Damraska’s AFV Projects

Hobby Boss VK1602 Leopard (Chibi Panther):

This model is almost ready for paint.

Something may be wrong with the towing loop eyes at the front and rear of the vehicle. The kit includes two towing loops for installation at the rear. I moved them to the front but quickly realized they might interfere with the tracks. After some test fitting, they went back to the rear.

There is little room for tools after installing spare track hangers from a Dragon Panther.

Kit supplied exhausts are not that great.

I added a close in defense weapon to the roof and almost immediately regretted the decision. That area is probably reserved for ammunition storage or radios.

The vehicle probably needs apron plates but would look better without them.


Hobby Boss VK1602 Leopard (Chibi Panther): Adding stowage has proven problematic.

It was a mistake to start adding tools to this model without working out a complete stowage plan in advance. Panther type spare track hangers do not leave enough room for long tools like cleaning rods, crowbars, and shovels. This was only discovered after gluing some tools into place.

After removing all previously attached tools, storage bins were added to the shoulders of the vehicle. If the spare track hangers were one link shorter, and the shoulder bins lengthened to fill that space, this vehicle would have an excellent tool storage system. Instead, it has two under sized storage boxes and no room for long tools.

I may need to rip all parts off the sides of the tank and start over. :disappointed:

Panzer IV style brackets were added beneath the fenders. This was another mistake. The upper hull of this tank does not lift off in the manner of Panzer IV assemblies. The fenders are integral to the armor scheme of the vehicle.

What started as a fun project is now a hateful slog of problems.


Doug, that’s a sharp looking Leopard!

Can definitely see how the stowage issue isn’t fun to consider. I’m not familiar with the vehicle or kit and have few questions out of curiosity.

On the sides & rear of the turret is any of that real estate flat enough for securing a tools? Maybe tools like wire cutters & axe on the turret rear?

Could the track links be stored Tiger 1 style on the turret sides, vertical style? Does the front glacis have enough room to have a Pz IV style track rack? While a hassle that might allow freeing the rear hull sides for an additional bin or two.

On the rear, is there enough space between the exhaust pips to sling the jack, panther style? Likewise, any space between the rear stowage box & exhaust pipe to allow a jerry cans or tool?


The base model is solid. Almost everything fits well, definition is good, and it makes for a quick build. VK1602 never made it to production so any tool stowage configuration is conjectural. Hobby Boss provides a tank matching the plans. Amusing Hobby offers a tank with conjectural tool stowage and aprons.

The problem is that I did not consider tool stowage layouts before gluing stuff. It was my mistake born of poor planning. Many things were forgotten during my long vacation from model building.

Smaller tools would fit. Turret curvature will cause longer tools to stick out like horns. To my knowledge, no World War II German tank mounts tools on turret sides.

Yes and yes. Adding spare track to either of those locations would entirely solve the problem, leaving plenty of space for tools along hull sides. Spare track links in those locations would also act as useful spaced armor.

I measured the dimensions of VK1601 versus a Dragon Jagdpather. They are almost exactly the same width at the front, both hull and fenders. The rear end of the Jagdpanther flares out a few extra millimeters, making it slightly wider than VK1601. From above, VK1601 is a rectangle. A Jagdpather is a trapezoid.

Since I am laid up in bed, I will spend the day stripping off the braces, close in defense weapon, track hangers, and tools, sand it all out, and start over.


I hope everything goes smoothly with the alterations.

Sounds good! On that note, I’ll toss one in with my SB order as an eventual small fry project since HB is 20% off today.

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I recommend looking at the Amusing Hobby version before making a purchase. Peter (petbat) posted a picture of it in this thread. Also, last I looked, the Hobby Boss version is $37 US shipped from Amazon.


Hobby Boss VK1602 Leopard (Chibi Panther): Hocus Pocus Presto Chango…

Short shoulder boxes were removed. One set of spare tracks on each side was removed. One headlight and one NOTEK light broke off. One exhaust pipe broke. Close in defense weapon was removed from the turret roof.

Brackets at the join of hull wall and sponson bottom were removed. This was the most messy and difficult surgery.

I spent all day avoiding this project, finally forcing myself to deal with it in the evening. Removing the shoulder boxes was easy. Cutting back the track hangers by one third also proved easy. Removing the close in defense weapon from the turret roof went well. Removing the brackets between hull walls and sponsons bottoms took much more effort and left many scars. Repair will require some putty. A few pieces broke off. Hopefully, some work with a pin vise and connecting pins will solve those issues.

It is now possible to add long boxes to the shoulders, capable of holding all the long tools and cleaning rods. Short tools will mostly end up on the fenders. The jack must go on the rear plate. There is no other place for it. Tow cables can go on the glacis plate or along the hull top.


Doug, aesthetic wise the shorter spare track rack looks much better relative to the Leo’s size! I think that was an excellent decision despite all the hassle and other hard model tweaking work. Looking good!

Had pulled the trigger on the HB kit beforr seeing your advice. Haven’t build an HB before it should be educational for me.


@Armor_Buff I read a lot of model reviews. Like all model companies, Hobby Boss has some winners, some middle of the pack entries, and some losers. When in direct competition with another company, the Hobby Boss entry often has fewer parts and less detail. The two Hobby Boss models I built, VK1601 and VK1602, were both very easy, fast, and fun builds but somewhat on the simplified side. You have way more experience and spare parts than me and will breeze through the model.

Please note, I do not own Panzer Tracts 20-1: Paper Panzers. Any serious attempt to check accuracy probably requires that booklet.

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Hobby Boss VK1602 Leopard (Chibi Panther): Most tools are now in place (for the fourth time).

All little tools fit on the front fenders. These are mounted so as not to obstruct the side vision ports. All tool clamp handles face inward so as not to snag on brush. Really important tools, like the fire extinguisher, are placed for easy access.

All big tools fit inside or on the lengthened shoulder boxes.

A jack needs to go on the tail plate, Panther style. It will not fit anywhere else.

In some cases, Panzer IV tools were used instead of Panther tools because this is an 18 ton vehicle, not a 40 ton vehicle.

All three broken parts were fairly easy to fix. The NOTEK light is a bit wonky but…oh well.

This should be ready to paint very soon.


Doug, Chibi is looking good :+1:


i know what you mean i got the blue ray boxset and the ahem “special effects” certainly leave a lot to be desired these days.


I loved both of those shows. I have Space 1999 on DVD. I still think that the Eagle is one of the best Sci-Fi spaceship designs ever. So was the design for the moon base.

My favorite vehicle from UFO was the “Sky-Diver” fighter submarine combo.


Hobby Boss VK1602 Leopard (Chibi Panther): Chibi Panther now has ears.

Stowage boxes were added to the sides of the turret in an attempt to differentiate my Chibi Panther from every other Chibi Panther on the planet. Working out the geometry for these additions took a few hours but the resulting boxes are near perfect in shape. Turret bin tops slope downward so as not to obstruct vision blocks on top of the turret. Hinges were added to all four boxes.

As a reconnaissance vehicle, Chibi Panther would have suffered from rather poor crew visibility. It would greatly benefit from a Panzer IV or Panther style cupola with 360 degree vision blocks. Designers may have left off the cupola to keep overall height on the low side. My next Chibi Panther will get a cupola.

Chibi Panther still needs a jack, jack block, tow cables, and perhaps two more surprises.

@tankerken It is a dream of mine to scratch build an Eagle in 1/35 scale. Sky Diver was a really neat concept. It would be a lot of fun to build a modern interpretation of it.


Your additions and modifications are so well done and they all make sense. This is one extremely well built model.


Hobby Boss VK1602 Leopard (Chibi Panther): A few more additions are in place.

Tow cables rest on the deck, each passing through three brackets, similar to cable stowage on a Tiger. This makes it very unlikely that brush will rip off the cables.

This picture also shows that turret storage bins never obstruct the driver and bow gunner’s hatches. Those hatches need to open regardless of turret orientation.

Though hard to see, there are now horns on the inside face of each fender. These can support a long wooden board. This sort of stowage is often seen on Sherman tanks. Since this is a reconnaissance vehicle, it needs to operate far in front of the main force. The crew cannot fall back on a half track each evening. They need to carry their stuff with them.

Small welds now connect side walls to sponson bottoms. A small bracket secures each fender to the side wall.

A ladder structure on the back of the turret makes it easy to stow items there. Small brackets secure exhaust pipes to the rear plate. A Panzer IV style jack block stores between the exhaust pipes. One wonders if heat from the exhaust pipes would set the jack block on fire.

All additions are welded rather than bolted to the hull. Bolt holes create weak spots in the armor. Welds probably anneal face hardened steel, also weakening such armor, but if a weld is cooled rapidly, perhaps that does not happen.

Chibi Panther still needs a strap for the jack block, a jack, various chains, pins for the tow cable brackets, bolt strips for apron plates, and a few more things. I forgot how time consuming this sort of work can be.

@SSGToms Thank you. That is very kind. Some of the scratch building work on display in these forums, such as yours, is extremely good. I want to reach that level again but feel very out of practice.


The turret bins look awesome! Great job! Despite your challenges, this kit is looking great.