Having got y son started on Airfix Battles (he has a Cromwell done and a Sherman, Calliope and Churchill Crocodile in his stash) I have been looking out for 1944 German Armour. First up was a Panther found at my local show (and built between spray coats of my Victor). Tooled in the early 1960s it is venerable. This was a boxing from the beginning of the Hornby era, though in the late Humbrol style boxing.
The tooling is very basic, not surprising given the age. Also no hatch-open/internal detail though I will need a command vehicle with commander sticking his head out at some point.
Started with the running gear. Separate axles and 2 part middle wheels. Not too fiddly (unlike the Churchill and Matilda I built in my youth).
Some slight misalignments, mainly due to the axles being crookedbut adequate for the purpose. From the side it looks OK.
Underside was painted and given a basic black wash. The vinyl tracks were a minor pain (they were back in the 70s too). The holes for the locating pins had some flash and didn't go together well on one track. Superglue was resorted too resulting in a slightly messy join. They stretched over the wheels without breaking but lacked the 'sag' onto the top of the running gear - an old problem with this type of track and no skirts.
Final build was very simple. Aiming for a Normandy machine I opted for 3 colour camouflage (Brown-Yellow, Camouflage Red-Brown and Olive Green) with a black wash which worked well. Kit decals were used. These were old and took more time to release than modern sheets. Also very basic markings. Still, final result was pleasant.
Being intended for wargaming I need numbers (preferably Panzer IVs and some support vehicles). Most of these, along with the 1/76 figures, have gone from the Airfix site so budding Airfix Battlers will need to go elsewhere. I think Airfix are missing a trick here. Modiphius are paying for the Airfix brand on their wargame and a tie in range of AFV models would be good for both. The new Cromwell is really nice and the styrene tracks are a massive improvement (they take paint for a start and can sit properly, though are fiddly on the sprockets). However existing toolings will be fine for starters, though extra decal options (numbers mainly) would be really useful, though I am thinking of getting a 21st Panzer Division sheet for the Pz IVs when I get some.
Scale is not a huge issue for wargamers so a mix of old 1/76 with modern 1/72 would be fine or all 1/76. Given that we happliy mix old and new 15 and 25 mm figures (modern versions being more like 18 mm and 28 or 30 mm) the variation between 76 and 72 is not huge.
I will be scouring the model stands at my local Air Show next month to see what I can find.