Sd.Kfz. 173 Jagdpanther in 1/3 Scale
by David M. Schultz
Helmut is a radio controlled scratchbuilt, fully operational, steel, aluminum, PVC and plywood 1/3 scale reproduction of the German Mark V, "JagdPanther Tank.
Helmut is powered by an 11 1/2 horsepower gasoline engine that drives a hydraulic double pump which, in turn, pushes 2 hydraulic motors through 2 proportional hydraulic valves. The hydraulic system is controlled by an electronic processing receiving unit that makes Helmut go forward and reverse, left and right. It also controls his speed, which can be up to four miles per hour. An industrial 8 channel radio transmits signals on 49 Mhz to Helmut. Four channels are used to operate Heinrich's drive system. Two channels are used to raise and lower his gun and channels are used to make Helmut's his gun shoot any 12 gage ammunition as well as blanks.
Helmut was upscaled from a 1/35 scale model and was also developed from engineering drawings and photos taken of the real vehicle in the Ordnance Museum located at the U.S. Army proving grounds in Aberdeen, Maryland. Helmut's dimensions were calculated and drawn using computer aided drafting and are retained in a computer aided design -CAD- model.
Helmut's body structure is made from reinforced plywood that represents the actual plate thickness of the real vehicle. His suspension details and components, gun yoke/mantel, engine deck and drive system are housed with structural steel. His gun mantel is made from PVC (poly-vinyl-chloride) and his trunnion is made from laminated wood and machined to represent the actual casting. His main gun, a 12 gage automatic shot gun, is a 1 1/2 inch diameter steel tube that houses his barrel and shot gun. His 88mm high velocity gun barrel and muzzle brake are made and from machined PVC. His 7.92mm mantel machine gun is made and machined from round aluminum and can be made to shoot 22 caliber rounds from any automatic pistol.
Helmut's inner and outer drive sprockets, sprocket spacer, road wheel axles and suspension details and components are made and machined from steel. His suspension axles and struts are machined from steel and heat treated.
Helmut's exhaust manifold and pipes were made from steel pipe and welded together. His exhaust pipe cap covers are made from plate aluminum welded together and bolted in place. Helmut's tracks (87) per side and spare tracks attached to his side glacial are made and machined from cast aluminum and held together with steel pins and retaining rings.
His road wheels, 8 (A)s and 16 (B)s are cast and machined from aluminum. His road, trailing and intermediate tires are made and machined from laminated plate PVC and spray painted black.
The doughnut holes and remaining material from his road tires were machined into his structural details - hatches, ports, axle wheel caps, ventilators, engine gratings, lift hooks and fan covers. Helmut's sides, floor, rear bulkhead, pannier floors, front and rear glacial plates are routed using router tools designed to rout each detail from different plywood thicknesses to simulate the real vehicle.
Helmut's structural details were developed and made from dimensional drawings and held in place by adhesives and steel fasteners. These structual details, hatches, ventilators and operation details were also machined from excess PVC. Helmut weighs approximately 1,400 pounds. Helmut's color scheme has been changed to camouflage from Ochre (sand). Helmut is painted with conventional markings and was the 4th tank in the 2nd platoon of the 1st company serving with the anitank division of "Das Reich", number (124).
Helmut's theme-entry into service in the fall of 1944, in western Europe, without "zimmerit" antimagnetic coating.
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Model, Text and Images Copyright ©
2000 by David M. Schultz