Thursday, December 29, 2016

WIP - Flakpanzer 38 (t) Gepard - Conversion from Warlord Hetzer

I've been reading all of the conversion articles on the Warlord Games website and have been itching to try one myself. After discussing my plans with the people on the Warlord forums, including prolific converters Rich H and Jacob Lotsz, I decided to give it a go.

These are some work in progress (WIP) shots so far. The Flak 38 AA gun is magnetized so that it can be pivoted, as well as removed to be used as a normal ground-based Flak 38 on it's original mount, which is also magnetized. The Warlord Hetzer III has had its superstructure removed, the compartment has been ground out to remove all of the Pak-40 ammo racks and to make space for crew. The Pak-40 travel lock has been removed and the access panel hinges added where the removed travel lock was sanded off.

The lower, fixed portion of the AA 'tub' has been created. This was a significant challenge as the geometry here is VERY complex. I've done my best, but in some places I had to just accept that as a wargaming model, IPMS standards need not apply. I've also kept the original rear hull panel in place for now. This was initially done to add structure during construction. The actual vehicle didn't have this panel in place when built, but removing it will be an amazingly difficult and dangerous operation. I may simply add another bench over it and call it 'good enough' for wargaming use.

Next up will be the upper portion of the tub. At this point I am thinking I will have these panels on the model in their lowered state, which is how they would usually be when the vehicle was deployed for AA use, as seen in this historic photo.

At this point I have what I believe should be the hardest part of the model behind me - the tub construction. I still have a lot of work to do with the folded panels, and then adding and restoring somewhere around 50-75 individual rivets. Then of course painting and final assembly. So far the project has been a lot of fun and I can finally see myself being able to successfully complete it.

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