King Tiger in the SMM Full-Reuenthal
Summer season 2016
Work in the armor hull and on the suspension: preparation of the beds.
As in previous seasons Bernd has taken care of details in the armor hull and in particular on the firewall.
The hand pump to inject gas for engine starts in cold weather was detailed in numerous hours of homework, as was the fire extinguisher unit which was in a pitiful condition.
The cap for the steering section of the extinguisher was entirely converted to rust and didn’t appear to contain any more metal. In particular the condition of the extinguisher reservoir brought tears to our eyes. The inner rising pipe was powderised and the lid which was crimped with the wall cylinder seemed unsalvageably lost for its many holes. It appeared obvious to through that away and get a replacement which comes close to the original.
Such obstacles only challenge us the more.
The restorer cut the lid carefully off in the seam and sand blasted it. Since it turned brown again very quickly welding or soldering was not an option. We had to boldly go ways that no man has gone before.
The final solution was a supporting tube of polypropylene with the exact inner diameter which was pushed inside. The freshly sanded and primed lid was re-modelled with the magic swiss filler-cement Araldite, put on the plastic and cemented also with Araldite.
Since unfortunately the upper and lower part didn’t fit well due to the release of the pressing tensions after the cutting off, the concession to originality was the filling of the upper seam with Araldite.
The cap with a non-movable rod for manual starting was created from a metal block and the ailing link of the bracket got a little prosthesis.
We even succeeded in finding an original looking securing chain in a home depot shop, section: toilet drain chains. Along with a new lock plate it looks pretty original. The new decal comes as the candle on the cake.
After remanufacturing the base plate for the main switch and other electric components we have attached all available and restored pieces to the firewall:
While the fuel tank container with its cover on the right hand side in the fighting compartment was made new and already fit in last year, the container and cover on the left side needed only some repair weldings and was put in the course of the summer.
One day two little boys and their father, museum visitors, were interestedly inspecting the work and had me explain the hull details. When I came to the tank boxes which were still without the gas tanks one boy suddenly said “… these are certainly the beds.”. Struck by such expertise all I could answer was “… and the space above is where the men put their clothes and stuff”.
Furthermore we had the base frames for the batteries reproduced according to original ones. We are still in search for the original battery boxes and the lids.
Also the fuel filter and the pieces for the tube for the wiring were put in place.
The original fuel filter elements consist of felt and will not be renewed as such. In fact we want to implement a modern filter cartridge inside the filter container.
Parallel a company specialized in hydraulic piping systems has taken over the task to reproduce fuel lines and connectors to the reservoirs. This work will extend into the coming working season.
At the end of the winter season 2015 / 2016 we noticed that after mounting the right side track our Tiger was resting lower on the left side compared to the right. The difference was 6 cm as measured from the lower rim of the track skirts to the ground. Without having exact fixation parameters for the wheel arms we tried to match angles on contemporary factory photographs as close as possible. But somewhere something must have gone wrong.
We discovered that the drillings for the road wheel arms were differing by 1 cm in height from left to right. Within 3 weekends we succeeded in removing the left track and wheels and change the angle of the road wheel arms by one tooth of the inner toothing for the torsion bars. We actually figured that one tooth would only make up for appr. half of the height difference and we wanted to adjust the other half on the other side. But surprisingly it turned out that the work on one side was enough for the Tiger to rest evenly.
At the end of the season the turret cradle with the two semi-circular working platforms for the gunner and loader (they have been removed already long time ago) and the hydraulic turret drive units has been removed. It disastrous condition and non-operable mechanics casted a long shadow on the works to come.