The shell loader's hatch was also treated to some additional weld detail and the original philip's screw head's were ground down and then filled with Tamiya putty. Weld detail was added to the handle and hinges. Missing from the hatch is a locking latch which will be made out of scrap brass strip. We fabricated the sight block for the tank commander out of brass rod, plastruct and 4/40 screws. This crude sight was used to align the turret on the intended target.
The stock opening was too large for the loader's vision block so we filled it in using some scrap plastruct and fiber cardstock. A new opening was cut with an X-Acto knife and sanded to the correct size. The vision block is cast from white metal and offers plenty of detail although some of it will probably be hard to see once installed. We will know that its there however.
Okay, there is a lot going on in these pictures above. We took two pieces of 3/4 inch Delrin and carved two locking door mechanisms for the turret. Using brass tubing, aluminum rod and some beads from michaels, we made handles for both. Next we drilled out the portal for the door and turned a plug for the portal out of the Delrin once again. We capped the plug and it fit perfectly. Next, we will secure the locks to the inside door and fabricate a locking mechanism for the plug. Both front and back of the turret door have been laminated and the aluminum rod for the hinge will be permanently secured once the final sanding of the door has been finished. We applied Evercoat auto body filler to the edges and along the base to secure the aluminum axle. Hinge blocks were cut from Evergreen and another set of hinges will be made from these. Whew. In 24 hours, the sides will be sanded smooth and prepped for primer. Once that's done, we will permanently bond the locking components to the door.
A voltage meter and the on/off switch for the turret is accessible through the turret door.
Recreating the escape hatch or turret door will be the most time consuming and challenging aspect of the Konigstiger Refit thus far. We found a resin hatch cover from an old Jagdpanther kit and sanded off the hinge. The length and width is about right but we will need to build it up to the correct thickness while incorporating an axle or hinge pin on which it will be mounted. We laminated pieces of bass ply along with a top sheet of evergreen plastic to get it right. Next, we discarded the stock door mounts (see above right) and will use an aluminum rod inside two pieces of brass tube. We soldered a slightly larger brass tube to some scrap to make brass end caps for this assembly. Late production King Tiger's had this very same setup.
As mentioned earlier, we installed an Electronize speed controller, BEC, receiver and battery in the turret to isolate it from the main tank body. Everything is easily accessible with the turret roof removed. Several upgrades remain such as removing the countersunk screws and replacing the air vent and forward loader's visor with improved aftermarket units. The MG rail and A/A mount was added and the entire turret will benefit from additional weld detail throughout. The turret motor and the turret door must be replaced as well. The door must be scratch built but hopefully will be an improvement over the original. Other additions include the three pilze sockets or crane mounts, the turret vane sight, vision blocks to the cupola and more detail to the shell ejection hatch. The list is growing...
The commander's cupola received large amounts of weld detail which was time consuming but once again, well worth the effort. Individual periscopes (vision blocks) cast from white metal will be added and painted flat black and silver. A commander's sighting block must be fabricated and three crane pilze mounts will have to be fabricated as well. We used a Delrin spacer cut into three pieces for the mounts and secured them to the turret using sculpting epoxy. The turret is slowly coming together quite nicely.
We began our work on the turret by adding weld detail to the shell ejection port. We did not like the plain underside so we soldered some brass tubing together to make a sharp looking handle and covered the phillip's screws with hex nuts. The turret ventilator cover was next. We replaced the stock unit with an aftermarket one and carefully threaded the wing nuts to each of the six clamps or posts. Weld detail was added next. Big improvement. Next, we replaced the forward loader's visor with an aftermarket unit cast from white metal. We found a detailed periscope from a previous Tiger project and fabricated a mounting bracket by filling in the hole in the turret roof and cutting a new one to size. A lot of work but the added detail is worth it. (see below)
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