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  • Tamas Seres

My first ever commission build

A nice man messaged me after visiting this site to see if I could build a Panther for him. I was really pleased with the request and I have to admit I was a bit scared, too. Building models for yourself is one thing, but building one for someone else is a different world. They have expectations that I need to match. But can I deliver the requested quality? Can I deliver it in time? I don't know how commission build works in general: how do I get the kit and how do I deliver the completed model? What is the right price? How do we manage the finances? So many questions that needed to be answered...

After a few messages we agreed on all the details and a few days later mail had arrived. It was a kit with lots of aftermarket products and all the necessary equipment to wrap up the complete model gently and yet safe for the long oversea journey.

It was now on me to complete it.

The client wanted a tank from the division Wiking and provided me with some photos of which vehicle he was after.

The building was supposed to be flawless as I am quite familiar with these Dragon panthers. The only slight challenge would have been that the Wiking Panthers carried a beam on their engine deck that needed to be added.

I bought a piece of balsa wood of the right size and used some left-over plastic materials that were provided in a different kit for jerrycan holders.

As my client bought the kit on ebay as a bundle with some of the aftermarket products it wasn't a factory sealed box. Although no pieces were missing, the turret did not match to the actual kit. A pistol-port and an air-take-in hole was the difference.

Luckily, I had a spare turret in my stash that could be used for this exciting project.

Then came the unexpected turn...

The Atak zimmerit I had been sent looked as if it was a MAN pattern, but actually it was a typical Daimler-Benz set.

Although the text on the package says it somewhere that it is a DB set, but the overall impression with the large picture of a MAN zimmerit mislead us. Somehow, this just slipped though both of our nets...

There was a bit of back-and-forth discussion on how to move on from here. After a lot of investigation on both sides we had to conclude that most probably, Wiking did not have early Panther A's produced by DB factory. My client has decided to go ahead with a beaten-up tank of Pz.Rgt. 1 of 1st Pz.Div. He has picked the one with turret number 224. This tank was originally painted dark yellow in the factory and got a white wash as a winter camo in the field.

So, the work could go on. But where were we at this stage exactly? Body, wheels and turret completed and painted: light grey primer, pre-shading with black, dark yellow applied as main colour followed by some chipping and scratches. Then came the white overwash. And, of course the beam-holder had to be removed.

The details needed some painting and also chipping had to be applied on the white wash. I usually use a small piece of sponge to apply tamiya's dark iron and hull red for this purpose. Then, came the weathering, which is probably my favorite part of every build. I use a wide range of products, such as enamel washes, pigments and AK's 'mud' products.

I am a big fan of friul tracks, but this time there was unexpectedly too much excess material on the links.

The tracks got some burnishing using AK's products and painted it here and there as well. Some gun metal pigments were applied on the surface where the wheel would keep it clean and a bit shiny.

it was requested that the hatches stay open as figures would be added. But basically that was it. I had to add the skirts and the project was complete, ready to travel to the US.

I have to admit, that wrapping it up was a bitter-sweet experience. This was my first build I gave away. However, I was always aware it was about to leave my collection and knowing it would make someone really happy made it much easier.

Would I commit another build? That is a good question. Probably not in the near future. I have so many ambitious plans for myself so I wouldn't have time to do so.

However, if you are thinking about it here are some basic thoughts you may want to consider.


- making some money for what you love doing is not a bad thing. Not only spend on it, but getting back a bit is always nice.

- You can meet awesome people

- It keeps you on your toes


- You need to carefully consider how much time you have. It can take a lot of your free time that you would spend with something else.

- You may not be able to build your own projects for a while

- There may be a risk of not meeting the expectations (hence constant communication with your client is essential)

I hope all this helps.

As usually, you can see photos of the final model in the Gallery.

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