Here are some early war tank projects.
First the 38t
PzKpfw 38(t) ausf B
Command Tank (I02)
I Battalion, 25th Panzer Regiment,
7th Panzer Division
Russian Front, Summer 1941
This tank has been one of my favorite tanks, from my days as a 1/35 modeler.
Maybe some of the charm was how the Germans took over this tank and used it to their advantage, maybe it was due to the 7PzDv/Rommel connection.
I tried various avenues to get a 38t in 1/6, as scratchbuilding is out of the question for me.
I finally decided to go with the Mardon 38t after seeing the resin running gear from Panzerwerk.
When I finally got the 38t from Greg I was somewhat dissapointed as I had seen an image of the tank, but thought that maybe it had been somewhat upgraded.
It is one of Mardon’s poorest vehicles. I already had the running gear and finally got around tackling this vehicle. I have no idea what version Mardon was supposed to represent but it had plenty of mistakes, some of which I changed and some which would have been simply too much work.
The model did not have the hatch for the MG operator, and had little room for this hatch. I simply made a non-operational hatch, not full size but made some room by making the “stepped” front plate as part of the changes, backdating it to an ausf B. Used styrene and Aves Epoxy to make this area and replaced as with the rest of the tank the rivets with metal rivets from Microfasteners.
The tank’s rivets were made with small blobs of glue, and they were ok, but got going and decided to change most to metal rivets.
The fender brackets are not in the correct places and the main turret hatch opens incorrectly, but in both cases I let these as they were.
Replaced the tow hooks with the pieces from Panzerwerk.
Used idler, sprocket wheel, roadwheels and tracks from Panzerwerk, used 2-56 hex bolts to hook the links. Used one 1 inch long and one 3/8 of an inch. In some cases used only the short bolts on both ends as the ong bolt made the link less flexible. Painted the links once hooked with various shades of rust and then dry brushed with dark steel and then lightly with silver.
It took me a long time to figure out how to get the running gear on, in a way that I could remove it later to paint and also in a way that the alignment would be what I wanted as the wheel spacing on this tank is a big key to the overall look. Particularly the larger space between the pair of roadwheels. Also wanted to add the Panzerwerk springs.
I decided to go with a command style tank for a couple of reasons.
First it meant that I only needed to upgrade one of the MG as the hull MG would be plated over. And second I wanted a command tank to make it a platform for tank officers and a companion to my 250/3.
For the turret MG, I used the great MG37 that came with the DID Herbert Zeller. It was almost criminal to break up the piece just to use that one secion, but if you knew what the stock Mardon MG looked like you would know that it was worth it!
Used the casing from the stock piece and dremelled out the interior to make room for the DID piece.
The tools are from Mike Stannard, with DML german trouser buckles and Rio Rondo leather.Antennae mounts and antennae also from Mike Stannard.
The jack is from Toy Surgeon, a piece I got maybe 4 years ago and finally got to see the light! It is amazing when you store so many parts how one day an almost forgotten piece becomes perfect for a particular project. Made a new main gun sight tower from Aves sculpt epoxy. Fire extinguisher is from Armorpax and the tow cable is also from Mike Stannard. I tied it up for weeks to help it get into shape! These tow cables from Mike could pull a real tank!
Made some brackets from styrene and larger Micro fastener bolts to be used for the spare track links on the fenders. Looking at many early 38t images the spare links on the lower front area of the hull were not that common.
Placed several od Mike’s “D” metal hooks to allow for later equipment tie points on the rear deck.
Removed some area of the rear deck as it had detail of later types of this tank and covered with styrene.
This tank, although not exact is trying to represent an ausf B converted to command tank.
The ones with the “railing antenna” on the rear are more common but for Barbarrossa this type with the two large antenna were also used. Some references also mention this style of command tank in France, not sure about that.
The markings took a lot of thought. I pefer these red and white markings, but initially thought of a France 7PzDv tank. Once I went with the two antennae, in my mind it almost limited me to 1941 and Russia, so went with the red an white numbers and the 1941 “Y” symbol for the division. It is interesting how some books show vehicles with large numbers , similar to this tank in France and I think they are wrongly identified, but who knows.
The markings are I02 representing a 1st Battalion command tank. There would be two or three command tanks (with the extra radios as this one represents) and the #2 would be the first substitute for the Battalion commander if anything happened to his tank.
That way I can use this I02 for the Battalion commander or for the backup tank of the command group. It could even be a replacement for the Regimental command tank if needed.
A couple of years back I made six figures representing Adalbert Schultz at different times during his career, always as part of the 7PzDv.
I used one of the figures, the one of Schulz as a captain for these first images.
I’m working on a command group crew which will include a new Schulz figure of him as commander of the I Battalion with the rank of major. I used a different HS this time from the other 6 figures, so I could use this figure along with the new group.
I first painted the whole vehicle Tamiya Panzer Gray. I then brushed on all the areas under the fender a mixture of baking soda, railroad ballast(very fine), acrylic paint and white glue. This to give some texture to the underside of the tank that would be as usual very dirty and dusty. I finished the lower are of the tank including the tracks and then turned the tank over, covered the finished areas with paper towel and began detailing and painting the upper areas.
This time around I took many images of the tank as work in progress.
You can go to this album for images of the before iimages of the tank and many images along the way. The best way is to click the slideshow option and it goes quickly.
I applied tha various equipment parts and painted as I went along. As usual I applied basic Tamiya German Gray, adding low lights with a darker mix of the same color and a very dark brown(similar to the old Testor’s “Rubber” color. I then add layers of various colors, a reddish light brown, Tamiya Flat Brown(which is more reddish than their Red Brown, Flat Earth and Buff. I picked out most rivets with the “Rubber” color to give a nie dark mase for a light pass of dry brushing later on that then brings out all the detail. The rear deck air recognition flag is also Mike Stannard, a fantastic piece. It is attached by my usual string(sail ship rigging material) to the “D” rings.
For the markings I used home made stencils. I use John’s Stuff’s decals to make the stencils. Added bits of two sided tape, here and there, to make the two parts of the crosses easier to handle.
Using Word to do the I02 stencil I sprayed the red color first, then the white outline. I then finished painting(the stencil had gaps) by hand. Used another stencil for the “Y” divisional symbol.
I gave the I02 a lot of thought as it is well documented that command tanks began changing their marking to be less of a target on the battle field.
Finally made up my mind after receiving the recent Kursk book in which Schulz is next to his command tank at the time(a PzIIIL). The markings were clearly R01 or R02(he was Regimental commander by then) so I concluded if he was using the regular designation in the summer of 1943 he would be most likely be using the regular designation in the summer of 1941.
Here some more images of details on the tank:
Here some images with the old Schulz as captain figure on the turret in this csse representing a member of the HQ group of the I Battalion: