Manufacturer: Tamiya
Scale: 1/35
Built: February - March 2006
None of my models are meant to be show pieces and that's exactly true with this kit. It's my first armor model but definitely not the last! I needed to finish something so I decided to go 95% out-of-the-box on the aging Tamiya's Panther. A nice little kit? Yes. Accurate? No. But that's ok.

- the kit -
I was in the local Hobby Lobby during a 1/2 off plastic models sales when I decided that I wanted to give armor models a chance. I decided on this kit really because the price came out to about $7 in the end. I held off building it for a while so that I could better familiarize myself with tanks. I quickly discovered that many details on this kit were inaccurate.
It's a cheap kit so I didn't expect much. However, I was still disappointed when I saw that there were missing walls underneath the hull which meant there was a big hole above both track sets. I'm not too excited about the one piece vinyl tracks but they'll have to do. The list of bad can get pretty long, however, I only needed to get my feet wet and this kit was perfect for that!

- assembly & paint -
Although it took a month and a half, the build was pretty simple. This kit may be old but the fit was damn near dead-on and only a dab of putty in a few areas was all that was needed. I left out the commander and driver figures just to speed things up. The biggest lesson here was figuring out the best steps for assembling tank models.
When looking for paint references I turned to a Finescale Modeler supplement book on finishing techniques. In one of the articles, Matthew Usher showed some techniques on a German Tiger. I chose to follow the paint scheme on that tank.
I started with a base of custom mixed yellow over gray primer. A custom green for the stripes was then mixed and airbrushed on. I enjoyed the next step of adding the decals mainly because I was using Microscale's Micro-Sol for the first time. The results are just amazing and removed all fear of the decal application process! The one-piece vinyl tracks were flat coated, then treated with brown pastels for a subtle rust effect and then re-coated with flat clear. The paint was a bit bright so I really toned things down with a wash in all the recessed areas and pastels brushed on the edges of all the panels. Dry-brushing helped bring out all the worn and bare metal surfaces. When I was satisfied with all the progress, I sealed everything up with a flat clear.


- all in all -
This is not meant to be a perfect model but it did serve to build an interest in armor modeling. Hopefully this documentation will somehow encourage new and veteran modelers to expand their model making interests, if they haven't already. In other words, if you ever get in a modeling rut, try something new. Thanks for reading, peace!