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 philipat » Mon May 23, 2016 11:43 pm

Sweet! :thumbup:

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Postby FredtheFrench » Wed May 25, 2016 8:08 pm

Very beautiful work on this Tiger. The details are impressive.

But be careful, because I don' t remember than this air filter system was on a mid prod!!! There is no the double pipe. Maybe I am wrong, but when I see this part on your Tiger rear deck, I was "shocked".

For the voyager clamps, it is easier to made compared with Aber?
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Postby tanks_for_the_memory » Fri May 27, 2016 1:52 pm

Hi Fred,

I understand your shock...

When I started this build there was a lot I thought I knew about the evolution of the Tiger - but I was wrong a lot of the time!

If you look at some of the pictures above of my build you will see that I dealt with this. But here are some more to make it clearer:

Tiger 334 in the UK on the Lulworth Cove firing range, Dorset.jpg
Tiger 334 in the UK on the Lulworth Cove firing range, Dorset.jpg (94.86 KiB) Viewed 3356 times

If you look carefully you can see the trunking for the Feifel cleaners and the vertical rods for the clamps.

Tiger 334 in the UK on the Lulworth Cove firing range, Dorset - detail of rear engine deck.jpg
Tiger 334 in the UK on the Lulworth Cove firing range, Dorset - detail of rear engine deck.jpg (21.51 KiB) Viewed 3356 times

Hilary Doyle's drawing of the rear deck of Tiger 334 .jpg
Hilary Doyle's drawing of the rear deck of Tiger 334 .jpg (36.03 KiB) Viewed 3356 times

Basically, the mid-production Tigers still had the metal trunking for the Feifel air cleaners and the mounts on the engine hatch. These disappeared when they started adding the gun clamp to the rear of the engine deck.

And yes, the Voyager clamps are much, much easier than the Aber ones!

Finally, here is a view of the front headlight mount on the real thing:

Front headlight mount on the Saumur Tiger.jpg
Front headlight mount on the Saumur Tiger.jpg (31.72 KiB) Viewed 3236 times

Note that the zimmerit on the Saumur Tiger 1 was 'refreshed' post-war and, although I have seen contemporary photos showing the zimmerit covering the vertical part of the bracket (as here) I have never seen it on the driver's visor (but David may prove me wrong!)

The headlight bracket on the Vimoutiers Tiger, although the lower half has disappeared - note the gap behind which means that the bracket must have once sat proud of the zimmerit coating.jpg
The headlight bracket on the Vimoutiers Tiger, although the lower half has disappeared - note the gap behind which means that the bracket must have once sat proud of the zimmerit coating.jpg (34.09 KiB) Viewed 3236 times
Last edited by tanks_for_the_memory on Thu Jun 09, 2016 12:04 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby SovereignZuul » Fri May 27, 2016 3:42 pm

TFTM,

Great to see so much progress. She's really coming together, can't imagine you have much more work to go, but we know how it goes. :)

Still rooting for you,
Sov
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Postby Eastern Front » Fri May 27, 2016 4:14 pm

Beautiful Tiger!

But your Killing me "Smalls" ,,,I can't take it,,,I want to see the Paint! :D Then the weathering.....I am sure it will be worth the wait,,,but I can't wait!

Awesome job-----Awesome!

Cheers!
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Postby HERMAN BIX » Fri May 27, 2016 11:09 pm

Have you locked in your camo pattern Mr Tanks ?
No last moment change of mind!?
Must say I would be a nervous piss-wreck getting this tank to this point knowing that the paint is the Cognac in the ballon glass moment & all the pressure that goes with it !

Watching as always
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Postby tanks_for_the_memory » Fri May 27, 2016 11:44 pm

Gentlemen,

I note your kind words of warning... rest assured that both this Tiger and I are (almost) ready for the final denouement.

There are a few more things to attend to - the turret stowage box for one. And of course even once the dunkelgelb starts to go on I have all the fun of painting tools, wrestling with towing cables and such like. But it will be a summer of fun, fun, fun! [To quote the Beach Boys].

I'm just off to Berlin for a week - hopefully I should find a little inspiration in the capital city of the land of "Vorsprung durch Technik..." That's 'truth in engineering' apparently.

Meanwhile a few shots to keep the juices flowing:

With the turret back on we are starting to look as if we are back in business.jpg
With the turret back on we are starting to look as if we are back in business.jpg (30.55 KiB) Viewed 3342 times

Another view of the Tiger approaching its final stages.jpg
Another view of the Tiger approaching its final stages.jpg (24.59 KiB) Viewed 3314 times

A view any Allied soldier in Normandy would have preferred not to see.jpg
A view any Allied soldier in Normandy would have preferred not to see.jpg (30.92 KiB) Viewed 3342 times

Compared with the photos at the top of this post I can hardly believe how far this Tiger and I have travelled since....jpg
Compared with the photos at the top of this post I can hardly believe how far this Tiger and I have travelled since....jpg (30.2 KiB) Viewed 3342 times
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Postby tanks_for_the_memory » Fri Jun 03, 2016 9:02 am

Replacing the muzzle brake

Although Aber do a fine muzzle brake from separate brass pieces this one-piece version faithfully reproduces the shape.jpg
Although Aber do a fine muzzle brake from separate brass pieces this one-piece version faithfully reproduces the shape.jpg (24.63 KiB) Viewed 3295 times

Once you replace the Heng Long bb firing barrel with the metal recoil equivalent then you have to find a new muzzle brake. This is no bad thing because, whilst the plastic original looks fine at first, once compared to the better alternatives you can see that it is actually rather too 'fat'. I suppose it has to be to accommodate the bb firing function.

The Taigen barrels now come with their own plastic muzzle brakes already fitted. To be honest, if mine had come with one of these I would probably have settled for it, but when I bought mine it was just the barrel. So I looked elsewhere. Aber, as usual, come to the rescue - but their muzzle brake is typically complicated, being made of separate parts. So I found a much simpler option. This came from Tankzone and it's still available at reasonable price:

http://www.tankzone.co.uk/images/tam/ti/ti_gun02.jpg

it's a one piece brass turning and, to my eye, looks very close in proportion to both the Aber version and the real thing.

Brass early muzzle brake for the Tiger 1.jpg
Brass early muzzle brake for the Tiger 1.jpg (14.14 KiB) Viewed 3295 times

Another view of the brass muzzle brake.jpg
Another view of the brass muzzle brake.jpg (24.33 KiB) Viewed 3295 times

One more note. This is the early, larger muzzle brake which is suitable for the early and mid production Tigers. Once you get the steel wheels and monocular gun sight then the muzzle brake used was the smaller one which was, I believe, identical to that on the Tiger 1. Metal upgrades for these are also available, but from what I can see you may have trouble grafting them onto the Taigen metal barrel.

The brass muzzle brake really improves the appearance of the 88mm gun.jpg
The brass muzzle brake really improves the appearance of the 88mm gun.jpg (21.98 KiB) Viewed 3295 times
Last edited by tanks_for_the_memory on Wed Jun 08, 2016 11:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby kj68 » Fri Jun 03, 2016 7:48 pm

Hi tanks as you know I am new to RC Tanks and the forum but this thread is very interesting and inspirational as I am starting to put things right on my new Tiger 1 tank which arrived yesterday. I have gained loads of knowledge and ideas about my Tiger through your thread. So keep up the great work on this Tiger build. :thumbup:

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Postby tanks_for_the_memory » Fri Jun 03, 2016 8:56 pm

Thanks Kevin. It can be rewarding but also frustrating at times (not to mention the expense..)

Just keep at it, post the good and the bad - and be quicker than me!

Good luck!

Tanks / Tim
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Postby tanks_for_the_memory » Mon Jul 04, 2016 11:05 pm

Finishing the turret stowage bin

The stowage box from Build Your Own Tiger complete with photo-etch from the same series and Voyager.jpg
The stowage box from Build Your Own Tiger complete with photo-etch from the same series and Voyager.jpg (32.49 KiB) Viewed 3198 times

The rear turret stowage bin was a distinctive part of the Tiger's look. Without it the turret always looks a little unbalanced with the massive gun at the front - although in reality, since it was made of thin sheet metal - it obviously added no real weight at all.

An overall view with the turret stowage box primed and temporarily installed.jpg
An overall view with the turret stowage box primed and temporarily installed.jpg (23.67 KiB) Viewed 3154 times

I had started this a long while ago, using the Hachette Build Your Own Tiger magazine parts in place of the Heng Long bin, which I was able to remove once I had switched to the Taigen recoil unit (because this also takes care of the elevation, the plastic motor and cog installed at the rear of the HL turret are no longer needed).

The other alternative would have been to use the Tamiya bin. However, the attraction of the Hachette version was the opening bin lids and the associated photoetch which came with them.

The first step was to thin down parts of the inside to enable me to make realistic shrapnel / bullet holes - these were simply done by stabbing the outside with a sharp blade and twisting it. I also added a corner dent with a rounded needle file. As you can see from my photos of the venerable Bovington Tiger 1 (taken at the recent Tankfest) these sheet metal bins were particularly prone to such damage.

The somewhat battered stowage box on the Bovington Tiger 131 showing latches, locks and rivets.jpg
The somewhat battered stowage box on the Bovington Tiger 131 showing latches, locks and rivets.jpg (22.91 KiB) Viewed 3198 times

A close-up shows the multiple shrapnel holes.jpg
A close-up shows the multiple shrapnel holes.jpg (29.31 KiB) Viewed 3198 times

Although dimensionally pretty accurate, the Hachette bin also lacks the distinctive rearward slope of the real thing, so I sanded the sides and rear down a little to make the top sit at the correct angle. So far so good. Then I realised that the top of the bin was far too thick so I had to sand this down to a whisker of its actual thickness. On the Hachette version the tops of the lids sat at the same level as the bin roof - but they should actually sit above it.

Then came the opening lids. This was, I thought, the main advantage of using the Hachette parts, but then I realised that the lids, which were moulded as thick solid pieces of plastic, should actually be thin with even thinner sides. See this pic of a Tiger knocked out in Italy...

Late model Tiger in Italy.jpg

I almost admitted defeat but since I had come this far i took the trouble to sand one of them down and used plastic card to make the sides. At this point I thought that using the Tamiya bin (although you would have to cut away the moulded lids) and the Aber metal lids might have been a better idea - but since (I believe) these only come with the full Aber photoetch set this would have been an expensive option. Besides, what I had started I felt i had to finish! The lids also fit over an internal lip around the bin aperture and this I made from more thin plastic card. By this stage I had resolved to only keep one of the bins workable in order to save my sanity (or what's left of it). You will see that I had marked the lids with 'port' and' 'star' to avoid muddling them up - they are different but look almost the same.

A lot of work was needed to get the opening stowage box lid looking like this....jpg
A lot of work was needed to get the opening stowage box lid looking like this....jpg (27.77 KiB) Viewed 3198 times

The hinges that came with the Hachette set were then added without any further trouble. Most importantly, on the opening bin lid they worked just like the real thing. Note that, aside from Aber, there is no other source for these hinges because the Voyager set (of which see more in a moment) does not include them.

Sadly this was not the end because next you have to add the distinctive lid clamps. Oh god... Thankfully this is where Voyager come to the rescue yet again. These clamps are not unlike those used to fasten the front mounted jack block which means they can be made to work just like the real thing by clamping down the lid. However, once again I decided that making these workable was unfeasible and unrealistic on a working tank - so I cheated and glued them into place. This is another reason I decided to stop with only one opening lid - you can't properly close it without fastening the clamps and, if they're not workable, then this cannot be done. It seems feasible that the crew might forget to fasten one lid before driving off into battle - but not both...

Hinges and clamps now in place and a dark coat of paint added to the interior.jpg
Hinges and clamps now in place and a dark coat of paint added to the interior.jpg (33.91 KiB) Viewed 3198 times

One of the clamps on the port side.jpg
One of the clamps on the port side.jpg (25.46 KiB) Viewed 3198 times

I admit that my assembly of the Voyager clamps is far from perfect - but they should look OK with a coat of paint.jpg
I admit that my assembly of the Voyager clamps is far from perfect - but they should look OK with a coat of paint.jpg (25.7 KiB) Viewed 3198 times

The final step was to add the brackets which hold the bin to the turret. These come with the Voyager set and were supplemented with Masterclub hexagonal bolts. There are two underneath as well but I had simply made these with bent brass strip many moons ago and, since they can hardly be seen, I left them as they were. Finally, as I have already noted above, it is important to remember that the zimmerit was already applied to the turret rear before the stowage box was attached. These boxes could (and frequently were) lost in combat and it wouldn't have made much sense to leave a gaping hole in the anti-magnetic paste on the back of the turret. In fact I only applied the Magicsculp where it could be seen around the edges but I took the precaution of pressing the stowage box into the putty whilst it was still wet to make sure it sat right... All I have to do now is add a coat of primer.

Stowage box finished and test-fitted against the rear of the turret.jpg
Stowage box finished and test-fitted against the rear of the turret.jpg (36.44 KiB) Viewed 3198 times

Oh yes, I almost forgot the extra rivets. I will deal with these in the next post. Let's just say for now that it involved an old trick with PVA glue and a cocktail stick which I had last used over 30 years ago...
Last edited by tanks_for_the_memory on Wed Jul 06, 2016 10:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Estnische » Tue Jul 05, 2016 7:14 am

Thanks for your earlier post about the air intakes after Feifel removal. I was intending to use the Late intake cover, as an 'update', but combining this with pics from Tiger 1 In Action book, it's more legit to use the old type.
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Postby tanks_for_the_memory » Wed Jul 06, 2016 11:13 pm

You're welcome Estnische!

It has been quite a learning curve with this build, but one thing I have slowly come to realise is the fact that the evolution of Tiger 1s was a gradual and often overlapping process. Sometimes factories used up new stocks of parts before the old, meaning that the oldest were then fitted to later models of tanks. At other times factory and field repairs meant that parts of vehicles of a different vintage were reassembled in odd combinations - especially later in the war.

As a result you don't always need 'update' everything you think.

Only this week I came across a photo of a Tiger 1 in Czechoslovakia at the end of the war which had many of the early and mid-production features combined - early tracks, rubber tyres, hull smoke dischargers, side mounted headlights, drum cupola - but also a coat of zimmerit. This would certainly make for a far easier re-build of a stock Heng Long Tiger...
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Postby HERMAN BIX » Wed Jul 06, 2016 11:19 pm

From whAt I have read, they used a "last in-first out" parts system.
Meaning the newest parts for a series were fitted first then the older parts as the newer ones ran low.
Certainly explains why there was such a mix later on
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Postby tanks_for_the_memory » Wed Jul 06, 2016 11:42 pm

Dear Herman,

I know it's late here in the UK and early out in the Antipodes right now (although you are already into tomorrow), but I think you and I are singing from the same hymn sheet:

I say: "used up new stocks of parts before the old..."

You say: "the newest parts for a series were fitted first then the older parts as the newer ones ran low..."

Two nations divided by a common language?!

:)
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Postby HERMAN BIX » Thu Jul 07, 2016 2:04 am

Sure is !!

What gets me is that imagine the hassle of having tanks on a line, new hardware arriving for an upgraded idea, then having to shift stock to make space on the line, storing the old stock, overcoming any assembly or training on the new parts fitting(materials or techniques) then getting up to %100 again . :/ :crazy:

It makes more smarts to use whats to hand and then the superseded parts flow in as demand required.

Oh well..................
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Postby HERMAN BIX » Thu Jul 07, 2016 11:31 am

I actually dread the day this is finished !!
what will we use as the keystone of Tiger builds .................. :problem:
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Postby MAUS45 » Thu Jul 07, 2016 4:19 pm

Really nice work Herman. Great details added to bring it to life. Looking forward to the base coat of dark yellow!!! :thumbup:
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Postby HERMAN BIX » Thu Jul 07, 2016 9:12 pm

I have a suggestion for the membership.

Mr TFTM, if it's ok with you and the broader membership agrees, I would like to turn your thread into a "sticky" do it remains in place at the top of the section.

I personally feel it deserves to not sink to the back pages.

Thoughts ?
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Postby jarndice » Thu Jul 07, 2016 9:55 pm

I agree Herman,
Might I suggest expanding your idea to include the "Definitive" builds of Scalawags Challenger 2 :thumbup:
and Philipats Panzer 4 :thumbup: To mention but two off the top of my head.
Shaun.
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