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Louis Gardner
169 articles

1/35 Tamiya Panzer IV Ausf. J, Sd.Kfz. 161/2

March 12, 2017 · in Armor · · 23 · 3.9K

Here's an older build of mine. It's kit number 35181, and uses the kit decals from an "Unknown" German Armor unit. This model was built using Dragon individual track links and the crew members were sourced from the kit, with a possible addition from a Dragon Panzer crew set... (I honestly don't remember exactly). Figures are my weak spot, I must admit.

This was initially sprayed in Model Master "Panzer DunkelGelb" from a rattle can. After it dried, I sprayed on a heavy coat of "Schokoladenbraun" to replicate the twin colored camouflage pattern using an Aztek air brush. The tank was given a coat of Dull coat to seal the decals. I used a brush and applied gloss clear to the muddy areas to make it look "Wet" as if the tank just drove through some mud.

Zimmerit was an anti magnetic coating, developed to counter the Soviet Army's use of magnetic mines that were placed on the sides, bottom or where ever they could be planted on unsuspecting German vehicles. Zimmerit was applied on the exterior, normally within a hands reach of the ground on German tanks, some soft skin vehicles, and some self propelled artillery. This is why you normally don't see Zimmerit on the upper sides and roof portions of German vehicles.

"Arty" self propelled guns are not tanks... 🙂

This particular version of the Panzer 4 may, (or may not) have had Zimmerit applied from the factory depending on when it was manufactured. The J model Panzer 4 was introduced in March of 1944, and manufactured right up until the end of the War. Zimmerit anti magnetic coating was no longer applied to Panzers after September 9th, 1944 from the factory on any tank. Zimmerit was not added to any German vehicle in the field after October 7th, 1944.

So as far as I know, this one can be built either way, with or without Zimmerit.

Most of the Panzer IV "J" models were fitted with the same type metal skirts as the earlier H model had. I opted not to add any skirts, since it would hide the individual track links and mud.

This model was a test bed for my "home brewed" mud. I mixed up some fine sand in with white glue and stirred it all together. I had to add sand when too much glue was present, and then back to adding more glue until I got it looking just right for my tastes. Once I achieved a proper "Mud" consistency, I simply mixed in various shades of brown Model Master enamels until I got the color I wanted.

Then it was simply a matter of globing on the mud in various places... even the undersides.

I also made a replacement tow cable from twisted wire.

If you look really close at the photos I posted of the road wheels, you will see that I also chipped off a little of the rubber, as if the road wheel was slightly damaged from debris or almost throwing a track.

Being a former U.S. Army tank crew member, from the Loader's through the Tank Commander's positions, I have had experience with road wheels chipping. When they get bad enough, (I've seen them without any rubber at all after the rubber had totally disintegrated), you have to replace the wheel. Luckily during my military career when I was a driver in a M-60A1, I never threw a track, even after logging over 2,000 miles behind the "T-bar".

My tank crew experiences have also taught me just how mud accumulates on real Armored vehicles. I tried to apply this knowledge with the application of mud that you see on this model.

It's been a while since I have posted any of my Armor builds. I've been busy with the Midway Group build.

As usual, comments are encouraged.

Enjoy !

Reader reactions:
8  Awesome

26 additional images. Click to enlarge.

23 responses

  1. Everything you touch turns to magic, Louis...airplanes, armor, muscle name it. And here's another example of that. Outstanding! 🙂

  2. Thanks for the kind words my friend. I sincerely appreciate that.

  3. Ah, rasputsina! Dragging a load of the Glorious Motherland along with you! Even the ground is against you! Me, I'd have had second thoughts, particularly after looking at a map, and experiencing their Winter.
    Great work, Louis! Gets the message across that the Ostfront would wear you down, and then the 400th Mongolian Rifle Horde would descend on you.

  4. Excellent work,, the mud formula turned out great!

  5. Louis, looks really nice. I would like to see it on a muddy diorama, and I'll bet you have one somewhere, am I right?
    Wonderful tread work, and I like your----never mind, I like pretty much like all of it. Good work !

  6. Stunning! The weathering looks very realistic!

  7. Profile Photo
    said on March 13, 2017

    Nice job all round Louis.

  8. Louis, Bravo! You put your former Life's experience to good use! You are now the 3rd modeler I've seen who chips'n'chunks rubber off model roadwheels ... like real ones do always! Apparently those of us former D.A.T.s, now modelers who have had to change roadwheels are few & far between.

    You wrote: “Arty” self propelled guns are not tanks" Spoken like a true tanker! It's our job to educate, right?! PS - Dear Reader, Bradleys & other tracked, armored vehicles with guns are ALSO not tanks; no matter HOW much they may look like one!

    Anyway, Louis - your "mudding" looks just great, as does the rest of the model! The ShokoladenDunkelBraun over PanzerDunkelGelb (Chocolate Dark Brown over Tanker Dark Yellow for those who don't speak German & may be colorblind) is VERY nicely done!

    Good on ya!

  9. Thank Jeff ! You being a former tanker you will really understand this one...

    When we got our brand spanking new M-1A1's, and traded in our trusty old M-60's, we became CDAT's. Computerized Dumb @$% Tankers...

    When I built this Panzer about 18 years ago or so, I entered it in a contest. It came in second in the 1/35th Armor class. The judges had never seen chipping done on road wheels either.

    I explained to them how it happens and why.

    I even told them about one time while we were road marching on the Autobahn in Germany, how the tank ahead of us was shredding off huge chucks of rubber from one of it's road wheels. I mean parts of rubber from the wheel were bouncing all over the place... A large chunk landed on the top of our turret in between the Loader and Commander's positions ! It weighed about 10 pounds and was too hot to touch bare handed. So we left it there, smoking as it cooled off.

    True story...

    When the road wheels get hot, after a long time of continual non stop running, I've seen them start to give off a little smoke color just as the rubber gets too hot. That's the time when the rubber starts coming off in big pieces ! (and these pieces are heavy too).

    You don't want to get hit by a part of one for sure.

    Thanks for the compliments !

    Take care buddy.

  10. Those old Tamiya kits hold up well especially when finished as well as this one. Good work, Louis.

  11. Thanks George. I appreciate the compliments my friend. It is a nice kit to build. It's typical Tamiya quality.

  12. Excellent build and finish Louis !
    You have nailed the look of these vehicles by much, the "sack" of the tracks comes out really nice. Be proud of your figures.

    • Thanks Bernd. I'm glad you liked the article. This group of German tankers is probably the best set I've done so far. There are many others out there who definitely do a much better job than I have with them.
      Thanks again my friend...

      • Like it ? Love it !
        Its a great inspiration to build mine, got the same idea with the tracks and will use a photo etched PE set from Eduard for it.
        But my crew will be most probably on vacation, i am pretty bad with paintiong guys.

  13. Great looking build Louis, the mud has come out spot on!

  14. I like this Pz. IV very much Louis, keep up the good work, armor or otherwise!

    • Michel, @michel-verschuere
      Thank you for the kind words about my Panzer IV. It is one of my favorites, and since this model was posted, a lot has happened. However, several things have remained the same. One is being friends, the other is we both still enjoy building armor.

      Sorry for the late reply. It only took me close to 4 years to notice that you had left a response to your comment.

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