Part of the fun of fielding late war Germans is that you get to dangle the threat of a very nasty Panther or Tiger tank. Tigers are a bit clichéd, were extremely rare, and I think the Panther is a cooler looking vehicle, so here we are:
The decision was partly made for me by the way I was using the Warlord “Armoured Fury” box set to amass some Shermans for my allied force. That boxed set is a good way to get lots of plastic tanks quite cheaply, as you can sell the Bolt Action rule books, dice and unwanted tanks on eBay. If you pick up the box in a sale you’ll be laughing. End result of this was that while stacking up Shermans I had the opportunity to get a Panther quite cheaply.
The kit that Warlord sells is this Italeri one in a Warlord box. What you don’t get in the Armoured Fury set is any decals, it’s just bagged kits of sprues. The kit is pretty simple, and most parts went together well. The bits which did cause any trouble included the tracks, which need a bit of work to get the pieces to mate cleanly, and the engine grilles on the rear deck. These are completely open, so you’d be able to view the inside of the model through them. I stuck a piece of black foamcore to the underside of the engine deck before joining the hull halves to give this a nice matte black finish. Also slightly tricky were the towing shackles, even just clipping these little parts off the sprue risks breaking them, and their position interferes with attaching the tracks. If you can leave them off until you’ve got the tracks sorted that might be best.
Overall the kit is a doddle to put together, and is generally pretty light and sturdy. The AA MG and the radio antenna are very flimsy though, I’ll be surprised if these last long and may need to be replaced with some scratchbuilt metal parts if/when they break. Including metal ones in the kit would be worth paying a little extra for Warlord!
I’ve added some stowage boxes and tarps to the rear of the vehicle, but otherwise left it as it came. From the pics I managed to dig up most Panthers had pretty clean lines in service, the crew didn’t pile stupid amounts of gear on their vehicle. The fact it had decent armour and so didn’t need spare track, sandbags, etc piled all over it might have something to do with that, as would the decent sized stowage bins on the back.
Paint-wise I’ve gone for the same scheme as my previous German vehicles. Base coat of dunkelgelb spray, over which goes a camo scheme of Vallejo Luftwaffe Green 70.823 and Dark Rust 302. That gets washed down in Army Painter Strong Tone ink before picking out the linear detail in black ink and drybrushing the whole lot in Vallejo Middlestone. The end result is that all my late war vehicles look pretty uniform now. Maybe I should do my next one (Panzer IV? Panzer II Luchs?) in something a bit different.
To be honest, I don’t expect this big panzer to make it onto the table often, it’s rare to get enough support to field a List 10 tank in Chain of Command unless you’re fighting a really high-rated enemy. But since the boys at the club are keen on things like British Paras and US Airborne maybe I will get to play with it a bit…