The German Panther tank is arguably the best tank design to come out of WW2.
Let that sink in for a moment....
We will ignore the tank's drawbacks, including an under-powered engine that occasionally burst into flames.
But its sloped armor, deadly high muzzle-velocity 75mm gun, its use in specialized tank units, even its relatively low numbers (6,000 built vs. over 50,000 T-34s), all contribute to a mystique about the tank that is reflected in the constant release of new kits in 1/35th scale. Takom, RFM and Meng have all come out with new Panthers recently, and more are in the works.
What is less well-known, however, are the Panthers that found their way into the motor pools of other nations during the war and afterwards. The 2nd and 5th Free French armored divisions used captured Panthers, and after the war, Bulgaria had 15 mostly Zimmerit-covered Panthers, some of whom served until 1951, while others became static pillboxes. Romania got just short of a dozen Panthers after the war, and France had as many as 50 in service until 1947. Yet surely the most electrifying appearance of a Panther in other service were the two seized by the Polish Home Army as part of the Warsaw Uprising.
Fortunately for modelers, Georg Eyerman's Decalomaniacs has released a set called "Panthers in Captivity" that will bring some of these lesser-known beasts back to life.
Inside the low-tech zip-loc baggie are:
two (2) sheets of decals (one the white backing for the actual markings)
a three-page instruction manual & research goldmine combination that includes 8 line drawings and two period photos.
Despite the fact that almost no photos of these tanks have been uncovered so far, Decalomaniacs has assembled a solid series of references, line drawings and even a couple of period photos (showing "Cuckoo," a tank in the 6th Guards tank brigade, 4th tank battalion, Cold Stream Guards). The result is a nice cross-section of Panthers serving other masters.
Bulgarian Panthers (7 examples)
Cuckoo (Cold Stream Guards)
2nd Free French Armored Division (Vosges 1944)
5th Free French Armored Division (Alsace 1945)
"Pudel" and "Felek" Polish Hone Army, Zoska Battalion August 1944)
The line drawings show the decal placement, and indicate the best guess for paint colors.
One word of caution to first-time Decalomaniacs consumers: the decals are printed on a laser printer, which produces more muted colors, especially whites. That's why Decalomaniacs includes a sheet of white undercoat decals that will supplement the main decal. Make sure you apply these over a gloss undercoat, and trim the decal close to the edge to avoid as much silvering as possible.
These are so interesting, I am tempted to purchase an additional Panther kit just to build one in captivity. They aren't Cartograph silk-screened quality, but will work extremely well with almost all possibilities, especially if you plan on weathering the vehicle.
Thanks to Decalomaniacs for providing this review sample. Be sure to say you saw it reviewed here on Armorama when ordering your set.
Highs: Simply having them is a revelation, since otherwise you would have to hand-paint these markings after doing the research yourself.Lows: These are not Cartograf quality, but are very acceptable for all builds.Verdict: For those who want to try something completely different in a Panther build, this is your chance. Utterly unique and refreshing.
Our Thanks to Decalcomaniacs! This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.