In these interview articles I generally ask the questions and the interviewee answers, but for this article I asked Andy Hart of Z-Panzer to talk directly to our readers and share a bit of the thought, design and production processes that went in to this magnificent Z scale model.
These photos were shot in low light to convey a sense of… probably every WWII movie I’ve ever seen! Enjoy!
Andy Hart of Z-Panzer
I wanted to build something that would challenge me and force me to learn new skills and use new materials and methods. A railgun was the answer as it would be an interesting and unique model that would be difficult but not impossible for me to reproduce in Z scale.
The German K5 was the obvious choice being produced in large numbers (by the standards of railguns) and quite well known (e.g., “Anzio Annie”).
I set out the following requirements:
Must be as accurate as possible in Z scale, given the limitations, e.g., tight track curves.
Must be a “working” model, i.e., it can be pulled along, negotiate curves, barrel elevates, shell loader pivots etc.
Use various materials (e.g., resin / plastic, metal, etched parts).
Make use of Marklin components where necessary (e.g., axles sets, couplers etc.).
In order to make the model I had to learn to use CAD software to draw the etched parts. I also had to learn how to use a lathe in order to turn the barrel.
I could have outsourced both of these processes (and that would have been Plan B if I failed myself!) but really wanted to make the final model “mine” as much as I could.
I decided to get the etched parts in stainless steel as that offered the most strength. I outsource the etching as that is a specialised process.
The most difficult aspect of the build was getting the compromise between scale accuracy and Z running limitations. This took some trial and error and consternation but after a lot of R&D it all came together and the first model I made met my expectations.
A lot of time and effort goes into each K5 made, for example there are over 20 molds used to make the resin parts (some being 3-part molds). It takes a couple of hours to process the etched parts alone.
Final result was worth the effort and I’ve learnt new skills that I can apply to future models.