Current Competion - Pz.Kpfw.38(T)

Discussion in 'Competitions' started by Tim Crowe, Jul 30, 2009.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Tim Crowe

    Tim Crowe Member

    Okay chaps, If no-one else is going to be first to enter this competition I might as well kick-off. This build is my first serious build. Up till now I have only built free downloads.
    For my first building thread I have chosen the GPM Panzerkampfwagen 38(t) This was an early release (No.43) I think dating from 1986. And was purchased via E-bay for about five pounds.

    Tank Pic 1.jpg

    It seems like a fairly basic kit, hand-drawn and printed on rough card. I have far more detailed tank kits though as a starting point this one will be ideal. I plan to build this kit largely as published.

    Tank Pic 2.jpg Tank Pic 3.jpg

    Rather than kick straight off with the build I thought it would be quite nice to detail a short history of the tank:

    Tank Pic 4.jpg

    The Panzer 38(t) was a conventional pre-World War II tank design, with riveted armour and rear engine. The riveted armour was not sloped, and varied in thickness from 10 mm to 25 mm in most versions. Later models increased this to 50 mm.

    The two-man turret was centrally located, and housed the tank's main armament, a 37 mm gun. It was equipped with a machine gun to the right of the main gun. The turret machine gun was in a separate ball mount rather than a coaxial mount. The driver was in the front right of the hull, with the bow machine-gunner seated to the left, manning another machine gun.

    The engine was mounted in the rear of the hull and drove the tank through a transmission with five forward gears and one reverse gear. It drove a forward drive sprocket, with the track running under four rubber-tired road wheels and back over a rear idler and two track return rollers. The wheels were mounted on a leaf-spring double-bogie mounted on two axles.

    In 1935, the Czechoslovak tank manufacturer CKZ was looking for a replacement for the LT-35 tank they were jointly producing with Skoda Works The LT-35 was complex and had shortcomings, and CKZ felt there would be orders both from the expanding Czechoslovak army and for export.
    They decided to use a suspension with four large wheels for their new tank. It resembled the Christie suspension outwardly, but was actually a conventional leaf spring unit. The resulting vehicle was reliable, and an export success: 50 were exported to Iran 24 each to Peru and Switzerland, Latvia also ordered some. Britain evaluated one tank, but rejected it.

    In 1938, Czechoslovakia ordered 150 of the TNHPS model, although none had entered service by the time of the German occupation. After the German takeover, Germany ordered continued production of the model, as it was considered an excellent tank, especially compared to the Panzer I and Panzer II tanks that were the Panzerwaffe's main tanks. It was first introduced into German service under the name LTM 38; this was changed in 1940 to Panzerkampfwagen 38(t). Production of tanks for Germany continued into 1942, and amounted to more than 1,400 examples. Examples were also sold to a number of German allies, including Hungary (102), Slovakia (69), Romania (50), and Bulgaria (10). In German service the 38(t) was used as a substitute for the Panzer III.

    The Panzer 38(t) was manufactured up to the middle of World War II. The small turret wasn't capable of taking a weapon big enough to destroy the latest tanks and manufacturing ceased. However, because the chassis was mechanically reliable, turretless versions were built with a weapon mounted on the superstructure. Assault guns, anti-tank guns and anti-aircraft guns were mounted on the chassis. A Swedish variant, the Sav m/43, remained in use until 1970, which is probably a longevity record for a pre-WW2 tank.

    Hope the above was not too long

  2. Tim Crowe

    Tim Crowe Member

    Work progresses;
    Glued the template to 1mm cardboard, using 3M Craft Mount. First time I’ve used this product – It works really well. The carcass went together fine with minimal trimming, though I did add some small triangular pieces to the rear to stop it moving around.
    Tank Pic 5.JPG
    When I tried to fit the skins, the carcass was a little on the small size. So I skinned the bottom, front and rear in an extra 1mm of card. The turret also needed trimming to fit.
    Tank Pic 6.JPG

    Next is to attach the skins

  3. Tim Crowe

    Tim Crowe Member

    All done! The skins still needed minor trimming to fit. Any card edges and white areas that might show have been coloured with my trusty grey felt-tip pen.
    Tank Pic 7.JPG
    It has been a lot more hard work than anticipated reaching this stage, but time and patience have paid off, and I am pleased with the result so far.

    Think i'll do the wheels next.

  4. Maico Shark

    Maico Shark Guest

    Thanks Tim, the contest will run for a month so hope to see your progress.
  5. Tim Crowe

    Tim Crowe Member

    Wheel Time!

    Tank Pic 9.JPG

    Drive sprockets: I thought the existing card looked a little fragile. So I stuck them onto 1mm card and cut them out. This should make them a lot stronger and give them a more realistic look. I have also used a much larger diameter spacer in between the two cogs again for strength. And, plan to use a solid axle across the tank body to support the wheels

    Tank Pic 10.JPG

    Road wheels: These were straight forward to cut out and are of simple construction. The only changes I have made are to add long bits of card to each wheel edge. To give extra thickness when the sides are glued on.

    Tank Pic 11.JPG

    These extra strips were a complete pain to glue up and made the wheel rims soft with excess glue. This was solved by placing each rim to dry on a hip flask cup which was happily a suitable diameter. The contents of said hip flask also came in very helpful.

    Tank Pic 13.JPG

    Before the wheels were glued up, some laminated card was glued inside with a hole drilled through the centre. The extra card is to help secure the wheels to the suspension arms and should provide a better axle support than the existing card.

    Tank Pic 16.JPG

    Idler wheels: Again these have been backed up with 1mm card for greater strength and hopefully realism. I did consider cutting out the holes but rejected it on general bone idleness and lack of skill. I’ll save that joy for a later model!

    Tank Pic 21.JPG

  6. Tim Crowe

    Tim Crowe Member

    Suspension Time!

    Tank Pic 17.JPG

    The suspension for the road wheels seems straight forward, if a little flimsy. I decided early one to ditch the kits leaf-springs for scratch-built ones. Although they won’t really be seen, the new ones do at least look more realistic.

    Tank Pic 18.JPG

    They consist of lengths of 1mm card cut to size the glued together and left to dry pegged to a sauce pan of the right circumference.

    Tank Pic 19.JPG

    The trailing arms have also been slightly modified, hopefully for the better. Again, I ditched the card axles (part 10n) for wood dowel (cocktail sticks) and replaced part 10m with a suitable length of card wrapped round. These wood axles should be strong enough to support the tank.

    Tank Pic 20.jpg

    The only issue with these arms now is the angle to mount them onto the support structure of the tank. Too high, it will look a bit odd. Too low and I will run out of track. The GPM instructions are no help. The best drawing found is the one above, showing the axles slightly above the bottom of the hull.

    At least it's a two horse race now, in this competition. I would have thought there would / should have been more entries. :confused:

    I'm off for a two week holiday now - not a million miles away from Bovingdon Tank Museum.

  7. Maico Shark

    Maico Shark Guest

    Well I figure there will be some others but if not...this is getting interesting enough for me at least. You're looking good so far...keep it up.
    (You've got over 200 views so I'm not your only admirer)
  8. Tim Crowe

    Tim Crowe Member

    Success! Finally gathered up the courage, to glue the suspension onto the tank body. It has gone on well all the axles are lined up and seem to be at the right height. Also glued the commander’s cupola, onto the turret.

    Tank Pic 22.JPG

    Road wheels on – There’s a danger it’s starting to resemble a tank! I have noticed the camera is really good at highlighting any imperfections and areas that need attention.

    Tank Pic 23.JPG

    I will start on the tracks next. And use them as a guide to mount the drive and idler wheels. Although, it does not seem like great progress, since my last post. I think that most of the really tedious work is done.

  9. Tim Crowe

    Tim Crowe Member

    The tracks are of simple construction with two main halves, separate grouser bars and guide plates

    Tank Pic 26.JPG

    After much wailing and gnashing of teeth the tracks have been cut out. Given a going over with a grey felt-tip pen and stuck together.

    Tank Pic 25.JPG

    Unfortunately, the kit only provides enough for the outer guide plates on both tracks. Luckily my works have a colour copier/scanner (up to A3) which has proved very useful. It also takes card, again up to A3!

    Tank Pic 27.JPG
  10. Maico Shark

    Maico Shark Guest

    Looking good! I didn't realize how much intricate work went into one of these compared to the plastic kits...
  11. Tim Crowe

    Tim Crowe Member

    Managed to fit the mud-guards and return wheels. I thought the mud-guards would be more of a problem then they turned out to be. The return wheels have been mounted on long skewers that go through the tank body to the opposite side.

    Tank Pic 28.JPG

    All I have to do now is fit the tracks. It's going to be a tight fit! The road wheels are glued on to the chassis. Then the track has to mesh with the drive sprockets, threaded over the return rollers and glued onto the idler wheels.

    Tank Pic 29.JPG

    First of all I bent the tracks round the drive sprockets and glued them in place. Making sure the teeth of the sprockets meshed with the perforations in the tracks.

    Tank Pic 31.JPG

    I have tried to reproduce how the tracks would sit on a full size version. Most of the photographs show a dip in the tracks aft of the rear return roller. The surviving tanks show this dip as more pronounced. I presume this occurs as the tracks wear and get a little longer with use.
  12. Tim Crowe

    Tim Crowe Member

    Finally it’s finished!


    Had lots of fun building the barrel, I didn’t even try to use the models card, as I knew it would be too thick for such a tight radius. Instead I used paper rolled round a cock-tail stick. Built three examples and chose the best (or least worse) The two machine guns mounts were built up and paper-clips used as barrels


    The antenna pipe that runs from the rear to the front of the tank was fabricated using dowel, cut and glued into place. Again the minor hand tools were fabricated using dowel and card.


    I had a small amount of track left over so this was glued onto the front area of the tank. Looking at period photos it seems a popular place to put it.

    Overall I have enjoyed building this model though fairly simple it does show its age with regard to detail and fit of parts. But, that has been half the fun getting things to fit and trying to improve the model.

    I did originally plan not to use paint and stick to my trusty felt-tip pens. However, as I got deeper into the model, I succumbed. First matt black, then a few greys, finally a brown and silver. These new (to me) acrylic paints are a joy to use, no smell and they dry very quickly.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page