Author Topic: Tunisian Tiger I (My Father's Tank)  (Read 51818 times)

Offline Second Air Force

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Tunisian Tiger I (My Father's Tank)
« on: February 18, 2012, 04:51:59 PM »
Time to start the thread on the SdKfz 181 Ausf.E build.

As some of you have read in earlier posts, this early-production Tiger was recovered by U.S. forces in Tunisia and shipped to the United States for testing at Aberdeen Proving Ground. It is still in existence today and is currently in Great Britain. There is some controversy (that I don't really know much about) surrounding this vehicle and its eventual return to the U.S. for museum display.

The real connection for me is that my father was part of the 1st Armored Division maintenance team that recovered and repaired this machine in Tunisia in the spring of 1943. More on that later.

Here are the principal elements I've gotten rounded up to build this monster:
http://i174.photobucket.com/albums/w117/2AF/IMG_8695.jpg
Tunisian Tiger I (My Father's Tank)


http://i174.photobucket.com/albums/w117/2AF/IMG_8939.jpg
Tunisian Tiger I (My Father's Tank)


http://i174.photobucket.com/albums/w117/2AF/IMG_9051.jpg
Tunisian Tiger I (My Father's Tank)


http://i174.photobucket.com/albums/w117/2AF/IMG_9208.jpg
Tunisian Tiger I (My Father's Tank)


http://i174.photobucket.com/albums/w117/2AF/IMG_9292.jpg
Tunisian Tiger I (My Father's Tank)


I'll start some "in progress" photos at a later time.

Scott

Offline Sall

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Re: Tunisian Tiger I (My Father's Tank)
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2012, 05:02:37 PM »
 :-ok

Offline No.1

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Re: Tunisian Tiger I (My Father's Tank)
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2012, 06:46:26 PM »
This will be build with great background!!!

Offline Second Air Force

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Re: Tunisian Tiger I (My Father's Tank)
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2012, 09:45:39 PM »
Yes, this will be a nostalgic build for me. Dad spoke of working on this Tiger a number of times when I was younger and I wish that I had written down his talks.

I was amazed at how much information there is on the web pertaining to the Tunisian Tigers, especially this vehicle and the British one that is now at Bovington.

I reckon that Tiger 712 is the only AFV still intact that I can confirm my father worked on. As such, it holds a special place for me.

Offline Sall

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Re: Tunisian Tiger I (My Father's Tank)
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2012, 01:10:52 AM »
I love builds with story behind! And yours is very personal! Go ahead mate! I will certainly enjoy,hope you will to! :-flo

Offline Second Air Force

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Re: Tunisian Tiger I (My Father's Tank)
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2012, 04:26:21 AM »
It's been many years since I built any kind of armored vehicle so I decided to do the repetetive work up front. The Tiger has a LOT of road wheels and these all had a molding seam on the tires that needed to be removed. Since the Unimat was waiting to go to work these were all chucked into the lathe and the seams were removed with this fine file. Much easier than sanding!
http://i174.photobucket.com/albums/w117/2AF/IMG_8852.jpg
Tunisian Tiger I (My Father's Tank)

http://i174.photobucket.com/albums/w117/2AF/IMG_8853.jpg
Tunisian Tiger I (My Father's Tank)


Next the tires were painted and set aside to let the paint cure. Then the masking template was used to paint the front and rear of each wheel set with Panzer grey. These early tanks had the desert yellow/brown camouflage applied after the tank had originally been painted with the grey so I gave these a coat of grey also.
http://i174.photobucket.com/albums/w117/2AF/IMG_9030.jpg
Tunisian Tiger I (My Father's Tank)


Next I started on the lower hull, installing the road wheel swingarms and the final drive housings for the drive sprockets. In this photo you can see how the factory sprayed the entire hull with red oxide-style primer, then oversprayed the visible areas with Panzer grey. My research and several photos I've found suggests that the red primer didn't get completely overcoated in some areas that were not visible, thus the red showing on the hull bottom and under the fenders.
http://i174.photobucket.com/albums/w117/2AF/IMG_9031.jpg
Tunisian Tiger I (My Father's Tank)


Of course after getting this all done I had to try dry-fitting the sprocket and wheels to get a feel for what is to come. Also I tried the kit-supplied rubber track but didn't care for the way it rides on the road wheels. The AFV Club individual track segment kit was just the ticket for a replacement as I've shown on another thread.
http://i174.photobucket.com/albums/w117/2AF/IMG_9123.jpg
Tunisian Tiger I (My Father's Tank)

http://i174.photobucket.com/albums/w117/2AF/IMG_9234-1.jpg
Tunisian Tiger I (My Father's Tank)


The wheels and sprockets next got a coat of Afrika Braun camouflage. This will be enhanced later and is the first topcoat to be applied.
http://i174.photobucket.com/albums/w117/2AF/IMG_9230.jpg
Tunisian Tiger I (My Father's Tank)


The final installment for this post is to show the AFV track temporarily installed with the inner road wheels. Notice that the inner wheels don't have a full coat of the sand color as the painter was not able to fully coat them with the outer wheels installed.
http://i174.photobucket.com/albums/w117/2AF/IMG_9232.jpg
Tunisian Tiger I (My Father's Tank)

Offline No.1

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Re: Tunisian Tiger I (My Father's Tank)
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2012, 07:02:40 AM »
This went so good mate :)

Offline Sall

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Re: Tunisian Tiger I (My Father's Tank)
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2012, 12:18:01 PM »
Very good post from you side Scott. I love when i can see soooo much informations about one build. Anyone who want to build something like this, can found great informations with easy. Bravo,and great progress!! :-clap :-clap
Also,glad to see that Unimat is in use!! :-tri :-clap

Offline Second Air Force

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Re: Tunisian Tiger I (My Father's Tank)
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2012, 07:24:06 PM »
Yes, the lathe likes to be operated as often as possible. It is like most machines that would rather work than just sit around.

Here's a little more update on the build. First a couple of photos of the idler wheels and drive sprockets after putting them together and the road wheel swingarms prior to installation. On the real thing there is a torsion bar that attaches to each swingarm and goes across the hull of the tank to fasten on the other sidewall. The tracks are kept at the proper tension by an adjusting mechanism at the idler wheel spindle.
http://i174.photobucket.com/albums/w117/2AF/IMG_8848.jpg
Tunisian Tiger I (My Father's Tank)

http://i174.photobucket.com/albums/w117/2AF/IMG_8849.jpg
Tunisian Tiger I (My Father's Tank)


These are the elements of the turret that come with the kit. Really, this should only be built with the hatches closed since the detail is so lacking. However, I wanted both hatches open so the majority of the interior will be from the spares boxes. There are excellent resin detail sets to superdetail the Tiger but I decided not to invest two times the price of the model in an aftermarket kit.
http://i174.photobucket.com/albums/w117/2AF/IMG_8885.jpg
Tunisian Tiger I (My Father's Tank)


And, finally for this installment, a shot of the hull top during the first stage of work.
http://i174.photobucket.com/albums/w117/2AF/IMG_8887.jpg
Tunisian Tiger I (My Father's Tank)

Offline No.1

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Re: Tunisian Tiger I (My Father's Tank)
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2012, 08:06:43 PM »
Parts look so precise so it look like this will be easy to assembly :)

Offline Second Air Force

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Re: Tunisian Tiger I (My Father's Tank)
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2012, 08:15:59 PM »
Yes, it's typical Tamiya where fit and exterior detail are concerned--GREAT! This isn't the newest or most technological SdKfz 181 kit on the market, though, and the age shows with the lack of interior detail. I don't find this a problem at all, but if someone wanted to build a really detailed Tiger there are better kits available today. This kit offered the exact configuration I needed to build Dad's tank and I can easily work around the missing interior stuff.

The photo of the hull deck shows a LOT of holes where Pioneer equipment, tow cables, and other equipment goes. These are nicely molded in the kit but I'm not using any of these items. 712 was found intact but with a broken drivetrain. Apparently, when the crew was forced to abandon it they took all the tools and cables along with them. All of the holes have now been filled with styrene sprue and a touch of filler in anticipation of using the Eduard PE stowage brackets.

Offline No.1

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Re: Tunisian Tiger I (My Father's Tank)
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2012, 08:17:42 PM »
The most important point is that kit is correct, other things are less important (at least for me)

Offline Sall

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Re: Tunisian Tiger I (My Father's Tank)
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2012, 08:31:05 PM »
 :-ok :-clap

Offline Second Air Force

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Re: Tunisian Tiger I (My Father's Tank)
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2012, 08:37:22 PM »
I agree, No.1.  Thanks for the support, Sall! :-flo

There were two definite configurations of the Tiger in Tunisia, the  "first" or "initial" production and "early" production. The first few that were sent to North Africa were initial type and the second batch was of the early type. 712 was early production with some initial production elements and this tank gives the option to build it that way.

There is some erroneous information that this tank was originally numbered 112 and later renumbered 712. This information has been proven incorrect. Tiger 112 carried the serial number of 250012. Dad's machine was actually 250031. Photos of 112 and 712 show that they definitely had many different details, 112 being initial production and 712 being, as I stated earlier, an early production tank. It's rather confusing since the instrument panel from 112 somehow got installed in 712. I have wondered if the American crew had to take parts from other machines to prepare 712 for operation and that was when the panel of 112 got installed. No way to know--I wish Dad were still here to ask!

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Re: Tunisian Tiger I (My Father's Tank)
« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2012, 06:18:21 PM »
Here's a hull-and-turret post. I'm not really getting much done on this or the SAAB B 17 because our garden is taking up my time right now. Here in Oklahoma I can plant peas, radishes, onions, and pototoes this time of year.

First, the interior of the hull. This is truly only basic detail rather than the full interior that is offered by various manufacturers. I am only attempting to block off the sides and bottom of the fighting compartment for the casual viewer, not for contest quality. The only two openings that will be available to the open eye are the two turret hatches. These early Tigers had an off-white interior color with the red primer at the bottom section.
http://i174.photobucket.com/albums/w117/2AF/IMG_8927.jpg
Tunisian Tiger I (My Father's Tank)


The turret sides and mantlet were then assembled and the top set in place temporarily.
http://i174.photobucket.com/albums/w117/2AF/IMG_8886.jpg
Tunisian Tiger I (My Father's Tank)


Next, just to check the fit, the top of the hull and turret were set onto the hull for a visual check. All modelers want to see how it will look, don't we!? :-jump
http://i174.photobucket.com/albums/w117/2AF/IMG_8888.jpg
Tunisian Tiger I (My Father's Tank)


The turret needs a small modification to properly represent 712. On most early production tanks there is a hatch on the right rear of the turret, used to load ammunition and as another escape hatch. 712 had the same configuration as the initial production machines, having a small-arms gun port in this location rather than the hatch. I simply glued the hatch in place and sanded/filled it smooth, then added the gun port. Tamiya provides two of these ports (thankfully) so this is quite easy.
http://i174.photobucket.com/albums/w117/2AF/IMG_8894.jpg
Tunisian Tiger I (My Father's Tank)

http://i174.photobucket.com/albums/w117/2AF/IMG_8897.jpg
Tunisian Tiger I (My Father's Tank)