1/76 Airfix Panzer IV F1
Completed rebuilt model. The camo is Humbrol 93 for RAL 8000 yellow brown and Xtracolour RAL 7008 gray-green with feathred edges making it hardly noticeable. Pictures of the original build and the upgrade process are below.
Pictures of the model as originally built in the nineties. The only modifications then were a hull MG from plastic rod, wire handles on the turret roof and an antenna brush guard made from plastic strip.
The antenna and its gutter
reworked jack and extinguisher
replaced or removed spare track (much too thick!)
Lacking an alternative the rubber band tracks will be left as is.
May 24, 2011
After more extensive research the modification list has grown:
not numbered : pierce a small hole next to the gun for the sighting port, two small vision holes above the driver's vision port, scrape the molded-on tools with a hobby knife to depict a circular section (better yet, replace them), remove the spare tracks (they should be there but these are too toyish)
1/ remove and replace the jack. I sued a spare metal part from MMS
2/ add an antenna gutter (made from 3 sections of plastic strip) and the antenna stub
3/ add small lifting hooks. The hooks are on triangular bases. There are two on the hull sides which are marked as two oversize triangles, tqwo on the turret sides near the front and two on the rear which are masked by the stowage box. I think the stowage box is actually held by these hooks. The hooks were mae in two parts, a triangular base made from cut strip and the hook itself, which is a piece of strip superglued ont the base. When the join has dried it is cut to shape.
4/ two hooks on the turret sides just fore of the hatch. They are made from a piece of square section strip with one side rounded off and a piece of thin plastic rod. There are similar hooks on Panzer III turrets. I have never made out what their purpose is.
5/ the left vent grille on the engine deck is actually different on the F1 and previous tropicalized D and E versions. It is wider with a cut corner. Th kit has proper vents for the F2 and later. One additional change is that the slats are not slotted and need to be filled in. I cut a corner so to speak and just shortened the grille. It should be made wider to be correct.
6/ the little box next to the muffler is actually another muffler (for the turret traverse engine) and requires an exhaust stub.
7/ Th F version still has two pistol ports on the rear of the turret. These were deleted during the G version's production run.
8/ The reflector on the left fender is actually a disk. It is best replaced. The should be a rectangular night driving taillight, which is standard on most German vehicles.
9/ The right taillight is also missing. It should be a small disk on the main fender. The cutout next to the number (9) is for a spring, a piece of fine rod or metal piano wire can do the trick. Repeat for the other side.
10/ (not on pic) The armored smoke candle box is missing. It is a rectangular box with rounded vertical edges attached to the rear hull plate, centered right where the cross decal is currently.
Here is the model after changes 1 to 7. Mods 8 and higher were discovered after I shot the pictures, thinking that the model was done.
May 26, 2011
The rear of the hull actually requires more work than previously described.
8/ and 9/ The taillights have been added and small sections of 8thou brass wire glued in the fender cut-outs to represent springs.
10/ The smoke candle box is actually wider than the space delimited by the the two vertical strips figured on the kit. The left one was removed to make room. The box is made from two pieces of 40 thou card glued together, cut and filed to shape. Once in position a piece of strip was glued to the left and three Archer decal rivets added.
11/ There are two horizontal hooks on the rear panel used to attach a cable. The left one is not where it is supposed to be. Airfix has it symmetrical to the right one, close to the left side. It is actually just left of the middle of the panel. The hooks are bent 8 thou brass wire again and two rivets adorn the left hook support, which is a piece of plastic strip.
12/not shown. Two bent sections of 8 thou wire were inserted in the two front towing eyes, the bent parts facing inside.
June 2, 2011
The gutters have been added and the rear hull panel improved. The jerrycan was removed for lack of photographic evidence of its placement and 4 rivets added in its place. There should be a cable wrapped around the support posts above the exhaust.
Here is the kit in the offical March 1941 regulation camouflage of 2/3 RAL8000 green brown and 1/3 RAL7008 gray green. The paint is Xtracolour enamel, which is very thick and dries gloss (after a long time). The tints are very dark and quite frankly a bit disturbing for desert colors. All those DAK tank models you see on the web are always depicted in some shade of light sand. Furthermore the two colors are very close and don't really stand apart.
I wanted to lighten the yellow brown a bit and settled on spraying some Humbrol 93 instead of mixing a lightened Xtralcolour RAL 8000. Ironic that Humbrol 93 finally finds some use on the German side. It was called 8th Army Desert Yellow way back when and was used on most of my earlier 8th Army models.
The antenna gutter has been relocated further back. I originally used Bradford's drawing as guidance. He has the antenna gutter aligned with the break in the hull where it narrows. The problem was that the supports did not align with the turret splash guard. the middle support is just aft of where the guard angles away from the side.
I also realized that there are two cleaning rods, one just below the antenna gutter and a longer one on the left side, strapped to the side of the engine deck. The one on the right side was scraped off. It's not ideal as the criss-cross pattern on the fenders is molded as raised lines and the missing section cannot be easily reproduced. I've seen pictures showing spare track links at this location so that's an option if I ever get some.
June 9, 2011