The Panther is one of the most recognizable tanks of WWII, right up there with the slow and boxy but feared Tiger I. With ~6,000 examples per Wikipedia the Panther is the third most produced tracked German AFV after the Stug III (9,408 built), and the workhorse of Panzerwaffe, the Pz IV (8,298 made).
No wonder that number of kits on the market follows closely the other 2 vehicles. Naturally there are various renditions of the vehicle and its details, with the tracks varying from flat to highly detailed. Below are a few examples from 6 different kits:
The Jagdtiger was a last-ditch weapon, a self-propelled anti-tank bunker, that had zero impact on the outcome of WWII. Regardless, a lot of model companies offer both variants of this machine. My main reason for getting the Trumpeter set with Porsche suspension was the small number of parts and the related ease of construction. It promised a rather uninvolved build as I imagined a straight OOB project done over the weekend. Yeah, right 😀
The first session was promising, I managed to remove the main components from the sprues, clean up and assemble the bogies in a couple of hours. Instead of going full AMS I decided to plug the locating holes for the spare track hangers, and go “bald”.
There was only ever one E-100 chassis built, but this project for super heavy armored vehicle continues to capture modeller minds across the world in all scales. Years ago the only 1/72 kit was the Dragon one, which went missing for nearly a decade. When re-released it disappeared from the market in 2 (two days).
Then along come Trumpeter and Modelcollect, and here we are with two more competitively priced 1/72 kits.
What’s common for all 3 of them? The tracks are far from good. Negative experience with DS tracks and the underwhelming releases from the younger competitors drove my interest to, well, OKB, and their E-100 resin track set.
The “King Tiger” tiger needs no introduction, and there’s hardly a company that has not issued a kit of it. While the angles and sizes of various armor plates would rarely be the subject of scrutiny in 1/72 (and even less often are corrected on models), tracks remain an important detail of the kits.
There are several types, including multiple patterns of the wider “combat” and narrower “transport” ones – a situation similar to the first generation of Tiger tanks.
Big machines have always been a thing in the USSR, and that is definitily true for both aircraft and tanks before WWII. In April 1941 some 20 proposals for a super heavy tank competed within the Kotin design bureau. War interrupted this madhouse, all guns built for the design were destroyed. However since men continue to obsess with heavy tanks that were never built in metal – what you will see below is the winning one in resin.
The WWII Panther tank has become a legend mostly based on its looks and long gun rather than its combat record. This has prevented no manufacturer ever from producing a kit of it, and as a result the modeller today has a vast choice of kits to build. Other than the (generally) horrendous tracks the detail that gets your attention the most is the commander’s cupola. Renditions vary, but they are usually molded closed, in soft detail, and with vision blocks having see-thru effect.
Georgi from OKB Grigorov is offering a solution to those problems for your Panther fleets: 2 separate sets of 4 commander cupolas each for the Ausf D and the Ausf A/G, respectively.
Using OKB Grigorov’s resing parts has been very easy. In fact with the help of a hair drier I was able to bend the track run around the wheels and get some sag on the track. The track run retained its shape so well it could hold the wheels in place with no glue whatsoever!
After the track was painted I started weathering the wholes assembly, and added some “volumized” mud on the hull, which requires some pigment powders to look like the real deal (dry mud).
A small detail – Albion Alloys copper tube used for the exhaust pipes:
Since I needed decals in order to complete the model I had to raid the kit collection and source some. The victims were an Italeri M113 and a Revell (Matchbox) M40 SPG. I also used the lettering from their sheets to make up a code for a 5-16th Artillery machine (but sans the yellow weight class sign). Mr. Decal Softer helped the markings get grip and conform to the model surfaces.
The decals were sealed, and I used minimal amount of pigments to add to the dusty appearance. Diluted H2Oils (Burnt Umber and Paynes Grey) were used to simulate the leaks. Mixed with some dry pigments they helped create the mud buildup on the front upper sheet.