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I'll probably find some 12th SS markings for this one. It will be OOB except for the necessary additions to plug up switch holes and other gappages e.g. sponson bottoms, and to remove axle tunnels under the hull. Will I add underside detail? Probably not. Will I add foliage? Probably. And I will add the criss-cross pattern of Zimmerit which was typically applied to Ausf As.

Hopefully, this will remove a box from my stash, and not add another kit to the unbuilt pile. This is not a classy kit. I want to work quickly on it, and I'm not going to labour over details. Just to be clear :)

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I have also builded it quite a few years back. It's not state of the art, but It is always nice to build a Tamiya kit.

Cheers,

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I'm sure it's familiar to many people. This is the kit that reputedly started Tamiya down the track of 1:35 scale. It just happened to be that scale, and so they stuck with it (so the story goes).

Box art:

IMG_1097_zps45fae4c4.jpg

Contents:

IMG_1096_zps85c92b7a.jpg

So, in the above pic, you can see the horrors of this kit:

  • The tracks, with no detail to speak of on the inside other than rudimentary guide teeth;
  • Idler wheels have drive teeth on them (the instructions tell you to cut them off - no problem, but *shudder*, awful, really;
  • The underside of the hull - with holes aplenty, no detail; and
  • Tunnels for plastic axles to run through. These might have been metal axles.. I don't know.

I've dealt with the horrid tunnels previously by gluing the axles in, and then filing the tunnels down. Some years back, I obtained a set of Esci/Italeri tracks for a Jagdpanther from someone who'd upgraded theirs to Modelkasten or Friulmodel. I appeal similarly here :) This is not a kit I really want to spend money on AM for, but if you have a spare set of Panther tracks, I'm amenable to charity.

,

The above notwithstanding, it has to be said that the finished product will resemble, without question, a Panther Ausf A, no matter how much or how little I do to it.

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The turret number "223" is appropriate for a Panzer Lehr vehicle in Normandy, 1944. It had the criss-cross pattern of Zim (surprise!) and skirts. I'd have to make skirts and hangars - easy enough.

This pose would solve some problems, but create others ... http://img713.imageshack.us/img713/392/slide3u.jpg

Edited by Brews
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I like that link! Interesting looking project. I look forward to seeing what you decide to 'fix'.

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The Panzer Lehr division was formed from the cream of instructors at Panzerwaffe Training facilities - the Panzerschules.

The trouble with this concept is that ... there's noone left to train new crews. It was a very desperate, shortsighted measure of putting all the eggs in one basket. In Normandy, the Germans dropped the basket. Although Panzer Lehr was equipped with the best that the Germans had left, and was treated as an elite unit (which it was), they lost 95% of their tanks and about 40% of their soldiers. They were re=equipped and reinforced, but it's hard to imagine how the reinforcements shaped up to their illustrious comrades.

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Possibly my biggest challenge with this kit is to get the underside of the hull looking a little more realistic. Compare the Tamiya hull with a Dragon Ausf A:

IMG_1100_zpsbefecc36.jpg

I have a cunning plan, and will reveal in due course.

Having opened the Dragon box, I discovered that it contained two sets of these:

IMG_1103_zps514b766a.jpg

Almost identical size to their Tamiya counterparts, but much more cleanly moulded, with less "chord-wise" taper on the spokes in the vertical direction (almost unnoticeable) - possibly a benefit of developments in moulding technology.

Compare and contrast:

IMG_1102_zpsdc6c27ec.jpg

IMG_1104_zps69614331.jpg

It's not the way I usually start a model, but hey, there's a first for everything. Step 1: remove and replace fan grates.

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I've Dremelled the lower hull a bit. If you look closely, you can see that I've made diagonal cuts in the offside hull side. I have one more cut to add to these, on the hull bottom, joining the side cuts. After I've made the bottom cut, I'll slide the bit that falls off forward by 1.5mm. This isn't necessary, but noting that Tamiya made no attempt to model the actual nature of torsion bar road wheel geometry (like BMW R75 cylinders - they can't be directly opposite one another!), I felt it a worthwhile thing to do. If I was planning on posing the thing on one side, I probably wouldn't bother.

You will also note that I've removed all the extraneous gubbins on the hull bottom. Next step will be to sand it smooth.

IMG_1105_zps06015644.jpg

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OK :)

First, I reinforced the hull bottom with some scrap leftover from a 1:48 vacform kit. Then, I made the cut along the bottom of the hull / hull side interface, on the bottom surface. This freed the piece with the axles. I fixed a couple of gusset plates out of the vac form scrap, and set the side against those.

IMG_1106_zpsb53acf6d.jpg

and here's the view from the side. I have a bit of filling to do.

IMG_1107_zps8518e3d5.jpg

And from below - the bow of the tank is to the right of frame (hopefully you can discern the 1.5mm offset):

IMG_1108_zps26e3fd92.jpg

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Incidentally, I measured the hull to be about 5% wider than the Dragon's. This makes the width 1:33 scale. As the thing looks to be in proportion, i wouldn't mind betting that it is, actually, 1:33 scale, and that 1:35 scale is just 33 rounded up, rather than taking the scale to be a more logical (for Imperial units) 1:32. That's all assuming that Dragon's is on the money at 1:35. Drawing a bow here.

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I have to saythat my one of these sat next to an academy Achilles and a tamiya tiger 1 the tamiya panther looks..........erm big!

although I'm willing to bet you could have bought 3 tamiya panthers for the price of the dragon one

Edited by dazdot
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I'm willing to bet you could have bought 3 tamiya panthers for the price of the dragon one

Mmm two, probably, at least :)

I'll change my mind about the size, though ... I think it's 5% too wide, but the length might be just a little more than Dragon's, but not much. The turret, however, is big. Dragon's could fit inside it.There's not much I can do about that other than substituting a new turret - which is not going to happen.

Anyway .... moved on a little more. Here's the offside fan grate:

IMG_1109_zpsf5567e26.jpg

As the Dragon one is marginally smaller, it actually places it better in terms of the edge of the tank. It at least has some "breathing room" now.

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So here is my cunning plan for detailing the underside of the hull ...

I will use aluminium foil (e.g. yoghurt container seal) to rub over detail on the underside of the Dragon hull, invert the foil, fill the impression with superglue drops, spray some accelerant on it, cut out, sand, and superglue the "parts" to the Tamiya hull.

Here is the escape hatch, in foil, completely sanded etc, adjacent to its "master". There is a small loss of fidelity in shape due to the flexibility of the foil, and a slight increase in plan dimension, but it's sanded to the right thickness. Importantly, it's inexpensive! The following photo isn't out of focus, it's just been cropped to fit, and the resolution makes it look out soft. Take a step back. the thing is about 13mm diameter.

IMG_1110_zpsf41f56e0.jpg

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A few progress pics to upload due to the site maintenance ...

The turret is a little too angular at the rear 3/4 corners. Easy fix.

IMG_1118_zps64ce5e95.jpg

IMG_1119_zps30c51b0f.jpg

Other "problems" with the turret are similar to those of Esci's 1:72 Panther turret - it doesn't taper in plan towards the front nearly as much as it should. It's a full 6mm wider than Tamiya's Panther Ausf G and Dragon's Panther Ausf A, both of which I have in my stash and with which I've made comparisons. I intend to "hide" this dimension with foliage. There is no easy fix. I can cut and shut several parts, but the look of the turret is going to be off whichever way I do it. The turret is wider at the rear than it should be, but it's commensurate with the hull width. I could narrow it a little to similarly improve its appearance, but correction to the 1:35 width would be counter-productive, unless I go the whole hog and correct the hull, which would be a nightmare due to the way that its dimensions are out (e.g. the vent grates are to 1:35 scale, but there are spurious "margins" around them. All these things add up). Best left alone, I think. If I were to make the hull deck the correct width, I might as well start with a sheet of 40 thou card, and cut out holes for the turret, vents, engine hatches etc. And I'm NOT doing that. The absolute biggest dimensional ruffle with the kit appears to be the nose. Not just the glacis plate, but the plate underneath it as well. This seems to be where the model gains about 4mm extra length. I suspect it was to make room for gears etc in the motorized version, but I don't know. I've never seen the innards of a Tamiya motorized 1:35 Panther. The glacis plate looks right at first glance, but it's too long. The distance between the hull deck and the lower sponson plate is too far, and I can't just cut a piece of out of it to shorten it because the Kugelblende MG is there. I suppose I could change it to the earlier style of hull MG - where the MG-34/42 pokes out of a slit. Foliage!

Edited by Brews
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Here is the lower hull, as of last night. The various holes were filled with plastic card scrap, then covered with Tamiya putty - which I also smeared over places where I'd removed spurious raised details and gubbins with the sanding drum of the Dremel, and some sink marks:

IMG_1115_zps9967ffd4.jpg

And yes, I still need to fill the gap on the off-side. Give me time, feel my pain. :)

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I do change my mind quite quickly, sometimes. I've decided that I will do something about the hull (and hence, the turret also) as the distance between the drive sprocket and front road wheel is too great unless I cut some styrene.

The kugelblende is too big, anyway, so cutting it off provides an opportunity to rectify that. Compare with the Tamiya Ausf G example, which already has PE Zim attached:

IMG_1120_zps1acdcd7d.jpgs

IMG_1121_zpsbf469d00.jpg

The plan will be to reduce the hull deck width by 4mm. I'll deal with this in two areas:

  • Engine Deck - where I'll cut four "lines" ( at the hull sides, and either side of the engine hatch) and reduce each by 1mm; and
  • Rest of Deck - where I'll cut twice - at each side, and reduce by 2mm each.

The glacis plate will be reduced in size accordingly.

The lower hull will have to be cut so that the lower bow plate joins the hull immediately adjacent to the foremost torsion bar. The final drive housing may well end up being a resin copy of Tamiya's Ausf G's or Dragon's Ausf A's - or I might sculpt one out of Milliput or carve one out of basswood (less likely).

I have been promised a set of tracks (nothing too special but better than what I have) from the UK (thanks Martin Webster).

At this stage, my Tamiya Churchill Crocodile is very appealing.

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The lower hull's width has been corrected. Its length is another matter, although the bow plate is ready to be attached to it, the sides of the bow require some attention, and the bow plate itself has to be lengthened to compensate for the loss of 4mm of the bottom plate. My head hurts thinking about it.

The turret ... as I said earlier, the Italeri (and Tamiya Ausf G) turret fits inside it. After looking at it for some time, I decided how to deal with it:

IMG_1122_zps54233932.jpg

Cutting it so that the lengths of the various angled segments equal the corresponding segments of the Tamiya G turret yields a straight line, as shown by the bottom of the tape.

Having made that cut on each side, and overlaying the Tamiya G turret on this one:

IMG_1124_zps9e2fa32e.jpg

It's a bit rough, still, obviously. This leaves only the front and top to deal with (no easy matter).

IMG_1123_zpscb96d660.jpg

I can make it work. It won't be easy, but I suppose I like doing this sort of thing.

The mantlet will be a mongrel to do, too.

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I'm happy enough with the plan and profile of the turret. I still need to do some work to the front face to make it flat and angled correctly, and the turret ring/bottom of the turret needs to be shaped and fitted. Gun/mantlet still an issue to be dealt with. Here are the overhead pics, comparing the two Tamiya turrets and the Dragon:

IMG_1125_zps80e3dbb6.jpg

IMG_1127_zps5da2d90f.jpg

and an oblique view:

IMG_1126_zps3fd1fa24.jpg

... and it's goodnight from me. I hope you've been sufficiently entertained, and that I've generated much laughter and derision. :)

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Oh, I'm going to have to check my measurements, but IIRC, I need to cut about 1mm off the lower part of the glacis, and 2mm off the upper, and hence 2mm off the sides (all measurements in true length).

Additionally, the front of the sides will have to be shortened, and the glacis will need to be trimmed by 3 or 4mm (again, i need to check measurements!) with a central, vertical cut. I can move the Kugelblende wherever it needs to go, after I reduce its size. The rear 3/4 vertical panels off the sloping sides can be separated and re-used. They almost match their respective Dragon components except in details.

IMG_1128_zpsba7b0673.jpg

I wonder if everyone is just waiting for it to be binned at any moment now ...

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I know that the aim of building is assembly rather than dissection, but I have to keep reminding myself that this will result in a better-looking final product, and as my 4th class teacher used to say - "A job worth doing is worth doing well".

So, here is the comparison of the Dragon and Tamiya Panther A hulls after removal of the lower half of the glacis plate and 2mm from the sides:

IMG_1130_zpsaffbc7a8.jpg

IMG_1131_zps5bee4af6.jpg

And here it is in a few bits in the quest of getting it to the right size. I've scribed a new engine access panel hatch line, which is actually quite critical because after laying the hull deck bits directly together (possible really only after removal of the sides and glacis plate), I can see that the Tamiya hull deck needs to be taken back to that line, jogging across the vent grates, and it will need an insert at the front. That will get everything lined up nicely. I've removed the periscope guards, which were a little clunky anyway, but they're in the wrong spot. The main deck with the turret ring needs to be narrowed by about 1mm either side still. The engine deck part needs to be cut apart somewhat more - around the engine hatch. It's always darkest before the dawn, right?!

IMG_1134_zps8d8b9ea9.jpg

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Another progress pic. Am I boring you all?

I'm almost happy with the width. I goofed a little, and one side of the "main" deck part is narrower on one side than the other by 1mm. It's also 72mm wide at the front and 73mm wide at the rear. I can correct it, or fudge it with filler, but the discrepancy in width either side will be noticeable if I don't correct it, if the turret is pointing dead ahead. Which, of course, it will be in the "natural, relaxed" pose. I need to make cutouts in the main deck for the vent grates, too, and add a piece forward of the driver's & radio Operator's hatches. Dragon hull for comparison, as before:

IMG_1135_zps11eccab7.jpg

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