Author Topic: El Gatito Blindado  (Read 1138 times)

Offline Frank3k

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El Gatito Blindado
« on: August 13, 2018, 05:02:09 AM »
At the end of WWII, the Germans were working on an armored personnel carrier, the Kštzchen (Google search), based on the Hetzer chassis.

This whiff is based on the design, exported and developed by either Spain or Argentina, shortly after WWII, hence "El Gatito Blindado" - the armored kitten.
The base model is the Academy 1/35 Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer "Late Production Version". The interior uses many parts from awesome Tristar Panzer 38(t) Full Interior set. Since this is an open top vehicle, I had to create the complete superstructure.
Using the line drawings I found online, I used Rhino3D to make a quick outline as a "sanity check", then printed it out of thick paper. I noticed that the walls would be a bit short, so I increased them slightly. I also made the engine and radiator covers. On the original Katzen, the radiator seems to face forward. Since I had the engine and radiator from the Tristar kit, I decided to keep the 38(t) orientation with the radiator to the rear. I then printed everything in ABS... many, many times (I'll show the pile of rejects after I finish the model).

Here's everything tacked on. It turned out to be easier to print four separate walls rather than a single unit (I tried...):



There are few - if any - printing artifacts, in part because I chose a printing orientation that would minimize it, but largely because I painted acetone on the surfaces with a brush, slowly moving the melting plastic around. Once dry, I sanded the parts until they were smooth. I used some of the brim used to hold the print onto the print surface to thicken the back wall. It has a nice, regular pattern that looks like it could be anti-spalling material.

Here's the engine and radiator cover assembly, with the Tristar transmission:



I used Meng bolds, Archer resin cover decals, Eduard PE hinges and parts from the Tristar and Academy kits. The engine and radiator just barely fit in this space, with some room at the top for oil or fuel tanks.
I switched the transmission from right hand drive to left. The control lever is a complex series of PE strips and bits - I ended up using some solder paste to solder them together. The floor is the underside of the brim generated by my 3D printer software to hold parts down. The underside has a pattern that looks like a tread pattern.

This is the engine in place:


This is where I am at the moment. The engine compartment and three of the sides are glued in place, and the drive shaft is connected to the transmission. The driver's seat is just sitting on its support:



The left side wall is a little bowed in; I may be able to fix that. The access port on the floor behind the driver is to cover a spot where I spilled a drop of glue.

Now, there are some issues with this design that make me wonder if it would have been a viable APC. The engine protrudes slightly into the doorway (my fault, but I think it's minor) but where do the troop sit? It's a very tight, knee scraping fit, even on the original:



There's also little room left over for things like fuel tanks (the Tristar kit comes with both) which seem to be behind the troop bench. I have to find room for other equipment, like batteries. I may cram as much as I can by the right side of the compartment and maybe add some bench seats as well.

Thanks for looking!



Offline elmayerle

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Re: El Gatito Blindado
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2018, 08:29:10 AM »
That's going to be a stuffed kitty with all that in there.  Looks great so far, Frank.

Online LemonJello

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Re: El Gatito Blindado
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2018, 09:06:12 AM »
Very cool! I will be interested to see it progress.

Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: El Gatito Blindado
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2018, 07:26:13 AM »
Those are some great details and the access hatch is what Bob Ross liked to call a "happy accident".

I can only imagine what it'd be like to ride inside that monster. You'd probably have to leave your web gear at the door.

Fantastic Frank and I'm looking forward to your next update!

Brian da Basher

Offline Dr. YoKai

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Re: El Gatito Blindado
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2018, 07:42:08 AM »
 Well, the Germans seemed to have tried to stuff increasingly preposterous loads into the 38t chassis, so don't
 beat yourself up over it. ;) I had the privilege of sitting inside an ex-Swedish Hetzer ( owned by  a local re-
 enactment group ) and there's barely room for a crew of four inside that - I don't think an open top and
 an absent gun would add room for much more than two more occupants.

 It's looking great so far - who cares if it's practical! (HUUUge Thumbs Up!)

Offline Frank3k

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Re: El Gatito Blindado
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2018, 12:55:37 PM »
Thanks guys. I had the day off and printed a form- fitting fuel tank that fits on the left side shelf. It has a fuel line to one of the Tristan tanks, and from there it goes across to the engine. Iíll post pictures tomorrow but I think the tank now has a reasonable fuel capacity, maybe 25% more than the original.
In a way, itís probably worse than the M113ís internal fuel cell locations. At least the M113 has a reasonably wide rear hatch if things get warm. Iíll switch to Diesel for the same reasons the M113 prototype did.

Craig - even though the Hetzer is slightly longer than the 38(t) itís hard to imagine four modern sized crew being comfortable in the vehicle. Iíd like to see the Swedish pbv 301- they fit 10 people in it!

Offline buzzbomb

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Re: El Gatito Blindado
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2018, 05:33:36 PM »
Frank, brilliant.

a bit of a thread hijack, as I have had a crack at the Katzchen myself a few years back.




Your engine is much more convincing than my card version. Really interested to see how this turns out as I would like to have another go now my skills are a bit further along

Great work so far, especially using 3D tech

Offline Madhatter

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Re: El Gatito Blindado
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2018, 09:29:07 PM »
that's some really top work there Frank! Nicely painted and well detailed. Very cool
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Offline tankmodeler

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Re: El Gatito Blindado
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2018, 11:41:32 PM »
Very cool.

I was going to suggest, given that this is a WHIF, that you might adopt the solution the Yanks used on the M113 for it's fuel tanks, put them outside the hull and or use the Russian BMP solution, make the rear doors out of them. Or both.

There really is no bloody room inside with the tanks in there is there? Even the picture of the real thing makes it look like you'd absolutely have to be no older than 15 to fit with even just your rifle and webbing.

Paul

Offline Frank3k

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Re: El Gatito Blindado
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2018, 03:18:38 AM »
I wonder if I should change the name to "Kansar Kattunge" - the Swedish version of armored kitten.

Brian - Thanks for posting your WIP! I may have to borrow some of your ideas.
Paul & Brian - I see no way of getting in and out of this thing (other than over the side) without bumping into or catching on some protuberance or piece of equipment. Paul, the BMP is pretty cramped as well; having an external fuel tank may help with the range.

Here's the fuel tank, radio and battery. The large primer red tank is the one I printed. The fuel caps are from a Wave or Kotobukiya Gundam parts set. They're handy:


Here it is roughly in position:


The "fuel lines" are 30 gauge wire wrap wire. They may be small in diameter, but they look roughly equivalent to the Hetzer/38(t) fuel lines in size. There's a "fuel line" that goes from the large red tank to the rear of the smaller fuel tank. I'm assuming that there's a three way pump in there that combines the two fuel sources and sends it across to the engine.

I'll probably add a bridge over the fuel line - we don't need a Gomer to accidentally trip over or crush it.

The connectors are resin, from Squadron. I painted them red before I discovered the ANSI piping color codes. I may switch them from red to yellow.


« Last Edit: August 15, 2018, 03:22:10 AM by Frank3k »

Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: El Gatito Blindado
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2018, 03:26:36 AM »
As a former auto-parts delivery driver, I can confirm the fuel line is in scale.

Your details are a delight, Frank. You seem to top yourself with each successive build.

Brian da Basher

Offline buzzbomb

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Re: El Gatito Blindado
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2018, 07:04:36 AM »
As to egress, it is really no different to the 251 series, the doors were small albeit a bit larger and more accessible, but over the side appears to be a practical way.
Comparing the two is quite surprising, the Katzchen is a bit lower and wider.

Take this for what it really is, a stepping stone to the IFV we see today. The theory was sound, the practicalities and operational realities, I think would be as we are discovering, not the best.

I still think you work is great on this, the fuel tank is fine and fits what the photos show. I am not sure if there is any interior difference between the Auto-Union and the BMW versions but I reckon the interior shot is from the BMW version as that does not appear to be a 38T transmission.

Offline tankmodeler

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Re: El Gatito Blindado
« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2018, 11:15:06 PM »
Paul & Brian - I see no way of getting in and out of this thing (other than over the side) without bumping into or catching on some protuberance or piece of equipment. Paul, the BMP is pretty cramped as well; having an external fuel tank may help with the range.
Absolutely. If the troops are going in and out over the side, mind, it might have been possible to make the back surfaces a hollow external fuel tank, essentially lengthening the vehicle and freeing up internal volume. Still, this does capture the issues with the original proposal well. Given how much larger well-fed Europeans are (even if not overweight) compared to the moderately malnourished people of the late 30s and 40s, trying to put even half a section of infantry in this by 1960 would have be, shall we say, problematic...

And, while it's not the project you're building, without the gun, ammo and heavier front armour, there would be reasonable scope to take the Hetzer chassis and cut it between the bogie mounts and add 3 or 4 feet, providing sufficient room for humans as opposed to the children that seem to be the designed occupants.  :smiley:


Offline apophenia

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Re: El Gatito Blindado
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2018, 05:37:40 AM »
Very cool build  :smiley:  On the Pbv 301, it would have been cramped for the 7 dismounts, but it helped that the SFA 4-banger was forward-mounted.

http://i661.photobucket.com/albums/uu336/8Hussar/NEUTRAL%20NATIONS/Sweden%20-%20PBV%20301%20-%2038t%20Chassis/APC3015.jpg
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Offline Frank3k

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Re: El Gatito Blindado
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2018, 11:56:02 PM »
Thanks for the picture of the Pbv 301. Putting the engine forward makes the most sense. Is the right hand drive a leftover from its 38(t) heritage?

Paul - the Hetzer is longer than the 38(t) making it longer still would help, so would moving the engine out of the way.