Final reveal: Jagdpanther ausf. G1, sPzJgAbt 559, Ardennes, 1944 (Meng TS-039)

The Jagdpanther (Sd. kfz. 173) is a tank destroyer based upon the Panther chassis. It houses the powerful 8.8 cm Pak 43/3 cannon in a turretless casemate hull, givnig it a very sleek look and is one of cooler looking German designs.

The Meng kit is based off of their excellent Panther kit which I’ve built an ausf A of. At the end of this reveal are a few WIP photos. The kit was very good, and given the casemate hull the most important thing is that everything fits, and they did. I used their workable track for this kit. I chose their fourth build option for this unnumbered Jagdpanther from Abt 559 operating in the Ardennes area. The camo scheme is rather unusual, but given we have seen Abt 505’s King Tiger with a similar dunkelgelb/Schokoladenbraun/white scheme this is perhaps not so surprising. Rather, when combined with the distinct stripes it looks rather interesting. The scheme was hard to pull off initially due to the very high contrast between the white and chocolate brown, combining with a yellow it looks like a peppermint candy. I could not get it to work with filters and pigments, so in the end I resprayed the chocolate brown with a lighter shade as well as toning down the white with buff. 
In the process of working on this kit I got the Armorama review kit of Ryefield’s Tiger, so I suspended this guy and finished that one instead. But I was glad I did that because that kit gave me a lot of opportunities to refine my skills on weathering. The good folks at the Facebook Scale Model Critique Group (SMCG) gave me a lot of comments about my kit, making me realize what “overweathering” really means! I left no space unweathered, or rather, each spot was weathered uniformly, so in the end the finish became less interesting. Armed with that wisedom I realized I have already overweathered my Jagdpanther when I was trying to compensate for the contrast, so I resprayed the camo with less contrast and redo some of the weathering, with more variations. 
I also understood a little bit more about storytelling, so I tried to inject a bit more character into the model. Here I assume the tank was waiting for ambush during the Ardennes offensive, and therefore setting up the camo wires for hanging vegetation, and had a torn off tarp starting to be applied on top. The camo wires were made with 0.02mm wires, which looks ok but scale-wise it might still be too thick, perhaps a 0.01mm wire would even be better. The tarp was made with apoxie sculpt. In retrospect I could’ve made a bigger one, but I was afraid of hiding too much details. 

The mantlet was another trouble area I initially had no clue how to make interesting. The paint scheme had it all in chocolate, and while I can give it some black worn areas it was still a solid piece of dark colored mess. So I decided to do hairspray chipping with a lighter shade of the color, and I think it turned out ok. The texture allowed some interesting raised areas be highlighted.

I also tried one of Mig’s methods of laying down rusted dry soil tracks, and boy it gave me so many layers I couldn’t believe. It may be too rusted for operational vehicle but I just wanted to try it out. I also saw most of the Jagdpanther pictures had their front mud guard bent so I felt obliged to destory my own, using heat and flat nose pliers. The engine deck was another area where I overweathered in the beginning. I then sprayed hairspray on top and resprayed the camo, later apply chipping to unhide the underneath over weathered surface. It works out quote nicely, undoing my heavy weathering while reusing some of my work. 

One thing of note is that the U brackets for holding the spare tracks has holes in them. Even though Meng did not supply pins to lock them down (but Dragon kits have them), you can bend pieces of 0.2mm wires and they’ll fit. In an Armorama thread someone complained about the lack of this feature in a kit so I finally realized how these tracks were hung on the side – not through magnets 🙂
WIP photos:

Here the kit is built. It comes with a metal barrel, but it only works with certain variants in the instructions and they didn’t tell you which! 

Close up of the front. The side platforms were done with PE, very nice. I didn’t realize I already broke the tow cable support here, so I needed to improvise later on by hanging the cable on the side. 

Close up of the Here the camo is done and the first round of chipping. It’s too pepperminty for my taste.

As mentioned earlier most Jagdpanthers front fenders are bent, so I applied some heat and bent it with a flat nose. It managed to not chip off massive amount of paint work.

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