Back to work on the Zvezda Panther D.
I decided to compromise on the turret and give it a very basic paint-job, basically following the instructions. There's a lot of turret detail here, bt you'd really need to add more...and you won't see any of it any way.
Turret assembled. The gun is a little loose but stays elevated okay.
Another view. The pistol ports are not open-able. The opening are closed and the details are all facades/ Same for the small hatch under the cupola. You can see the rear hatch...it's open as far as it will go.
BTW you can see some of Zvezda's engineering. See the tool bracket spot on the hull side. Zvezda heavily recessed the location spot so the part can be added and look as thin as PE.
Speaking of Zvezda engineering...they did something neat with the turret ring. By the way look at the detail on the hull turret ring...won't see any of it. Instead of two small notches on the ring opposite of each other to accept tabs on the turret. Zvezda made one wide notch (yellow arrows).
Flip the upper hull over. Instead of tabs on the turret, Zvezda uses part of the turret basket (red arrows). The fit is snug...no play...and the turret rotates smooth and free.
I went ahead and painted the roadwheels and got it ready for track assembly. The way this is designed, it would probably be a pain to try to add them with the fenders, skirt brackets, and upper hull all added.
Running gear added. The kit comes with only four of the early outer wheels with the fewer number of rim bolts. They send 8 revised outer wheels with the added rim bolts.
Time for the tracks. The kit comes with four sprues of indie tracks...each link is two-pieces. Zvezda also sends four "assembled" runs for the bottom. Zvezda has molded an insert for each length to hold the guide teeth...they are open. You probably could use a lot of care and assemble these as working.
The guide teeth pieces can be placed in reverse very easily...note the bottom run with the teeth added. The instructions for the tracks are pretty vague...but not impossible to figure out. Add two of the track segments to the bottom them finish each side with 58 links.
Another oddity, Zvezda sends 4 sprues of the indie links. You could ignore the lengths of track ad just use the indie links. If I had realized this when I was assembling the suspension...it would have changed the whole build...I would have this Panther crashing through a wooden bridge.
Track assembly is well-underway. It actually goes pretty fast. What I did was tacked the links together, then added the teeth pieces in order so the track pins are in their slot. Again, it's easy to put them in reversed.
One side assembled and ready for paint.Where the segments join I cut away the trackpins. If you don't the track links are closed and there's no way to connect them.
For the other side, I decided to do something different. I already have a Dragon early Panther D finished and on the shelf. Instead of having another one, I decided to have this one with a thrown track being repaired. I've got a field maintenance truck half built that I can use. At some point I'll build a diorama for the wounded Panther, adding the mechanics' truck.
I'll have the skirts removed, which means I'll leave off the kit's supplied one-piece skirt section and make my own. For the thrown side, I'll have these skirt sections removed and piled on the ground.
Anyway, I started on the thrown track. My plan is to have it repaired and the mechanics getting the track ready to cable together.
And that's where I am now. If time allows I'll try to get the mechanics and diorama all together for this campaign. I have a Miniart Base set that would be perfect but I don't think I'll have the time to add it. If not, I may compromise with a simpler base and have some mechanic figures working. I also have an engine in spares I want to add. So I might have one messing with the engine while the others work on the track. We'll see how it goes. I'm pretty enthused at how this project has shifted.