plate with a shorter rack is meant for vehicles equipped with the large cylinder exhaust type, so it's important to choose the right one. Because the long rack has some flex to it, I used a short run of 8 links of MK tracks to help it hold its shape while the glue set and ensure I wouldn't have problems fitting the spare track run later on. Rounding out things here I also added the two large engine deck hatches and their details but left off all the tools and equipment as it will get added after the vehicle has received its paint and camo schemes.



Up next will be working on the gun and casemate.
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Bill Plunk



Joined: 17 Sep 2006
Posts: 1743

PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2015 2:47 pm    Post subject: WIP 05-30-15 Reply with quote

Latest round of effort moved to the casemate and gun as called for in Steps 11-14. The breech and recoil guards are dealt with in Step 11 and Step 12 adds the mount details, gun barrel, gunner's sight, and the elevation and traverse wheels. It all goes together without any issues and the gun remains able to elevate via friction connection with a toothed gear that slips inside the left side of the gun mount support. Just make sure you insert the gun barrel and breech through the recoil guards and ball mount before adding the back pad, G6, to the recoil guards.



Step 13 is a pretty simple step, it adds the interior plate to the front of the casemate along with the exhaust fan and the mount for the hull MG port. No gun is provided though, just the simple ball mount and tray for one is present. The little ball tray is numbered wrong in the instructions, it's actually C23 and not C22. Last but not least for this step is the addition of the clear periscopes for the driver.



Step 14 is the moment of truth when the whole gun is installed along with the cast external mantlet components. This almost requires three hands to get it all together and still allow the gun to traverse slightly. You also have to avoid gluing the base of the mount, G29, to the gun itself and only glue it to the top part of the mount, G31. This sandwiches the gun in between the two halves and the real C22 large pin connects at the top completing the full assembly. This gets glued to the front plate of the casemate and supports the whole deal rather nicely once you get it all in place. The saukopf mantlet then slides over the barrel to complete things for the gun. I also added the armored conical port for the hull MG in the closed position and the welded armored cover for the driver's periscopes. Ironically this last detail makes it all but impossible to tell that there are clear periscopes behind it but we all know they are there from the previous step.



A quick test with the hull shows everything is lining up properly and the gun can be both elevated and traversed properly. This is useful not just for painting later on but also if you wanted to pose the gun with the travel lock engaged or traversed off to the side slightly for diorama purposes.



Next up will be tackling the casemate roof details and components.
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Bill Plunk



Joined: 17 Sep 2006
Posts: 1743

PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 2:46 pm    Post subject: WIP 06-01-15 Reply with quote

Got the last of the major construction steps done in the latest round of progress. Steps 15-17 in the instructions cover the casemate roof and all the various hatch-related details. Since there's no interior to speak of, I decided to close up all the hatches except for the small 'rabbit ears' scope hatch for the commander. The kit provides the option for that small hatch to have a separate hinge point which makes life a lot easier in many ways, so the hinge point was added and the hatch put off to the side for painting and later installation to avoid complications with the camo scheme application.

Since I had no need for the gun to be traversed, I opted for the one-piece sliding cover for the gunner's sight. The advantage of the gun being able to traverse is still helpful as it made sure I had the sight and the opening on the part all properly lined up. I also opted for the close-in-defense weapon to be installed on this vehicle and added the appropriate cover. Getting the cover to line up is a little tricky due to the fact that it doesn't have the locater pins like the standard blanked-off cover does, a side-effect of the 'extra' sprue that Dragon throws into the kit for this little feature. Last but not least, all the clear periscopes were installed and some enamel Silver applied to their back faces and the front faces masked with small amounts of blue tack before the covers were added. The roof plate was then glued down and allowed to sit. Once it was set and no longer subject to flexing, the casemate was permanently joined to the lower hull courtesy of finger pressure and some strategic rubber bands.



After that had set overnight, the last remaining details from Steps 18 and 19 were added in the form of the side skirt hangers and the antenna base. For the antenna, I clipped off the rod portion and drilled out the base with a #76 finger drill so it can take a brass 2m antenna later on. Since I had added the engine deck already to the hull, the rearmost pair of hangers needed the small tabs at the top that match up with the slots on the engine air intakes clipped off so that they could fit into the locater holes in the fenders correctly. The little fastback wing plates were also added and also needed a small modification to fit correctly. The molded on bracket designed to meet up with the rear rectangular support isn't the right size to match up correctly so all but the top part of the molded support outline on the plate was trimmed back so it would sit properly with the other two points.



I'm still waiting for my disc camo stencils to come in the mail that I ordered from the Uschi site, so in the meantime I'll be working on the tracks and the tools and such before starting the major paintwork.
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Bill Plunk



Joined: 17 Sep 2006
Posts: 1743

PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2015 4:36 pm    Post subject: WIP 06-04-15 Reply with quote

Since the rear engine deck is really the only available place for stuff, it's a busy place as all the tools and such that would be on the fenders got placed wherever there was an empty spot! I spent some time getting all the tools cleaned up and prepped for painting. Due to all the tight spaces, I decided not to fully replace the tool clamps but instead removed the relatively thick handles and replaced them with PE handles from a generic Griffon tool clamps PE set.

I also took advantage of the Magic Tracks in the kit to provide the 17-link spare track run. The instructions don't provide any guidance here and since the MK track set only has 8 spare links available, I cleaned up 20 links and did a test first to see how many would fit before settling on the 17 link arrangement. For no particular reason, I chose the links from the light grey bag and drilled out the pin holes on the one end and added the missing exposed pin on the other using short lengths of 0.5mm white styrene rod. Some quick work with a sanding stick removed the raised ejector marks on either side of the guide horns. Small amounts of Testors regular glue was used to assemble the run to ensure adequate work time to place and shape it properly in the mount without risking it becoming stuck to the rear hull or holder in the process.

The jack is the only tool that has the potential for interacting with the spare track run, so it has to be factored into the equation as well. The spare wheel holder parts were left off for now to make life easier in terms of painting the engine deck and including it in the camo pattern. Everything is dry fit at this point and playing nice with each other, always a plus!

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Bill Plunk



Joined: 17 Sep 2006
Posts: 1743

PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2015 6:59 pm    Post subject: WIP 06-15-15 Reply with quote

I've been working away in small chunks of time here and there on the MK workable tracks and managed to get both of the runs done without it being too tedious of a task. The MK tracks have three sprue attachment points that have to be cleaned up and then the links pinned together in 8-link sections with the supplied jig helping things out. The Dragon instructions indicate 97 links are needed per side but that seems low...even with only 3 vs. 4 return rollers the 'normal' Pz IV-family of vehicles typically take 98-100 links depending. I always assemble my runs a little short regardless and add the final links needed after the suspension is mounted to allow for slight differences and tension settings, so I stopped at 96 links just to be on the safe side.





Total assembly time for the two runs together is roughly 4 hours but worth it to get the workable advantages for both painting/weathering and installation in my view.
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Bill Plunk



Joined: 17 Sep 2006
Posts: 1743

PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 2:33 pm    Post subject: WIP 06-30-15 Reply with quote

A variety of things had sidelined this build a bit including my main airbrush deciding to give up the ghost and refuse to maintain air pressure internally. So it got shipped off for repair/replacement and a backup secured for the interim in order to get this build back on track.

So first order of business was laying down a primer coat. I used Testors MM enamel Italian Dark Brown to ensure there wouldn't be any unpainted plastic areas in the nooks and crannies and to check seams and such. This will get a chance to cure and then it's on to getting the camo scheme broad pattern sections laid down.

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Bill Plunk



Joined: 17 Sep 2006
Posts: 1743

PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2015 4:59 pm    Post subject: WIP 07-02-15 Reply with quote

I put the airbrush to work for a few hours today and made some good progress on this project. Since I will be applying a 3-tone disc camo from the fenders up on the hull, I decided to go ahead and lay down an overall base coat to the entire vehicle since a good chunk of it was going to stay in Dunklegelb regardless. To that end, I used my normal 50-50 custom mix of Testors Modelmaster enamel Light Gray/Panzer Dunkelgelb to set the stage for the camo phases to come.

Before painting the hull though, I tackled the road wheels, return rollers, sprockets, and idlers since they will all stay in the DY. Wooden toothpicks and small blobs of blue tack poster putty create easy to manipulate handles and all of these elements had gotten a primer treatment previously when I airbrushed the hull. I airbrushed MM enamel Gunmetal for the rubber portions on the road wheels first and then masked the rims off using a draftsman's circle template so the inner and outer hubs could be airbrushed with the DY hull color.



Since the rubber diameter and exposed hub areas are different sizes on the outer facing vs. inner facing surfaces, two different circles were used as needed. This of course results in the ever-popular 'wheels on sticks' moment that is inevitable when building German armor.



With that out of the way, the hull received the DY base coat as well by airbrush using multiple thin coat passes to build it up over the primer coat.




Next up will be getting the broad camo pattern areas on to create the three tone structure in anticipation of the disc stencils coming into play.
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Bill Plunk



Joined: 17 Sep 2006
Posts: 1743

PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2015 4:56 pm    Post subject: WIP 07-03-15 Reply with quote

Made the most of the extended holiday weekend for the 4th of July today and put the new metal body Aztek airbrush to work on the camo pattern. My normal color choice for the 'green' in standard German three-tone is Model Master enamel Khaki but my on hand bottle went bad and the LHS was out, so I grabbed a close cousin labeled Italian Olive Green and decided to give it a whirl. It went down freehand first so I could have a base pattern to work from when adding the brown.



For the brown, I use a custom mix of 50/50 Model Master enamel Leather and Military Brown. This was also added freehand to create the full pattern. The three colors work pretty well together so I may have yet another choice when it comes to green paint choices for the future.






Next up will be using the Uschi stencils to transform the green and red blocks into the 'disc' patterns.
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Bill Plunk



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PostPosted: Sat Jul 04, 2015 3:19 pm    Post subject: WIP 07-04-15 Reply with quote

More fun with the airbrush today! To create the distinctive disc camo pattern that was seen on JP IVs (and Panthers) for a brief period in late 1944 around the time of the Battle of the Bulge, I used the wonderful Uschi Van der Rosten brand of flexible stencils. These stencils are self-adhesive and reusable and already have the disc pattern cut into them. The stencil set provides 5 long strips and you can cut them down into smaller sections for tighter areas if needed. I ended up using just one strip for the whole vehicle, so still have 4 others untouched for future builds should the occasion arise.

I used the whole strips for the long hull sides and other big areas and then cut off small sections later to work in the tight spots. The stencils are flexible and retain their adhesive nature for a good while but won't work indefinitely and toward the end I was using the point of a toothpick to hold some of the finer sections down so the air from the brush wouldn't lift up the stencil but I don't consider that a flaw at all, just something to be aware of when using this type of stencil.



I'm very happy with the result the stencil produces. Lifts right up, isn't too tacky, and flexible to handle and use.



After a couple of hours of working my way around the vehicle, most of the time was spent getting into all the complex shape areas on the superstructure front plate and the rear engine deck. I'm very glad I left off all the tools and gear as that would've been a nightmare to try to work around. Once the stencil work was done, I mixed up a highly thinned filter coat of the base coat DY color (roughly 90-95% thinner) and airbrushed a mist coat over the entire vehicle to tie the scheme together.





Not a bad 4th of July's effort! Happy Independence Day!
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Bill Plunk



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Posts: 1743

PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2015 6:41 pm    Post subject: WIP 07-10-15 Reply with quote

Made some more progress in the detail department once the camo work was done. The tools I'd worked on earlier got the rest of their detailing so they could match up with the rear deck pattern. All of the different pieces of equipment were installed in place starting with the jack and working my way across. These are covered in Steps 9 and 10. It's worth noting that Step 9 has a parts error, it labels one of the spare wheel supports as B8 (that's actually the starter crank) and is really G8. I didn't catch it at the time as being significant and used both of the B29 supports...but the G8 has a little spacer tab on it that helps better support the steel wheel since it's not as thick as the regular rubber-rimmed wheels that B29 are designed for. So far as I can tell, that's the only real difference and isn't a show stopper in its own right...but it might change the alignment of the spare wheels in relation to each other and the spare track run that goes across the rear. When I tested it on my build with the run I assembled previously, it didn't present an issue. If you were to leave that particular holder empty, the spacer tab configuration on G8 is the accurate one to use, so there's that consideration as well.

I also worked on the exhausts. These were done with a base coat of MM enamel Burnt Umber followed by passes with an enamel MM Leather wash in varying degrees to create a deep rusty finish. This was topped off with some orange artist pastels applied with a brush and black artist pastels to the insides of the stacks and around the rims.



With that done, I turned to getting the old girl up on her feet. The return rollers and steel wheels had their contact edges treated with MM non-buffing metalizer Steel followed by some heavily dry-brushed Burnt Umber to create an exposed steel surface. Using the MK track runs I'd assembled earlier, the road wheels and return rollers were installed in position and left to set up level to ensure they couldn't float down the road when it comes time to permanently add the tracks.

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Bill Plunk



Joined: 17 Sep 2006
Posts: 1743

PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2015 3:55 pm    Post subject: WIP 07-11-15 Reply with quote

With the road wheels taken care of yesterday and set up nice and solid, it was time to check the links count on the MK runs assembled previously to see how many additional links were needed. I had originally stopped at 96 links for both sides and the kit's instruction recommendations are 97 links, so I needed to test fit the sprockets and idlers first to get a good idea of where things would end up. The fit of the idler arms into the mounts is a tight one so throughout the painting process I've been careful not to allow any paint inside the mount holes or on the arm pins themselves. The idlers were permanently glued onto the mount arms off the vehicle and then the whole assembly fitted into the hull mounts without glue as the friction fit there is plenty to hold it in place. Some slight sanding on the pins that go into the hull mount proved necessary and this was done before the idler wheels were joined to the arms so that everything would play nice. The sprockets were held in place with small amounts of blue tack as they need to remain loose for the final installation after the tracks are painted and weathered.

97 links turned out to be the perfect length for the MK runs on both sides with the idlers adjusted slightly in the process to create the desired sag. The idlers in the photos below are moved at just about their maximum tension setting so it's possible that 96 links would have worked as well but it would've been a much tighter run vs. the look I was after. I also picked out the gunner's and commander's scopes with some non-buffing metalizer Gunmetal and added the commander's scope hatch in the open position to round things out for the day.





Ordinarily on a Pz IV family vehicle you would need 98-100 links per side but the lack of the 4th return roller makes all the difference on the suspension layout and total length of the track runs. Next up will be airbrushing and detailing the main tracks and the spare run.
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