Well, finishing up the build… The previous installments:
OK, now it is ready to be painted. Personally I blame the holidays for the lack of progress.
Well, finishing up the build… The previous installments:
So, further difficulties… although not big ones.
The periscopes do not fit into their slots -neither on the driver’s hatch, nor on the top of the vehicle. Bummer.
The mantlet (part number A8) of the gun barrel did not fit into place, either; I trimmed about a mm off from the end to be able to slot it into place.
Because the gun is set off-set, and not centered (I had the bright idea to display it off-centered… talk about self-goals), I can’t fit the roof of the fighting compartment into place. The gunsight gets in the way, unfortunately. I strongly suggest centering the gun, or leave the hatches open so that the gunsight can stick out of the tank. I will have to figure something out; maybe display it lifted.
The tank is essentially done apart from the tow cables and a few minor parts. I will glue the fenders in place once I installed the tracks, and call it a day. I am still unsure about what tracks to use as I am not happy with either options, but I would like to stress something. None of these issues are deal-breaking – the model went together rather well. It is quite a spectacular-looking model, and considering that it comes with a full interior it was not a tour de force to build it. I do confess my love to the MiniArt kits with interior, but a T-54 was a much, much more involved process. This model went together surprisingly quickly. The ease of building obviously does come with some compromise with regards to detail. The question obviously is how much detail you can live without. I am happy to say that this level I am fine with -milage may vary. I am sure there will be a 1kg Voyager update set with PE and resin for the people who wish for more. Perhaps an aftermarket set of tracks would be useful but otherwise I am fine with this model out of the box.
Now I just need to paint the thing.
Well, finishing up the interior… The previous installments:
The interior was a surprisingly short affair, compared to RFM’s or Takom’s Panthers‘ (which may or may not be a good thing, depending on your point of view… right now I am happy it did not take years).
I cut the floor of the fighting compartment to show off half of the electric motor, and the assorted parts; I also did a cut on the panel holding the gun, but still very little can be seen of the engines. I actually took one of them out to display it separately.
The superstructure was finished (a few bits and pieces are missing still) and weathered with AK’s interior wash, oils, chipping done with brush and sponge, and some AK rust pencils.
One issue with the decals: there are no stencils for the interior or the ammunition. It is important in this case since you can see the bottom of the rounds from above. I used RFM’s decals for the Panther ammo to depict the primer. It does improve the overall look of the model.
Based on the few photos available on the driver’s compartment it does not seem to be completely accurate, but it is easy to work with if you want to.
I also ran into the first fit issues…
You can build the whole thing before painting; there are no sub-assemblies to paint first. The instructions provide a guide to the Buntfarbenanstrich (colorful) painting scheme (https://panzerworld.com/german-armor-camouflage for more information), but I kept to the plain (and very likely non-historical) panzergray for sentimental reasons – this is how I was used to the vehicle when I played it in World of Tanks. I painted it using Tamiya acrylics: panzer grey lightened with buff for the whole tank with zenithal highlight and some panel highlighting, used light grey to further highlight edges and smaller details, and then used oils (burned umber, raw umber, green, white) to “deepen” the color with filters.
Some streaking was added, some dust and some mud, and I declared the model done. I did not want to go overboard with rust, chips and scratches, as I figured the vehicle as a prototype had no time to actually get “used in”. It spent a couple of exciting days in the proving ground, and then went back to the machine shop to be dismantled. (Sadly.)
It was also an interesting experience with the AK weathering pencils: they are pretty good at making dust. The fact that the effect can be adjusted any time after drying is great.
I am very enthusiastic about farming equipment, bulldozers and whatnot, so I was really excited when ICM announced they were going to issue a rare, interwar German agricultural mover; it represents a very important, albeit little known step in tractor development.
Incidentally it also has a turret and a gun (I guess the designers were really keen on preparing for all eventualities a farm worker might face), so we may even look at it as an early attempt at tank development by the German industry. I say “may”, since at that time the Germans were prohibited from armored vehicle development by the treaties closing WWI, it is merely a coincidence, I am sure. Regardless, these little vehicles were used by the German armed forces as a substitute during training and for the development of their armor doctrine. This is the main reason that although they never were intended for combat, they had an extremely useful role in the development of the German armored tactics (blitzkrieg) employed in WWII, and also in the development of early and mid war German armored fighting vehicles. It is indeed a welcome step from ICM to issue a plastic model of this important vehicle; it seems like the company is willing to take risks and develop models of unique subjects.
The model is very traditionally designed: the hull is made up by flat parts, the turret is made up by two semi-circular halves, necessitating filling seam lines, unfortunately which I personally do not like. (One of the boons of armor modelling in my opinion is that there is no need to fill in seam lines along the fuselage…) There is even some minimal turret interior provided; you get the main gun and the coaxial machine gun with some rudimentary detail. If you plan to leave the turret doors open, just paint the interior of the hull (but not the turret…) black.
The suspension and running gear is simplified; only the parts that show from under the side covering are detailed. Looking at the myriad of tiny road wheels it is a good thing I think… although it may be very interesting to have the option to open the side hatches to show off the suspension.
The gun has a hollowed-out end, which was solved without the use of slide-moulding: the tip is made up of two parts: the long barrel with half of the end is missing, and a tiny part that makes up for the missing half. This was it was possible to mould a short longitudinal channel in the end of the barrel, and closing it off with a small “half-pipe” forms it into a complete gun barrel with a hole at the end.
The model comes with rubber band type tracks – is a matter of taste if you prefer them or not. Talking for myself only, I consider this to be the weakest point of the model. (I prefer link-and-length tracks or individual track links, if possible. In this case definitely not individual links, though seeing how small the track links are.) You are supposed to glue two parts for one set of tracks, which leaves you with two possible seams showing where the tracks meet. I would suggest using a more discreet place to join them up than I did: the drive wheels and idlers… My mistake; as the tracks bend around the wheels the seams show up. They would all but disappear when joined flat.
The sides of the tracks do not really show segmentation where the track links meet – they are smooth, which is less-than-ideal.
All-in-all the model is well-made but geared for simplicity and ease of assembly. (I will not lie, a full interior version would be extremely welcome…) On top of the mud guards there may or may not have been some anti-slip surfacing on the real vehicle, which is lacking from this model (the mud guards are smooth). I could not decide how it was based on reference photos, but there are some builds online where this surface was added using PE by the modeller.
There are also no tools provided, which is, again, something that may be accurate; don’t forget, this vehicle was not progressed from the prototype phase. It really should not be hard to add a couple of shovels and picks should you want to include them. The weird, corkscrew-like exhaust is designed in a way that after gluing the two halves together there is no need to fill in seam lines; a very considerate way of designing models.
The thin handrails around the top of the hull are very well done, but a pain in the neck to use because it is really difficult to clean them properly from the sprue gates. They are very thin and snap easily. What I did was to shave off as much leftover plastic as I could, and then brushed on some liquid glue to melt the plastic a bit, smoothing out the sharp, protruding sprue gate remains. In all honesty if the model was not for review I would have just switched the plastic to wire, keeping the vertical holders. (It is also very easy to break them during the painting and weathering steps. Don’t ask me how I know this.)
Building and painting as I go. I used AK’s French blue for the greyish/blueish parts, and a black thread for the V belt on the engine. (And lots of rust on the exhausts…)
Touching it up here and there: some red is added to to some fine details to make them pop; it will be a shame to cover it up. I think I will cut the crew compartment’s floor in half to show off what is underneath.
Well, keep going with the interior of the lower hull. The assembly was a joy; most parts are simply dry fitted during painting as they fit really well, and slot into their respective places. Part one went well, part two continues this trend.
I gave a few, subsequently lightening coats of AK’s dunkelgelb to the bottom, and started with the ivory interior color (also AK, then misted over with MRP’s paint to lighten it on the top), using the bottom of the crew compartment as a mask (also some masking tape for the other areas not covered by it.
The gun needs some filler. Which is a bummer.
The suspension is an unique torsion bar system, which is reproduced by Amusing Hobby -at least now I know how it is supposed to work.
Does it work? Kind of.
It is very well designed, but the metal springs/torsion bars are not very strong. The metal springs have a slot on the hull which produces the tension; it is not very difficult to install them. (First I thought the metal wire hanging out of the suspension units are leftovers, but no; they do have a role.) Some of the units do have a “spring” to it, but most are quite flaccid. It does move, though.
Onto painting details – that is the topic of the next post.
I wrote a review of the kit for Armorama; I will just put some photos of the model here. All-in-all, it is a great model of a very unique subject. It is a small model, only a couple of pieces, and also comes with PE for the spokes. ICM has also provided a copy of the patent itself as a separate page, which I promptly framed and put on my wall.
The model is well-designed, and can be built relatively fast- it took me about two evenings, plus a couple of more evenings of painting.
Due to the nature of the model the painting and building had to progress side-by-side; the engine, etc were painted separately and installed only once the main frame was finished.
The hardest part to paint was the wooden foot-holder… with a Citadel paint brown base I used burned umber, umber and Indian yellow to simulate the wood colors. (Paint applied then readjusted with a dry brush to show off the underlying colors repeated several times.)
Once dry, the surface got some gloss varnish. Basically, that’s it. It was an easy and fun build; I can only recommend this model to anyone. It certainly provides an unique addition to the usual subjects on my shelf…
I never really liked the way the Ferdinand looked- the Jagdpanther had a much sleeker outline. However, it was a very intruiging vehicle due to Ferdinand Porche’s unique solution for powering this monster.
There are only a few illustrations available of the interior of the tank:
There is, however, a book available if you fancy buying one (and understand German -although the photos alone would be enough I suspect).
Until now there was only one option for interior: Jaguar’s set, which only consisted of the fighting and the driving compartments -not the interesting (for me) parts.
It is well-worth watching the Tank Museum’s Tank Chat of this tank destroyer -although regrettably they did not climb into it.
Here are some photos I took of this vehicle.
Anyhow. I decided to start this model out of the stash. The model, in general, looks simple and easy to build, despite of the complex interior – a great news indeed after the previous tribulations. The part number is suprisingly low for a kit like this, which, after the RFM Panther, is definitely welcome news.. There are some annoying ejector pin marks, however. (See photos below.)
Things to keep in mind: painting and building are very interconnected. The instructions will not take into consideration the fact that several parts will be needed to be painted together, or just the opposite, need to be painted separately… I already made a couple of mistakes of gluing parts into place without thinking about how to paint them later on. This is a normal thing with all the complex models; it is up to the modeller to modify the sequence as they see fit.
The decals leave something to desire: there are no decals for the interior or the ammunition. I suspect I will just use Verlinden’s interior set, and the leftovers from the RFM/Takom Panthers for the ammunition -whomever can read the stencils can complain they are not correct for 88mm.
The engines do not have V-belts; they can be added with very little effort. If you want to do so, here is a good page for reference.
I really like that Amusing Hobby offered an alternative for tracks: either individual track links, or if you can’t be bothered with the tedium of assembly, a flexible rubber-band-like option. There is a jig provided for assembly but it is not that easy to make the tracks workable. The point of contact between the track links is really tiny, and it is very easy to get glue where it should not be,
Interior overall has a good fit, and it is well designed; so far I am really happy with the model. The fit is so good some parts are held in place firmly without glue. A lot of the parts on the photos are only dry-fit, not glued -except for those two cylinders behind the driving compartment, which I unfortunately glued in. They will need to be painted with a brush in situ.
So I finally finished these kits.
It is worth watching this little youtube video just to get into the mood:
There is also an interesting summary of wartime analyses by the Allies.
Let’s start with the problems because I am a Hungarian, therefore naturally predisposed towards pessimism and negativity. I would also mention here that some of the problems listed are absolutely a matter of taste… so do not be surprised if you see two opposing features (too much detail vs not enough detail) listed. I am trying to give an impression of both kits, and both have their positive and negative aspects.
I think the first two are really serious; the rest is more a matter of personal taste.
Just one: follow the instructions religiously. As with the Takom kit (and most kits) I deviated from them, and it really bit me in the bum.
Bonus advice: it is a marathon. Do not rush it.
Extra bonus advice: you get more ammo than you will use. Do not paint them all… just paint as many as you need.
Number one: follow the building sequence. It sucks because it will make painting of the interior more difficult, but if you do not, you will have to look out for the following especially:
I have to say both kits have positives and negatives. The sheer amount of detail really makes the RFM Panther stand out, there is no question about it. It is absolutely up to the modeller if she or he is willing to put up with the problems of the kit: the overengineering and the fit issues. It is a very ambicious, a very impressive, but a little bit flawed model nevertheless (fit-wise). Many times I did feel like the model was actively fighting me, but now I am ready, I actually feel like giving it another shot, this time to build a really messed-up wreck.
Compared to the RFM Panther the Takom kit builds up like an “ordinary” model; it does what it says on the box, and builds into a respectable model of the Panther. You have to weight the pros and cons and make your decision. I could not, so I built both; I do not regret it. Both kits are excellent -but you have to make your own decision which one to get.