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Building a Mid-Production Normandy Tiger 1

This section is to 'show and tell' about any customizing or re-vamping you have done (or are doing) to a Heng Long tank.

Postby tanks_for_the_memory » Wed Oct 26, 2011 3:32 pm

Tiger 334 belonging to s.SS-Pz.Abt.101 shortly after capture on 27 June 44.jpg
Tiger 334 belonging to s.SS-Pz.Abt.101 shortly after capture on 27 June 44.jpg (16.89 KiB) Viewed 11491 times
A couple of years ago I bought a pair of HL Tigers from ebay (£50 each for nylon tracks, smoke and sound – not bad)... Not for me, you understand, but for my two sons, aged 6 and 4 at the time. As I’m sure you will agree, absolutely the right age for young lads to get to grips with radio control tanks...

Last summer – around the time I discovered this site – I just happened to mention to my older boy that I could, if he wanted, ‘do a few things’ to ‘improve’ his Tiger. Like open up the front hatches. Extend the main gun. Maybe even change it to a late production model. No doubt believing all of this would take his dad about a week or two he readily agreed. We are now getting on for a year since that conversation and still it’s not finished. So this Tiger is still very much work in progress (although I have solemnly promised I will finish it by the end of the year SPOILER ALERT: THIS PROMISE WILL BE BROKEN).

The Tiger at an early stage - still nylon tracks, partial zimmerit and the original gun extended.JPG
The Tiger at an early stage - still nylon tracks, partial zimmerit and the original gun extended.JPG (27.86 KiB) Viewed 11491 times

Now up-graded to metal gears, tracks & RX18 circuits (I swapped the bottom half completely).JPG
Now up-graded to metal gears, tracks & RX18 circuits (I swapped the bottom half completely).JPG (31.4 KiB) Viewed 11491 times

This has all been quite nostalgic for me. I was a keen AFV modeller in my youth – even winning a couple of medals at the Model Engineer Exhibition at Wembley (in ’81 and ’83 I think). But I downed tools when I was about 15. It didn’t help that my teenage friends thought my hobby was extremely uncool. At the same time I was in a band – which everyone thought was extremely cool. So I gave up and – apart from sneaking a look at modelling magazines every month or so in my local newsagents – kept my interest a guilty secret. But hey, fast forward 28 years or so and now I’m a dad I have the perfect excuse!

So far it has been quite a learning curve for me. For a start electronics have never been my strong point – in the past I always modelled static vehicles. However, undoubtedly one of the main attractions of the Heng Long (and Tamiya) tanks is the fact that they move, shoot and make a noise! For anyone starting out here I would offer the reassurance that, speaking as a virtual dunce when it comes to electronic matters, it is mostly just a matter of common sense of the ‘follow that wire’ variety. Whenever I haven’t been able to work out an answer for myself I have invariably found everything I needed to know from this site.

My old modelling skills have certainly come in handy (and even some of my original tools). Having been accustomed to working in 1/35th scale the step up to 1/16th is quite a dramatic one – so many things that used to drive me nuts because they were so fiddly are a great deal easier on the hand and eye when they are so much bigger. The flip side is that, because of the nice thick plastic, when sawing, cutting and sanding quite a lot of elbow grease is required.

Business end of Tiger 334 being inspected by some Brits - note spare track rail made from tubing.jpg
Business end of Tiger 334 being inspected by some Brits - note spare track rail made from tubing.jpg (25.46 KiB) Viewed 11491 times

A few words of praise here for the Heng Long Tiger: it’s obviously copied from the Tamiya kit and it may be a little-oversimplified in places, but it’s mostly well moulded (not too many sink holes, etc) and it really stands up to rough handling.

Talking of tools there are a few that I consider indispensible, but top of the list would have to be a rotary tool for cutting, sanding, drilling etc. Mine came from Maplins [a UK high street electronics supplier], but I also bought an additional set of attachments which has given me more options. Sometimes it’s just a question of finding the right tool for the job. For example when I was first considering opening up the front hatches I began by thinking some sort of circular cutter would do the job, but in the end it was accomplished fairly easily (and very messily) by drilling a rough hole in the centre of each hatch and then using a circular sander to enlarge the openings.

Once I had decided to get to grips with the Tiger the first question I had to decide was: which phase of the vehicle’s development this was going to be? Because of my youthful experience I thought I knew a great deal about the tank: there were early Tigers and there were later Tigers. The Heng Long model is the early one – drum cupola, Feifel air cleaners, dished road wheels and no zimmerit. Then there was the later one which had the lower cupola, no air cleaners, all steel road wheels and all that bumpy stuff. Right? Wrong! The more I started to look into it, the more I realised that there was a whole lot of variation in between.

First I looked through postings on this site and then I bought some books. Of course, many of these are not cheap and be warned: it’s very easy to spend far more on books than your tank! Since I was last purchasing tank books in the 80s one of the pleasant surprises for me was the wealth of new pictures that had come to light since. The more I absorbed these reference sources the more I came to realise that my presumed knowledge of the Tiger was actually full of holes. For a start there was a mid-production variant of the tank which I had so far overlooked. It also became clear that, as the tank developed, the modifications which led to the mid and late production variants were often introduced gradually – with many retrofitted to existing tanks – meaning that there is a great variety of possible combinations.

I always wanted to turn this into a Normandy Tiger, taking my initial inspiration from the famous Villers-Bocage episode. On the other hand I wanted to avoid spending too much time and money (how little I really knew!) so the mid-production model seemed the best bet. Eventually I realised – after joining the dots between various sources – that there were several of these tanks in the hands of s.SS-Pz.Abt.101 (Michael Wittman’s Battalion) during to Normandy campaign. Indeed one particular example – numbered ‘334’ – was captured intact by the British forces and shipped back to Britain for evaluation and, ultimately, destruction on the gunnery range at Lulworth Cove in Dorset.

Tiger 334 on the Lulworth Cove firing range after shipping to the UK.jpg
Tiger 334 on the Lulworth Cove firing range after shipping to the UK.jpg (23.42 KiB) Viewed 11491 times

I can recommend this as a project for those who are neither time or cash rich, although I feel bound to repeat the warning which many others have made on this site: once you start changing one of these tanks it’s very, very hard to stop. It’s a little like redecorating only half a room – the new stuff tends to make the old look a little shoddy. Before you know it you’re surfing the net looking at all those after-market goodies and thinking: “Just one more metal add-on and then I’ll call a halt...” At the end of the day any changes are a matter of personal choice, but sometimes I wonder if I have started to lose sight of the wood for the trees!

So here, not necessarily in chronological order, is the story of my Mid-Production Normandy Tiger 1. Most of this, if not all, will be familiar to existing users of this site, but speaking as someone who only joined in December 2010 I think it will be useful if I list even the most basic changes. I will also discuss some of the options which I have explored as I went along, including choosing from the various add-ons available on the internet – especially Tamiya spares and the Hachette ‘Build Your Own Tiger’ magazine.

What needs to be changed

The external (i.e. non-electronic) changes fall into two categories. First there are the basic modifications which would apply to anyone seeking to improve a Heng Long Tiger. Then are those specific changes which apply to this particular mid-production variant and which attempt to mimic those adaptations which the Germans made themselves.

Basic changes to any Tiger 1 production model

The options here are really only limited by your enthusiasm, time or budget. Working down the tank and then front to back:

A. Turret

1. For those with the older HL models the gun mantlet is upside down and has to be rotated so that the co-axial machine gun port is to the right of the main gun (looking forward). This can be done with the existing parts and a little patience but has now been corrected on all HL stock Tigers;

2. The middle part of the barrel is stuck in the recoil position and needs to be extended. This can be done quite cheaply with a metal insert. The alternative, for those who want to do without the bb function – and especially for those who want to install working barrel recoil – is to buy a new metal replacement for the whole barrel;

3. The turret ring is too far forward beneath the turret and the corresponding opening in the hull top is thus also too far forward in order to compensate. This means that the turret sits correctly (more or less) when the gun faces forward, but once it is turned it starts to look wrong – e.g. the rear turret stowage bin sticks out over the side of the tank when it should not. The only way to fix this is to move the turret ring and hull opening back, a job which is not for the faint-hearted. This also has important consequences for those who wish to retain the bb gun because it was presumably to accommodate the bulky mechanism that HL chose to move the ring forward in the first place. It is less of a problem for those who wish to install a recoil mechanism;

Turret base after major surgery to move the the ring back.JPG
Turret base after major surgery to move the the ring back.JPG (21.48 KiB) Viewed 11491 times

And here's the corresponding carnage to the hull top before I infilled it with Milliput.JPG
And here's the corresponding carnage to the hull top before I infilled it with Milliput.JPG (24.55 KiB) Viewed 11491 times

4. A related problem is the undercut at the rear of the turret. This shouldn’t be there but, because of HL’s mis-alignment of the turret ring, had to be incorporated to allow the turret to traverse without fouling on the tow ropes and gun cleaning rods. Once the turret ring position is corrected this problem disappears and so the cut-out portion can simply be restored;

Close up of restored under-cut to turret rear.JPG
Close up of restored under-cut to turret rear.JPG (76.8 KiB) Viewed 11491 times


5. Something else that needs to be considered is the way in which HL have designed the top and bottom of the turret to fit together – along a line around the lower sides of the turret. Obviously this join shouldn’t be there, although it’s not especially noticeable. It becomes a more pressing problem if you want to add zimmerit. There is a solution, however, which I will discuss below.

6. A less obvious defect concerns the front of the turret and the mantlet. The front of the turret actually sticks out slightly too far. Meanwhile the main gun – on the HL Tiger it sits bang in the middle of the mantlet – should actually be off-set slightly towards the right (i.e. the co-axial machine gun side). This is the sort of thing which only the most ardent ‘correctors’ should consider because (quite apart from being a pain to alter) to my eye this is hard to spot - unless you're actually looking for it!

Heng Long turret sitting atop the Tamiya one - note difference in length.jpg
Heng Long turret sitting atop the Tamiya one - note difference in length.jpg (17.48 KiB) Viewed 11491 times

7. The rear stowage bin also has issues. The most obvious problem is the fact that the rectangular hole between the bin and the rear of the turret should be deeper to allow the rear lifting trunnion (which is absent) to be seen. Less obviously the front of the bin (which is nicely detailed with rivets just like the real thing) should not overlap the top of the rear turret armour – it should simply sit behind it. Finally the shape is wrong when viewed from the top: the sides should not be angled quite so sharply inwards from back to front. The first defect is quite easy to correct, but the second and third would require so much work that you might as well replace the bin altogether. If you decide to keep it the padlock latches should also overlap the rear. Finally, on the more recent HL Tigers they have added two securing strips on each side – these were only used on early models;

Early fix - lifting lug from brass tubing and nail head and stowage box recess boxed in with plastic card.JPG
Early fix - lifting lug from brass tubing and nail head and stowage box recess boxed in with plastic card.JPG (66.49 KiB) Viewed 11491 times

8. The side trunnions at the front of the turret sides will also need their lifting pegs added (and the one at the rear added altogether);

9. The gunner / loaders side vision ports may also need to have a slit added. These have been added to more recent HL Tigers but the slit is not particularly convincing;

Next: the hull...
Last edited by tanks_for_the_memory on Wed Jan 14, 2015 12:53 am, edited 8 times in total.
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Postby tanks_for_the_memory » Wed Oct 26, 2011 3:57 pm

As promised...

B. Hull

As a basic representation of the early model of the Tiger this is actually pretty good and here the changes are mostly a matter of ‘how far do you want to go..?’ variety;

10. The transmission covers are missing from the lower edges of the front of the hull – these can be found cheaply online.

11. The driver’s vision port is moulded in the closed position. Luckily, since the glacis plate is attached by HL as a separate part it can be prised off so that the port can be more easily modified from the front and rear. Again this is a job for a little patience and plastic card;

Close up of opened up driver's visor.JPG
Close up of opened up driver's visor.JPG (81.13 KiB) Viewed 11487 times

If you leap forward in this blog you will see how I improved the zimmerit.jpg
If you leap forward in this blog you will see how I improved the zimmerit.jpg (38.04 KiB) Viewed 2147 times

12. The hull machine gun (which lights up on the more recent HL Tigers) and ball mount are rather crudely moulded and, of course, stuck in one position. There are various options here which I will discuss further below;

New scratch-built ball mount with Asiatam LED gun.JPG
New scratch-built ball mount with Asiatam LED gun.JPG (34.63 KiB) Viewed 11487 times

13. The working headlights are over-sized and lacking their armoured slit covers – again these can really only be upgraded;

14. Opening driver’s and radio operator’s hatches: opening these up is a messy but relatively easy job, but in the process the hatches will be destroyed. So on to the internet you will surely need to go;

15. The armoured fan between these hatches is also missing;

Driver's side glacis plate with new fan cover & opening hatch.jpg
Driver's side glacis plate with new fan cover & opening hatch.jpg (20.19 KiB) Viewed 11487 times

16. On the rear deck the engine and cooling vents need mesh covers added. These can be found easily on the net but note that on the rear vents, where HL has moulded the hinged securing hooks lying backwards on the grilles, some of these are made so as to go around these hooks whereas they should actually be lying underneath (see below);

17. The aerial storage tube is moulded onto both rear side edges of the upper deck of the HL Tiger - goodness knows why, since the Tamiya model is correct. It should only be on the rear right side (as one looks forward) and so the other one can be removed with some careful sawing and sanding;

18. The aerial itself is in the wrong place and, of course, is not to scale. There are various options here but the easiest would seem to be to simply remove the existing aerial, mock up a replacement in the correct position and substitute an working internal antenna;

19. Something which took me a long time to spot was the fact that on the HL Tiger the rear top deck sits on top of the rear panel, while on the real thing it should be the other way around, i.e. the rear panel should stick up higher and the top deck should sit inside it. This is much less noticeable with the Feifel air cleaners still in place, but once they go it becomes more obvious. The simple answer is to saw off the rear 1mm or so of the top deck and glue it instead atop the rear panel;

Rear engine deck cut-off after being attached to the top of the rear plate.JPG
Rear engine deck cut-off after being attached to the top of the rear plate.JPG (77.69 KiB) Viewed 11487 times

My shot of the Saumur Tiger 1 shows the join between the hull decking and the rear plate - the exhaust tops were added by the French after the war.jpg
My shot of the Saumur Tiger 1 shows the join between the hull decking and the rear plate - the exhaust tops were added by the French after the war.jpg (65.59 KiB) Viewed 9646 times

20. The Feifel cleaners themselves – or rather the pipes and securing clamps – are also a little crude, but I will not discuss these further here;

21. On the rear panel the right rear tail lamp shouldn’t be there. Apart from that it’s really a matter of thinning down the exhaust shields from the inside;

22. Tools: should they come off or not? Well this is a classic time and budget issue. The tools are actually pretty well moulded and can be made to look quite convincing with a clever paint job. On the other hand, if you are going for any other variant of Tiger than the early one depicted by HL some of these tools will have to be moved in any event. There are then various levels of detail, budget and (in)sanity to which you can descend in search of replacements, including actual working clamps (from Aber); the rear mounted jack and tool box are also rather crude, as is the front mounted jack block – and if you are going for a mid or late production model the latter will also have to be moved back (and therefore replaced).

C. Wheels and tracks

23. All in all the HL suspension is a pretty good representation of an early-production Tiger. Compared to the Tamiya kit the wheel hub nuts are a little simplistic (they should be hex headed), but this hardly leaps out. To my mind the only obvious fault concerns the rear-most outer road wheel. Like the others this is moulded as one piece when it should actually be made up from two adjacent wheels, but it is only on the rear-most axle that this is visible when the tank is viewed from a rear three-quarter angle. Even then it’s not that obvious. The only option would appear to be replacing this wheel with Tamiya parts:

24. The idler wheel has a hole in the middle of the hub for access to the fixing screw. This shouldn’t be there. Since there is no obvious reason why the idler wheel needs to come off (it’s the sprocket removal that allows the tracks to come off) this can simply be blocked in with, e.g. Milliput;

25. As far as the tracks concerned, whether yours is a plastic or metal-tracked version, these are fine for any early-production variant – but once you enter into mid-production territory these tracks really need to be replaced with another type with ice cleats [three pairs of raised chevrons /\ /\ /\ moulded onto the treads]. Electronic improvements aside, however, this is undoubtedly the most expensive up-grade and can easily double the cost of your original Tiger – but the later tracks do look much better in my opinion.

Comparing the HL metal tracks [early type] with the Taigen ones [later pattern with ice cleats].jpg
Comparing the HL metal tracks [early type] with the Taigen ones [later pattern with ice cleats].jpg (23.09 KiB) Viewed 11487 times

Another view of the Taigen later-pattern tracks.jpg
Another view of the Taigen later-pattern tracks.jpg (24.38 KiB) Viewed 11487 times
Last edited by tanks_for_the_memory on Wed Jul 20, 2016 12:07 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Postby Steenv » Wed Oct 26, 2011 6:11 pm

you are doing a great job with the mods- keep the pictures coming :-)
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Postby tanks_for_the_memory » Tue Nov 15, 2011 1:24 pm

Rear road wheel fix

It's not the most obvious correction to the HL Tiger - but it does look better!.jpg
It's not the most obvious correction to the HL Tiger - but it does look better!.jpg (35.76 KiB) Viewed 11407 times

Since this is going to be a mid-production Tiger 1 the road wheels are the same rubber-rimmed types used on the earlier models.
One of the less obvious simplifications of the Heng Long Tiger (at least until you notice it!) is the use of single dish road wheels along the central track run – these are the road wheels which are sandwiched between the outer and inner wheels on each side. The real tank used double-dish road wheels at this station, but HL obviously decided that it would be easier (and presumably cheaper) to mould the wheel as a single, thick piece.

Comparing the modified road wheel left with the HL original on the right.jpg
Comparing the modified road wheel left with the HL original on the right.jpg (29.93 KiB) Viewed 11407 times

Another comparison from the side.jpg
Another comparison from the side.jpg (29.39 KiB) Viewed 11407 times

Although this is almost completely hidden by the tracks (and the sprocket at the front) there is one place where it can be seen quite clearly – from a rear-quarter view the thick wheel is visible next to the idler.

There are, I guess, two options here. It should be possible to cut into the rim and make the wheel appear to be in two halves, but the fact that the inside of the wheel is hollow would make this a difficult proposition.

I went for the only alternative (apart from spending a small fortune on up-grading the entire running gear) – combining the inner single-dish of the HL wheel with Tamiya parts.

Single Tamiya sprues are quite easy to find on the net – especially on ebay. I bought a few different ones at the same time to save on postage from Japan so each sprue probably worked out at less than £8 each. For this fix you only need one road wheel sprue because it contains three of each type, plus four rubber tyres. The Tamiya instructions can be downloaded for free from the internet.

The first step was to remove the outer part of the HL axle from the outer wheel. This I did with my trusty rotary tool and cutting disc. However, be warned: the wheels are made from some sort of plastic compound which produces unpleasant fine dust and this should not be done in an enclosed space.

Rear outer road wheel after removal of axle shaft - messy but effective!.jpg
Rear outer road wheel after removal of axle shaft - messy but effective!.jpg (28.22 KiB) Viewed 11407 times

Once the axle was free I sanded it down to fit onto the back of the outer dish of the Tamiya road wheel. The latter then had its centre cut out so that the axle would sit behind it, exposing the screw head. The fact that the screw heads can be seen on all of the HL wheels is not, of course, true to the original tank either – but because they are inset quite deeply this is not an obvious problem and, quite frankly, there is no (sane) alternative I can think of if you are keeping the original suspension!

The three pieces ready for re-assembly side by side.jpg
The three pieces ready for re-assembly side by side.jpg (33.2 KiB) Viewed 11407 times

The inner dish of the Tamiya road wheel has now been installed on the HL axle - the outer dish has been adapted to fit.jpg
The inner dish of the Tamiya road wheel has now been installed on the HL axle - the outer dish has been adapted to fit.jpg (29.32 KiB) Viewed 11407 times

Meanwhile the inner dish (of the outer wheel) also had its centre enlarged so that the HL axle would simply slide through it.
Once I had done this the tyres where slid onto the wheels and a comparison made with the HL original to ensure that the width was the same. The new wheel dishes were then glued to the axle and each other using epoxy glue and left to dry over night.

Both rear road wheels after outer hubs have been replaced with Tamiya parts - one tyre is left off to represent battle damage.jpg
Both rear road wheels after outer hubs have been replaced with Tamiya parts - one tyre is left off to represent battle damage.jpg (30.2 KiB) Viewed 11407 times

Another view of the finished road wheels showing the correct double dish on the outer sides.jpg
Another view of the finished road wheels showing the correct double dish on the outer sides.jpg (31.12 KiB) Viewed 11407 times

Once installed I felt that the effort required was worth it – even if the result can only be seen from a certain angle. There are slight differences when a comparison is made – e.g. the hex bolt detail on the Tamiya wheels is much better than the HL wheel nuts – but overall I don’t think this will be noticeable – especially once I have added some mud...

The finished road wheel installed on the other side.jpg
The finished road wheel installed on the other side.jpg (35.33 KiB) Viewed 11407 times

While I had the opportunity I also added added some battle damage to one of the wheels – quite common from the evidence of war time photos. Indeed, it wasn’t uncommon for road wheels to be dislodged altogether. For the time being I have also left off one of the tyres to simulate one having worked itself lose.
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Postby magmer » Tue Nov 15, 2011 4:25 pm

A great build thread with lots of useful tips. Pity the real Tiger ended up at the gunnery range at Lulworth how much would an intact one like that be worth now!!

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Postby The Tank Man » Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:25 pm

It's looking realy good! So glad you posted this I've been looking for this post with picks of moving the turret ring! I'm on with moving mine now!! :thumbup:
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Postby Saxondog » Tue Nov 15, 2011 10:26 pm

Well done, good innovation and many good details. Its always nice to see innovation used to take the basic Tiger and turn it into a unique one of a kind tank. :thumbup:
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Postby majordisastor » Wed Nov 16, 2011 2:44 pm

A very good build thread here, nicely considered add ons and a wealth of archive material to back them up.

I am enjoying reading the thread as much as I am enjoying your build pictures.

As you have found out, there are many twists and turns in the Tigers tale as its build and development history shows, thanks for taking the time to post in such detail !!

Andy
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Postby tanks_for_the_memory » Thu Nov 17, 2011 5:05 pm

Thanks for the kind words and encouragement gentlemen - part of my reason for doing this post was to give myself the proverbial kick up the backside and get on with it...

Next:

The Turret Fix

As mentioned above, the Heng Long Tiger 1 turret is split along its side to allow access to the inner workings. This is not as logical as the Tamiya turret which, like the real thing, has a separate turret roof. I can only presume that the people at HL designed it this way because the bb gun pivots between extensions which reach down from the roof and up from the turret floor - and is also sprung against the roof - so the whole thing relies for its strength on the top and bottom of the turret being held firmly together. Anyway, it works.

Unfortunately it also means that there is a quite arbitrary line where the two halves join which stretches around the the sides of the turret. It's not especially noticeable on the unmodified tank - partly because the split lines up with the undercuts at the turret front and rear. However, once the rear undercut - which shouldn't be there - is filled in (see above) it starts to look more noticeable. Then, if you want to add zimmerit, it becomes a real pain.

So why not just forget about it and entomb the whole thing in zimmerit anyway? Because (knowing my luck) something electronic or mechanical would quickly go wrong inside and I wouldn't be able to get at it...

The solution, which came to me gradually, is simply to move the join between turret top and bottom to underneath the turret by cutting the lower side portions free of the turret base and attaching them to the upper sides. This is made possible because what actually keeps the top and bottom halves together are the long screws and their mounts which stretch up inside clear of the sides. It's thus relatively easy to cut along a line between these screw mounts and the lower sides and leave the turret base a little naked - but intact.

Close up of right front of turret with lower & upper sides now attached and zimmerit.JPG
Close up of right front of turret with lower & upper sides now attached and zimmerit.JPG (18.33 KiB) Viewed 11328 times

Close up of left front of turret with lower & upper sides now attached and zimmerit.JPG
Close up of left front of turret with lower & upper sides now attached and zimmerit.JPG (19.62 KiB) Viewed 11328 times
Underside of commander's corner of turret.JPG
Underside of commander's corner of turret.JPG (18.75 KiB) Viewed 11328 times

Underside of loader's corner of turret.JPG
Underside of loader's corner of turret.JPG (18.53 KiB) Viewed 11328 times

Rear underside view showing restored undercut and new stowage bin.JPG
Rear underside view showing restored undercut and new stowage bin.JPG (14.75 KiB) Viewed 11328 times

The remaining turret floor after the lower sides have been cut away and attached to the upper sides.JPG
The remaining turret floor after the lower sides have been cut away and attached to the upper sides.JPG (19.27 KiB) Viewed 11328 times

View of turret floor from the other side.JPG
View of turret floor from the other side.JPG (17.25 KiB) Viewed 11328 times

This I accomplished with my rotary tool and a cutting wheel. It's messy and I admit I could have done a neater job, but once it's finished you can't see the ragged cutting line anyway because it's hidden beneath the turret. Well, actually - as I soon realized - there is one place where you can see it - along the curved front of the turret base beneath the mantlet. I scratched my head about this for a while before I came up with the solution - a strip of metal which overlaps onto the side of the turret and thus conceals the join.

Copper strip added to underneath of mantlet to conceal the join between upper turret and floor.JPG
Copper strip added to underneath of mantlet to conceal the join between upper turret and floor.JPG (15.52 KiB) Viewed 11328 times

Reunited turret top and bottom with copper strip concealing join.JPG
Reunited turret top and bottom with copper strip concealing join.JPG (19.26 KiB) Viewed 11328 times

It seems to have worked pretty well. One side-effect of all this surgery is that the turret bottom loses some of its rigidity (not that it had that much in the first place). The metal plate added to the rear lip in front of the stowage bin (of which more below) is one attempt to add some strength.
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Postby andy_01732 » Fri Feb 24, 2012 1:18 pm

Hi,
any progress with the Tiger? This is one of the best build reports I have read. Have just started on my own mid Tiger. Andy

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Postby tisaksen » Fri Feb 24, 2012 1:33 pm

Awesome work :-)

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Postby tanks_for_the_memory » Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:23 pm

March Update: More Turret Modifications

Thanks for the encouraging words gentlemen. I needed a light kick up the derrier after the distractions of Christmas, tax returns and other delights.

Actually I haven’t been idle.

First off here’s a few pictures of the remaining work on the turret ring, etc.

Close up of inside of turret showing lower and upper sides attached.JPG
Close up of inside of turret showing lower and upper sides attached.JPG (14.17 KiB) Viewed 11101 times

Brass strip covering joins between upper and lower turret.JPG
Brass strip covering joins between upper and lower turret.JPG (18.98 KiB) Viewed 11101 times


Taking my lead from other postings on this site I decided that the turret needed some extra stabilising where it sits on the hull. This is especially necessary if, like me, you are replacing the bb gun with the Asiatam recoil unit because the metal barrel makes the turret rather nose heavy. I was also keen to try and disguise the fact that the (relocated) turret ring is still far too small.

First I acquired some of those sprung ball catches which are used to keep cupboard doors shut. I drilled four holes in my turret base and then glued them in place with copious amounts of glue and short lengths of brass tubing used as sleeves where they protruded above. In the end I decided that the rear one wasn’t needed.

Three ball catches in place - they are placed so that they will run inside the new ring on the upper hull.JPG
Three ball catches in place - they are placed so that they will run inside the new ring on the upper hull.JPG (12.32 KiB) Viewed 11101 times

Side view of ball catches on underside of turret floor.JPG
Side view of ball catches on underside of turret floor.JPG (21.68 KiB) Viewed 11101 times


These were placed so that as the turret revolved they would run around the hull top. I order to hide them – and to give the illusion of a wider turret ring when the turret was viewed from the side – I then cut out a plastic ring of the right diameter which I glued to the hull top. Note that this is not supposed to be the turret ring splash guard which was fitted to late model Tigers.

False turret ring cut from plasticard and glued to hull top.JPG
False turret ring cut from plasticard and glued to hull top.JPG (17.65 KiB) Viewed 11101 times


Incidentally, I found an excellent and cheap compass cutter for this purpose made by Jakar – the same people who made my cutting mat. For us Brits it’s £4.25 including postage on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jakar-Compass-C ... 781&sr=8-1

It is a little light to cut into thick plasticard, but the trick is to use the blade to score deep enough so that you can then separate by gently bending the card.

This compass cutter is made by Jakar (who also made my cutting mat). It's very cheap and, with a bit of patience, can cut very neat circles.JPG
This compass cutter is made by Jakar (who also made my cutting mat). It's very cheap and, with a bit of patience, can cut very neat circles.JPG (16.18 KiB) Viewed 11101 times


NOTE: Later on I found that, although the plasticard ring made he turret revolve smoothly, it also made it sit too high. So I removed it and all of the ball catches apart from the one at the front. The turret revolves fine...

Now I needed to make two structural alterations to the inside of the turret. Again these were for the installation of the recoil unit. I will deal with the actual wiring of this in due course – having only just mastered it myself!

Because I had removed the old commander’s cupola I had also lost one of the internal mounts for the old bb hopper. This is supposed to be one of the anchor points for the Asiatam recoil unit. Here I improvised by bending a thick piece of brass strip into a rough ‘S’ shape, gluing one end to the turret roof and drilling a suitable hole in the other. I then used a small nut and bolt to attach the recoil unit.

Inside turret showing brass strip bent to replace the missing mount for the recoil unit.JPG
Inside turret showing brass strip bent to replace the missing mount for the recoil unit.JPG (14.37 KiB) Viewed 11101 times

Recoil unit now attached with nut and bolt.JPG
Recoil unit now attached with nut and bolt.JPG (17.01 KiB) Viewed 11101 times


Another unforeseen issue was what I suppose I should call ‘Tiger’s droop’. The metal barrel is so heavy that it naturally sits on the bottom of the barrel sleeve attached to the mantlet. My solution was to glue a thick brass strip inside the bottom to keep the barrel properly centred where it protrudes from this sleeve.

Brass strip inserted at inside bottom of barrel sleeve to stop metal barrel drooping.JPG
Brass strip inserted at inside bottom of barrel sleeve to stop metal barrel drooping.JPG (24.74 KiB) Viewed 11101 times


Incidentally, I have also just discovered the joys of adhesive Velcro strip. This is very useful for keeping things from sliding about inside the tank whilst also allowing them to be easily removed when needed. So, for example I, I Velcro-ed the gun flash battery onto the inside rear of the turret.

Eventually I was able to reattach my turret floor and get ready to turn it the right way, mount it back onto the hull – and pray that it all worked..!

Turret bottom loosely in place. Note rear undercut to turret infilled with strips of plasticard.JPG
Turret bottom loosely in place. Note rear undercut to turret infilled with strips of plasticard.JPG (35.59 KiB) Viewed 11101 times


More coming soon...
Last edited by tanks_for_the_memory on Wed Jul 20, 2016 12:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby jeff1101 » Fri Mar 02, 2012 5:27 pm

Your posts sir are a wealth of information. Too bad you weren't interested in the Panther or I would have mined you for details as you undoubtedly would pour as much effort to it as you have done for the Tiger.

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Postby tanks_for_the_memory » Fri Mar 02, 2012 6:23 pm

Well, funnily enough my youngest son has an HL Panther... But I've got to finish this beast first!
Last edited by tanks_for_the_memory on Fri Mar 02, 2012 11:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby mustclime » Fri Mar 02, 2012 6:29 pm

Great thread....I love the work you are doing here. I am wimping out on correcting my hl tiger and getting a hollow wsn tiger amd using the best of both to make a loner for the club I am with.
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Postby Reaper332 » Fri Mar 02, 2012 11:09 pm

fantastic build Mate :thumbup:
Ken
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Postby tanks_for_the_memory » Mon Mar 05, 2012 12:22 pm

Working hull MG ball mount

I did a separate post on this several months ago, but this is my refined version. The original HL hull MG leaves a lot to be desired. The older models (like mine) didn’t even come with a flashing version and the newer one is certainly an improvement, but there is nothing to replicate the working ball mount which they do provide on their Panthers.

One quick fix is the Asiatam insert which simply sits inside the aperture. It looks fairly convincing (although it’s not set in deep enough) and does at least allow for an improved flashing MG to be fitted.

My rather Heath Robinson-esque solution involved the following:

First I drilled out the aperture completely and used a spherical sanding fitting for my drill to shape it from the inside.

MG apperture opened up and hollowed out from inside.jpg
MG apperture opened up and hollowed out from inside.jpg (96.91 KiB) Viewed 11048 times


Then I found a suitably sized plastic bauble from a cheap girl’s hair band (in a lovely subversive pink) which I drilled out to accept the Asiatam MG with an additional hole for the sight.

Plastic hair baubles, Asiatam MG and the superficial metal ball mount.jpg
Plastic hair baubles, Asiatam MG and the superficial metal ball mount.jpg (83 KiB) Viewed 11048 times

Asiatam MG 34 sitting snuggly inside the ball.jpg
Asiatam MG 34 sitting snuggly inside the ball.jpg (50.55 KiB) Viewed 11048 times

Obviously the subversive pink just had to go....jpg
Obviously the subversive pink just had to go....jpg (47.67 KiB) Viewed 11048 times


This was then boxed in internally with some thick plasticard. One I had done this I realised that, although the gun could swivel left, right, up and down, it could also twist on its axis. It shouldn’t. Accordingly I inserted a metal pin in each side and cut matching slots in the sides of my plasticard box to prevent this.

Underside of plasticard box before adding metal pins.JPG
Underside of plasticard box before adding metal pins.JPG (61.39 KiB) Viewed 11048 times

After metal pegs and matching slots have been added.jpg
After metal pegs and matching slots have been added.jpg (31.5 KiB) Viewed 11048 times


The ball I used was actually too large (it should be about half the size) but once it’s in place behind the mount I like to think it looks pretty convincing.

Finished ball mount.jpg
Finished ball mount.jpg (87.38 KiB) Viewed 11048 times

By the way, I was worried that when I wired up my Asiatam flashing MG to the HL circuit it would blow the tiny LED (there was a warning on the site where I bought it). Eventually I plucked up the courage and it was fine.

If you leap forward you will see how I changed the zimmerit...

Not all Tigers had the circular pattern around the kubelblende - but it certainly adds interest!.jpg
Not all Tigers had the circular pattern around the kubelblende - but it certainly adds interest!.jpg (30.87 KiB) Viewed 7767 times
Last edited by tanks_for_the_memory on Tue Jun 17, 2014 11:37 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby Reaper332 » Mon Mar 05, 2012 1:17 pm

Great work mate its lookin good :thumbup:
Ken
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Postby mustclime » Mon Mar 05, 2012 2:26 pm

Why don't you just box the ball insted of putting it on a axis? Then you could get movment in all directions...
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Postby tanks_for_the_memory » Mon Mar 05, 2012 3:25 pm

I did simply box it in at first, but that meant it could still twist. By adding the pegs and slots I still have full lateral and vertical movement, but the gun and sight aperture remain in alignment... Does that make sense?!
Last edited by tanks_for_the_memory on Mon Mar 05, 2012 5:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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