In an earlier blog, I detailed the issue with the running gear on Battlefront's Panzer IV Ausf J. Yes, I was working up the tanks for this very list in January - actually in December, and I'm still not done! After taking a long hard look at the Battlefront miniature, I'm not sure they should have included the felt-bellows connected air filter on the Ausf J (the "muffler" or "exhaust" on the right side that sits on the tracks). According to Volume 2 of Spielberger's Panzerkampfwagen IV book, this feature was dropped from Ausf H production in February 1944. While I suppose it is hypothetically possible that very early production Ausf J may have had it present, later vehicles dropped it, and replaced it with a spare track hanging rack. So once again I was forced to perform surgery on the miniature.
I didn't have enough spare track lying around to convincingly run track on all four of the Panzer IV Ausf J I need for the list, so I only put the spare track on the commander's vehicle. In all cases I measured out the vertical supports for the rack and added them using strip styrene. For the rank and file I then just added piano wire to represent the actual hangers themselves. You can easily see the rack on the picture below... and a little clean up needed on that replacement idler! (Ohhhh what you find with primer!)
For the commander's vehicle, I added three columns of two links each, and then used stretched sprue to simulate the ends of the hanging rods. Contrary to popular belief I am actually not crazy enough to try and drill out the plastic tracks and actually hang them on the rod! I've still got some final clean-up to do on this guy as well.
Even the Jagdtigers of 1/512 aren't stock. The unit added machine gun mounts to the rear deck to provide limited AA defense. It would be an absolute tactic of desperation, which is why we didn't add it to the arsenal entry for the 1/512 Jagdtigers. The Mount looks simple but actually was fairly involved to create. The core is a piece of piano wire. The base is a couple of discs of styrene cut out using a punch and die set with a hole drilled in the middle to allow it to slide over the piano wire. Then I put a length of brass tubing over the wire leaving a small gap at the top. The tip is a piece of styrene rod sanded back to the right thickness. Next step is to actually add the gun, which is in my bits box somewhere!
Notice I've also added tow cables to the Jagdtigers, as Ernst's group still had his. They were missing a lot of the track guards, though! I have a few more final details to add and then these too will be ready to paint!
Last but not least, here's a group shot of what I have just about ready to paint for this army.
I'm still debating what all of the support choices will be, but I'm definitely including some Volksturm. Once there are good Stug III Ausf G (late) miniatures available from Battlefront, I'll add those to the army as well. It's unlikely I'll ever be able to field the whole thing together, but at least I'll have it!