I am planning to build Tamiyas Pz IV Ausf J (kit 35181) as a Panzerbeobachtungswagen IV Ausf J (Pz Beob Wg = Armored Observation Vehicle) of the early series production type, an April-May-June 1944 production. These were issued as command & control observation vehicles for Wespe and Hummel Self-Propelled Artillery Batteries, initially authorized 2 Pz Boeb Wg (III or IV) per battery and later changed to one per battery in Jan 1944. According to references, 133 were produced and issued to just about every Pz Division on all fronts. I have a couple of photos of a vehicle that I want to replicate. The two photos are of a well worn Pz Beob Wg IV Ausf J in early 1945, but I want to replicate the vehicle in its earlier days of late summer-early fall of 1944. One photos is captioned as a 14 Pz Div vehicle in Kurland in Jan 1945 (another source says March 1945) and the other photo is captioned as from an unknown unit in Berlin , May 1945. I believe they may be the same vehicle. Anyone know which is correct or any additional info about these photos? Another photo shows a Panzerbefehlswagen IV Ausf H or J (Pz Bf Wg- Command Tank) but shows some of the turret roof details that were common to both Pz Bf Wg and Pz Beob Wg.
This photo appears in both Kagero books mentioned above and is Identified as belonging to 14 Pz Div in Kurland, January 1945. It also appears in several of the Wydawnictwo Militaria books but is not identified as a Pz Beob Wg but a regular Pz IV Ausf H in Kurland in March 1945.
This photo appears to be the same vehicle as the one above but is captioned as a Pz Beob Wg of an unidentified unit in Berlin, May 1945. This appears to be he same vehicle in the pgoto above. Compare the paint wear on the side superstructure, they appear the same.
This one is indentified as a Pz Beob Wg of an unknown unit in Hungary in early 1945. It appears in several references, and again in the Wydawnictwo Militaria books as a regulart Pz IV, not a Pz Beob Wg.
This is an overhead view of a Panzerbefehlswagen IV Ausf J (Pz Bf Wg = command tank) but shows many of the features that also appeared on the Pz Beob Wg IV such as the turret roof antenna where the Nahverteidigungswaffe (close defence weapon) was mounted on many Pz IV Ausf H & J models and the T.S.R. 1 periscope that could be extended through the turret roof. This photo also shows the modified & strengthened 2-piece turret roof. The front turret roof armor increased from 10mm to 16mm and the rear part supporting the cupola was increased to 25mm. This feature is lacking in the Tamiya kit, so will have to be scratch-built.
I also have some scale drawings of this vehicle (see below) in the Kagero Top Drawings #8 book on the Pz IV Ausf J (these exact same drawings & description appear in the Kagero Photosniper #16 book as well). They show the auxilery muffler missing (as an Ausf J should) and the penetration for the muffler covered with a steel plate bolted on. Now, I also have Panzer Tracts No 11-1 & Osprey New Vanguard # 39 which covers the Pz Beob Wg IV and provides all of the modifications and history of the vehicle. I plan to add an extensive interior to this vehicle so I have several questions. Heres the modifications that Panzer Tracts & Os[rey state were made to the production Pz Beob Wg IV Ausf J:
1. Installation of StuG III Kommandantenkuppel (Commander's Cupola) with 7 periscopes instead of the normal cupola with vision slits with armored glass.
2. A SF14Z scissors telescope that could be extended through the front flap in the commanders cupola hatch without opening the entire hatch
3. An additional T.S.R.1 observation periscope that could be extended through a pivotal mount in the turret roof on the port (left) side just forward of the commanders cupola.
4. Additional equipment: Orterkompass & Nachdreheinrichtung (plotting tables) necessary for artillery observation.
5. 3 Radio sets: FuG-8 (star type aerial mounted in an armored pot on the engine compartment rear wall on the starboard [right] side), FuG-4 (aerial mounted in the turret roof in place of the Nahverteidigungswaffe) & the Fu.Spr.f (aerial mounted in the normal Ausf J location on the port side of the engine compartment side wall)
6. Installation of a GG400 electrical generator set to provide power for the radios while the tank engine was turned off. This was placed on the port side rear floor of the fighting compartment.
7. The coax MG & mount were deleted to make room in the turret for the radio & plotting equipment.
8. 7.5cm ammunition stowage was reduced from 87 to 77 rounds.
OK, here are my questions:
1. Does anyone have any information and/or pics of the plotting equipment as mention in No 4 above? What it looked like, how & where these items were mounted?
2. Anyone have any info on the placement of the radio sets? Which one(s) were placed where? My guess is that the FuG-8 & FuG-4 were in the turret starboard side (where the coax MG usually is located) and the Fu.Spr.f was in the normal location to the left of the radio operator/hull gunners position above the transmission. Would this be correct?
3. Anyone have pics of the GG400 generator set? Im going to have to scratch-build this, so any pics would be great. Also, as mentioned above, the scale drawings from the Kagero Top Drawings book shows the auxiliary muffler missing with the rear armor plate penetration for the muffler plated over. Sohow was the generator set motor exhausted? Did it possibly use the same muffler that was used for the turret traverse generator motor that was deleted with Ausf J production and the artist got it wrong?
Any pics or information of Pz IV J interiors would also be helpful and greatly appreciated.
Heres what I have collected over the years for this build, lots of extra goodies. Any suggestions here might be useful as well-.
. Tamiya Pz IV Ausf J kit 35181 this has the Ausf H hull as stated in the Kagero book for the photo above vehicle - Nr 201 od 14 Pz Div in Kurland, in 1945.
· Verlinden Pz IV interior set for the Tamiya Ausf H kit this has the turret basket and fighting compartment floor for the Ausf H, so I will have to modify or scratch-build the floor. Any Ausf J interior photos would be of great help.
· Eduard PE set 35326 for the Tamiya Ausf J
· Cavalier Zimmerit for the Tamiya kit
· Accurate Armour Pz Beob Wg IV conversion set C36 this has a plastic replacement turret roof, periscopes, antenna pot and StuG cupola w/periscopes (white metal) and a star antenna. I will probably replace the cupola with a spare Dragon StuG III version with clear periscopes as these are much better than the white metal parts..
· Jaguar resin turret stowage bin & bow MG
· Modelkasten workable tracks, or I might splurge and use a set of Fruils that I have.
. Tons of other stuff from the spares box or that I can scavenge from kits in the stash such as OVM tools, road wheels and other details.
· I also have the old Cyber Hobby Pz Beob Wg IV kit (no 9105 Orange box) that will provide many other parts such as new tooled DML road wheels, sprockets, idler wheels, StuG III cupola with clear plastic periscopes, antennas, periscopes and decals for vehicle Nr 201 in the photo above. These are new tooled parts but the rest of the kit is the old (mid 1990s) tooled kit and also has the extended side hull plates used in later production Ausf J's and not in the vehicle photo above which is an Ausf H hull. The Tamiya kit appears better suited for this conversion.
Here's the scale drawings that appear in both Kagero books mentioned above. the first picture also has the indentiable features listed for the Pz Beob Wg IV Ausf J, turret Nr 201in Kurland in Jan 1945 (1st Phooto above)
Note the plated over penetration hole in the lower port (left) side of the rear armored plate where the turret traverse motor's muffler used to be, but was deleted from Ausf J production.
This is going to be an ambitious build for me and I am only starting my research into this vehicle. I will undoubtedly have additional questions. Im also sure that many will be unanswerable and I will just have to use deductive logic as to how some things are to be modeled. But, I have to ask, maybe someone can help out.
My apologies for the long winded post. I wanted to include the info I had gathered in case anyone else would care to undertake this conversion.
Any info, photos or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance,