I found this post very helpful in illustrating the different types of weathering effects in a simple graphical form.
The mud was created using Tamiya’s concerete textured paint as a base with lots of earth colored pigments and some static grass and sand added. The first batch was prepared using washable dust by Ammo, though – this represents the dried mud under all the subsequent layers. The next batch was created by adding different (and subsequently darkening) earth colored pigments; after application, as usual, I used a wet brush to adjust the effect, to remove some mud from some places, to move clumps around, and to subtly mix the different layers together. Once the lower hull and the wheels were dirtied up, I glued the wheels on.
The products for the mud I used were the following: Tamiya basing paste (concrete), Vallejo splashed mud, different earth colored pigments and sand with static grass.
(I know it is a lot… I accumulated them over the years, and never really gave them a proper tryout. It is the perfect opportunity I guess.)
If there is one fault of the kit is the tiny connection point between the axes and the wheels. It was really annoying to constantly re-gluing the whells, because the pin holding them was tiny and did not create a strong enough hold.
The last step was adding a couple of mud splashes using the above mixtures diluted with water, and a stiff old brush.
The top of the hull and the turret got some dust (washable dust by Ammo Mig, rainmarks by Vallejo), and pretty much it was it. While I do appreciate the Vallejo weathering products, as they are not solvent-based, they are more difficult to apply properly. The high surface tension of the water in them means they do not spread so easily, and they form tide marks very readily when applied to a dry surface directly. The best way I found to use them was to wet the surface, dilute the products somewhat, and keep feathering the edges of the patches so that the very marked tide-marks do not form. The key is to build up the effect in light layers. Using directly from the bottle will not yield good results.
The middle wheels were painted using AK’s True Metal paint to resemble the worn metallic surface. The same paint was used with dry brushing over some of the surfaces. The model got an overall flat coat (especially the canvas cover on the turret), and the edges were lined with silver pencil.
I did add a lot of petrol spill around the caps, but since the model was over-done, anyway, I really wanted to go the whole nine yards. Always wanted to do one of those over-weathered models… While they are certainly not realistic, they do look good. Mine looks like that the only reason why it does not fall apart due to the extensive rusting, or bursts into flames due to the gallons of spilled gasoline is the incredible amount of mud that holds the whole thing together…
I am not entirely satisfied with the results, but overall I quite like how it turned out.
By the way, the freaking wheels keep breaking off due to the tiny connecting pins snapping every time I handle the model. I gave up and used green stuff to fix them in place.
Takom build so far
Well, the second Panther is finished, too. There were things I liked better in the RFM model, but overall the experience was much more pleasurable with the Takom kit. I did not go overboard with the weathering: some rust, some streaking, some dust; nothing major. I still need to figure out how to display the interior best -a cutaway would have been the best option. Next time…
The last thing to finish now is that third Panther waiting for me since 2006…
Rye Fields build so far
Well, the model is finished -at least I decided to stop. The masks have come off – the results are OK, but not as good as I expected. Some weathering was done, but not much, beforehand, and I sprayed on a coat of flat varnish before touching the mask.
There will be another post with the Takom Panther, and a final one comparing them; and finally these kits are finished. With the RFM Panther I felt the model was actively fighting me several times; it is a very ambicious model, but it sure has its shortcomings. More on that in a final comparison post.
Chieftain’s article on the Panther in French service is very informative; this video sums it up pretty well, if you don’t have time to read it. (By the way, the Bovingdon Panther was one option I was considering, having seen it first-hand. I don’t see myself building yet another Panther -especially that I have a Takom Jagdpanther on my shelf waiting to be built- but if I do, it will be in this setup.)
I tried to find photos of Panthers in French service, but there are not many around. I suspect this light yellow color could be a light version of dunkelgelb (AK Interactive has one).
Rye Fields build so far
I decided to use masking fluid on parts of the chassis and turret I wanted to keep transparent, and use the ivory interior color as a primer -this way I only have to paint one surface, making masking and painting simpler, although the interior would be gloss as a tradeoff.
What I did not count on was the upper plate on the front. This is a two-part affair; for some reason (techniqual I suspect) you have to glue a transparent plate over the transparent upper hull. For obvious reasons I was very careful with the amount of glue I used as I did not want the glue sweep between the plates -capillary forces are not very helpful as they would drag the glue over a large distance. Which they did in a couple of areas.
Well, they dragged the masking fluid as well as you can see (the white area in the front). Fortunately this is exactly where the large French ensign will go, but I would have preferred not to have to worry about it.
Once the masking fluid was dry, I proceeded to use AK’s Cremeweiss (which I reviewed) almost straight, with very little thinner. It went on better than I thought it would. (I was worried about the gloss surface and the fact that I spray white.) It really gripped the plastic well; I was very happy to see the results.
Next coat: AK Interactive dark yellow primer, followed by Mig’s Dunkelgelb.
The decals were custom-made. They went on once the paint dried, and now the model is ready for the running gear and weathering. I will keep the masking on until I am done with weathering and adding a flat varnish – I am quite tense about how this will turn out in the end.
I painted the roadwheels, finished and painted the tracks, and installed them. RFM does give you the option to leave the drive wheel off -the axle it goes onto is detailed, not just a peg sticking out. It is a shame to cover it up.
Added the spare track links (some of the PE brackets were lost during the handling of the model… damn), the tools and painted everything.
Overall it is getting there. Everything is attached -except for the AAA gun, which I suspect would not have been used by the French- and now it is “only” the weathering and the painting of the small details are left. The last step will be the removal of the mask… which is really a stressful thought.
Perhaps not that stressful.
Takom build so far
Well, the finish line… I do not want to do a very heavy weathering, but I do want to make the tank looked used -after all it is a captured vehicle.
The turret itself will be light on weathering, since it was re-painted “recently”.
I did some experimentation with Italery’s black wash, and a mixture of Vallejo’s dust washes with some pigments added to the mixture; the results are kind of pleasing to the eye -grimy, dirty, but not overdone. (Truth be told, the black wash completely disappears under the dirty…)
Acrylic washes are interesting: it does run into details as pinwash, but you do need a wet brush to remove the residue from the surfaces you want to keep clean. Overall I like it – the disadvantages are balanced by the lack of organic solvent.
I used the remaining of the mixture on the Zimmerit after diluting it with water; it worked as a nice wash/dirt combo. I concentrated most of it on the lower parts, but made sure some got to the top of the hull, too.
I did add an overall wash using Mig’s Dark Wash to accentuate the Zimmerit pattern, but to my shock the turpentine alternative (ZestIt) I use simply lifted the Mig Ammo paint up. I suspect normal turpentine would have done the same. I never had an issue with Tamiya paints, so I think I will stick to those in the future. Regardless it created a nice chipped look, so perhaps it is something to remember for the future.
It is a sort of Bob Ross moment.
Takom provides a rig for assembling the tracks, which is really nice of them; it does make the job simpler. I assembled sections of the tracks, and painted them with dark grey primer as a base.
Installation is simple, but it takes time – I had to wait for the glue to set before I could move on to install the next section of tracks/idlers/drive wheels.
It is not completely done yet but getting there. I added some tools, the AAA machine gun and other small bits… the problem of having little time to build, and building an almost 2000 part model is that sometimes things get left off. Well, now it is time to make good for these little slips.
Once these are painted up, the engine deck is weathered and some dust is added to the model, I will declare it to be finished. One more post I guess.
Rye Fields build so far
The turret looks great with the transparent parts; it really saved me the headache I had with the Takom turret. (Not much can be seen from the outside.)
Before I closed up the hull I needed to finish the engine -but once that was done, hallelujah! – the hull is closed! The nightmare is ending! Now it is merely another 1000 parts to finish the outside of the tank, and then I can start painting it. As mentioned in the previous post, it will be painted in French service. I already have the decals printed.
Well, not so much finished as only getting there… a lot of small details are still to be added.
So I spent another few hours doing just that…
Another unpleasant experience (actually two):
- the hose leading from the turret basket to the extraction fan is rigid, and needs to be assembled from two parts –after the turret interior is fit together. Yeah, good luck with that. The fit was not good, and while I was fiddling with fitting the second part in, I managed to break off the first one coming from the top of the turret. Takom solved this with a flexible hose – I suspect if you build this model, you should find a flexible alternative, too. (Unless you love keyhole surgery, and your family members do not mind strong words.)
- The top of the hull does not fit well. I mean I got used to fit issues, so it does not surprise me, but this model does not even have side-skirts that would hide the problem. It does have the mounting brackets for them, though… maybe it would be a good idea to buy some PE aftermarket?
Regardless, most of the small details are attached to the exterior (some extremely small parts are still to be added, as well as the front mudguards), so painting can finally commence.
Now the problem of masking. (This is what I was dreading all these two years of building this model.)
Takom build so far
Well I ended up closing up the turret without cutting out the top. I experimented with the Zvezda Panzer IV which is still unfinished, but ended up deciding against a half-attempt of a cutaway.
I used Meng’s zimmerit decal set for the Meng kit – it fit more or less. (There are some differences between the dimensions of the two Panther kits – I have no clue which one is more accurate.) The decal is really fragile, and handling it is a pain, but at least it looks like some realistic heavy damage when breaks… If you know what is good for you, you use white glue to fix it to the model because using CA it is a hell to apply and adjust.
The hull was also closed up, and we are ready for masking and the paintjob… now it is only a matter of time to finish this bad boy. The only issue I have is that I can’t seem to find all the tracks I have built for it…
(The RFM Panther will be an example used by the French – after all they were the longest operators of the type, and I have not seen many models depicting a French Panther.)
The hull was sprayed using Mig’s Dunkelgelb colors (they carry two shades; I used a mixture of both as I found one of them too yellow, the other too light; using both also allows you to create shades and hues), and the turret was painted using one of AK’s Russian green color. I did make a mistake, and used a post-war, 1947 era color… not that it matters a lot -when it comes to Russian green, any green will do, as we know. The star and number was painted by hand- somewhat intentionally clumsy as on the photos you can clearly see a similar sloppiness in their application.
I also finished the engines – the RFM one will be installed, but I decided to close down the Takom hull without the engine. It would not be visible through the maintenance hatch, anyhow, and will use it for the Jagdpanther I still have on my shelf. The engine will be quite hidden in the RFM models as well, so I did not spend too much time detailing and painting it. (It is the more detailed of the two, truth be told, but they both are great.)
That is it for now. There is still a lot to do, but it is getting finished finally
OK, the last part of building the radar: weathering.
I did go very lightly on weathering, since these things were mostly stationary and well tended – no knocking around and muddy roads for them, ergo no sratches, paintchips and mud.
Some light filters, a dark wash, very light layer of dust, and a light overall wash of Vallejo’s oily earth on the platform; pretty much that was it.
Takom build so far
Rye Fields build so far
I decided to do a joint post since both tanks are in the same state right now, and some comparison between the two is quite timely.
In short: Takom is detailed and it is easy to build. RFM is extremely detailed (it is indeed incredible how much detail they have put into the interior -a lot of it is missing from the Takom kit), however it is not as a joyride to build as the Takom kit. The reasons are two-fold: the kit is extremely overengineered AND bad fitting. As I detailed in the previous posts, the hull is too narrow, so the torsion bars, the transmission, the metal braces within the hull, the crew’s floor panels can’t properly fit.
The overengineering is something that is a matter of perspective. The model is full of details which are hidden -for example the cogs in the final drive, the cooling fans which are made out of fifteen parts, many of which are also hidden (after all only the top is visible), and so on and so forth. Takom, in contrast does offer some solutions that simplify the build: for example the ready-racks do not need to be filled with individual pieces of ammunition: you get a single part which has all the protruding heads moulded onto.
At this point I have the interior -both the hull and the turret- finished, but I am stalled with both kits. Since the RFM model felt like it was fighting me during the build I lost some of my drive to finish it; and since I do want to show off the turret interior, I need to figure it out how to do so. The different hatches do not show enough of it for my taste, so there is something else to be done. I may actually do a cutout on the turret roof; not sure. It is certainly a bit stressing to cut into an almost finished model…
Well, here are the photos. The color authenticity I am not sure about. Primer red / blue-gray may or may not have been the correct one. There are some widely-accepted wisdoms online about it, but I found a lot of contradictory evidence as well. At the end I decided not to sweat it, and just use whatever the instruction booklets were suggesting.
It really is worth looking at is the comparison between the two models. By itself I would say the Takom kit is really comprehensive and very detailed model. Next to the RFM one it looks bare. So there you go. With RFM you get a flawed but an incredily detailed model. With the Takom kit you get something you will actually enjoy building.
Stay tuned; I hope once the interior is closed up the models would be finished in a reasonable time.