Panther II Hybrid

This section is for builds that are not strictly Tamiya or Heng Long. For instance, replacing the electronics from a WSN or Matorro, or even a scratch-build.

Postby SCHWEREPANZER » Mon Feb 15, 2021 12:10 am

For reasons I can't explain, the Panther II has held a strange fascination for me. To add one to the model panzer grounds I host, the only real option was the kit by our own Chris Ludwig. But, the thoughts of making a model out of flat styrene plastic sheets was daunting and once I got into it, an even steeper learning curve than I thought or was used to. I thought that utilizing a Tamiya or Heng Long hull as a starting point and re-spacing the lauffrollen in the sixth position could be an option, but realized right away, that was probably beyond my modeling skills. So, for better or for worse I stuck to the flat styrene option, and I suppose it came to look something like the Panther II we're all familiar with, at least from the hull downward.

As much as the Panther II looks very much like a standard production Panther, none of the parts were interchangeable 'in real life' and the various pertinent angles and linear measurements were not the same. Chris's kit offered the correct angles and as far as I can tell, the correct other measurements as well. The reader is directed to the seminal work by Jentz and Doyle in Panzer Tracts No. 5-4, "Panzerkampfwagen Panther II and Panther Ausfuehrung F." Since I am among the least imaginative persons in the world when it comes to modeling, I admit at the outset, I simply (shamelessly) copied (or tried to) the works of others.

I have not documented each step along this long road, so what follows are just some of the pictorial highlights of the build process, omitting most of the many, many frustrations encountered along the way, and also here deleting the verbal vulgarities for sensitive ears and eyes.

The journey began inauspiciously enough:

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Not pictured is the torsion bar set up which utilizes the standard Tamiya flat blade 'torsion bars' and their accompanying interior mounting lugs. The interlocking side panels create a strong mortise joint with the glacis and rear plate though the mortise extensions do need to be worked and sanded heavily to create a realistic interlocking appearance. Had I had the foresight at this point, I would have purchased a set of scribbing blades to create a proper channel for 'weld.' I did purchase some later in the build process for use on the turret. It was a wise and inexpensive investment and they worked great and I regret not having had them for this early stage of the build.

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The rectangular grills are plastic-like screens. The idea was next to add a second mesh grill of a slightly different mesh opening size to create a double mesh grill effect, an idea (shamelessly) copied from an example seen elsewhere. The brass mesh grills are PE for a Tiger I.

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Sharp eyes will have seen that I failed to place a bevel at the bottom of the deck plate where it meets top interior of the rear plate. This is the same type of problem encountered when building the Wecohe Panther as those who have done so will appreciate. Though not entirely corrected as the build progressed, the error was somewhat ameliorated by an application of putty filler which actually worked quite well for the purpose. While I am aware of the flaw, it's not really so obvious later in the build. I mention it here because the absence of beveled parts is something to keep in mind when constructing a tank from flat styrene, another factor I failed to take into consideration at the outset.

Not that I intended to end this, my first ever posted build report on the note that I failed to do this or that, let me do just that while I make some corrections to my photo album.

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Postby Ad Lav » Mon Feb 15, 2021 7:30 am

Ralph, lovely to see one of your builds.

Keep up the good work.
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Postby HERMAN BIX » Mon Feb 15, 2021 11:05 am

you wont get any finger pointing from me mate............more like dumb looks and envious stares :haha:
The Panther 2 has always intrigued me too, love to see what you do with it.
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Postby SCHWEREPANZER » Mon Feb 15, 2021 6:06 pm

After attempting both Taigen Panther and Tiger II swing arms for the chassis, I settled on the Panther arms and a rolling chassis consisting of Taigen Tiger II road wheels, Kenny Kong Tiger II transport tracks with 16 spoke drive sprocket and Taigen idlers.

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The interior wheel hubs, unique to the Panther II are courtesy of our own Woz who was kind enough to make these per my measurements and which are now available on Shapeways. I had used them on another tank, a hybrid Panther F and was pleased with the effect.

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The profile of the outer road wheels, while close, was not quite what I had been looking for in this build. The problem was there were no correct profile Panther II outer road wheels. Working with another of our colleagues, PatrickH, we came up with the idea of replacing the outward facing outer and inner road wheels with 3-D printed wheels that could attach to the metal inner paired corresponding wheel. This was an 'iffy' proposition, concerning because we didn't know quite how to mate them and retain some structural stability to the model.

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Before going to 'press' making 14 outer road wheels at potential significant time, effort, resin product (and money), the theory was put into practice by making a pair of the unique 8-spoke Panther II idlers.

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Postby SCHWEREPANZER » Mon Feb 15, 2021 6:39 pm

Here is the result of the experiment. In the original metal idler, the attaching axle pin extends through both the outer wheel and the tube housing and through the two inner idler wheels and then, finally, into the idler arm. To make up for the absence of the space taken up by outer wheel inside the tube, an elaborate system of three stacked bushings were created. Sort of like the stacked Russian doll treatment. I'm sorry I failed to take a picture of this stacked bushing system. My thanks to PatrickH for coming up with it. It was an important part of maintaining body integrity for the idler because we needed the axle pin to protrude only a certain set distance into the idler arm.

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So pleased with the way this noble experiment in resin matching with metal seemed to work, the thought of doing the same thing with the drive sprocket immediately became a possibility. The sprocket teeth for the Panther II sprocket are slightly different than those on the standard 16 tooth Tiger II sprocket after which the former is modeled. In fact, Jentz and Doyle speak to two different types of Panther II sprocket teeth.

Here's what the 3-D version would look like.

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The jury is still out for incorporating the resin outer sprocket. Though the shape of the sprocket teeth is slightly more accurate as is the smooth slope of the sprocket spokes on the Panther II compared to the dog-leg production Tiger II sprocket, the structural integrity of the running gear with resin road wheels and idlers might be a bit weak even if this is only a static model (GAWD, did I use those words here??!!)

Next up, the model gets more into focus.

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Postby sassgrunt » Mon Feb 15, 2021 6:47 pm

Ralph, your outer roadwheels look great, and those idlers - they really are a "make or break" factor in a Panther II build! PLEASE consider making them available to us mere mortals through Shapeways or somewhere!

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Postby Ad Lav » Mon Feb 15, 2021 7:57 pm

Excellent custom work!

Patrick has helped me out with his resin printing on my Jagdpanther build. I must admit the finish is much better than standard printing but alas a bit more expensive.

I shall approach Patrick about the Idler for my build.

Tracks look ace ;)
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Postby STHV » Mon Feb 15, 2021 8:52 pm

Awesome build! Its great to see a Panther II build

Which turret are you planning to give it?
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Postby 43rdRecceReg » Tue Feb 16, 2021 3:25 pm

A fascinating build! I just wish it packed in a few more of those mouth-watering pics- especially of the interior layout!
Following along with great interest! :thumbup:
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Postby SCHWEREPANZER » Tue Feb 16, 2021 8:00 pm

Hi Mike,

Thanks for your kind words. I'll pass them on to PatrickH. I'm quite sure he'd make them a Shapeways staple given a demand. The question of mating the resin wheel and at the same time affording some stability to the metal wheel pairing is in the manner in which the two inner facings dovetail together. It will make a difference whether the backside of the resin outer wheel is mated to a Taigen pairing or any other brand wheel. Still, I think the matter is really one of tweaking the design of the backside of the resin wheel so it mates properly with its metal partner. A few pictures might help explain it better.

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Hopefully, to above pictures help get the point across that the backside of the wheel on the right (when in resin) has the correct profile in diameter and depth to mate with the metal wheel on the left side of the picture.

Here are the pictures for the road wheels in the 2, 4, and 6th positions.

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All this by way of saying that I believe the process can be made to work with other than Taigen Tiger II wheels with a little 3-D CAD tweaking.

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Postby SCHWEREPANZER » Tue Feb 16, 2021 8:12 pm

For Major RecceReg, your wish is my command. I took only one picture of the 'interior' layout, but Chris Ludwig's build manual does show it well. Mine is no different. I picture them here assuming Chris's implicit permission.

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The torsion bar blades are anchored with a two-part epoxy.

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Postby Ad Lav » Tue Feb 16, 2021 8:52 pm

Ralph, did you not think of using the Tamiya king tiger wheels for the build? Plastic inserts, metal rims. String and lightweight.

I am fitting them to my Jagdpanther build.
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Postby SCHWEREPANZER » Tue Feb 16, 2021 9:22 pm

The question is asked by our colleague STHV as to the turret to be mounted in this Panther II. The matter has been set in stone at this point, but I'll defer the answer for the moment so as to more or less proceed with the chronological build of the model.

Priming, as it always does, revealed the warts and flaws to what I thought at the time looked to be a model ready for the paint booth. The bump stops for the hatches are not yet in place in the photo, but some of the 'weld' has been set. The width of the interior bracing is critical as it determines the closeness of the weld opening when the side panels are set into place. This was a cause, for me at least, of some measure of frustration. The primer used was Mr. Surfacer 500 spray. It applies like butter. Just a great product. It's a little more gritty than Mr. Surfacer 1500. The idea was to provide for more tooth for paint to grab onto.

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As mentioned in the thread title, this is a hybrid Panther II, incorporating features of other Panthers more or less at whim, but with a certain plan in mind. Here, Panther fans will immediately see that the driver's and radio operator's hatches are those designed for the Panther G and F, not those of the Panther D and and A variants. The hatch hinges were cut from a set of Trumpeter hatches. The trumpeter hatches were considerably larger than those now in place.

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Though difficult to make out, texture to simulate rolled steel has been applied to the sloping side panels (as well as the glacis and rear plate). I utilized the method as seen on Martin Kovac's "Night Shift Models" u-tube presentations. Entertaining and just full of useful information , he makes the difficult look at least doable. He uses Tamiya Putty Basic Type, Mr. Hobby Mister Cement S thin cement (or Tamiya thin cement). Rather than describe it, I simply direct anyone interested to his great videos. I admit my palms were more than a little damp before attempting this myself, especially after all the effort I had put in to get the model to this point. It worked on an old 1/35 Tamiya Panther I've had for decades, so I gave it a go. Once I got started, and the dye was cast, I grew to the topic and I'm quite pleased with the effect. Other photos in the build will show this a bit better I hope.

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A bit of a heavy hand initially with the welding torch has, over time, given way to what I hope was a more delicate touch seen later in the build...another learning curve.

To be continued...

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Postby SCHWEREPANZER » Tue Feb 16, 2021 9:27 pm

Hey Adam,

Yes I did, but the Tamiya axle pins didn't fit the Taigen swing arms. The Taigen Tiger II wheels do add unnecessary weight, but their axles fit the swing arms when tightened with grub screws.

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Postby STHV » Tue Feb 16, 2021 11:01 pm

Ausf F actually had sliding hatches which is one of the biggest differences between an F and a G hull, beside each hatch on an F there are two little raised runners for the hatches to slide on
Thats also how we know at least one F hull saw combat in Berlin with a G turret
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Postby SCHWEREPANZER » Tue Feb 16, 2021 11:37 pm

Right you are. My error. Thanks.

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Postby c.rainford73 » Wed Feb 17, 2021 12:04 am

This is a very interesting and excellent build. Following along :thumbup:
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Postby SCHWEREPANZER » Wed Feb 17, 2021 7:09 pm

Once again, in collaboration with PatrickH, and in keeping with the 'what if" character of this Panther II, I wanted to add the FG 1250 IR box to the rear plate. Working off a similar one I had on a hybrid Panther F, we came up with this one.

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The locking mechanism is functional. Again, Kudos to PatrickH.

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References to the FG 1250 IR box suggest the structural frame is welded. Taking a bit a license to what is after all a "what if" tank, I added reinforcing bolts to the frame.

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The box is held in place with modeling clay just to obtain a visual perspective of the box with its surroundings and even then not in the exact place I would finally attach it.

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The mounting lugs and hanging brackets for what would have been those for a standard Panther stowage box can be seen on the left side of the lower hull. The bracing bracket for the exhaust stacks are not yet mounted.

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Postby Ad Lav » Wed Feb 17, 2021 10:32 pm

Really nice piece - some visual delights on this tank that’s for sure!
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Postby FredtheFrench » Wed Feb 17, 2021 10:40 pm

Awesome tank model and awesome job. Little question, where do you found the little hooks around the fans on rear deck?
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