Dragon Panther A in 1:35 (#6358), with Diorama
This kit #6358 was launched by Dragon in 2007 intended to represent the late Panther A. As usual, DML released this kit based on a long history of Panther kits; The box is packed full of grey styrene, clear parts, some photo etch and individual (not so magic) track links; A blessing for the spares box. The kit is well detailed but has some flaws, so careful researching the build was needed.
Where is the Zimmerit?
Late Panther A’s had Zimmerit ‘smeared’ on top to prevent magnetic mines sticking to the armor. I intended to feature the kit in an Italy 1944 setting, so modeled a vehicle of the 26th Panzer Division near Anzio/Nettuno in early 1944. The kit is older and does not feature Zimmerit although almost all Panther A’s had it, the kit’s box even shows the Zimm’! This was my first attempt at Zimm’ to date.
After researching the Web on materials and techniques for Zimmerit, I tried everything except peanut butter 😛 First trial was fine wall-filler which proved hard to sculpt. Second trial was wood filler which proved too coarse a mass. I then rolled thin sheets of Milliput yellow-green using an big dose of talcum powder. This did the job! The pattern I selected was a rather unique square-tiled one; Luckily, the Web proved a good reference once again!
The kit was built pretty much OOB but because of the Zimm’ issues, it took me almost one year start-to-finish. I built a few other kits in between when I was in dire need of Zimm’ inspiration… I decided to feature a full tank crew of five, from another Dragon figure kit #6214 and painted the uniforms in the mixed ’44 camo scheme.
Painting of the vehicle was rather standard: I first primed using enamel red-brown to model the oxide primer typical for these MAN-built vehicles. Then followed three thick layers of hairspray followed by standard dark-yellow finish. After the paint dried, I scratched some of the top dark-yellow layer away to expose the underlying “rust”, which finished the main weathering step.
I placed the vehicle into an Italian setting where the entire crew observes the Allied activity downhill. The commander is checking the map while everyone else is showing a peculiar interest in movement of olive drab Shermans and M5 half tracks in the distance, for obvious reasons. I am particularly pleased with the results obtained by careful painting of the figures!
Here are some pictures for you to enjoy this project, comments welcome! I spent about 45 hours on this one including researching and on the diorama but excluding the Zimm’ mess. Oh well, I learned something new again which I am happy to share here!
More to follow!
5 additional images. Click to enlarge.