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A Different Kind of a Zoo (Italy 1944)

Preface
I donít understand how it happened but I did more 1/48th then 1/35th scale models during 2012. Moreover, when I met Sven Frisch at Scale Model Challenge he asked me if I do anything else apart from 1/48! Maybe because the quarterscale community is smaller I got more recognition? Who knows, but I really enjoy that scale and see it as a break from demanding larger models.

The biggest problem that possibly shortens the number of quarterscale fans is the lack of wide range of subjects produced in plastic. Tamiya (good detail and easy to assembly kits) and Italeri (worse) are the major players on the market here. Pit Road has a couple of soft skins from but I havenít seen them built by armor modellers, only on aircraft dioramas. Bronco (perfect kits to my taste) recently joined the field but only 3 Staghound kits are released so far. In that case if you want something original you have to buy either resin conversions or full resin kits from Gasoline, Kengi or Hauler which are much more expensive. Would you spend 50 euro on the resin Pantherturm (original price)? I am not sure about that myself, but I managed to catch the sale in one of the online shops and paid 10 euro only!

The kit and the assembly Ė see my review on Armorama.com
The kit consists of 12 resin parts, turned metal barrel, PE fret and instruction and represents a Panther tank turret on a steel box (stahluntersartz). Such fortifications were installed in the Gothic line along the Apennines in Italy and in the Atlantic wall against the Allied forces. Most of the turrets received additional armor protection on the roof to withstand aircraft attacks and artillery fire while there were also regular production turrets. Underneath the fighting compartment and ammunition storage there was a living area with beads and heater. Haulerís steel box is made of 2 parts giving the possibility to model multilayer diorama if desired. For my project I decided to use only top section of it.

After the parts were removed from casting blocks I cleaned them with soapy water and assembled the turret and top of the steel box. It didnít take much time, but I felt that my CA glue was not strong enough to hold this material quickly. Nevertheless, I was puzzled by what to do next and how to finish that model.

Wild(er) inspiration
The feeling of how to paint the Pantherturm came when Adam Wilder announced his latest DVD ďAuthentic MetalĒ. (see my review on Armorama.com) It was so inspiring, that I decided to paint straight after I watched the video because making authentic rusted surface is exactly what was required for the steel box underneath the turret. I looked through the steps on the DVD once again and wrote the sequence on the piece of paper. As usually happens, I didnít follow the protocol blindly but adjusted it to the materials I had at home.

Base
I took a simple photo frame and loaded it with plaster. Stones and sand were applied on top and also the Pantherturm was pressed into base when plaster was almost hard. I added some static grass, spent shells from Black dog and made chalk marks on the turret base with white acrylic pencil. Finally, I decided to add a figure from excellent Cast48 (see my review on Armorama). Donít judge me too hard, but this was (and still is) my first experience on figures. Turned out OK for a newbie! So the story that figures add is that somewhere in post-war Italy a father decided to show his kid a zoo, but not the one with animals made of flesh.
Hope you like it and I appreciate your feedback!

Pantherturm Live links

Authentic Metal Live links

Father and son Live links
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