An almost fully armed and operational Panther

Last hooks and other things

I think I spent something like five minutes while finishing up with the last random missing pieces, plus I slept overnight before I glued on the second Schürzen rack. The pre-priming todo list is empty so I'll just mask out the unpaintables and get shooting some light grey on the model, one of these days.
I already know that I'm going to swear quite a bit while painting the different wheels of the model. That's something that tells me (and everyone else I guess) that my methods would benefit from some refactor... improvement.

While waiting for the h-hour

Just for my own amusement (and out of curiosity) I took a comparison photo of the Panther and the Achilles that sits next to my keyboard. There's no contest: the kitty is much more beautiful. There will be no room for negociations!


The Pantherturm

Finishing up the deck

Because I didn't finish it up the last time, I kept working on the deck side of the tank. For some reason I had only built the left side Schürzen rack and totally forgotten the other one while hurrying to work on the next parts. I guess I should work on that today, before I forget it yet again.

The cannon in its tower

Next up: the rear part of the 7.5 cm KwK 42. Had I planned on using the commander figure, I would have painted all the interior spaces around this time, except for one thing. The battery box and its cables and whatnots would've been more than visible through the open hatch(es) and a plain styrene sheet as a floor would've looked so very wrong. Thanks to that I decided to button up.

All these curves, corners and curious shapes of the turret had a bunch of funnily shaped decals. It does look pretty fascinating. While fooling around with these photos I realized that I hadn't done much chipping and damage after all. Maybe that's for the best after all, because it could've gone badly out of hand.

This is where I left the turret. At the time of taking the photo it's just missing the hatch, some handles, the loops for lifting up the turret and the MG34's rail. I guess I have to sand/file the seams of the barrel of the Kampfwagenkanon, but that's what you get for not using AM sets.


Top of the hull

As the build order guided me that way, I started working on the parade side of the tank. My tactical first target was the glacis plate, the side armour and the method: more Zimmerit stickers. After those I added some small pieces like the hatches, the MG cupola and such.
Just like the last time I built a tank, I first apply the firmly installed pieces, then paint the camo. Only after that the loose items (tools, barrel-cleaning rods and so forth) would be glued in.

Of course, had I actually followed my plan properly, I wouldn't have installed the machine gun's barrel yet, but hey, this happens a lot. I guess that the dominating colour will be, traditionally, Dunkelgelb. In these next two photos you'll see the place where the gun travel lock would be, but I think I'll do the camo before I build that - even if it's a permanent piece of equipment. Those, I guess, I'll paint in flat Dg and worry about the big picture.


Vinyl stickers

A handful of road wheels

To finish up my work on the bottom of the tank I cleaned up the road wheels and built the eight sets of middle wheels (depth-wise). Because I didn't feel like painting them alone, I moved on to the next phase of this kit, the rear armour.

I chosed to ignore the jack at this point, once again, because I want to paint the camo without having the jack be on the way and being problematic. Nothing really special went on the rear plate, just the exhaust pipes with their covers and the stowage bins. Then I got to attack something totally new to me.

Insta-applying the Zimmerit

The kit had a sheetful of stickers, as I earlier wrongly declared. The sheet was, in fact, a single sticker with "cut here" markings. Luckily I was going to start working with the most complicated piece so that I didn't lull myself into a false "this is easy" mindset.
Bah, it's damn easy. I just cut the main part off roughly with scissors and then did the accurate work with my xacto knife. During the process I cut off extra pieces just to make the result look less pristine and less boring.

Totally unexpectedly the bins were just single pieces with the separate lids glued on top of a solid block as a decoration. Maybe all the Panther model kits are as simple or this is one of the ways that shows why Tamiya has earned its "shake the box and take the completed model out" reputation. I don't mind at all, not everything needs to be built with sweat and swearing.

These bins also got a few pieces of the Zimmerit stickers. It doesn't look bad to me, nor was it difficult to apply. But who cares about these wip-thoughts, as the trial by fire comes when we start fooling around with paints.

I did start applying Zimmerit on the parade side of the tank yesterday morning, but I didn't have the time to extract the photos yet, so I'll mumble about that later on. There's going to be mostly a mountain of large stickers with few openings in them. That turret is going to be fun, I believe.


The transfer of power


I spent a surprising amount of time fooling around with the transmission setup. As soon as I had the motor-containing piece attached to the left edge of the tub, I battled the empty one into the right edge. First I tried to attach it by the bottom screw, as it made most sense to me. Wrong. It was to be attached by the frontmost screw, because that way the rest of the pieces would lock in properly.

Of course I had looked at the guide a bit funnily and one of the cogs was awfully wrong and I only noticed that when I was dropping the drive sprocket's cogs in their places. So what could I do but to open the setup, move the cog into its right place and reassemble everything.

I really should remember to lubricate all those cogs

Deviation is the best way to start anything

At this point the instructions guide you to slap on the road wheels and the tracks and then proceeding with the rest of the tank. I was pondering, if I should do it the other way and yes, I'd assemble the wheels but build everything else before finishing this particular subassembly.

The reason why I want to leave the tracks last is the simplest one: otherwise all the painting would be made way more difficult for absolutely no gain. I'll rather spray all the paints first, with a degree of confidence in having everything covered, including the shadowed and blocked areas. Because if you go and trust that "those surfaces will never be seen", those are the first ones to be seen when you take the first photo of the (more or less) completed model. And that is not fun, everyone knows that.

Therefore I quickly built the drive sprockets and idler wheels and went on for my summer vacation. This week - while you read this - I may have something decent done on the deck side of the build.


Starting from the weirdest end

As usual, I started assembling my model as the instructions told me to. The first things in my program were the connections to/from the battery box, dropping the motor in its place and preparing the track tension adjusting thingamagick for later activities. For some reason I didn't get too far, but it's a good place to keep going on after a short vacation.