Jagdpanther G1 (Meng) March 1945, Battle of Ruhr, s.Pz.Jg.Abt 654
Updated: Jan 31, 2021
Currently on the workbench. Interesting project as I got this kit two years ago and when I looked into the box I thought this kit may well be above my skillset. It seemed to require drilling lot of tiny (0.4mm, 0.8mm and 1.1mm) holes and bend microscopic photo-etched parts exactly to those appropriate sizes. The tracks are famous for being tedious as it is not simply individual track links, but each guiding horn has to be glued separately in each link. That means 348 horns on 174 track links.
Now I think I have over-mistified this kit for myself, so took a deep breath and started the project over the Christmas break. When looking at the instructions you will see you can pick from four different vehicles which one you want to build:
1. No.212 vehicle of sPzJgAbt 654 in March 1945, Battle of the Ruhr
2.No.01 Headquarters, sPzJgAbt 559, Western France, 1944
3. No.314 sPzjgAbt 654, Normandy, 1944
4. Number unknown, sPzjgAbt 559, Ardennes, 1944
As each of these tank destroyers has got their unique features you must decide which one you are building in the very beginning. Be careful, two of these (the second and third ones) have had zimmerit (anti-magnetic layer) in real life. If you want to build a historically accurate model take your time and search for images and details.
After deciding that I would go with the first option I carefully went through the instructions and selected the necessary actions and scribbled out all the unnecessary ones.
This and familiarizing with the instructions is really-really useful. You cannot do it enough times.
According to the instructions I have started the build with the lower hull, suspension and wheels. Not entirely sure what is the point of making the suspension arms from two pieces though...
Can't complain about the fit though. The wheels are also nicely produced and fitting on the arms perfectly.
The upper hull comes in separate pieces and you need to assemble it. Before doing so there are plenty of holes to drill. Most of them are for the hooks on the side plates which were used to help attach branches and foliage to the tank destroyer as additional camouflage.
Once assembled it starts to resemble a Jagdpanther.
Then, I added the above-mentioned hooks. They are tiny PE parts that you need to bend to the appropriate shape.
Once done they can be put immediately to their final location.
Despite of all my careful preparation I have missed to drill the holes for the hooks on the front plate. What can I say... Silly me.
After the first shock I thought I could still drill them. I looked at some archive photos and the instruction sheet to locate them correctly and get them as realistically as possible.
Please note that two of these hooks goes on the mantlet, however there is no sign in the instruction to drill hole for them. I simply trimmed of the edges of the hooks that would go in the holes and super-glued them to their final location.
The PE parts are superb quality can't complain about them.
I was lucky enough to have this kit from the first production series which had a gratis metal barrel in the box.
Once all main parts are ready it is time for painting the main colours. As usually I started with Tamiya light grey primer.
The base colour is Tamiya xf-88 (dark yellow 2). Camo is Tamiya xf-89 (dark green 2) and Tamiya xf-64 (red brown). Low pressure (2 bar) nicely diluted paint to the consistency of semi-skimmed milk and patience usually do the job.
Once the main camo colours were sprayed I mixed lighter shades of the green and the brown as it will help to create the impression of a heavily worn paintwork.
This was then followed by gloss varnish so as I could put the decals on.
When I am building a model I keep looking at the archive photos to gain inspiration. This time the thick mud on the original tank destroyer captured my imagination.
I bought Vallejo Thick mud and Vallejo Mud & Grass to replicate the heavy mud on the model. As I have never used them before I thought the lower hull behind the wheels is a good place to start experimenting carefully.
These seem to be excellent products, but to achieve a more realistic effect I over-sprayed here and there with some NATO black and dark grey. I also added some pigments to have more colour variation and some dried mud effect. Also helped to create the impression of patches of rust.
The wheels got a dark wash first. When it properly dried I applied the mud products.
At this stage I decided to swap the kit's track to Friul's metal tracks as I had a spare set in the cupboard. I am becoming more and more fan of these metal tracks and considering how tedious the kit's default track seem to be it just felt right.
Painting the tracks started with a shade similar to the thick mud I was about to apply on them. Then, I spread Vallejo's thick mud and mud&grass products on the outer sides of the tracks. Finally I applied some Europe earth pigments from MIG mainly on the edges.
The inner side of the tracks were carefully mudded only at the edges where the wheels would not run on them. The surface of the tracks close to the guiding horns were treated with gun metal pigments as the wheels usually keep them clean.
In the meantime I have painted the tools and other details as well as the side skirts.
Finally the tracks got to their final place. At this moment the tank is still very clean, but now I know how to apply the new weathering products on more visible places. It will be good to do these together with the final touches of the tracks and wheels so the whole Jagdpanther will get a homogenous look.
Now was the time to finish the painting of details and start concentrating on weathering the whole vehicle: oil pin-washes (this takes always longer than I expect), chipping, enamel washes.
More mud to the lower hull. The plan is to use Europe Earth pigments later on the edge where the mud would have dried sooner. In the meantime I also applied some extra dark wash on the wheels to get more tones of dirt. For the same reasons I carefully applied some oil washes on the mud on the tracks to give some depth and variation of the wet soil stuck on them.
I have given the final touches to the model: towing cable, spare tracks, the jerry can...etc.
This is how the complete Jagdpanther looks like:
What is my overall opinion? Absolutely great kit with lot of details, PE parts, metal skirts (and barrel if you are lucky to get your hand on a kit from the first series) and fits perfectly. You can select from four quite distinctive vehicles to build. A pleasant surprise without any serious unexpected hiccups. What do you need to watch out for:
Check if zimmerit should be added to the vehicle you have decided to build
Go through the instructions several times and make sure you have a way to follow only the steps that are relevant for your version. However, you do all, that is necessary.
The tracks can be tedious.
For more photos please visit the Gallery.