Tamiya 1:35 Panther
PanzerKampfwagen V (sd.kfz171) Ausfurung A
This is the first plastic kit I have posted here. As a teenager I built a huge number of plastic kits, mostly Airfix (my pocket money was 'index linked' to the price of a series 1 kit). One of my favourites was the Panther Ausf A, not least because the version I had contained a twin motor gearbox, operated by a remote handset. Not radio control - this was a battery box with four wires grouped into a cable that operated the motors.
I have been trying to track down another of these kits since finding the remains (less gearbox and tracks and many small parts) of the original in my Dad's loft, without success. there was part of the chassis including two of the three metal axles and several wheels, the upper body (less most of the glued on details) and an almost intact turret. The colour scheme was dark yellow overpainted with brown and green squiggles, weathered with a black wash.To be honest, when freshly completed it must have been one of my best finished models!
In the optimistic hope of finding the gearbox on another search of the loft, I bought the modern version of the kit - so far so good it was clearly the same and had all the moving parts. In fact it wasn't modern at all - it was identical!
A final search, right down the end of the loft and in the last but one box I saw the battery box with four heavily encrusted Ever Ready batteries. I optimistically pulled on the wires - and out came the gearbox! To cut a long story short, everything fitted, but the motors needed some TLC and the gearbox needed ultrasonic cleaning, re-oiling and running in. the tracks are rather tight and don't sag, so I added side skirt armour to hide this, as well as a few minor details. I painted it with Tamiya acrylics, then weathered it with Lifecolour washes. I don't like the overdone weathering so popular these days, preferring to aim for a look like in a genuine WW2 photo as below:
Even this machine is rather cleaner than mine! the plan is to convert the tank to radio control. Even with modern kit its a big challenge to fit everything in. I have fitted a servo to raise and lower the gun, but at the moment the turret rotation is sticking. I also need to fit a two-channel ESC for to drive the motors.
One little extra touch - the spare roadwheel on the turret is from the original model, well over 35 years old!