171 Panther Ausf. D
by David M. Schultz
Heinrich is a radio controlled scratchbuilt, fully operational, steel, aluminum, PVC and plywood 1/3 scale reproduction of the German Pz.Kfw. V Ausf. D "Panther" Tank.
Heinrich is powered by an 11 1/2 horsepower gasoline engine driving a hydraulic double pump that powers (2) hydraulic motors through (2) proportional hydraulic valves. The hydraulic system is controlled by an electronic processing receiving unit that makes Heinrich go forward, reverse, left and right.
It also controls his speed, which can be up to (4) miles per hour. An industrial (10) channel radio transmits signals to Heinrich. Four channels are used to operate Heinrich's drive system. Two channels are used to raise and lower his gun. Two channels are used to make Heinrich's turret turn left and right and the last two channels are used to make his gun shoot any 12-gauge ammunition as well as blanks.
Heinrich weighs approximately 1,480 pounds.
Heinrich was up scaled from a 1/35 scale model. Engineering drawings and photos taken of the real vehicle in the Ordnance Museum located at the U.S. Army proving grounds in Aberdeen, Maryland were also essential. Heinrich's dimensions were developed and drawn using computer aided drafting and are retained in a computer aided design CAD model.
Heinrich'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 75mm 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 adapted to shoot 22 caliber rounds from any automatic pistol.
Heinrich'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.
The 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. Heinrich'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.
Road wheels, 8 (A)s and 16 (B)s were cast and machined from aluminum. His road, trailing and intermediate tires were 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.
Heinrich's sides, floor, rear bulkhead, pannier floors, front and rear glacial plates were formed using router tools designed to rout each detail from different plywood thicknesses to simulate the real vehicle. Heinrich's turret details were designed and built from dimensional drawings and held in place by adhesives and steel fasteners.
Heinrich's commander's cupola was also machined from excess PVC and uses (6) pieces of plate machined Plexiglas installed as viewing ports.
Heinrich's color scheme is overall Dark Yellow. Heinrich is painted with conventional markings and was the 1st tank in the 4th platoon of the 1st company serving with "Grossdeutschland" (Greater Germany) the elite Panzer Grenadier Division, number (141). His theme - entry into service with Panzer Abteilung 51, in early summer of 1943, in south-central Russia in preparation for The Battle of Kursk, without "zimmerit" antimagnetic coating.
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Model, Text and Images Copyright ©
2000 by David M. Schultz