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Luke's Barn find Panther....part 2

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Luke's Barn find Panther....part 2

Old 06-23-2021, 09:43 AM
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Tanque
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Default Luke's Barn find Panther....part 2

As I mentioned some time back I ended up purchasing Luke's old Panther with the Klingeberger electro mechanical conversion.

My plan is to work on this between other projects. I've just nearly completed an Armortek M3 Lee and while waiting for additional electronic parts, initially paint to fully cure and inspiration for tactical and other markings I decided to jump into this model.

As with many Maier Panthers I've seen this one was no stranger to 'modifications'. The one thing that really stirs my view of these are 'extra and unneeded holes' This model had some truly world class extra holes. They screamed to be corrected. I hate useless holes....

So to that end I have completely stripped the model down to the basic components. The major hull parts are nearly done with a few more clean ups to do but the major spurious holes are history. Along the way it's interesting to see how this basic model changed over the years of production. Maier once told me he made and sold approximately 330 Panthers while the model was in production with the majority being gas powered. As far as I know it was in production from the early 1970s ( as evidenced by this example) until 1988 or so. I have now an early example, middle production example and a very late variation; and there are significant changes that were made over the years.

I will update this thread from time to time as I do more but I'll include a few photos today to give a flavor of what's been done. I'm still wrestling with whether or not I want to upgrade things like wheels as these are the early cast wheels which really don't look very good especially from an angle, the various soft lead parts of which there are more in this example than later versions. Some parts, such as the travel lock was long since partially missing I'll have no choice other than replace, the tool stowage and such. I will apply some of what I've developed over the years in terms of improving some of the construction for example the rear engine deck and rear hull plate. Part of me wants to keep the model looking as a 1970s model would but part of me wants it better than that. I've even considered changing it to a Ausf D version with dustbin type commander cupola. We'll see. Either way despite Luke's excellent, first rate work on the Klingeberger system there's a lot of work to be done!

So here's a few photos.

Jerry


One 8mm drive shaft was bent however I was able to straighten it pretty well.



three large holes on the right side lower hull plate


there were two enormous, odd, sort of irregularly countersunk holes on either side of the rear engine plate- here you may see the inner part in the different colored areas at the top of the photo; here they were still filled with some sort of epoxy or bondo type stuff..

Filling in one of several unneeded holes in the floor plate.

beginning to pein the aluminum plug to fill a hole.

hole no more.

The three large holes on the side plate disappear.

The two holes on the rear engine plate are history

More holes bite the dust. most all the other holes are to tie down the torsion bard or mount other components.


Last edited by Tanque; 06-23-2021 at 01:35 PM.
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IronChevy (06-27-2021), king_tubby (06-23-2021)
Old 06-27-2021, 06:24 AM
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Jood job Jerry! You took it all apart!

You think the driveshaft has been bended during the shipping? Also i rember two spare rusty shafts among all the parts, they are the same as the bent one?

Im happy to see some images of the work in progress!

Luke.
Old 06-27-2021, 09:08 AM
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What do you think all the holes were for?
p
Old 06-27-2021, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by lposter View Post
What do you think all the holes were for?
p
Nearly every time I see one like this I ask myself the same question! I don't know, perhaps for some other function that once had been installed
which is now gone? Perhaps they were for what someone along the years believed would make for better access, functionality or ?

It's really easy for me to scoff at what someone before me did but I do not; I have no way to know what someone else was thinking and I just
assume whatever they did was the best they could do. I have seen quite a number of these models with modifications that seemingly defy
reason! Before I make a hole anywhere in a model I try to think it through however anyone can make a mistake.

Jerry
Old 06-27-2021, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by IronChevy View Post
Jood job Jerry! You took it all apart!

You think the driveshaft has been bended during the shipping? Also i rember two spare rusty shafts among all the parts, they are the same as the bent one?

Im happy to see some images of the work in progress!

Luke.

Thanks Luke!

Regarding the bent shaft, it likely was bent in transit as I had found 3 track links on one sprocket that had been broken in transit
so it clearly took a hit at one point but there wasn't any sign of it on the box when it arrived- as I recall the outer surface of the box was good.
Your padding seemed good to me so I'm not sure. Anyway I've straightened it enough that the sprocket runs true so no worries there.
I'd imagine I could use the spare shafts to make a replacement if needed but the inner part of the Klingeberger shaft is a little different
than the Maier one.

My goal, I may have said this already is to clean all this up, repair everything I'm able. Most of the hull, upper and lower is done. There is a section
of the inner part of the upper hull where one previous owner had to remove metal, I assume for clearance for the larger size of the Klingeberger
generator which is much larger that the original Maier Webra 6,5ccm Stamo engine. The metal removal was a little rough so my plan it mount the
upper on my mill and clean this area up a bit to make it appear more tidy. After that I believe I can start to reassemble the larger section of the model.
I need to reassemble the rear engine deck; I do it with real fasteners- even on my very first Maier Panther back in the 70s I did this. I try to use a minimum of adhesive. Maier was really big on Pattex Stabalilt Express- a very, very strong adhesive- to my mind even stronger than JB Weld. The problem with it I've seen is most everyone uses way more than needed and if the surface was properly prepared, as it appears was the case with this model, it takes real determined effort to get it off. I've used a substantial portion of a MAP gas cylinder burning off Stabalit residue just from the upper hull and rear exhaust plate alone! There are pieces I will be bonding with adhesive as well but again I try to keep this minimal. I have most of the rear exhaust plate reassembled and I've re-bonded the torsion bar bearings to the side plates after cleaning them; the torsion bars and their tubes will be cleaned and re-installed next. The ends of these have what I assume is a user modification but I'm not certain. Never having seem a really early Maier Panther like this I have no way to know what is OEM vs an end user 'thing'. If Maier was still with us I'd ask him. I've actually seen 2 or three variations of torsion bar/bearings that I believe are Maier's including one model that had no bearings at all that definitely were originals.

I want to replace the cast wheel with pressed ones. I have several set of Maier originals and I believe a set of Micheler ( M) real steel (!) wheels.
I problem is I may not have multiple sets of hubs to go along with them and the hubs represent a fair amount of machining which I'd like to avoid.
So bottom line is I hope then won't but the cast wheels may have to stay....at least for the short term. As an additional possibility some years ago I made my own die to press my own dished wheels and ended up pressing some 120 of them ( I had big plans back then) so if push came to shove I could even use these but I'd still need hubs. The one cool thing with these is I never drilled them for bolts, either for the hubs or the tire retaining ring so if I wanted to make this an early "D" model with 12 bolt pattern wheels I could do that and I've considered it...

So that's it for the moment. I've attached a few more photos for "show 'n tell" !

Jerry

Inner of upper cleaned

Upper of upper cleaned

The relief area to be tidied up..

re-seating torsion bar bearings

partial lower hull

Rear exhaust plate partially reassembled

The left and right final drives, cleaned waited for reassembly
Old 06-28-2021, 08:12 PM
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I found that there was an issue with the width of the rear exhaust plate; it was about 2-3mm too wide. This explained why a previous owner mounted the fuel tank extended armor plates so far forward from where they're supposed to be.

Anyway....Resolved the exhaust plate issue by trimming metal until the upper hull fit comfortably. I used other models as an example to keep
me honest..

I also decided to use a combination of parts for the Panther's road wheels. It won't be as fast as if I'd had a ready made box of parts waiting to assemble but I feel the end result will work sufficiently well. I found I have a quantity of Maier's wheel tire retaining rings so I will use those with some of the wheels I had pressed years ago as they are compatible parts. I will have to drill holes for hubs and for the 24 bolt pattern around the perimeter. I also need to make the hubs; I have an example of a Maier hub as my guide. For tires I've long since used my own and not the hard plastic rings Maier used. I used vulcanized rubber tires I make myself; I think my existing mold should work but will make a new one if need be; the only unknown is if my raw rubber is still viable. Along with all the metal parts I pulled out as many previously made tires as I could find. Some of these are Devcon polyurethane tires I made 30+ years ago and a few are the vulcanized type so I'll see which ones will work.

It's more work than what I would have wanted but there it is.

Jerry



Raw wheel pressing

Various tires

Vulcanized road wheel tire

Wheel parts

Rear plate fitted
Old 07-01-2021, 05:19 PM
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I vote for a Panther D!!! Less holes to drill in the pressed wheel rims. Thanks for sharing your progress Jerry.
Old 07-01-2021, 10:13 PM
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Originally Posted by MAUS45 View Post
I vote for a Panther D!!! Less holes to drill in the pressed wheel rims. Thanks for sharing your progress Jerry.
I'm still debating with myself as to what I will do.... If I had early round fan cover castings perhaps...

While I'm still deciding what I want to do about the wheels for this model, yes I'm not really relishing the machine work facing me to use the wheel parts I've laid out; I decided to do the rear engine deck. This is one of my favorite upgrades to do to a Maier Panther. As with most of the original model Maier's basic intent was to give the builder a way to assemble the model with adhesive. I actually don't have an issue with that but where I run afoul of this method is it's easy to use way too much and end up with a really bad looking result. Larger than life lumps of glue and blurred details are often the result. I spent several days chiseling, scraping and burning off ounces of Stabalit and wire brushing the metal followed by cleaning in acetone. I'm using steel 1-72 SAE hex head "engineering" proportional bolts. I chose these cause I have them and they are generally less expensive here than metric equivalents 2mm is roughly the same size- .078" vs .073" for 1-72 and the head size it virtually identical. So here is the deck so far; it's clean with nothing affected by any adhesive. I'll attempt to reuse as many of Maier's original lead detail parts as it's not my goal to remake them all.

When these models were in their heyday Maier made many functional and construction changes and improvements over the years but sadly he never corrected or improved the scale accuracy of the various components of the model. This is apparent in many aspects of the model with the rear deck being one of those areas. Where Maier's stuff really shined was in his execution; his parts were always nearly flawless; he employed finely machined grey cast iron (grauguβ) molds using proprietary release agents which afforded him marvelously clean parts.. I saw them do these firsthand when I visited him in 1996. The molds were very intricate with many removable pieces, it was fascinating.

Anyway here a photo of the deck in progress..

Jerry


a work in progress..

Old 07-18-2021, 11:14 PM
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Completed the bulk of the machine work on the wheel hubs for the Panther I'm rebuilding. I have to say I didn't overly enjoy this part as it was tedious and fairly exacting.These started out as chunks of a 1.25" 6061 aluminum bar and I made 18 of them. 16 plus 2 spares. All that remains on the hubs is to drill the 8 wheel mounting holes. For the wheels themselves as I'm using my own wheel pressings I need to drill all the holes in them as well. Once that is complete and the wheels are ready to be assembled I need to make the rubber tires I don't have which may or may not be most of them.

I am certain this will be the last of this type of model I will ever rebuild. I've done everything I've ever wanted to do with these and I'll leave any subsequent model finds for the enjoyment of others...









Jerry
Old 07-19-2021, 01:55 AM
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They look good. Must be super satisfying to see them all lined up and know that you made them yourself.....
p
Old 07-19-2021, 02:55 AM
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That's some mighty fine lathe work, Jerry. If you ever need a job, we've got a couple of empty lathes right here that you can run. Bwahahaha

Seriously though, they do look great.
Old 07-19-2021, 08:13 AM
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Yeeeeaaaahhh thanks guys. In hindsight it seems like sort a of goofy post actually. Not much to look at
but somehow as I was writing it I wanted something to show for the all the time it took me to make these.
All the 3D and CNC guys out there could whip stuff like this out in a tiny fraction of the time. I'm a dinosaur
by comparison.

Lposter and Crius, your skill sets are well known and impressive so I appreciate the kind words..

Jerry
Old 07-19-2021, 08:19 AM
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Jerry, Those are very realistic wheels. Will be awesome to see assembled. Takes a long time to make all the parts - Panther has a lot of wheels. Will be fantastic upgrade for this model.
Bob.
Old 07-23-2021, 03:33 PM
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Wow, those wheel hubs are so realistic!!! You metal work always amazes me.
Old 07-23-2021, 07:41 PM
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Thank you all.

Hubs and wheels are all drilled. What a boring job! I'm glad this part is finished.

So far I've been able to scare up 31 of the 32 tires I need and some of these might need to be re-made. Some are my later vulcanized rubber type and more than a few are old cast urethane rubber versions I made some 30+ years ago. Despite some bubbles, I didn't have a vacuum pump back then, they still seem pretty good after so long.

The next challenge though will be getting sufficient screws and nuts of the right type to look decent. This is no trivial nor inexpensive aspect of the model. There are 24x32 and 8x32 hex nuts for a total of 768 + 256 or 1024 total nuts and and as many bolts required. I remember Littlefield telling me that even on the 1:1 scale Panther he rebuilt this was a substantial expense as they can't be just any kind; they need to be a high grade and proportional height to width and the latter is true for these small versions. It's easy to spend quite a lot on these; easily the second most expensive item if one wants to go fully scale. Somewhere I have a quantity of scale, proportional 1-72 hex nuts and bolts (screws) which are my go to size in lieu of 2mm metric size. They're very nearly the same and 1-72 while still difficult to find is easier to come by here in the U.S.

I can fudge the usage a bit by only using scale nuts on visible wheels which I'm very tempted to do and flip the orientation of nut to bolt head on the various wheels so I only have to use scale nuts wherever they're visible instead of hex bolts on every other wheel. In case you are unable to picture it the wheels are assembled first and only one way. As they're installed on the hubs some are concave side out and the alternate assembly is opposite- convex side out so on some the hex nut shows and on others the hex bolt head shows. A discerning viewer will notice this but c'est la vie , no?

Jerry

Last edited by Tanque; 07-23-2021 at 07:44 PM.
Old 07-24-2021, 03:07 PM
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My wheels are turning out better than I'd hoped, the one on the right has a 2 part Devcon poly Urethane tire I made 30+ years ago; the one on the left a vulcanized (using retread "rope" rubber) rubber tire I made perhaps 4 years ago. Now I need to either find the screws and nuts I hope I still have or buy some new ones... Name:  1f641.png
Views: 48
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Jerry




Last edited by Tanque; 07-24-2021 at 03:08 PM. Reason: bad layout
Old Yesterday, 04:54 PM
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Those wheels look great. So will this be a D with the upgraded wheels?
Old Yesterday, 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by MAUS45 View Post
Those wheels look great. So will this be a D with the upgraded wheels?
Thanks. I think I'll be leaving it an A version. Perhaps later I might change my mind but I still have two other Maier Panthers
to be worked on, one of which that I could turn into D if I really want to. I'm waiting for fasteners for the wheels; I now seem
to have two options.I want to do right by this old boy but on the other hand I want to get back to my other projects.

I just finished cleaning up and resolving some issues I found with the gearboxes but they're reinstalled and tested. I also discovered
that along with the bent final drive shaft the associated sprocket was bent, actually has a hairline crack on one of the spokes so I was
limited as to what I could do with it. I do have new OEM Maier sprockets but don't want to burn them up here when these are serviceable.
The sprocket on these is a very strong part and even in the state of this one it has many years life yet.

Once I have my wheels assembled I'll begin painting. I have to rebuild the turret gearbox as it was not a usable part as is; the bearing race is ok and there are remains of the original gearing but it decidedly needs attention. Also haven't decided whether I'll keep the tiin plated steel fuel tank that was in this model but it needs a larger than normal fuel tank due to the HB 61. 61 engines usually are good to drink an ounce of fuel /minute and being in this sort of installation with the engine heavily relying on the cooling effects of fuel it likely needs to be run rich which will suck fuel all the faster. Still I'd prefer a poly fuel tank to avoid the potential for leaks and crud/rust from the tin plated steel tank- not sure if this was a Klingeberger original or if some previous owner made it. With my first Panther years ago my dad had made twin brass fuel tanks ( still have them) that I installed where the 1:1 tank has them but removed them due to copper interaction with nitro methane in the fuel. The original Maier powerplant was a Webra .40 Blackhead which was a little more economical on fuel so could get away with a smaller fuel tank

Basically other than the wheels and resolving damage and other pet peeves I'm going to keep this old boy as original as possible.
If I allow myself to make all the upgrades I've ever done to one of these I'll never finish it. I have several 1/6 projects I wish to begin.

I'm setting a goal of having this model back on its tracks in a month; the wheels being my greatest detour in finishing her up.

Jerry

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