If you have been following along, you already know that this was a kit that I built along with my English friend, Steve Mottram. We both built the same kit concurrently, and then we posted the results to our channels on YouTube (I’ll post mine below.)
As for my thoughts on the kit, I would say that if you like armor kits, this is a great one to add to the collection. Being a new-tool kit, the quality is outstanding. Molding is superb with very little to clean up. The detail is very nice without having an outrageously high parts count. The fit is excellent.
As noted in earlier posts, the only items I used that didn’t come in the box, were the grill set for the engine deck and tracks, both made by Tamiya specifically for this kit, and an aluminum barrel.
So, without further adieu, here are some photos of the Panther Ausf D.
Today I will post up the last construction update on the Panther project before I post the final, completed project.
Now, oddly enough, I didn’t take any photos of the turret construction. Suffice it to say, the turret went together just fine and the only thing I did different was to use an aftermarket barrel. the kit barrel is actually quite nice since it is a slide molded affair, but my friend and co-buddy builder, Steve Mottram, took it upon himself to send me a very nice Aber aluminum barrel. The Aber barrel is extremely nice and the muzzle is much better than the kit supplied item. The only modification I had to make fot the barrel to fit, was to bore out the mantlet slightly to fit the barrel.
After I got the turret completed I primed the kit with Vallejo Black primer, then sprayed a base color of Model Master Acryl Dunkelgelb. In the left of this photo, you can see a sheet with color schemes. This is not the one that came with the kit. According to the Tamiya color call out sheet all three of the vehicles that can be built with the supplied markings, all three should be the tri-color camouflage. After a bit of additional research, the only color scheme that I could find, including the specific vehicle I am modeling, was the two-color scheme of dark yellow/and olive green. This would be the vehicle at the top of the page in the photo; vehicle 745 during the Kursk fighting. So, I decided to go with the two-color, since there are multiple references to this color.
While the paint was drying, I drilled out the pin holes on the spare track links.
Then I finished up the wheels with bare metal wear on the inner pairs of road wheels.
After that, I painted the camo pattern, painted and weathered the tracks, then moved on to decals, weathering and final assembly.
Last time we left off with the completion of the lower part of the lower hull. Today, it is on to the upper part.
First up were the hatches. As you can see in the photo, the surface detail is excellent… plenty of texture. Also, I am happy to point out, the hatch handles are separate parts. As I have pointed out in the past, there is nothing more annoying that molded on handles. They end up looking more like a flat piece sticking up at a right angle to the hatch. I can maybe see this type of handle molded on an older kit, but not on a new tool kit. The new Tamiya Sherman M4A3E8 that I built recently is an example. To make the hatches look right on that kit, one must shave off the molded-on handles and fabricate better ones from thin wire, or sprue. Fortunately, the Panther comes like this…
I continued with the assembly of the rest of the upper hull parts with no problems. Everything is molded quite nicely. The spare antenna tube, although molded in four pieces (two tube halves, and two end caps) went together with no problems. I light sanding of the two halves erased the very faint seam line. The attachment moldings are very nice and crisp. In step 10 I attached the tool bracket, but not the tools. I add those after painting has begun.
This concluded steps 9 through 12.
Steps 13 though 16 conclude assembly of the hull. I attached the tool bracket without tools on this side of the vehicle as well. I also did not install the wheels or tracks yet and the side skirts are removable. In this step I added the photo etch grills. These fit perfectly and were easy to remove from the fret and de-burr.
Here is a photo of the completed hull. All went well, with no surprises.
The first steps involve the lower hull with suspension parts, and attachment points for the upper to lower hull assembly. I really like the way Tamiya is engineering their armor kits these days. They are made in a way that the hull makes a positive connection between the lower and upper potions without cement. I found this very helpful when I built the new tool Sherman M4A3E8 recently since I was able to assemble the hull then take it apart again for ease of painting, weathering and installing the tracks.
Another nice thing is ejector pin location. It seems that Tamiya is making an effort to ensure that ejector pin indents are in locations that aren’t visible… at least where they practical.
Here is an example on the idler wheels…
Next came assembly of the running gear. Molding was such that very little cleanup was necessary. I got everything together and put them is a safe place for later, since I won’t install them until after priming and painting.
The rear plate, which is next in the instructions, was pretty straightforward. The only thing I did contrary to the instructions, was to build the jack, but leave it off the vehicle for painting, and drill out the exhausts a bit to make them a little thinner.
The one on the left has been drilled out already.
With that done, the lower hull is complete.
So far, this kit has been very nice and easy to assemble. The detail is great, especially the rolled plate texture of the rear plate and the cast texture of the final drive housings at the front and the cast covers on the exhaust.