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Mark IV No. 30 – here we go again ............

Forum for discussion relating to the British MK IV Tank
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Chris Hall
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Mark IV No. 30 – here we go again ............

Post by Chris Hall » Fri Nov 06, 2015 4:38 pm

Since I joined the Armortek fraternity so very long ago (January this year !), I’ve received lots of welcoming and supportive messages about my enthusiasm (yeah, OK, all-consuming passion) for WW1 tanks, superbly represented by the Armortek Mark IV. All the comments are greatly appreciated, proving just what a genuinely decent bunch you are, but two have really stuck in my mind – the irrepressible Denny (I think), who said that “these things are more addictive than crack” (the sort of thing he would say !), and Paul Fowler-Smith, who told me at Armortek Day after kindly admiring my Beutepanzer (“Liesel”) that, if I now built a Tiger, everyone would be really disappointed ! He was right, too – nothing else lights my candle like the WW1 tanks. But, of course, Mark only made 50, and they’re all sold now .........

Amongst the many of you I met at Bovington was Francis Samish. We chatted about the Mark IV’s, and it turned out that he had one as well, but it was still in unopened boxes. We continued our conversation via PM, and then I pushed my luck and asked him if he was willing to sell his Mark IV. Turned out he was ! (as he rather fancied a Tiger 131 instead). So a deal was done (with my eternal thanks to him), funds changed hands, and I finally collected my new toy this Wednesday. Now I’ve got to reassemble all my tools – I never thought I’d be doing this again !

So what’s this one going to be then, I hear you cry ? Well, this time it’s going to be British – a veteran of Cambrai (Bovington are saying that they’re going to repaint “Excellent” in the proper shade of brown, so I’ll watch with interest to see what that actually is !). And another Female (that may surprise you, but there’s a Good Historical Reason). That’ll give me a chance to get things right first time, rather than all the faffing about I did with “Liesel”, and put into practice everything I’ve learned, so I can see how much time it should take. That satisfies both the Accountant (dominant) and the Engineer (latent, but growing) in me.

Historically, this one is going to be F30 “Flaming Fire II”, which fought in at least 3 actions during Cambrai but was finally knocked out near Bourlon Wood on 27 November 1917. She was then captured by the Germans (can you see a theme developing here ? :wink:), renovated, and attached to Abteilung 14 as No. 3 “Lotte”. She fought alongside “Liesel” at the Fort de la Pompelle on 1 June 1918, was knocked out (again), but remained with “Liesel” after the War as a memorial. “Liesel” (as you doubtless know by now !) was towed away and destroyed in 1926, but “Lotte” actually survived until 1942.

So I should end up, sometime in late Summer 2016 (if all goes well) with two Mark IV’s – one German and one British, but with a clear historical connection. I’m not exactly sure what that is – half-sisters ? Lots more historical research, and another tank to build. They really ARE addictive ! And, yet again, my lovely wife Helen bullied me into doing this.

The next chapter starts here. First unpacking and list-checking, and then the first rivet. I’ll try to make the pictures a bit different this time ...........

All the best,

Chris

PS. Most of us Mark IV builders seem to be basing our tanks around the Armortek number, so No. 30 and F30 follows the trend. But I would have done F30 anyway, for the historical reasons above – honest ! Francis having No. 30 was just an amazing (some might say pre-ordained) coincidence.

PPS. If Mark now announces a limited edition Whippet (one can but dream) I may have to mortgage the house !
2 x Mark IV's (Abt. 14 Beutepanzer Liesel and F30 Flaming Fire II)
Morris Quad, 2 x limbers and 1 x 25-pdr (45RA, Korea 1951)
M3 Lee (25th Dragoons, Burma 1944)

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Re: Mark IV No. 30 – here we go again ............

Post by Daniel Scholefield » Fri Nov 06, 2015 5:23 pm

So the eventual aim will be to own the whole production run? :-) I do understand the 'pull' to get another tank now I have one though.

Good luck with tank no.2, it should be a much smoother build as I know from my own experience how I would do another and avoid all the re-work that went into the first build.

I didn't realise that the identity of the people's Mark IVs was tied into the chassis number, I know for sure mine won't be as my choice of Hindenburg line era Mark IV remnent precludes that as far as I have found out thus far.

Now if only I had the slightest clue how to add the rear armour, bend the exhaust, extend the rails etc. etc.
Mark IV No. 35 aka. L9 Lightning III

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Re: Mark IV No. 30 – here we go again ............

Post by Chris Hall » Sat Nov 07, 2015 2:33 pm

Daniel -

That would be a bit silly, wouldn't it ? :) But never say never - I suppose I ought to have a Male for completeness, and I fancy doing a Supply Top Tower with a sled to be truly bizarre ...... but that way lies madness. I think I'll stick at two for the time being !

And who knows what Mark has up his sleeve ......... :idea:

All the best,

Chris
2 x Mark IV's (Abt. 14 Beutepanzer Liesel and F30 Flaming Fire II)
Morris Quad, 2 x limbers and 1 x 25-pdr (45RA, Korea 1951)
M3 Lee (25th Dragoons, Burma 1944)

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Re: Mark IV No. 30 – here we go again ............

Post by Chris Hall » Fri Dec 25, 2015 11:00 am

It's Christmas morning, the house is ready for the family onslaught ........ so I've just stolen a couple of minutes to put a single seasonal rivet into Flaming Fire's floor pan.

I've delayed long enough. The process starts here !

All the best,

Chris
2 x Mark IV's (Abt. 14 Beutepanzer Liesel and F30 Flaming Fire II)
Morris Quad, 2 x limbers and 1 x 25-pdr (45RA, Korea 1951)
M3 Lee (25th Dragoons, Burma 1944)

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Re: Mark IV No. 30 – here we go again ............

Post by Paul Fowler-Smith » Fri Dec 25, 2015 7:22 pm

Chris
As you are our SME for Mark IVs and a honest collector of all things Mk IV (if your study is a honest reflection), my thoughts were why waste all that time and research.

I feel slightly embarrassed that I was a potential cause of your change of heart, but I look forward to the next build thread. So keep up with the photos so we can all enjoy your build.

Merry Christmas

Paul

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Re: Mark IV No. 30 – here we go again ............

Post by Chris Hall » Wed Jan 13, 2016 3:36 pm

Things have been pretty quiet on the Mark IV forum of late, so I thought I'd spark it up a bit ....

Flaming Fire II is now underway, with the first two (floor) sections riveted. Fellow builders, though, will know that that's barely scratching the surface ! I'm surprised to note that, when comparing my build time against my Liesel records (what can I say - I used to be an accountant :oops:) I'm actually taking a lot more time. Against that, I'm definitely mis-hitting less rivets (only one drill-out so far), and they look straighter. I think I'm replacing enthusiasm with a determination to improve quality. Don't get me wrong - I'm still immensely proud of Liesel, but I want to learn from the process and get better at it.

On that note, I've actually been pre-planning more, especially with regard to the electricals. Being a novice, with Liesel, I had no idea what the electricals, wiring, modules etc. were going to look like until at least half-way through the build. But this time, knowing what it'll all look like, I can think it through in advance. I'm moving the battery box backwards to allow room for the new gun module, and I'll be riveting it to the floor rather than bolting through as I did before. I've received invaluable advice from John (Davie) and Steve (Stuart) on how to wire in a cut-off-switch. Also, I'm allowing for a fascine to go on the cab roof, and I've no idea (yet) how heavy that will be ! I don't want Flaming Fire II to be nose-heavy ....

And, away from the main build, I've been immersing myself in historical research. After 27 November 1917, Flaming Fire II disappeared from history until she was identified as Lotte in June 1918. I now believe that she was captured relatively intact at Cambrai, having been forced to surrender (there is, as you might expect, a lot more to this story). This means that most, if not all, of her crew would have been PoW'd. I looked into the question of WW1 PoW's some years ago (as my Grandfather was one in 1918), but the records then were scanty, and largely focussed on repatriation after the Armistice. But I've just discovered that, during 2014, the International Committee of the Red Cross scanned and referenced all their WW1 PoW records (see http://grandeguerre.icrc.org/). This is an invaluable resource and, while I don't think I'll ever identify the crew of Flaming Fire II as a distinct unit, I should get pretty close (say a dozen men or so). Anyway, it's rediscovering the existence of brave men who have been lost for 100 years, and that can never be a Bad Thing.

So lots of activity, but no pictures - yet ! I should have some ready by the end of this month, when I'll be able to describe some of the changes I've made and lessons I've learnt (which will mainly be riveting parts out-of-sequence where they had to be bolted last time).

It remains just as absorbing as it was last time, though ! And I've now got Liesel (and a friend's Panther) to play with in between build stages, and meetings of SAG and UKTC to enjoy ...... :D

All the best,

Chris
2 x Mark IV's (Abt. 14 Beutepanzer Liesel and F30 Flaming Fire II)
Morris Quad, 2 x limbers and 1 x 25-pdr (45RA, Korea 1951)
M3 Lee (25th Dragoons, Burma 1944)

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Re: Mark IV No. 30 – here we go again ............

Post by Chris Hall » Mon Feb 08, 2016 1:15 pm

I do like noting milestones, and I hit another one (of sorts) today ........

There's a phrase in the Mark IV instructions (which is probably standard to all Armortek kits) that says "There are generous extra quantities of fasteners supplied with this kit". Well, today, I tested that, by running out of the original 3/8 copper rivets that came with Liesel ! So I'll have to open Flaming Fire's bag now :lol:. It's not an exact science, but I reckon that "generous extra quantities" is probably around 25-30%. And, as I've proved before, Gill is always willing to send out more if you ask nicely. So, as usual, thanks to Gill and Mark for their (demonstrably) excellent customer care.

Mark would accuse me of over-engineering with all those extra rivets, though ! I've jumped ahead to Stage 14, and I'm riveting on all the side angle plates to the inner frames. It's something I didn't do with Liesel, as it's a later stage from assembling the inner hull and would have involved disassembling her (so all these parts are either bolted or glued on her :oops:). Even though most of these rivets will never be seen (as they're under the tank) it bugged me, and it's something I wanted to get right on my second build (after all, if it's good enough for the Metropolitan Carriage, Wagon and Finance Company Limited ......)

This is what I mean:

Inner frame 1 small.jpg
Inner frame 2 small.jpg
It's definitely a case of "measure many times and rivet once" though, as some of the holes are needed for bolting the track runs and diaphragms. Luckily I have a previous model to work from !

So, slow but steady progress. Up to now I've been putting more effort into historical research, but I intend to motor on a bit with the building now. There's history, and then there's fun ....... :)

All the best,

Chris
Last edited by Chris Hall on Fri Dec 08, 2017 2:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
2 x Mark IV's (Abt. 14 Beutepanzer Liesel and F30 Flaming Fire II)
Morris Quad, 2 x limbers and 1 x 25-pdr (45RA, Korea 1951)
M3 Lee (25th Dragoons, Burma 1944)

IAN HINKS
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Re: Mark IV No. 30 – here we go again ............

Post by IAN HINKS » Thu Feb 11, 2016 5:15 pm

Hi Chris,
Great to see your latest post. I want to get as many true rivets into my tank, so the extra information on what can be riveted up early on is a great help. Please continue to post such details during your build. On the topic of research, have you been through the Bovington archives to look for combat reports (Battle history sheets) for the battalion your latest model is from, prior to being loaned to Jerry. There are some great details included in them, quite often some of the crew is mentioned by name, if you can find the last one for your tank it might give details of what happened. I have loads for the first (A) Batalion and some for the 8th Battalion. Should anyone modify their MkIV into a MkV then I also have a load of 8th Battalion ones for their MkV's :lol: My advice would be to wait for Mark to bring out a MkV though, one for 2018 Mark, after the 25 pounder Quad though :D All the best,
Ian.

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Re: Mark IV No. 30 – here we go again ............

Post by Chris Hall » Fri Feb 12, 2016 1:02 pm

Ian -

Well, since you asked so nicely :D here's another one for you: the Glacis Plate (EK0123) with the Lower Front Strip (EK0611) which doesn't appear until Stage 33.

Glacis Plate small.jpg
I'm thinking that the Nose Strip (EK0610) can probably be done as well, but I haven't thought that one through yet. I shall have to speed up a bit if you want to follow along :lol:. But I'd be happy for you to ask about anything if you shoot ahead of me !

By coincidence, I was in the Bovvy Archives on Wednesday. Always a good day out, and the staff (especially Katie Thompson) couldn't be more helpful. Unfortunately, the records aren't that extensive for F (6th) Battalion. But I'm researching the crew records by data-mining CWGC (Casualty) and Red Cross (PoW) records (the wonders of the Internet !), and getting some good results which I'll post up sometime. The fate of Flaming Fire II is becoming pretty clear to me now, and it's a story worth discovering. Another group of forgotten heroes.

A Mark V ? A very difficult, "throw half the box away" (copyright Stephen White :lol:) conversion. And, to the untrained eye, it doesn't look too different from a Mark IV. So I doubt Mark would bother. Personally I'm still hoping for a Whippet .... one day .... :wink:

All the best,

Chris
Last edited by Chris Hall on Fri Dec 08, 2017 2:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
2 x Mark IV's (Abt. 14 Beutepanzer Liesel and F30 Flaming Fire II)
Morris Quad, 2 x limbers and 1 x 25-pdr (45RA, Korea 1951)
M3 Lee (25th Dragoons, Burma 1944)

IAN HINKS
Posts: 86
Joined: Tue Aug 13, 2013 5:45 pm

Re: Mark IV No. 30 – here we go again ............

Post by IAN HINKS » Fri Feb 12, 2016 6:15 pm

Now I can assure you Chris that I won't be racing ahead, sorry to say, and it is a bit cheeky to always be benefiting from others hard work. All I can offer is to share any information that comes my way as like you I love the historical research. At the moment I have got side tracked from tanks researching a trip to the Somme this year with friends for the 100th anniversary following in the footsteps of relatives. More parts of the MkIV into work tomorrow to prep prime should be able to start a bit of riveting if I organise which parts I am prepping in a more logical order. Much obliged for the posts as always interesting and enjoyable.
Happy building,
Ian.

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Re: Mark IV No. 30 – here we go again ............

Post by Chris Hall » Tue Mar 29, 2016 1:47 pm

Build time to date: 15 hours

Just a little update, to prove that I'm still working (and alive :) ) ......

I'm still working on the sub-assemblies while I find the cash for the motors and add-on packs (hopefully won't be much longer, Gill !). So now it's time for the outer frames.

This is a combination of Stages 14 and 33. I regard it as a large jigsaw puzzle - the armour plates fit to the frames, then the track edging strips go round the outside, then the side strips fit over the armour plate joins:

Outer Frame 1 small.jpg
Outer Frame 2 small.jpg
Outer Frame 3 small.jpg
These are all currently loose-bolted. It's nice to know that all the parts are there, line all the holes up, and putting the armour plates on makes Box 4 significantly lighter ! But, to me, the main purpose is to work out which parts can be riveted and which need to be bolted. There is a 'bolt line' which can be worked out once the track runs and diaphragms (Stage 11) have been attached to the inner frame. I worked it out with Liesel, and marked it with a chinagraph pencil but, like an idiot, I didn't take any pictures so I'm going to have to work it out again ! And, of course, the parts are going to need disassembling and cleaning before riveting, but my objective is always to rivet wherever possible for strength and authenticity reasons.

Just for clarity, EK0216 (Stage 14) is just a 'filler strip' behind EK0217 (Stage 15). It becomes invisible when the sponsons (below) and the tracks (above) are fitted.

This does raise the question, though, of how to fit the middle-rear armour plates (EK0206 and EK0207). In the additional Technical Advice note for the Mark IV (viewtopic.php?f=3&t=5328), Mark advises that these plates be made easily removable to allow access to the motors. This, though, would mean that those plates, track edges and side strips would need bolting rather than riveting. A moot point. My personal view is that, if access to the motors is required in the future, it's a major disassemble anyway, involving taking the tracks off and removing the rear roof section. Something for each builder to make their own judgement on - just be aware of it.

All the best,

Chris
Last edited by Chris Hall on Fri Dec 08, 2017 2:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
2 x Mark IV's (Abt. 14 Beutepanzer Liesel and F30 Flaming Fire II)
Morris Quad, 2 x limbers and 1 x 25-pdr (45RA, Korea 1951)
M3 Lee (25th Dragoons, Burma 1944)

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Re: Mark IV No. 30 – here we go again ............

Post by Daniel Scholefield » Tue Mar 29, 2016 4:52 pm

Chris good to see No2 coming along.

As to how to handle attaching the aromut plates this was one area I was glad I only glued my rivets in (as they were more decorative rather than structural. This allowed me to remove and rebolt the rear plates when I had to install the motors and again when I had to disasemble everything hunting down why my tracks were binding. I have another removal in my future as once I tensioned up by tracks after Tankmod the left side has started clicking once more, cause unknown and at some point I am going to have to find out on what but as you said it is a major job. For one however my shortcutting makes the job easier :-)
Mark IV No. 35 aka. L9 Lightning III

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Re: Mark IV No. 30 – here we go again ............

Post by Chris Hall » Sat Apr 02, 2016 8:12 pm

Now it's lighter and warmer, the work rate can ramp up in the workshop. And I note that I'm being pushed by Ian (Gunner), so I better keep ahead of him !

Today it was the Rear Panel, with some extra bits. Mainly Stage 8, but the Cover Strips (EK0230) in Stage 16 and the Stand Off Cover (EK0628) and door hinges (EK0424) in Stages 28/29. All of these can be riveted as a complete sub-assembly. Here's how it looks (in total, it took me about 1.5 hours):

Rear Plate small.jpg
This assumes, though, that you're going to fabricate the additional rear armour plates that were fitted to the Fighting (not Training) tanks in France (see Steve Stuart's excellent instructions in his 007 build thread). In this case, the unriveted holes in the top row are for the armour plate, and the Stand Off Cover can be riveted flush. If you're not doing the armour, the top row can be riveted in full and the Stand Off Plate will need the long bolts and flap spacers EK0630 as per the instructions.

The unriveted holes in the Cover Strips are to mount the Fuel Tank (Stage 13). It's useful to dig out EK0231 and offer this up to check exactly which holes to leave open.

With the door hinges, I don't think it's possible to rivet the upper hole as it's too close to the door pin to get the rivet punch in. So the top hole on each hinge is a short M3 Bolt. However, this does enable you to gently tap the hinge to make sure it is straight.

The only thing I haven't yet done on this assembly is the exhaust louvres - I need to check whether they point up or down for Metropolitan builds ! :wink:

The sad fact, though, is that nearly all this riveting becomes almost invisible in the final assembly, as it gets covered by the extra armour and the fuel tank. Doesn't make it any less worth doing, though .......

All the best,

Chris
Last edited by Chris Hall on Fri Dec 08, 2017 2:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
2 x Mark IV's (Abt. 14 Beutepanzer Liesel and F30 Flaming Fire II)
Morris Quad, 2 x limbers and 1 x 25-pdr (45RA, Korea 1951)
M3 Lee (25th Dragoons, Burma 1944)

IAN HINKS
Posts: 86
Joined: Tue Aug 13, 2013 5:45 pm

Re: Mark IV No. 30 – here we go again ............

Post by IAN HINKS » Mon Apr 04, 2016 9:22 pm

I lost the first reply Chris when my broadband connection crashed so here goes again. Firstly it is always a pleasure reading your latest and I make no apologies for saying once again a big thank you to you and the other forum posters for sharing so much information that you have all expended so much time and effort working out. I know that much of any kudos that my model may attract as it is slowly built up will be as a result of previous builders posts.
I chose to rub down, degrease and etch prime my parts as I go along before assembling. This has advantages and disadvantages. Advantages are no handling finger prints causing corrosion, not having to disassemble again once assembly starts (this is where having previous builder guidance really helps out), and by having a primer layer between all parts hopefully avoiding dissimilar metal corrosion, or moisture getting between joints and causing corrosion. Disadvantages, when fitting rivets the holes need cleaning out sometimes, which would leave bare surfaces again if I didn't intend to wet rivet, i.e. painting a little primer in the hole just before inserting the rivet for closing up. This obviously increases the time it takes, but I would rather be a belts and braces and piece of string builder taking the time penalty for long term protection.
Now I am going to repeat myself again, there is no way I am going to overtake you, but if you need a little in the shed modelling time away from the Mem Sahib, I have no problem with you using me as your excuse :) broad shoulders here.
Well, I look forward to more revelations as you progress and having narrowly missed out on getting down to see you last week, will eventually make sure I do in the near future. I'll close this by paraphrasing and quoting two comedic greats. "Carry on modelling", "You've all done very well"
Cheers,
gunner.

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Re: Mark IV No. 30 – here we go again ............

Post by Chris Hall » Wed Nov 02, 2016 11:42 am

It's been a long time since I paid much attention to poor Flaming Fire II. I've been playing with Liesel at shows for most of the summer (with thanks to Stephen, Steve and Denny for all their hard work) and just enjoying my first full year of Armortek ownership. But the various bits scattered around my workshop kept calling to me and, with only a year left until the Cambrai centenary, it's time to crack on.

The area most crying out for attention is the rear sub-assembly, so I've been working on that, and just completed it. There's quite a lot going on, so I'll talk through the pictures:

Rear assembly 1 small.jpg
This is the main assembly. The fuel tank is fitted, as well as the lower additional armour plate seen on all of the 'fighting' Mark IV's (not included in the kit). I've also fabricated the lower camo frame holders (the upper parts will be drilled through the inner frames) and the shielding around the exhaust louvres.

Rear assembly 2 small.jpg
Closer detail of the exhaust shielding, which is something I regretted not doing on Liesel. It's quite straightforward - Steve Stuart's build provides some excellent instruction. Unlike Steve, I did not remake the vent angles EK0631 - I cut an appropriate piece of 1mm aluminium sheet for the side and just bolted through. Same with the top part, although that needs a slight downward bend in it. I'm pleased with it from a stand-off perspective, and paint covers a multitude of sins !

Rear assembly 3 small.jpg
The underneath of the armour plate. This approximates to a picture in David Fletcher's Osprey book on the Mark IV, which is the only picture I've ever seen of a Mark IV's complete underside. Again it's 1mm aluminium sheet (I'm not clever enough to work in steel) and Steve's build has excellent instructions which I've largely copied.

Other things to note are:

[*] the stand-off cover EK0628. If you're putting the extra armour on, this needs to be bolted / riveted flush, without the spacers. The Upper armour then bolts to the holes I've left at the top, and the bottom edge gets "trapped" (technical term) behind the hinges on the centre fuel tank plate.

[*] the centre fuel tank plate has been modified to look like it flaps up, which is correct (although it doesn't, of course !). The hinges are 13mm brass ones from B&Q, just glued on, and the handle is fabricated from brass rod. A word on putting on the fuel tank top plates - it's real Blind Bolt stuff ! I don't know how you get them all on - I managed 11 out of 20, which is enough to hold them. The rest are just glued in. The important ones are the ones holding on the lower armour plate - I managed to fish the nuts on by using M3*30 hex head bolts, which gave me more scope for getting my fat fingers in the very small space ! If I'm missing something obvious I'm sure someone will tell me .....

I think I've now finished all the necessary sub-assemblies to get me to Stage 10/11, when I can assemble the inner frame and start painting.

Hope this helps,

Chris
Last edited by Chris Hall on Fri Dec 08, 2017 2:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
2 x Mark IV's (Abt. 14 Beutepanzer Liesel and F30 Flaming Fire II)
Morris Quad, 2 x limbers and 1 x 25-pdr (45RA, Korea 1951)
M3 Lee (25th Dragoons, Burma 1944)

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