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LSM Pilots: Panther Ausf. A Early Production, full interior


James H
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Panther Ausf. A Early Production, full interior

 

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We recently looked at Takoms 1/35 Panther Ausf. A Early Production, full interior kit (Catalogue # TAK2097) HERE. For a while, us folks at LSM wanted to create a series of very short test fit/build articles with very brief notes/annotation. You could call these 'build reviews', and as such, we've added this section in our review area.  Takom's new Panther kit is amazingly complex with a very high parts count, but the model builds extremely well as per kit, with just a few notes needed with regards to building chronology. Let's take a look at our very first LSM Pilot.

 

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This kit has a very small number of ejector pin towers, but they tend to be in unobtrusive areas, such as we see in the rear of the engine bay area.

 

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The lower hull looks like a road map for a Tetris game, but it provides the positive design engineering that you need for these important first stages.

 

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So far, so good. Not much to report in these first steps, and everything fits superbly.

 

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Takom chose to use thin plastic parts for the frames in the belly of the Panther, unlike the PE ones in the Rye Field kit. Both options will work well, but take care with the plastic parts because they are are a little flimsy.

 

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The transmission unit builds with little fuss, but be wary of the instructions. Here, as in many other places, your worst enemy are the tiny, ambiguous drawings. Never has the saying 'test fit ten times and glue once' been more pertinent.

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This unit fits well to the base due to the flexibility of the hull floor and various frames. Just make sure that all is dry before you start to manipulate things to fit the transmission unit.

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Detail parts are added to the interior hull sides. Again, location points are key here so as not to misplace parts that will foul anything else in the crammed hull.

 

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A quick test fit of the sides to the lower hull gives me a good idea of how I will fit the numerous torsion bars...

 

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Takom would have you more or less install the torsion bars like this, but it can be awkward. Forget this method...

 

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...and slide them through the frames first, followed by added the hull sides.

 

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When the hull sides are in place, the torsion bars can be slotted up into the semi-circular holes provided, and a small quantity of cement used to lock them in place.

 

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You can really begin to see how cramped this model will become in the later stages, although nothing is really giving any cause for concern with the number of parts involved, and depth of detail.

 

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To help with swing arm alignment and later track assembly, Takom has included two jigs that slot over the swing arms whilst the glue dries.

 

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Wheels, wheels and more wheels...

 

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The Panther's interleaved wheels are now fitted. Note that the rearmost, outside wheel is DRY FITTED, or you will NOT be able to fit the idler wheel later. Takom doesn't clearly indicate this, so beware...

 

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Work on the interior begins. Just a few parts to start, but you'll soon see the interior fill up. Again, Takom is quite ambiguous with exact location, so you need to carefully study the drawings and the various keyed parts. Sometimes, they aren't too obvious.

 

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Attention is temporarily paid to the engine bay, with the installation of the firewall and side bulkheads. The latter tend to float around a little until the bay is fitted out. 

 

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Ironic that very little of this will be seen unless you build a factory/workshop diorama. Many of these subassemblies begin to have more understandable location points as construction begins to advance.

 

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Remember to fit the rearmost ammunition storage BEFORE the rear floor goes down or you will struggle. Don't ask me how I know.

 

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To ensure that the track sections (both individual links and link lengths) fit properly, the orientation of the drive while is crucial. here you can see how the jig defines that key position. 

 

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Each link comprises of 3 parts, but these horns are added in strips to the track sprues. They are then glued and when dry, the sprues are snipped away. Simples!

 

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Maybach construction begins. Amazingly detailed with layers of detail upon detail. 

 

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No special instructions for fitting the engine. Everything goes exactly as it should, even with all the various lengths of plumbing.

 

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here is a finished track, still sat on the jig. The lowest section is dry fitted and fill be fitted once the tracks are fitted to the tank.

 

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Tracks fitted! Zero drama, even for an airplane guy like myself. Takom's approach works superbly.

 

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Takom would have you fit the side sections once the ammunition etc. are installed. DON'T DO THAT! You can manipulate the sides much easier with them bare, and only them add the extra details once the glue is fully cures.

 

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All internal ammunition and equipment are now installed. This is one seriously busy hull. Enjoy that view whilst you can. The engine bay is now complete too.

 

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Here you see the rear face fitted out without glue. Again, it's easier to fit the plate before adding any glue. For this early version, some external details needed to be shaved off.

 

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I also opt to fit out the panels on the upper hull before installing to the lower hull. Things are just less fragile this way.

 

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Of course, a few internal details are to be added, as well as the main internal armoured glacis. 

 

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A superb fit, even with all the internal detail. It could've gone so, so wrong, but I think the success is more done to Takom's engineering and not my luck. Note also that this is fitted BEFORE the hull is fitted out with frames, tracks and pioneer tools. Much better than Takom's approach of fitting this stuff beforehand.

 

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Hull just about fitted out.

 

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The periscope shrouds are fitted whilst on their mini-sprue, aiding alignment. Once set, the sprue is removed.

 

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Et voila!!

 

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Turret interior detail is excellent, but WHY did Takom choose to mould the kit serial and date inside!!!!?? On yours, this will of course need to be removed.

 

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Quite complicated-looking, but relatively simple to build. Even the breech loading block slides up and down. If the barrel were hollow, this would be amazing to be able to see right through to the muzzle.

 

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Here you can see that I pulled the loading block downwards (view from underside)

 

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Various drive mechanisms are installed, for turret transverse. 

 

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Lower turret fitted out, complete with crew seats. 

 

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The detail is astonishing. Will it all fit in the turret though?

 

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The answer is YES! Here's the finished turret, complete with barrel and muzzle. 

 

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The model is finished! Hope you like it!!

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Thanks to MBK Distribution for supplying this kit for us to review and build. 

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Late to the party I know ...

Great idea James - a bare bones build review illustrating fit and finish really assists with buy vs burn decisions!

Many months ago I took a break from collecting various "Panzer kits" ... the majority of which are Dragon ... to start grabbing some accessories.

I've noticed these 'newer' companies producing King Tiger, Tiger and Panther kits ... (Meng, Takom and Rye F.M. etc)

Dragon used to be pretty much the gold standard - so any idea how do all of these companies compare on the departments of

* Accuracy

* Detail

* Engineering

* Fit 

* Finish?

Also I heard somewhere that Dragon had started a new approach to tracks (moving away from DS) ... any news?

Again, Nice work and great concept here!

Rog :)

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  • 1 year later...

Hey James,

 

About this kit: does it give the option for the driver's and radio operator's seat to be in the down (buttoned up) position as you've shown on the model or in the up position (heads out of the hatches? 

 

Cheers,

Erik.

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