Miniature Ordnance Review looks at the world of historical and fantasy miniatures wargaming and model building. From 15mm Flames of War, to Warhammer 40K, to 1/35th scale tanks, with some potential surprises on the horizon - you'll find them here!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Panzer IV/70 (A) Track Update

A few months back, I wrote a blog entry about the Panzer IV/70 (A) and my desire to actually do the generally very nice Battlefront miniature (GE110) justice. My major complaint at the time was the lack of a four steel-wheeled version of the tracks. At the time I was working to find a way to create a good set of tracks for the miniature, and now that my Soviet Lend Lease army is largely done, I've finally made some progress.

The first challenge was to create a steel-rimmed roadwheel that matched the scale of the rubber-tired wheels on the plastic Panzer IV Ausf H set (GBX79). I ended up finding some styrene tubing that was the right diameter, though it was too thick for the steel rim of the roadwheel. I thinned it down quite a bit, but left a little thickness there so you could actually see the detail once it's done (as the "real thing" is fairly tiny). I then added the center detail and hub and cast up several (shown below).

I ended up casting the wheels as a fairly long tube and then sanding them back to the required thickness rather than trying to cast a very thin wheel on its own. This let me custom fit the roadwheels to the tracks. Using my Dremel tool, I carefully removed the first four roadwheels of both sets of tracks, and then added in the steel wheels as replacements. 

Above you can see the process half way through - the top track run is ready for casting, while the bottom track run has had the first four roadwheels removed and ready for replacement.  

At this point I have finished both sets of tracks and the RTV is currently halfway through its 24-hour curing cycle - so by tomorrow night I may be able to start casting new tracks. I decided not to cast the fenders with the tracks, and instead I'm going to borrow the plastic fenders from the Battlefront Panzer IV Ausf J (GBX68) and use the metal ones from the Panzer IV/70 (A) (with the correct idler) for the Panzer IV's (as the Ausf J only began to use three return rollers starting in December 1944). I'll continue to post updates going forward as the project progresses!

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