Thursday, October 11

Build Guide: Takom's 1/35th scale Bergepanther Ausf. A (assembled by Demag) full interior kit

Andy King is almost all the way through the build of his 1/35th scale Bergepanther Ausf. A (assembled by Demag) full interior kit from Takom. It is a big job, and Andy has stopped to show us what is in the kit with his in-box review - now part I of the build guide in today's article.

In-Boxed: Bergepanther Ausf. A (Assembled by Demag) 
Full interior kit. 
From Takom 
1/35th scale
Kit No #03.01.2101 
Plastic injection moulded kit with photo etch, cables, thread & chain.
Decals for four Bergepanthers.

At this link here you will see my in-box review of this kit
In-Boxed: Takom's 1/35th scale Bergepanther Ausf. A (assembled by Demag) full interior kit
Although I was impressed with the contents of the box it was time to actually build it and see if I stayed impressed.

We start with the lower hull and this is a multi-part assembly which normally doesn't bode well unless you glue it all together first (like I did with the Miniart T-55A in an earlier build article), however as this kit features a full interior this is not an option due to the detail and painting required.

Steps 1 and 2 deal with the lower hull and transmission and these went together without any issues although this pic will help with the location of parts on the transmission housings as the instructions are not really clear;

The transmission was not glued in as I wanted to paint it beforehand however if you glue part L11 in place like I did then the transmission will not fit unless you gently bend the lower front hull plate. If you do then avoid gluing this bit (arrowed);
The torsion bars (E21) were stuck to the interior and when set the hull sides were taped to the floor, juggling the torsion bars into place. Bearing in mind that painting the interior was going to be challenging I had an idea how to tackle it so I jumped way ahead to step 20 and glued the sponsons (H3-4 and 8) onto the hull sides, using the firewall as a support but not gluing it to anything. I then jumped back to step 13 and the engine bay walls. The right wall fitted very well but the left was caught on something;
A suspension strut was the culprit so this was cut down until the left wall fitted properly;
Much better! If this wasn't done it would have affected the fit of the rear hull.
The track tension adjustment assemblies were glued together (parts E7, 8, 9 and 16) and note that you need to turn part E7 around 180 degrees for the right-hand side (although you can leave these bits off as you won't see them).

Because I wanted to make the interior easier for painting, part of my cunning plan was to glue the firewall and engine bay walls together but not actually glue them to the hull. With gluing the sponsons to the hull sides this complicated my plan, however, using a razor saw I removed the track adjustment assemblies and simply glued them to the hull sides;
Doing this allowed the firewall to be removable;

The rest of the details were added to the sponsons as per steps 20 through to 24 (minus the winch which I came back to later) plus some cabling on the hull sides.
The winch assembly was pretty straightforward with just a couple of gaps that required filling (although once fitted you wouldn't see them anyway but I'm picky like that);

To aid with fitting the thread for the cable it's best to keep glue off the cable drums but of course, I didn't so it should be interesting later on.

One thing that did amuse me was the fitting of part B3-17 as the instructions show you to flatten the end of the rods with a heated screwdriver (like we used to in the 1970's when fixing rubber band tracks together). Instead, I cut the ends flush and added hexagonal bolt heads from styrene using a punch and die set;

The cable drum is quite deep and will require a lot of thread to wrap around it. There is not enough supplied in the kit to do this so I wrapped strips of paper around the centre to help pack it out.

The engine was next and again this was a fairly easy build and nothing untoward to report apart from parts N38 and N39 as it wasn't too clear how exactly these parts fitted. I eventually worked it out and the following photos will show how they go.

I left off parts N1, N56 and N57 as these will be fitted after painting and it would be a good idea to leave N12 off until the engine is installed as on mine it didn't quite match up to the location hole on the sidewall of the engine bay.
The hose that runs around the bay (L14) and the two that attach to the side walls (N40 and N41) were also left off to make fitting the engine and painting easier (step 28).
With the water and fuel tank assembled (step 29) I dry fitted everything, holding it all together with tape.
The fiddliest bit was getting the torsion bars located in the corresponding holes but they will go, you just have to remember to fit the transmission first.

Anyway feeling quite pleased with myself I then broke it all down again ready for painting;

Although I usually clean models in soapy water I didn't with this and just went right ahead, blowing any dust off with the airbrush first then spraying a black undercoat using Tamiya XF-1. For primer red my favourite colour for this is Vallejo 137/ 70.982, Cavalry Brown, however, I have trouble spraying Vallejo paint so I mixed my own using a lot of Tamiya XF-7 red, some XF-9 Hull Red and a couple of drops of X-6 Orange (I don't do exact amounts sorry, near-as-dammit works for me). It actually was a pretty close match for the Vallejo colour which was handy for painting the details later on.
I did use finely cut tape to mask off the areas that will be glued as it has been known that a build-up of paint can interfere with the fit of parts.

The transmission and engine were sprayed with Tamiya XF-63 German Grey lightened with a medium grey to add some highlights, final details being hand painted using Vallejo;

The hull sides were then masked off along with the firewall and these were sprayed with a mix of XF-60 Dark Yellow and XF-15 Flesh as this gives a nice Dunkelgelb' shade that was used as the base coat on German WW2 armour after 1943. There is some discussion as to whether this is correct for the interior as German tanks were painted an ivory colour however as the Bergpanther is classed as an open-topped vehicle (kind of) it was painted with the exterior colour plus I wanted to follow the instructions for the benefit of this review, the experts can slug it out with each other online.

The winch was also painted with the exterior colour and along with the rest of the interior weathered using Mig Productions Dark Brown Wash and Oil and Grease mixture. The thread for the cable was painted with Vallejo German Camo Black/ Brown 150/70.822.
I then rubbed with graphite powder, using a final rub of Mig Productions Gun Metal weathering powder. Paint chips were also done with the Vallejo colour used for the cable;

 The end result was pleasing as you can see.
With all the sub-assemblies painted the hull was put together for the final time starting with the transmission.

The floor panels around the transmission were glued into place then the hull sides were fitted along with the rear firewall. I had already glued the fuel tanks to the insides of the engine bay but then had to VERY carefully cut them off as it was impossible to fit the firewall. The engine was glued into place followed by the rear hull plate then finally the winch assembly, however, I hit a snag here as with the floor plates in place it was impossible to fit due to the connecting shafts.

The solution was to remove the connecting rod from the winch and instead glue it to the transmission.

Once done the winch fitted into place perfectly and completed the build for the interior;

That was very enjoyable! I normally shy away from kits with a full interior but the fit of parts on this one is great and didn't give me any problems at all. I had to deviate from the assembly instructions a lot by jumping backward and forward as painting the interior would have been impossible otherwise, also it showed up what parts you could safely leave out as they would not be seen (unless you wanted to depict a destroyed vehicle) however if you follow my build it will give you a fighting chance of getting it all together.

The torsion bars were the fiddliest due to their location points and I couldn't think of any other way of fitting them but with patience (and snipping off the ends where you can't see them) they will click into place.

I have to say that I am very impressed with this kit so far, I'm just glad I took pictures of the interior as it's going to be a shame to hide it all once the upper hull is fitted ­čśü.

Andy King

Many many thanks to Takom for sending this kit to andy to firstly review, then to build and paint for us to show you just what the kit really builds up like...