Transformers!

That silvery blob in the chassis is a slug of lead to give the plastic kit a bit of heft
Yet another distraction from the main thrust of my wargaming, I'm afraid.

I got a free box of Battlefront plastic Panthers and/or Jagdpanthers a while ago, when I subscribed to Wargames Illustrated. They're the wrong bit of WWII for my purposes, but they were the most attractive of the available subscription rewards, so they're what I chose.

There are sufficient bits to build five vehicles, either Panther Ausf. G or Jagdpanthers. Unless, that is, you have vast supplies of cheap rare-earth magnets from China. Which I have.

So, instead of submitting to The Man and being forced to choose between tanks and tank hunters, I'm having a go at magnetizing the hull tops to swap on to the five available hull bottoms and tracks. It's a bit of an involved process because there aren't really any locating lugs keeping the upper hulls in the right place, so the magnets will have to do that job, which means that magnet placement will need to be fairly accurate. I'm perfecting my process on this one set before going ahead and doing the other four.

I intend, eventually, to have a magnet at front and rear. I think I'll be making liberal use of epoxy putty to make stands for magnets to sit on, but really I'm just making this up as I go along.

I've now achieved my final form

Next day....

After a fair amount of faffing about, I hit upon a system that works well.

The first thing I did was to glue little stop-blocks where the hull fronts, top and bottom, meet. I used bits cut off the sch├╝rzen, which I wasn't planning on applying otherwise.

Rather than squishing epoxy putty around magnets inside, which didn't work all that well at all, I instead built little shelves for the magnets in the bottom hull out of plastic card and slathered them and their magnets in gobs of epoxy resin. Once they were cured, I covered the magnets in masking tape (to keep them free of the next lot of epoxy), put the upper-hull magnets on the bottom-hull magnets, and slathered them in gobs of epoxy. Then it was a simple matter of putting on the hull tops and turning everything upside down, letting the epoxy drool on to the inner hull-top to secure the magnets in the right place and orientation.

It's not a fantastically quick process, and it is quite profligate of magnets (six magnets per set of hull parts, plus two more for the Panther turret), but it's not unrealistically fiddly and lends itself quite well to production-lining.

Four more sets left to do.

And the next.....

All the hulls and turrets are now magnetized all up the wazoo, ready for final assembly and painting.

I've numbered the matching sets, just in case I got some attachment points out of whack, but as it turns out I've been accurate enough that everything is interchangeable with everything else. So, score!

Coda

I've got them all primed and numbered. I doubt that I'll get on to final painting any time soon; as I mentioned before, these vehicles are from quite different part of WWII than I'm primarily interested in. However, it's been an interesting and useful experience.

Zvezda KV1 (1941)

 Here'a another 1:100 scale (15mm) KV1 from Zvezda, a slightly later model than the previous one with a slightly better 76.2mm gun. ...