Reproduction Panzer IV Build

* This is Easy *

Week #2

Panzer IV ausf. J

 Update on the Reproduction Panzer IV Build

Great progress on the Reproduction Panzer IV Hull Build for the second week.  If you missed the first week’s recap, click here. It seems like more progress than it actually is because we are assembling the big chunks of steel.  Its the glamour work where every piece added leaves a big impression.  We should enjoy these times because it will bog down when we get to the small pieces.

We started out by welding up all the seams on the Reproduction Panzer IV Hull Build fuel tank section.  It turned out super nice.  

Heat is the devil! One of the biggest “sleeper” problems when fabricating is letting heat distort the work and then setting it permanently in place with more weld.  It can take a nice piece and turn it into a distorted mess.  We had to wrestle with it a bit due to the weld heat. We won the day though, so the floor of the Reproduction Panzer IV hull is complete, good looking and measuring exactly to specification.

Welcome Kevin the machinist   Now the team has someone who can actually use a mill and a lathe.  He has a lot coming his way.

Notice anything goofy?  We began mounting the brake cooling hatches upside down.  Steel is like clay, thank goodness.  You can put it on, shape it and take it off.  All we have to do is fill the holes and drill new ones on the other end.  Durrrrrr…

The “oops” was picked up by the restoration team at CFB Bordon, Ontario, Ca.   They are in process of restoring an unmolested Flakpanzer which is amazing.   AFTER you have finished reading this post, go check them out.  I have added their Facebook link at the bottom.

Back to the steel supplier to pick up the sidewalls.

30mm Panzer IV right sidewall typical from ausf. F to ausf. J – before December 1944 and later production.  This was by far the most common configuration.

The rear end was assembled into the hull sides with a 45 degree miter joint.   And… tapers aren’t easy if you don’t have the right equipment.  

That means we have to go through the labor of cutting and grinding a miter in both sidewalls and the rear end piece.  Jon is accomplishing the taper in this photo.

Above is the tail piece that gets 45 degree tapers on both ends.  Urrggghhhh…

This is our original tail piece that doesn’t have mitered angles.  You can see the lapping dove tail type joint of this later style.  This improvement was introduced at the December 1944 change referenced in the earlier photo.  Much more on this later.

Michael magically making the tapers happen on the tail piece.

Up, Over and In she goes.  I think each side wall is about 2,500 pounds.

With Jon and Michael guiding it in how could it go bad?

But I’m never too far from the old CAD drawing,  “Just in case we point in the wrong direction.”

First side in and sitting where it should – Glory Be !!!

Its a beautiful, beautiful thing.  You can see the 45 degree taper on the end where it will meet the tail piece.

The left side.  The two openings are for the fuel fill positions.

Straight as an arrow.

Level

Plumb

And… The side holes exactly match the openings in the floor for the fuel tanks.

This is brilliant actually.  The center fuel tank section is designed narrow so that it doesn’t resist fitting inside any hull that would come along.  In this photo you can see where the fuel tank center section intersects the side wall.  

Notice there is a gap between the sidewall and the center section.  The gap is filled with what Michael referred to jokingly as an “engineering strip.”   A patch takes care of a lot of engineering I guess.  It works beautifully and the floor and sidewalls become one. 

This is tack welded but will be fully welded next.

Here is the same feature on our original fuel tank section.  You can see the engineering strip where it was cut away from its hull.

Not a bad place to leave it.  Ready to fine tune and weld.  –  Remember about the Heat !!!

Next week we will focus on the nose pieces and maybe… with any luck tack weld the nose on to test fit and see how it looks.  The rear will go on after we figure out how to shove a GMC 702 v12 into a space that is too small.  Were going to have to do some modifications to the engine bolt-ons.  We should have a chance to start looking at that also.

It would be a silly mistake to permanently put the rear on (and also the nose) before we mount the drive train.  Its open now and access is ideal.  Access, only gets worse from here.

Until next week…

Thanks for reading… Now go check out the Flakpanzer work on Facebook.  It is inspiring to say the least.

(Link ) —     Flakpanzer Restoration Project – Home | Facebook

Randy

Panzerfabrik