Interleaved road wheels? Laid back front armour so sloped it’s nearly horizontal? Massive gun barrel projecting out almost as far as the chassis is long and threatening to take out any passer-by’s eye? Sexiest tank ever? Gotta be the Jagdpanther, hasn’t it? Well, hasn’t it?
Yes, yes it has.
As soon as it was out I ached for Battlefront’s plastic Panther/Jagdpanther combo’ kit. I knew full well that five of the beasts would eat up a whole raft of points and I doubt very much that I will ever field the full pride (Yeah, I know real panthers are solo hunters but, you know, feline references and all) but, I just had to indulge.
I really like that Battlefront have combined the turreted Panther with the hunting variant in the one box, and they’ve thought about things and packed in other options, too. If I hadn’t already got too many PSC versions I might have split my build between the two alternatives. But I do. Have too many PSC Panthers, that is. So I didn’t. I was in for the full jagd deal.
Not hard, really. Take a look at the exploded view Battlefront provide on the box that passes as your instructions and you can see, this ain’t gonna tax you. One-piece tracks (with a nice bit o’ detail) and a solid lump of upper bodywork make for rapid and encouraging progress when you’ve five of the things to get through. Actually, I’d not mind a little more complexity if I’m honest, but then, for me, modelling is a large chunk of the fun.
Something I like that shows up in a lot of photos of the 1:1 things in the wild is the way the rear storage boxes took a hammering; the things were just too vulnerable to damage. I really wanted to model this but, sadly, the rear end is a one-piece molding and all the builder has to do is fix on the exhausts. I contemplated sawing a box or two off and hitting the voids with some Green Stuff but, I bottled it. Now, I know Battlefront aren’t trying to be Tamiya or Airfix, and I know a lot of wargamers, reared on resin and white metal lumps, absolutely hate sticking things together but, meh, some of us want options. Just sayin’.
I did assuage my obsession by omitting, on two of my tanks, the box higher up on the superstructure, though. Two fingers to ya, Battlefront!
I elected to mount the tubular, er, tube thing, the one for storing that long gun barrel’s cleaning kit, up on the deck at the rear. It was a popular field modification to prevent damage and I think it plain looks better there. I did that with my PSCs, too. It’s a good look, and a bit different if the bulk of the herd just follow the instructions blindly. I simply don’t want my tanks to look like your tanks, alright?
Bless those crazy New Zealanders but you do get more spare track than you can shake an empty sprue at. Which is nice. And spare road wheels. And spare machine guns for the front glacis. Although, that’s because they’ve been proper numpties and engineered a sprue with not one but two direct connections to the frail little barrels, with a third to the locating lug. Man o man, what were they smoking?
At the time of snapping this quintet I’ve yet to affix some of these extras. They’re painted up but, shoot, it’s gonna be one of those jobs that just seems to slide, I can see that. Although, just as I have a soft spot for tanks wearing skirts, I have another for tanks wearing spare tracks; I will get around to it.
Speaking of skirts, and despite my aforementioned weakness for them, I declined to fit them here, clearly. And controversially. But, when offered up to the flanks, I just felt they all looked all wrong.
Yes, you read that right; all looked, all wrong.
See, if you Google for images there do appear to have been variations in just how deep some of these plates were and when the kiwis finally put down their Camberwell Carrots it turns out they had had the foresight to provide two different hem heights. Which is, frankly, above and beyond. However, and you can call me Goldilocks if you must, but the shallow option is too shallow and the full length number just not long enough. I may be as fickle as a stick but I’d rather not see the top of all those road wheels; skirts hide things, you follow me?
Perhaps this is all closely linked to the oh-so-slightly-outta-whack way the superstructure rides on the chassis; as in, too high. I think. Those internet photographs do show a good bit of air between the top of the tracks and the bottom of the tank’s sides but, I dunno, looks like Battlefront are overstating it to me. Yet, perversely, if you try to hide that error with any of the skirts, well, it all looks somehow worse. To me.
Actually, another nail in the coffin for the skirts was the three big ejector pin circles on the maxi-skirt. You cannot turn a blind eye to them. Three per skirt, two skirts per tank (if you don’t duff ’em up a bit and mimic some battle damage by removing the odd panel which, legally, is what you should do) and five tanks all told: that’s a lot of faff with the filler, frankly. A tidy bit of alliteration but more hassle than I wanted, for a final effect I wasn’t so sure of. Note: it’s kinda odd that the smaller skirts don’t have these manufacturing marks. Anyhoo, I passed.
Once you’re finished putting it all together you do get left with what looks like a lot of potential model still sitting on yer sprues because all the standard tank turret malarkey is still there. I’m more accustomed to pleasingly empty frames once the cap is finally tightened on the bottle of Plastic Weld for the last time. I felt a bit uneasy and had to double double-check I’d not missed ‘owt. Turns out, I’d not.
Once primed with something grey from Halfords, this is what I gone done did to colour them in:
Overall: Plastic Soldier Company Dunkelgelb Warspray
Camo: Lifecolor LC-UA211 Rot Brown / Lifecolor LC-UA237 Dark Olive
Tracks: Mostly Lifecolor Panzergrau LC-UA207, a bit of a wash with Vallejo 822 Black Brown and a go with somebody’s pigments (Not noting this at the time defeats the object of me keeping this blog and is, trust me, annoying)
Tow hooks and machine gun: Lifecolor LC-UA208 Anthrazitgrau
Wooden handles: Something Vallejo (See parenthesis above)
PSC decals sit on a little bit of Humbrol Gloss Cote and then were sealed under some Matt Cote. I think.
Wash: AK Interactive AK 066 Wash for DAK Vehicles
I then hit a few edges, corners and the raised bits of the tracks with a pencil for a bare metal look.
Gee, whizz, but spraying that Lifecolor juice fairly does my head in. I just can’t get that stuff to blow nicely. And there were five, large, tanks to paint here. Sigh. Fortunately, as per usual, the enamel wash, applied a day or two after, without any gloss protection, and very gently, hides an awful lot of pee-poor airbrush work. And, in one go, weathers things up sufficiently for me that I’m outta there. Bonus.
And finally, I dropped them on some flocked-up MDF bases from Warbases and that was it for the build.
I’m annoyed I forgot to drill out the exhausts a tad, but pleased I remembered to do the muzzles. Also, I should have bent up or removed more of the front mudguards – I only removed one – and, as I look at the photos, I wish I’d shaved off some of the tools to give them a more individual look. Mind, they may grow apart as a family when I finally get round to putting on the spare tracks and chucking some stowage about a bit.
Hmmm, the occasional commander figure wouldn’t have gone a miss, too.
Whatever, I love the look of these leviathans and I am super pleased with how they’ve turned out. One day, when my plastic stash isn’t so towering, I’d really like to have another crack at a box of these guys.
“Super pleased”? Horrible phrase. Urgh.
While the construction is very simple I definitely don’t think you can argue with the options Battlefront gives you, here. I know one blogging reviewer built both the turreted and fixed versions of these Panthers’ top halves and cleverly magnetised them to the single chassis, making a switcheroo easy and thereby getting maximum bang for the buck from the box. As stated earlier, though, my Panther fix has been entirely satiated by PSC.
There is no doubt in my mind, they do have epic presence and Stiggers will not be able to ignore them when they roll. No, sir, he won’t.